The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby

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The North Cascades ecosystem extends from Snoqualmie Pass to the Fraser River valley in British Columbia, encompassing rugged peaks, ancient forests, arid steppes, and glacier-fed waterways. As one of the largest intact ecosystems in the contiguous United States, the North Cascades are home to a number of threatened and endangered species. Through citizen activism, Washington’s North Cascades National Park was created over 40 years ago. However, wild landscapes that many people believe to be inside the national park boundaries or federally designated wilderness areas remain unprotected.

The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby brings the North Cascades alive through vivid imagery and stories. Pulitzer-winning essayist William Dietrich presents the ecology, geology, and cultural history of the North Cascades. Christian Martin, of North Cascades Institute, profiles scientists, recreationists, educators, and others who live, work, and play on the land. Guidebook author Craig Romano highlights a selection of the region’s many recreational opportunities, including hiking, skiing, and paddling. And all of this smart text is illustrated with stunning photographs by thirty conservation photographers, including Art Wolfe, Amy Gulick, Steven Kazlowski, Paul Bannick, Steven Gnam, Ethan Welty, Benj Drummond and more.

With the advent of increased population and development pressures, this project draws attention to the many reasons this natural ecosystem should remain intact. We must do all we can to protect and preserve these valued lands before they are irreversibly lost to resources extraction, power development, and motorized recreation. Our advocacy partners aim to identify solutions that recognize the intrinsic and practical wilderness values of this natural treasure.

The book serves as a communications and media tool as organizations work with communities in the region and legislators to craft solutions. Braided River is collaborating with North Cascades Institute and numerous regional grassroots organizations to produce events, media, and exhibits, all based on the book's beautiful images and stories of this magnificent landscape.


In fall 2014, we held twelve events across the North Cascades region, ranging from our Seattle launch to Bellingham, Darrington, Leavenworth, Twisp and more. The launch tour attracted over one thousand people who learned about the ecology, history and culture of the region, heard engaging stories, and saw inspiring images. The speakers included authors William Dietrich, Christian Martin, and Craig Romano, as well as contributing photographer Paul Bannick, artist Molly Hashimoto, profilee Ana Maria Spagna, and others. After the intitial launch tour, we continue to hold events to inspire more people to become stewards for the North Cascades.


We leverage the book and events for media outreach that greatly expands the audience of the project. Media coverage in The Seattle Times, Skagit Valley Herald, Alaska Airlines MagazineChuckanut Radio Hour and more have brought these inspiring stories and images to tens of thousands more people.

Advocacy Outreach

Our advocacy partners have put the books in the hands of elected officials and other decision-makers, illuminating the landscape and culture of the North Cascades as they consider options to protect it.

For images from the book, a list of our partners, and opportunities to engage, see the project website,