Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park

Crown Jewel Wilderness cover imageAbout the book:

Remote, rugged, and spectacularly majestic, with stunning alpine meadows and jagged peaks that soar beyond ten thousand feet, North Cascades National Park is one of the Pacific Northwest’s crown jewels. This first full-length account chronicles its creation, just in time for the park’s 50th anniversary in 2018.

The North Cascades range benefited from geographic isolation that shielded its mountains from extensive resource extraction and development. Efforts to establish a park began as early as 1892, but gained traction after World War II as economic affluence sparked national interest in wilderness preservation and growing concerns about the impact of harvesting timber to meet escalating postwar housing demand.

As the environmental movement matured, conservationists sought to establish a national park that prioritized wilderness. Concerned about the National Park Service’s policy favoring development for tourism and the US Forest Service’s policy promoting logging in the national forests, they leveraged a changing political environment and the evolving environmental values of the natural resource agencies to achieve the goal of permanent wilderness protection. Their grassroots activism became increasingly sophisticated, eventually leading to the compromise that resulted in the 1968 creation of Washington’s magnificent third national park.

Available now from Washington State University Press, at your local indie bookstore, and from the usual online suspects, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Lauren would love to talk about the North Cascades and her book at your bookstore, meeting, or event. Learn more here.


“With clarity and insight, Danner tells a very complicated story of conservation politics. …excellent.” – John Miles, National Parks Traveler

“This is an uplifting story for our times. It is not only scholarly, it is inspiring.” — Mike McCloskey, former executive director, Sierra Club, and author of Conserving Oregon’s Environment: Breakthroughs that Made History

“An engaging history of the movement to create North Cascades National Park… The story is not as well-known as it deserves to be.” — Chris Johnson, historian, National Park Service, Pacific West Regional Office, Seattle

“Lauren Danner’s engaging treatise on the North Cascade Mountain Range provides a window into the history of federal land management and its impact on the West in the twentieth century….A highly readable book for those interested in how America’s federal landscape is shaped.” — Lincoln Bramwell, PhD, Chief Historian, United States Forest Service