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Ptarmigan Traverse, a clear way.


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Please take the time to send an email indicating your support to allow maintenance on the Bachelor Creek Trail. See text below or click on link to see blog and post comments.


Clear the way blog


This effort started from Dan Lauren's experience last fall passing through the trail, and an inquiry to the forest service into permission to cut out the alder and other brush from the trail. Turns out that cutting is not legal right now, we need this trail put back in the forest service system as a wilderness class 1 trail, then we can clear out the ungodly brush!







Hikers and climbers who complete the North Cascades’ Ptarmigan Traverse return home with memories of alpine meadows, colossal glaciers, rugged peaks, and a treacherous slog through the Bachelor Creek trail, the southern approach route from Downey Creek and the Suiattle River Road. If you have ever traveled the Ptarmigan Traverse, or if the route is on your bucket list, your support is needed to add the abandoned Bachelor Creek trail to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Trail System so that the trail can receive well-overdue maintenance.


The Bachelor Creek trail was originally constructed in the 1930’s for response to a wildfire. Although the primitive trail was dropped from Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest’s official inventory after 1990, Bachelor Creek remained an important route for those accessing the Ptarmigan Traverse as well as anglers hiking to alpine lakes in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Slide alder and downed trees mangle the route, but until the trail is officially added back to the National Forest’s trail inventory, the Bachelor Creek trail cannot legally receive attention by eager volunteer trail crews.


The Mountaineers encourages hikers and climbers to submit comments in support of designating the Bachelor Creek trail as a Class 1 Wilderness Trail. Comments in support of the trail will be considered until January 30th, 2011, during the public comment period for the Suiattle Access and Travel Management Plan. Comments may be directed to Peter Forbes, Darington District Ranger of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, at pforbes@fs.fed.us. Use the template below or write your own original letter. With your help, we can reclaim the Bachelor Creek trail and make the entire Ptarmigan Traverse something to look forward to!


Peter Forbes

Darington District Ranger

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

1405 Emens Street

Darrington, WA 98241-9502


Dear Peter,

I am writing in response to the Suiattle Access and Travel Management Plan. Please consider adding the Bachelor Creek Trail to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Trail System as a Class 1 Wilderness trail. The Bachelor Creek Trail is a critical link from the Downey Creek Trail and the Suiattle River Road to the Ptarmigan Traverse, a nationally-recognized crown jewel of the North Cascades.

The Bachelor Creek Trail is notoriously overgrown but still remains a vital access route to the Glacier Peak Wilderness and the Ptarmigan Traverse. Please add the Bachelor Creek Trail back into the National Forest Trail System with a Class 1 Wilderness Designation so that the trail can be legally cleared of downed logs and overgrown brush.

Thank you,





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While I hate the brush, etc, I really don't want to see a trail up into this area. Because of the Ptarmigan's popularity too many people already visit. I'm afraid a trail would just be a gateway to more regulation because easier access usually means more people and this is a fragile area that is already seeing overuse. The brush, which I don't have too much trouble with, isn't so bad. For a strong hiker/climber it's only one day to the lakes. I can see a trail saving an hour or so. I'm not sure that makes a trail worth the effort of building? I can understand your desire to make it easier to access, but in my opinion, I just don't see the need. I'm more willing to spend sparse resources on keeping road access and established trails clear of brush.

Edited by AllYouCanEat
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I can see both sides, but it is pretty bad right now. A bigger detriment to visitors is the road, which was closed 20 miles from the original trailhead last time I checked. I am in favor of the trail, but would hope that the road is seen as a bigger priority (even if they're classified and managed by separate people/agencies)...

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I agree. I would add that, for me, thrashing through Bachelor Creek was part of the allure of Dome Peak. I enjoyed having to work hard to reach such an amazing place, and I also liked the fact that we only saw one other party in four days. That was six years ago and I had just about forgotten how painful it was, evidenced by the fact that I am considering going back this summer. Unfortunately, ivan's picture may have set me back one more year. Nice pic, by the way. Your expression exudes "demoralization", which is how I recall feeling.


Anyway, I can understand wanting easier access, but I don't support the effort in this particular case. If anything, I will write a letter urging the FS to spend their time and limited resources elsewhere.

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I just sent my support for your petition via email, but it was returned as undeliverable. I'll print and mail it the old fashioned way instead. When I did the traverse in 09, the Darrington RS informed me that the road washout would be repaired and the access to Downey Creek restored for the summer of 2010. I guess it didn't happen. The last 9 miles of road marching was actually worse than the schwack down Bachelor Creek in a cold, driving September rainstorm. Ok, maybe not quite.


I'm presently doing research for my master's thesis and this issue is very relevant to its central question. I'll keep a close eye on your progress. Thanks!

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Not sure why you are so gung ho to whack out the trail. Ok, you can't run parts of the trail, but for the most part one could. No matter what you do, the alder sections is ALWAYS going to be bad. Unless you move the trail.


If you want to complain about a "trail" is the South Cascade trail in a beautiful valley. IT truly has vanished. Though even that trail you can walk it at a fast pace minus the slide section.


Then again, most of my mountaineering is off trail. Not much into backpacking, though it is enjoyable as well.


For the most part all of the trails/roads in the forest service are WAAAAYYYY over maintained. That and the FS wastes money building gigantic bridges over trickles that at worst get your boots a little wet. If you want the forest service to do something useful tell them to maintain the bridges over the rivers used by cars first and everything else LAST. I don't give a damn if there is toilet paper at the trailhead. Besides if there isn't it means you don't have to pay the damned extortion fee.


Why everyone expects cadillac service in the backcountry is beyond me. As far as I am concerned maintain the PCT and let everything else come afterwards.

Edited by Wastral
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Not sure how long ago you last hiked in this area, but as of 1.5 years ago, the portion between Cub Pass and the junction with Downey Creek trail is about 70-80% overgrown. Heavily overgrown.


Your "let nature take over" position is a valid one, but there is another viewpoint which believes reasonable status-quo access is an important function of maintaining public enthusiasm for the very principle of wilderness. I've never heard anyone seriously propose expanding roads or trails into heretofore untrodden places (around here, anyway), but maintaining much of what we had from the 1930s through, say, the 1990s is a very reasonable and useful position vis-a-vis this debate.


BTW: I enjoyed your TR on the Waddington area a couple of years back. Now that's wilderness!

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