The Wilderness Land Trust is celebrating the successful protection of 595 acres of privately owned property within federally designated wilderness areas. The protected lands were all acquired or transferred as part of the organization’s North Cascades – Washington State Wilderness Campaign.
With Conservation Alliance support, the Trust is celebrating the acquisition of three private wilderness inholdings and the transfer of two additional inholding properties to public ownership. With the transfer, these lands have been protected as federally designated wilderness and the threat of private development has been removed.
The completed acquisitions include the 39-acre Lockwood Lode property, the 12-acre Jumbo Lode property, and the 280-acre Greater New York Lode. In mining the term ‘lode’ refers to a deposit of ore, and the names of these properties reflect their history of mineral exploration or mining, the threat of which has now been removed. All three properties are located in the same drainage of the Wild Sky Wilderness. This one drainage contains almost all of the remaining Wild Sky Wilderness private inholdings, and one-third of the private inholdings left in Washington State, making it a high priority for the Trust’s work in the North Cascades region. By acquiring these parcels, and eventually transferring them to public ownership, the Trust has removed the threat of mining and logging of old growth forest, protecting these lands for future generations. This spectacular landscape is located only an hour from Seattle, providing close to home recreation opportunities for the city’s diverse residents.
After previously acquiring them, The Wilderness Land Trust has transferred two properties to public ownership to become designated wilderness. The transfer of a 236-acre inholding property in the Juniper Dunes Wilderness removed the last remaining private inholding in the wilderness area. With it, the Juniper Dunes Wilderness is now complete. Additionally, a 28-acre parcel known as Jumbo/Mt. Vernon Lode was transferred to become a new addition to the Mt. Baker Wilderness, which included the removal of a highly visible cabin on a prominent ridge and rehabilitating the site to its wild state.
This is fantastic news for Washington’s wildlife and habitat, as well as for all people who depend on the clean air and water that these lands provide. These unique landscapes leave those who visit them inspired and reveling in their raw beauty. Thanks to the work of The Wilderness Land Trust they will remain wild and free, now and for future generations.