Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
IUCN Category VI (Managed Resource Protected Area)
Map showing the location of Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Map showing the location of Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Location Washington, USA
Nearest city Bellingham, WA
Coordinates 48°52′59″N 121°53′05″W / 48.8831784°N 121.8845894°W / 48.8831784; -121.8845894Coordinates: 48°52′59″N 121°53′05″W / 48.8831784°N 121.8845894°W / 48.8831784; -121.8845894[1]
Area 3998.9 sq mi (10357.2 km2)
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington extends more than 140 miles (230 km) along the western slopes of the Cascade Range from the Canadian border to the northern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park. Forest headquarters are located in the city of Everett.



Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest covers (in descending order of forestland area) portions of Snohomish, Whatcom, Skagit, King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Kittitas counties. It has a total area of 1,724,229 acres. Ranger district offices are located in Sedro-Woolley, Darrington, North Bend and Skykomish.

Together with the other central Puget Sound counties, 62% (3.63 million people) of the State's population lives within a 70-mile (110 km) drive of the Forests. Another 1.5 million in the Vancouver, British Columbia metro area are also within easy reach of the northern part of the Forests.

The large population factor, coupled with easy road access, makes the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest one of the most visited National Forests in the country.



The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest contains many scenic and historical points of interest. Mountain tops gradually rise from 5,000 to 6,000 feet (1,800 m) on the south end of the forest to 7,000 to 8,000 feet (2,400 m) in the north. Two tall volcanoes, Mount Baker and Glacier Peak, tower thousands of feet above the adjacent ridges.


The Forest is home to more glaciers and snow fields than any other National Forest outside Alaska. As of 1971, the largest glaciers (with surface areas greater than 2.5 km2) are:[2][3][4][5]

Map of Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The number of glaciers in the forest has decreased from 295 in 1971 to less than 287 in 1998.[6] This is a part of the global phenomenon of glacier retreat. Forest glaciers have lost between 20 and 40% of their volume between 1984 and 2006. This is due to continued warm conditions and negative mass balance.[7] White Chuck Glacier (Glacier Peak) is no longer on the list of large glaciers, above. It shrank from 3.1 km2 in 1958 to 0.9 km2 in 2002. With the shrinking of the glaciers, summer glacial runoff has been reduced by 65 to 80%.[8] This reduces stream and river flow and sediment and increases their temperature. Salmon and many other species are adversely affected by such changes.


The north and east portions of the Forest are exceptionally rugged and scenic. In 1968 part of the Forest was transferred to the National Park Service as the North Cascades National Park. A 1993 Forest Service study estimated that the extent of old growth in the Forest was 643,500 acres (260,400 ha).[9] In addition, Congressional action since 1964 has established the following wilderness areas:

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

These pristine areas provide clean water, solitude, and permanent protection to old-growth forests across 42% of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Congress also established the Skagit Wild and Scenic River system in 1978. Its 125 miles (201 km) of river on the Skagit, Cascade, Sauk, and Suiattle Rivers provide important wildlife habitat and recreation. The Skagit River System is home to one of the largest winter populations of Bald Eagles in the United States.

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest encompasses much of the North Cascades Ecoregion, a Level III North American Ecoregion. It includes the following level IV ecoregions:

  • Western Hemlock Ecoregion
  • Silver Fir Ecoregion
  • Subalpine Mountain Hemlock Ecoregion
  • Alpine Ecoregion


  1. ^ "Mount Baker". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved %%date%%-Snoqualmie National Forest. 
  2. ^ Post, A.; D. Richardson, W.V. Tangborn, and F.L. Rosselot (1971). "Inventory of glaciers in the North Cascades, Washington". USGS Prof. Paper 705-A: A1–A26. 
  3. ^ Topinka, Lyn (2002-07-09). "Mount Baker Glaciers and Glaciation". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  4. ^ Pelto, M.; C. Hedlund (2001). "Terminus behavior and response time of North Cascade glaciers, Washington, U.S.A". Journal of Glaciology 47 (158): 496–506. doi:10.3189/172756501781832098. 
  5. ^ Beckey, Fred (1995). Cascade Alpine Guide: Climbing and High Routes : Rainy Pass to Fraser River. Mountaineers Books; 2nd edition. ISBN 0-89886-423-2. OCLC 33204115 50137587 14692076 33204115 50137587. 
  6. ^ Pelto, Mauri S.. "North Cascade Glacier Retreat". North Cascade Glacier Climate Project. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  7. ^ Pelto, Mauri S.. "Glacier Mass Balance". North Cascade Glacier Climate Project. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  8. ^ Pelto, Mauri S.. "Recent Glacier retreat and Changes in Streamflow in the North Cascades". North Cascade Glacier Climate Project. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  9. ^ Bolsinger, Charles L.; Waddell, Karen L. (1993). Area of old-growth forests in California, Oregon, and Washington. United States Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. Resource Bulletin PNW-RB-197. 

External links

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