Reporter Ted Alvarez scored his second invite to hike and camp out overnight at The Enchantments, a series of alpine lakes and glacially-formed rock formations high in the Cascades on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
In an article for Crosscut, Alvarez writes about how the area’s spectacular (and photographic) beauty is increasingly driving visitors to seek out the area – with or without one of it’s limited overnight permits, and how land managers struggle to balance access and protection of this uniquely beautiful, but ecologically fragile, area.
“Managing access to marquee wild places is a thorny issue with no real clear answers,” he writes. “Keeping out newcomers and day hikers often de-prioritizes the communities that most need to exercise their rights to our wildernesses and keep those values alive back home. But the flood will always wash in folks who have the potential to damage and diminish the very thing that attracts us all.”
PS: A special “shout out” to Carly Reed on the Wenatchee River Ranger District, who is quoted in the story sharing some of her thoughts on social media and environmental impacts – including the ever-persistent “poop problem.”