Summer brings recreation opportunities in North Cascades

Visitors take in the scenic North Cascades on a trail along the Skagit River at Newhalem.

Washington’s National Park Fund announced this week it has given $1.6 million to the state’s three national parks, including the North Cascades National Park Service Complex that includes land in east Skagit County.

It is the largest annual distribution in the organization’s history, according to a news release.

“It has been a banner year for Washington’s National Park Fund in that we have been able to distribute more funds than ever to the cherished national parks in our backyard,” foundation CEO Laurie Ward said in the release.

The North Cascades National Park received about $400,000 for 10 projects including wildlife research, electric vehicle improvements, internships and law enforcement equipment.

The projects recently awarded funding were among those identified as priorities in late 2017 and are not connected to new needs following the 35-day government shutdown that left swaths of federal public land unstaffed.

“Even though these funds don’t directly support issues caused by the government shutdown, they provide incredible benefit to the overall preservation of the park, as well as improved visitor safety and experiences — and that is cause to celebrate,” Ward said.

The fund supports national park programs that advance science and research, improve visitor experience, expand volunteering, and provide youth and family opportunities at the North Cascades, Olympic and Mount Rainier national parks.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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