Kittitas


Caption & Credit TBD

The southeastern quadrant of the Alpine Lakes region lies east of the Cascade crest in Kittitas County within the watershed of the upper Yakima River and its major tributaries: the Kachess, Cle Elum and Teanaway Rivers. The Kachess and Cle Elum Rivers originate amongst the rugged peaks, small glaciers and high lakes close to the Cascade crest in the alpine core of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. The Teanaway River rises in similarly high, but drier, mountains to the east. Its west and middle forks are amongst the longest un-roaded, low-elevation valleys on the east side of the Cascades and form the core of the largest unprotected roadless area in the vicinity of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Together, these watersheds encompass many thousands of acres of mountains and forests with a diversity of climate, terrain and corresponding communities of plants and animals.


Caption & Credit TBD

The contrast between the wet, cloudy west and dry, sunny east sides of the Cascades is well known. Nevertheless, a traveler crossing Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 will not find any great difference in the landscape until twenty miles or so east of the pass. Moist, marine air has access across the relatively-low and westward-shifted Cascade crest near and south of Snoqualmie Pass, and the elevation remains near pass-level until decent to Easton. Only, farther east one enters more open, drier landscapes with grassy ponderosa pine woodlands markedly different from the denser west-side type forests.

Recent ALPS priorities in this part of the region have included: land acquisitions to secure important areas in public ownership; large land exchanges with Plum Creek Timber Company to address the problem of alternating public and private "checkerboard" ownership; promoting additions to the Wilderness in the upper Cle Elum watershed; working with the USFS to better manage off-road vehicles to prevent their destructive impacts and to eliminate destructive timber sales; participation in efforts to prevent intrusive development in the natural areas bounding the wilderness and roadless areas. ALPS is strongly opposing efforts to designate "National Recreation Areas" dedicated to intensive ORV use which have been proposed for both the Teanaway and Manastash areas of Kittitas county.