Skagit River North Cascades National Park photo 7708064180 a1541dd9bc b Skagit River North Cascades National Park
Photo by jeffgunn cc

2015 Funding Priority | Amount Needed $21,534

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This is a proposal to re-establish a river rescue program in North Cascades National Park, specifically for the Upper Skagit Valley. This program will ideally include park employees as well as members of Marblemount and Seattle City Light fire departments. The park already possesses rafts and basic rescue equipment, but to make this program work, we need Swiftwater Rescue Technician training to bring us to the minimum industry standard as well as additional cold water gear (drysuits).

North Cascades National Park includes approximately 20 miles of the Skagit River, 10 miles of which is heavily used by commercial and recreational boaters, and includes Class III rapids. The park also includes the Stehekin River as well as numerous other rivers, streams and lakes.

At this time, the park does not have a river rescue program. If help is needed, the nearest rescue team would be over an hour away if they are available. Swiftwater emergencies evolve quickly and can turn from a rescue to a body recovery in a matter of minutes.

Though swiftwater emergencies are rare, they are extremely complicated and happen quickly. Numerous injuries and deaths have occurred to rescuers due to lack of training and experience as well as not having the correct equipment. By having trained and equipped swiftwater rescue technicians, North Cascades National Park will be more able to protect our visitors and employees. This course we would like to host provides industry standard training as well as basic training outlined in the National Park Service’s Swiftwater Rescue Technician Type 1 (SWF1) task book needed to obtain a greycard.