Saving The Sky

Take Action to Protect the
SF Skykomish River

Please take a minute to email SnoPUD and urge them to abandon the Sunset Falls project!

Just when I think I know a lot about the rivers in my backyard, I’m often surprised and humbled to find out that I have much more to learn. Case in point: the South Fork Skykomish (or “Sky”) River. I recently started exploring this spectacular river, and I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the folks who call the South Fork Sky home.

The South Fork Skykomish River is a rarity in Washington State. Not only is it remarkably beautiful, it’s one of only a few rivers statewide designated under our State Scenic Rivers Act (RCW 79A.55). Unlike some of our neighboring states, Washington is behind the curve when it comes to protecting rivers, so anytime you find one that is actually designated or recognized, you know it’s special.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council designated the South Fork Sky as a “Protected Area”, which means it is off limits to new hydropower development.

The U.S. Forest Service found the river “suitable” for federal protection and recommended that Congress designate the river under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Unfortunately, Congress has not followed through on this recommendation and the Sky is not yet designated.

The National Park Service included the South Fork Sky on their National Rivers Inventory, a list of rivers that have been studied and found to possess outstanding values.

Despite all of the recognition, the South Fork Sky is under threat. Snohomish Public Utility District (or SnoPUD) is studying a proposed hydropower project on the river near two magnificent waterfalls: Canyon Falls (about 40 feet tall) and Sunset Falls (over 100 feet tall).

SnoPUD claims that they are only studying the project, commonly referred to as the “Sunset Falls Project”, and they have technology that will avoid impacts. The reality is all new hydropower dams have impacts, and we can generate more hydropower responsibly if we invest in upgrades at existing dams. As a class, these types of projects are cheaper to build, easier to permit, and much less harmful to the environment than hydropower that involves new dam construction. Spending ratepayer dollars to study a hydropower project on a protected river is a waste of resources and bad policy.

With your help, we can stop the development of a hydropower project on the South Fork Skykomish River and allow this iconic, free-flowing river to remain intact and healthy for future generations.


If you are a Washington resident, please take a minute to email SnoPUD and urge them to abandon the Sunset Falls project. Then tell your friends to do the same.

You can also visit to learn more about the river and sign a petition to build strength in numbers.

Finally, plan a trip this summer to hike on the Lake Serene/Bridal Veil Falls Trail or swim in the pool at the base of Sunset Falls!

Watch our latest video about the threats to the Skykomish River: