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Guiran

Access to Twin Sisters Range

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The west ridge of the North Twin Sister is one of my favorite scrambles in Washington and I've probably done it about a half dozen times over the last ten years in a variety of conditions. The changing nature of the logging roads in the area has always been an "interesting" aspect to route finding on the approach, but it appears that land management has recently changed and access may be changing with it.

 

The gate at the jump off point from FS Road 38 has a new sign (which conflicts with the older signs) that all users now require a permit for access to Weyerhaeuser lands. This is consistent with the Weyerhaeuser recreation website, which states that motorized and non-motorized permits are required for access from July 1 - December 31.

 

I suppose that the upside to this is that, if money is less of an object, a motorized access permit can be purchased for $200 annually, allowing access higher up the road network than has been possible for a number of year. The downside is that even bike access through Weyerhaeuser lands requires a $50 annual permit -- for each person entering the area, per the FAQ.

 

While the sign on the gate says that a permit is required for all access and the traditional approach route for the North Twin falls in the area outlined on the map for a motorized permit, the non-motorized permit map is much smaller, located further south and west. I have a message in to Weyerhaeuser, asking them to clarify their policy on non-motorized access via this gate, but does anyone have further information on this?

 

Given the relative popularity of this route, particularly for climbers in the Bellingham area, this seemed important enough to bring up.

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Confirmed with Weyerhaeuser: The traditional access routes to North and South Twin Sister from the Middle Fork Nooksack River Road fall within the new permit area and will require a $50/year permit for each climber for legal non-motorized access across Weyerheuser lands.

 

Is this something that the WCC or Access Fund can weigh in on? The Weyerhaeuser recreation site has some language about areas set aside for public access without permit, but apparently that doesn't apply to anywhere in the North Cascades-Chelan region:

 

Q: Has Weyerhaeuser considered continuing to allow non-motorized access without a permit along the specific sections of the roads used to access climbing routes for the North Twin and South Twin?

 

A: No, any access to the designated North Cascades – Chelan permit areas requires either a motorized permit or a non-motorized permit.

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Try the new east side approach. Starts with the elbow lakes trail approx 10 miles up the middle fork rd. Only the most oblivious will miss the signage from there.

 

Doesn't get to the North Twin; move on.

 

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That's really unfortunate. WH has always seemed as corporate as any modern business where shareholder value trumps any sort of social responsibility/connection.

 

Hard to believe there's any remaining commercial value in that land considering how blasted it is. A couple years ago they were clearcutting trees that had to be no more than 10 years old and maybe 3-4" in diameter.

 

Always thought that could make a great conservation purchase marketing as a sea to mtn ecosystem with the new Lake Whatcom Park and Chuckanuts.

 

Like Max says the east side of the rage is much nicer anyways if you want to do something in the Twins. Once you got the approach figured out Cinderella and Little Sister would make good day objectives (NE slabs of Twin Sister are amazing cl 3). South Twin via the Green Creek Arete is a classic Cascade wilderness experience though this will be more than a day trip for most.

 

 

 

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Thank you Weyerhaeuser PR department, without them, there would probably be no public access at all.

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There was no sign requiring a permit as of Saturday, just a sign stating the rules of entry past the gate on FS 38. I don't know if there was a sanctioned change or if someone just removed another sign but I didn't see anything mentioning a permit. No logging activity or WH personnel noted.

 

Roads are currently in great shape, only a 24 minute ride down from the trailhead to the car.

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I think I would keep permit-less access on the down low.

 

WeyCo doesn't seem to be enforcing it up around the Twin Sisters, but no need to poke a sleeping bear. I've heard the local land manager isn't keen on enforcing this with climbers, so the less we bother them with calls to reconsider, the better. This is a corporate decision across their ownership and is unlikely to change. They own the land and there isn't anything we can do about it, other than quietly continue using the land like we always have!

 

If we were in the UK we would have the "right to roam" across private land, but not here. That's what is making America Great (Again)!

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My wife recently (two weeks ago) encountered the sign stating that a $50 permit was required. She sent Weyerhauser an email asking for clarification and cc'd the Access Fund. She received a reply from the Access Fund indicating that they were aware of it and they had an upcoming meeting with Weyerhauser to discuss a number of areas in Washington with similar signage. Stay tuned.

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Does anyone have any further updates on this? Haven't been into this area for a long time and was hoping to go back to climbing the North Twin again in June or early July. Not thrilled about the prospect of coughing up $50 per person for access.

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I haven't heard anyone talking about this issue and I bet no one is. Ignore the whole issue.

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