Carbon-Watershed Reserve for MBSNF

A Carbon-Watershed Reserve for the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Position Statement by the North Cascades Conservation Council

Adopted by the board and published in The Wild Cascades journal, Spring-Summer 2022

Since 1957, the North Cascades Conservation Council (NCCC) has been among the foremost advocates for and defenders of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest’s (MBSNF) ecological integrity and wild character. We view the MBSNF and its 1.7 million acres as a unique unit within our National Forest System. Along with being immediately adjacent to a major metropolitan corridor, the MBSNF is the source of numerous watersheds of significance flowing to Puget Sound and the larger Salish Sea, and thus it is indispensable to regional salmon recovery. Current peer-reviewed research concludes that the biomass-rich forest of the MBSNF is also an important contributor to carbon sequestration, and despite previous decades of Forest Service mismanagement it continues to provide irreplaceable refugia for rare and endangered species. And it goes without saying that the MBSNF is a prime destination for human recreation.

In consideration of these priceless attributes, which are key to the well-being and longevity of our society in the throes of the extinction crisis, global climate change, and declining sources of freshwater, NCCC takes the following position regarding future management across the entirety of the MBSNF:

In order to fulfill fundamental human needs and priorities from this public forest—clean and abundant water, sequestration of atmospheric CO2, conservation of sensitive fish and wildlife habitat, and compatible recreation—both short- and long-range management emphases must change immediately. All commercial logging and mining activities on the MBSNF must be discontinued in perpetuity. Moreover, aggressive decommissioning of the antiquated road system beyond those trunk roads needed for basic access must be pursued for watershed restoration and unhindered wildlife migration.

The MBSNF must be designated and managed as a Carbon-Watershed Reserve — a model of enlightened and genuinely sustainable interaction between diverse human communities and the natural world. These goals should be pursued administratively at the earliest opportunity, as well as statutorily to ensure their permanence and enforceability.

Read the cover letter here: MBSNF Carbon-Watershed Reserve letter.