Park Number: 40/59
First Visited: August 31, 2013
Though Glacier National Park holds the namesake of perennial ice, North Cascades National Park contains the actuality (with over three hundred glaciers compared to the former’s twenty-five). These vast icefields continue to shape and maintain the geology and ecology of the region, offering fauna, like endangered wolverines, places to den, or acres of old-growth forest protection from harvest. Climate change is taking its toll, however, and North Cascades now operates as a scientific research center, along with the other Washington parks, for potential solutions of adaptation and mitigation.
North Cascades is a lesser-known park within the system, although it gets roughly one million visitors a year, which isn’t entirely surprising considering its proximity to Seattle. Its low-profile identity resides in its backcountry/wilderness majority; access is limited making it a haven for backpackers and mountain climbers. I look forward to my own future endeavors in the park, each taking me deeper and higher into the frozen terrain.