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Obama Administration Supports Green Mountain Lookout

Posted by Andrea Imler at Feb 12, 2014 08:45 PM |

The Obama Administration announced its support to for the legislation to preserve the Green Mountain Lookout in Glacier Peak Wilderness, but the fate of the lookout remains unclear.

Late last week the Obama Administration announced its support for the legislation to preserve the Green Mountain Lookout in Glacier Peak Wilderness. The legislation, championed by Reps. Suzan DelBene and Rick Larsen, would protect the lookout after a U.S. District Court judge ordered its removal back in 2012.

In a statement, the White House wrote, “The Administration supports provisions that would allow for the operation of the Green Mountain Lookout in Washington State.”

The show of support is welcome in the ongoing effort to protect the lookout, which has been a beloved hiking destination for generations of Washingtonians, who value the lookout for the glimpse of Washington's vanishing history that it provides.

A political snag for the Green Mountain bill

Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Act (H.R. 908 / S. 404) was included in a package of controversial public lands bills voted and passed by the House. Many environmental groups oppose the package, as does the Obama Administration, saying that the package contains “a number of provisions that would undermine the responsible balance of interests and considerations in the stewardship of the Nation's lands and natural resources.”

Both Reps. DelBene and Larsen opposed the lands package and requested that the Green Mountain legislation be heard as a stand-alone bill. The House Natural Resources Committee has approved the stand-alone legislation and a companion bill has been introduced by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell in the Senate where it awaits action.

What’s next for the lookout? Stay tuned

The disappointing House vote on the controversial package may have complicated matters, but there is still time for the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Act to be heard as a stand-alone bill on the House floor. As a supporter of the legislation, WTA will work with conservation and recreation partners to support Reps. DelBene and Larsen in their efforts to protect the lookout.

While the fate of the federal bill remains uncertain for now, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has no choice but to move forward with its first phase of planning for removal of the lookout as a result of the U.S. District Court judge’s order. The Forest Service is looking at options to destroy or relocate the lookout to nearby Circle Peak, which is outside of Glacier Peak Wilderness, or move it elsewhere on the forest.

Stay tuned for ways to get involved in the future of Green Mountain Lookout. Sign up for our Trail Action Network to keep up to date on this and other important issues.

Further reading


Green Mt. Lookout

I'd like to say first that I support preserving as many remaining lookouts as possible and practical. Still, I'm wondering if there's any thought being given to how much sense it makes to put money and effort into preserving lookouts that are as inaccessible as Green Mt. and Circle Peak for that matter. I guess in some ways I'd rather see funds and energy going into keeping these areas accessible. My understanding is that there is no plan to reopen the road to Green Mt. I also understand that the road to Circle Peak is now undrivable for most cars and I'm not sure that there's been any trail work done to either in several years. Maybe I'm wrong, and I'd appreciate hearing any news regarding accessibility to either of these lookouts. The question remains that even if access to these destinations becomes difficult, is maintaining the lookout of value? I'm on the fence here, but it seems to me that building and maintaining a man made structure only matters to us humans and if it takes two or three or more days to visit it........well, if a tree falls in the forest and there's no one to hear it........ Hopefully, you get my drift. We have limited trail dollars.....a whole different issue, but still we need to pick and choose how we spend them. What benefits the most? Personally, I have a very soft spot for all historical structures so I'm conflicted. Does anyone out there have some insight here? Have there been discussions about this? I'd appreciate hearing points of view since I'm sure there are valid arguments on both sides.

Posted by:

"wolfwoman" on Feb 16, 2014 08:05 AM

Green Mountain Lookout

  I also support preservation of all lookouts but I am confused. Isn't The Green Mountain Lookout they are talking here about along the Suiattle River Road #26 which has already been approved for repair and will then give access back to Green Mountain Lookout? My understanding is that construction to repair this road has already started or has something change that I am not aware of. I know it can only be work on seasonally and I know they were asking the public their opinion on how far the road should be repaired back to.
  This road is the best access to get people way back into the Glacier Peek Wilderness. Wilderness is very important for lots of reasons of which one is the water sheds it produces which finally gets to the population that need it but also for recreation. Without this road there is minimal access for most people unless you take a week or two off to hike through it.
  I was going to bicycle back to the trail head to hike this next summer before they have to move it but not sure of the access based on possible repair to this road. I definitely understand the desire to maintain our wilderness areas but the effort put forth to have this lookout removed is very costly and not in keeping with what the majority of the outdoor loving population want. In the end its about The Wilderness Act and how it was worded to preserve it and one groups desire to hold the people accountable and in compliance with it.
  I understanding the need not to build new structures but this one was already there before the act was approved. They just moved it to repair it then put it back. If the chain of events can't be changed then I agree we should move it somewhere else to preserve it. I am sure we can get a revised, repaired or update trail to access it or maybe we should create a fund raiser to help raise money for the cost.

Posted by:

fox15rider on Feb 16, 2014 08:05 AM

Thanks for the feedback!

Hi, I'm the Advocacy Director at WTA. Thanks for the questions and insightful comments!

Wolfwoman, to answer your question regarding access to the Green Mountain Lookout trailhead, it's my understanding that the Forest Service intends to open the Green Mountain Road when they open the Suiattle River Road later this year. The trail itself hasn't received maintenance in a number of years, so some work will need to take place to get the trail back into good shape. The lookout itself is still used by the Forest Service for administrative purposes.

As for Circle Peak, the access to the peak has been lengthened due to the closure of Circle Creek Road. You can access Circle Peak via the Crystal Lake Trail. Once you get to Crystal Lake, you can connect with a trail that will take you to the Circle Peak Trail.

Posted by:

AndreaMae on Feb 19, 2014 09:35 PM

Thanks for the info!

Opening of the Green Mt. Road is great news! I'd heard it would never happen and considering how nasty the old road was, I didn't think the F.S. would spring for it. I'm looking forward to getting up there again. I'm sure there will be much trail work that needs to be done and hopefully people to do it!

Posted by:

"wolfwoman" on Feb 19, 2014 09:35 PM

Green Mountain Lookout

I have been to Green Mountain many times. Several when the lookout was there, and a few times when the lookout wasn't. I found the experience much more enjoyable when the lookout wasn't there. It was easier to sit and enjoy a beautiful unobstructed view. I know plenty of hikers who feel the same way. This is why I oppose the reintroduction of the lookout. Not on wilderness grounds, but simply because it is more enjoyable without it.

There are a few lookouts where I feel the experience it the opposite. One such lookout is Heybrook. Without the lookout, you are stuck in the trees. Unfortunately, the Green Mountain lookout is the opposite, it detracts, rather than enhances the viewing experience.

Posted by:

"Ross Bleakney" on Feb 23, 2014 11:15 AM