Virtual Skagit Tours


We hope you will enjoy and learn from this series of informational videos about the Upper Skagit Valley created by North Cascades Institute in the Summer of 2020.

Springtime on Diablo Lake

Part 1

Diablo Lake is nestled into the North Cascades—the ancestral homelands of the Upper Skagit, the Nlaka'pamux, the Sauk-Suiattle, and the Swinomish peoples. It is an area of immense cultural and ecological significance, managed in part by the North Cascades National Park, and the present location of the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center. As springtime arrives in the northern hemisphere, the upper reaches of the Skagit Valley are slowly waking up.Wildflowers, leafing trees, migrating songbirds, black bears and white deer. In the far reaches of northwestern Washington State, this magnificent ecosystem is welcoming the spring.

Part 2

What does it mean to you to be of a place? How many generations into the past can you imagine? Springtime is meaningful to people the world over as a time of renewal and hope. Spring has brought this sense of vitality throughout human history. In this video, we have an opportunity to hear from Scott Schuyler, a Tribal Elder of the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, to give his perspective on Spring in this beautiful valley!

Part 3

During Springtime which natural transitions do you observe? What impacts do those transitions have on your life? It's easy to forget that these beautiful lakes are in fact one managed hydroelectric project partially controlled by human input. They represent a built environment- an interface between nature cycles and human systems. When Spring unleashes its runoff and growth, Seattle City Light must respond with precision and care to manage the Skagit Hydroelectric Project.

History of the Environmental Learning Center

Part 1

Do you think that a place can have a purpose? What does it look like when a place embodies an intention? Nestled into the Douglas firs and big leaf maples on the shores of Diablo Lake lies a place that has inspired us for over 90 years. Originally serving as a construction camp for workers building Ross Dam and Ross Powerhouse, later developed as a fishing resort, and now home to the North Cascades Institute, this point on the shores of the lake attracts the attention of thousands of visitors every year. Learn more from Institute Executive Director Saul Weisberg and architect David Hall, who was was a Design Partner at HKP Architects during design and building .

Part 2

In your mind, how does a place come to have a function in a community? What influence does community have in your life? In nature we see endless interaction, endless relationships. No piece, no individual, operates without the influence of another. You can't accurately understand an organism without comprehending its function within its ecosystem and wherever you look you'll find that any one animal, plant or mushroom depends on many others for its success. You begin to see that the essence of nature is not solitary, but interconnected. The Learning Center took its initial shape as a collaboration and begin to fill in thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, donors and community members. This video features Mike Brondi, a community member who played a strong part in North Cascades Institute's landscape revegetation project.

History of the Alice Ross

What makes boats so charming, so timeless, and so convivial? Let us travel backward along the river of time to the late 1920's when the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project was in its infancy. James Delmage Ross, the second Superintendent of Seattle City Light had been trying to compel to Seattleites to join the age of electricity at a time when not everybody was convinced they needed to. With the completion of Diablo Dam, JD decided to use the very waters of the hydroelectric project. He would need a fine boat with a fine name to achieve the effect he wanted. Which name would express this spirit? Alice Ross, wife to JD, became the namesake for the boat! There have been four versions of Alice boats since the late 1920's. We look forward to sharing them with you today.

A Day in the Life of a Hydroelectric Powerhouse Operator

We're familiar with electricity and its presence in our lives, but how does it come to be inside our homes? What systems enable electricity to exist there? Who makes these systems possible? The availability of electricity has not always been as ubiquitous as it is today. Learn more with Skagit River Hydroelectric Power Plant Operator and Seattle City Light employee Nick Goddard!