Letters to Superintendent Paleck

  Click name to read letters concerning the road to Cottonwood  

Hi Dan,

We are going to take advantage of your e-mail address to send our comments about the road proposals that are due today.

First of our concerns is that access should be kept open to Cottonwood from Stehekin. This National Park area Complex was created for visitor experience, and the closure of the road anywhere below Cottonwood limits access to unique, miraculous scenery in our area. The road serves those that are not able to hike for several days to see the interior of the Cascades, and makes available day hikes for those with families, who are older, those who have only a weekend, or those staying overnight in Stehekin for their recreational experience in this area.

Not only is the interior beautiful, it is educational as far as experiencing the vegetation, wildlife, geological history, and man's history in the area. Visiting the site of the Black Warrior mine ties people in with the country's past and the role man played in settling this area, as well as the passes and trails from East to West for the Indians and early explorers. The trails that can be accessed from Cottonwood take us to the high, alpine country more readily to renew ourselves in the wilderness, and recreate with our families and see and learn about this particular country.

The next concern is keeping access alive for the health of the Stehekin tourist business community.
Those staying overnight in Stehekin are on the shoulders of the Cascades. To be able to drive or ride to the interior and into the heart of this creation, and experience the mountains close up is the goal of most people coming to Stehekin. This is a significant experience for the visitor, and will enhance the stay of those using the community businesses that operate out of the valley. To be able to stay here AND go on in further to the wild country is all tied together in making the visitor's stay here worthwhile. The health of the community and future economics will benefit from this access to the high country trails that provide excellent options for visitor recreation.

We would like to comment on your proposals. While number one seems the most logical solution as far as rerouting the road onto more stable lands and geology, we all know how long it takes and how improbable it is to pass legislation for what would be seen as an insignificant problem in congress, compared to most issues. We doubt this could be passed, with so much money and manpower behind the environmentalist machinery that would come into play. So while it is a good idea, and the best, we project that it would take many years of effort and money, with little support compared to the environmental populations that step up to bat on any issue of this type.

We would like to propose that the NPS use the current right -of -way that exists. We find the estimation of the cost of hauling in the materials exorbitant, and an unnecessary procedure. We would like to suggest that the areas that will require extensive repair and materials, be blasted. The original road through the wash out areas were created this way. They were blasted through the rock, and the resulting materials were put to use to lay the foundations for the road. We suggest that this method would cost far less than hauling in materials. The right of way, fifty feet to both sides would allow for this blasting. As far as finer materials, why wouldn't the resources that are used for the lower roads, be available for the upper road? The gravel pit should be considered, instead of hauling in materials. We suggest that this avenue be explored, as well as the cost of bringing in contractors that could perform this operation efficiently and professionally. If the right of way is all ready there, this operation could take place within those boundaries.

Closing the road to vehicle use is out of the question. I know it has to be considered, but it would mean that the National Park area is closed to the very young, the middle aged to elder, the handicap, the weekend visitor, which means the area is set aside for a very elite few, which is not the purpose of a National Park. The National Park is made for people, many people.

Thanks for your considerations. As long term family residents, we feel the road is an asset to visitors and this community as well.

Liz and Tom Courtney
PO Box 64
Stehekin, Wa 98852