Press Release - Skagit Appeals

To:  All Editors and News Directors               September 10, 1998
Please Note: THIS IS A DUPLICATED RELEASE

FOR MORE INFORMATION:    
Joan Crooks, Washington Environmental Council,  206-622-8103.
John Arum, attorney, 206-448-1230 
Steve Johnson, Citizens For Sensible Development of the Upper Skagit,
360-873-2210

MOUNT VERNON--State and local conservation groups, the Skagit River tribes,
and the U.S. Forest Service are appealing a Skagit County decision to allow
50 years of development along and in the Skagit River without the developer
having to write an environmental impact statement.

The proposed development by Clark's Skagit River Resort near Marblemount
would be along and in a stretch of the Skagit River designated for
protection under the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.  

The development  would include cabins and other structures in the river's
flood plain, a marina ditched out of waters used by Chinook and other
salmon for spawning and rearing, and a shoreline resort hotel.

The Washington Environmental Council, People for Puget Sound, Skagit
Audubon Society, Evergreen Islands, Citizens for Sensible Development of
the Upper Skagit and Gene B. Kahn, a prominent Skagit County businessman,
last week filed a joint appeal of Skagit County's determination that the
developer does not have to file an environmental impact statement under the
State Environmental Policy Act. 
                              
John Arum of Seattle is attorney for this appeal.  Filing separate appeals
were the U.S. Forest Service, the North Cascades Conservation Council, and
the Skagit System Cooperative, fisheries management unit of the three
Skagit tribes, the Swinomish, Upper Skagit and Sauk-Suiattle.  The Forest
Service manages the parts of the Skagit River system designated for
protection under the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

"With Endangered Species Act listings pending on Puget Sound Chinook
salmon, it defies common sense that any county would consciously waive
requirements for an environmental impact statement in order to give a
developer rights to alter a salmon-bearing river and its shorelines over
the next half century," said Joan Crooks, Executive Director of the Washington
Environmental Council.  "and on a stretch of a wild and scenic river at
that.  What does this say about Skagit County's commitment to wild salmon
recovery?"

In earlier communications to Skagit County, the U.S. Forest Service said
that from information in hand it appeared that portions of the Clark's
Skagit River Resort project "would have a direct and adverse impact on the
free-flowing characteristics of the Skagit River...and that "the project
might hurt fisheries, wildlife and scenic values."