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North Cascades Highway

Spring 2010

A Cascade Pass Chronology

A timeline of the Cascade Pass from 15,000 years ago to the present.

Return to “Of Time and Wildness in the North Cascades”

North Cascades National Park, National Park Service

by R. Mierendorf and J. Kennedy, 2009

The events below, based on calibrated radiocarbon ages, are in calendar years before present:

15,000?
Glacier ice melts out of the pass.

9600
Early indigenous people camp at the pass and make and repair stone tools, some made from locally-collected stone. Other tool stone is carried in from distant sources, including Hozomeen chert from the upper Skagit River to the north and the … » More …

Spring 2010

North Cascades Highway: Near Washington Pass

Although the native people crossed the North Cascades on foot for thousands of years, white settlers dreamed of a more readily traveled northern route. The Washington legislature committed its first funding for such a route in 1893, based on hopes that such a road would lead to “vast deposits” of gold and silver. Unfortunately, those riches were as elusive as the road itself. So rugged was this northern route that it would be decades before a possible route would even be chosen.

When Lyndon Johnson passed legislation in 1968 authorizing the North Cascades National Park, hopes for the road shifted from hauling out high-value timber … » More …