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North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park, large wilderness area in northwestern Washington, U.S. The park was established in 1968 to preserve majestic mountain scenery, snowfields, glaciers, alpine meadows, cascading waterfalls, and other unique natural features in the North Cascades Range. The region is frequently called the North American Alps.


Some 300 glaciers and a great many snowfields are found on the mountain slopes. However, most of those have diminished in size since the late 19th century, and a handful have disappeared completely. The pace of the reduction has been increasing, probably as a result of climate change. Hundreds of streams, lakes, and ponds are fed by those glaciers and snowfields. Most are within the Skagit River drainage system, but those in the south flow into the Stehekin River, which empties into Lake Chelan.


Wildlife in the North Cascades also shows a high degree of diversity of mammals such as mule deer and the associated black deer, black bears, variety of rodents, including marmots, squirrels and pikas, and several bat species. Less common ungulates include elk and mountain goats, and colonies of beavers live in wetlands in the eastern and northwestern parts of the northern unit. There are occasional sightings of gray wolves, cougars (Bergloves), brown (grizzly) bears, lynxes and bobcats.
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