Alpine Lakes, Washington

Less than an hour’s drive from downtown Seattle, the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River basin is one of King County’s last truly wild places, with old-growth forests, alpine lakes and peaks, whitewater rivers, strong native trout runs, and healthy populations of bear, elk, and cougar. Accessible to a population of over three million people and treasured by hikers, mountain bikers, fishermen and whitewater enthusiasts, the Middle Fork Snoqualmie area is one of the most significant outdoor recreation destinations near Seattle. It is also an important source of pure water for the entire Snoqualmie system. The Pratt River valley, part of the larger Middle Fork Snoqualmie drainage, is arguably the wildest part of this unique basin.

However, despite these amazing qualities, these rivers are unprotected. That is why American Rivers is working with a coalition of conservation and recreation groups to designate nearly 30 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and the entire 10-mile Pratt River as Wild and Scenic Rivers, as well as add 22,000 acres of new wilderness to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area. Wild and Scenic designation – the strongest protection that a river can receive – would give the free-flowing character of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers lasting protection against threats like dams and logging, as well as recognize and preserve their outstanding and unique recreation, fisheries, wildlife, and ecological values.

We are closing in on accomplishing this goal. In January 2013, Congressman Dave Reichert (R-8th) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) re-introduced the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act (H.R. 361 / S. 112), and on June 19, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed S. 112 by unanimous consent. And in July 2014, the bill made its way out of the House Committee of Natural Resources. If all goes well, Congress will pass the Alpine Lakes bill before the end of 2014.

The bill is supported by more than 100 local elected officials, businesses, user groups, and a coalition of conservation organizations including American Rivers. American Rivers and our allies will work to secure passage of this important bill this Congress to ensure that the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers and their surrounding wildlands are forever protected for fish, wildlife, and future generations.

More Information: