The Forest Service, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, is a federal land management agency responsible for forestland in the northwest Cascades. Our mission is to manage forest resources in a manner that maintains ecosystem integrity while meeting the needs of the public. Although the Forest Service has always had a multiple-use mission, timber production once dominated. As timber production has decreased, and public desires have changed, other activities have increased. Programs such as recreation, watershed restoration, small hydro, special uses, and Wild and Scenic River management http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/skagit-wsr/ have increased in response to public interest and changes in management direction (Northwest Forest Plan).
Watershed restoration, developed recreation, trails, wilderness, special uses, permits, small hydroelectric development, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Fire management, engineering and road management, ecosystem management, vegetation management, rural community development, and land adjustment are the primary programs of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Forest Service.
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Forest (USFS) is a federal agency in the US Department of Agriculture. The National forests are part of America’s great outdoors and are public lands. They are managed for the multiple uses of recreation, wildlife, timber, grazing, mining oil and gas, watershed and wilderness. The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State extends over 140 miles along the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains from the Canadian border to the northern boundary of Mt. Rainier National Park. The Forest covers portions of Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties, which contain over 55 percent of the State’s total population. Nearly three million people in or near the Puget Sound metropolitan area are 40 to 70 miles west of the Forest boundary.
This, coupled with the fact that four major mountain passes cross the Cascades through the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, makes this one of the most visible National Forests in the country. http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/about/
The Supervisor’s Office is headquartered twelve miles north of Seattle in Everett, with District offices in Sedro Woolley, Darrington, Skykomish, North Bend and Enumclaw. The Forest also operates an outdoor recreation information center in downtown Seattle in partnership with the National Park Service and REI. Visitor information centers at Snoqualmie Pass and Heather Meadows, and public service centers in Verlot and Glacier are also open on a seasonal basis. The 1.7 million-acre Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest contains many scenic and historic points of interest. Picturesque beauty ranges from glacier-cut valleys, to the rugged, ice-capped mountains of the North Cascades. Glaciers dominate the northern portion where some mountains rise far above 7,000 feet. The most prominent is 10,778-foot Mt. Baker, located in the Mt. Baker Wilderness, one of eight Congressionally designated wildernesses on the Forest.
Wilderness areas cover 42 percent of the total forest acreage. Other wilderness areas include Boulder River, Clearwater, Wild-Sky, and Noisy-Diobsud, while Alpine Lakes, Glacier Peak, Henry M. Jackson and Norse Peak are jointly managed with the Wenatchee National Forest. Another prominent feature, the Skagit Wild and Scenic River System, is not only a popular site for recreation use, but also for its wildlife, fisheries and scenic values. The Forest offers a variety of recreation sites including more than 50 campgrounds, picnic areas, scenic viewpoints, watersport and snowplay areas and hundreds of lakes, rivers and streams.
The Forest manages seven downhill ski areas, four at Snoqualmie Pass and one each at Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass and Mt. Baker. There are over 1,500 miles of hiking trails including portions of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The Forest also provides ample opportunities for hunting, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, river rafting, bird watching, berry picking, picnicking and general sightseeing. Along with its recreation program, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has significant programs in lands and minerals, fisheries and wildlife habitat management, timber, soils and watershed administration, and human and cultural resources.
Fifteen Native American tribes remain of the 23 tribal groups that once inhabited or used portions of lands that are now part of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. They, along with interest groups such as environmentalists, recreationists and the timber industry, take an active interest in the management of the Forest and its resources.
Reason for Participating on the Skagit Watershed Council
The US Forest Service manages most of the headwater streams in the Skagit Basin. The agency believes that the goals of the Council can best be achieved by cooperation across ownership boundaries to restore sustainable fisheries. Participation enables us to coordinate with other stakeholders, share resources and skills, provide a forum to understand the programs and mission of each Council participant, and foster a collaborative approach among all members to promote our compatible interests and missions.