Posted by: columbiahighlands | March 1, 2011

Quartzite: 49 Degrees North Ski Area’s Wilderness Backyard

Just south and adjacent to 49 Degrees North Ski Area lies the southernmost unlogged drainage in the Colville National Forest. Skiers and snowboarders on the backside runs gaze out over a rugged terrain of densely forested, steep ridges. Up-close examination, however, shows a mosaic of old-growth Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, western redcedar and western hemlock underlain by native grasses and rare plants. This is prime habitat for wolverine, marten, fisher, lynx, pileated woodpeckers and northern goshawks, not to mention moose, elk, and deer. Not long ago, a radio-collared grizzly bear even wandered near the area!

Protecting the wild forests of the Columbia Highlands such as Quartzite roadless area would put one of the region’s best and most popular ski areas on the map as a ski area with designated Wilderness right in its backyard. Here, wildlife and recreation can co-exist—even thrive—in close proximity. Under the Columbia Highlands Initiative, a new National Recreation Area, where new hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and motorized trails are envisioned, would also be designated.

Next time you’re up skiing at 49 Degrees North, take a peek to the south at what may be the future Quartzite Wilderness Area and to the north at what could be a National Recreation Area as you exit the chairlift, and enjoy knowing this little wilderness is there right next to such great ski slopes.

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Responses

  1. It’s good to see one of the roadless areas go toward wilderness. It’s my opinion that nearly all of them should be given that designation.

  2. […] of the Columbia Highlands, such as Betts Meadows, a private conservation easement adjacent to Quartzite proposed wilderness area, or Bunchgrass Meadows in the Mountain Caribou proposed wilderness area. These ponds, marshes, […]


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