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FEATURE NEWS

MAPPING YOUR WAY
TO WILD SKY WILDERNESS

September 13, 2008




Skykomish River at Index, WA in the
heart of Wild Sky
(Photo:Sky Valley Chronicle)
(SKY VALLEY REGION) -- Just three months ago, after almost a decade of political in fighting and many compromises, President Bush signed into law the long awaited Wild Sky Wilderness Act, H.R. 886/S. 520. It created, right here in our own Sky Valley, the first new national forest wilderness area in Washington state in more than 20 years.

What the act gives us, and generations of Americans who will follow in our footsteps, is a bill that protects 106,000 mostly gorgeous acres of low-elevation forests, rivers, valleys and mountains in the Skykomish River basin within the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. For you newcomers, this landscape lies just to the North and East of the towns of Goldbar, Index and Skykomish.

But many hikers, back country navigators, hunters and others have found an oddity associated with the new wilderness. No matter where they search on line, no matter how many Google searches they do, no mater how many map stores they call, a current map showing the new boundaries of the wilderness is all but impossible to find.

There’s a reason for that, according to the Skykomish Ranger District office on Highway 2 near Skykomish. The reason is government surveyors haven’t yet completed (as of August 21) doing the precise measurements on the new boundaries for the wilderness and thus have not provided that measurement data to map makers.

But there is a work around to the problem if you just have to have one before you head out to try a few trails in the Wild Sky.

First thing you do is drive to the Skykomish Ranger District office at 74920 NE Stevens Pass Highway near Skykomish. When you arrive purchase a Skykomish Ranger district map there for $5.00. Now just walk over to the BIG map on wall, which has the boundaries drawn on it, and draw the same boundary line on the map you just purchased.

Bingo! You’ve just constructed a new map of the new Wild Sky Wilderness area for probably much cheaper than you’ll be able to buy a more detailed one in a few months.

Here’s all you need to know.

Skykomish Ranger District
74920 NE Stevens Pass Hwy.
PO Box 305
Skykomish, WA 98288
Phone Number: (360) 677-2414
Hours: M-Sat 8a-4:30 p.m. until Labor Day then after that Mon-Fri 8a-4:30 p.m.

Driving Directions: Highway 2 to milepost 50, one mile east of the town of Skykomish.

PARKING PASSES: You’ll need a parking pass at trailheads. You can buy them at the ranger district office. Cost is $5.00 for a day pass, $30 for annual. Day passes have dates you can write in so you can buy two and use one later if you wish





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