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Next on national parks Northwest stories shrinking glaciers. We estimate we've lost about 50 percent of our glacier area in the last century. How global warming is already having a major impact on one of our parks. Also ahead keeping the parks clean. How the national park system is trying to eliminate its own carbon footprint. Plus the man who took on the Olympics was a 27 mile walk to Forbes. There was no roads really no trails. He settled his family in one of the most rugged places on the planet. It's the true story of the Iron Man of the hole. It's all next on national parks Northwest stories. Local production and broadcast of national parks Northwest stories is made possible by a major grant from the Floyd and Dolores Jones Foundation and by Casey has nine members become a member today by going to KC D.S. 9.0 org.
Thank you. Hello and welcome to national parks Northwest stories I'm at Rika siRNA for the next half hour we'll be bringing you stories from the magnificent national parks here in Washington state. Stories about the land the wildlife and the people people who helped to create the National Parks use the parks here and work to protect them for future generations. Of the nearly 400 national parks in the United States 13 are here in Washington state. We have the nation's first historic reserve landing created in 1978 on would be Island the Lewis and Clark national historic trail which traces the explorers incredible journey to the Pacific and the lake Roosevelt recreation area on the mighty Columbia River just to name a few. Of course the three best
known parks in our state are the three biggest Olympic National Park on Mount Rainier and the North Cascades with its jagged peaks and lush valley as the North Cascades is one of the most visually stunning national parks. Thousands visit every year for hiking camping fishing and boating on Ross lake. It's also an environmental bellwether of sorts. That's because the North Cascades features the most glaciers anywhere in the U.S. outside of Alaska. And those glaciers are melting. Wesley McClurg reports now on the impact of global warming is already having on the North Cascades. We've all heard the warnings about global warming. Climatologists say Our temperatures are steadily rising. But this isn't just a problem in the Arctic for floating polar bears and stranded penguins. It's hitting locally in our mountains just east of Bellingham in the North Cascades National
Park. For the past 17 years a team of geologists have tracked the size of four glaciers and what they found concerns them. OK what's its point five to be meters. We estimate we've lost about 50 percent of our glacier area in the last century. Most of that 50 percent has come in the last 40 years. One of the country's leading groups of scientists studying glacial melt is led by geologist John Riedel. We now can quantify the loss fairly well in terms of 15 16 billion gallons no loss of water. Glaciers play a critical role in the ecosystem supplying the earth with 88 percent of its freshwater. Locally. Glacier runoff supplies the drinking water for more than a million people in the Seattle region. But perhaps most important places are a natural storage system. When the snow pack melts in the late spring and summer it
makes its way downstream to our reservoirs. When it's needed the most and it's just ice and that's probably one of the most critical aspects of their school a sure change is that we're losing our summer water supply drier winters and warmer summers lead to continually shrinking glaciers. There's been six and a half meters of melt here. Even though last winter was one of the snowiest on record at least since I've been in the North Cascades and the summer was cool. That was kind of a breakeven year for glaciers. These shots taken of glaciers in the North Cascade the 960 compared to shots taken in 2005 show the large areas of snow and ice that have melted. Smaller glaciers don't just worry scientists are snow capped peaks are the playgrounds for backpackers and climbers. There's a difference between going into it you know dropping into a basin from up from a peak and dropping into a basin
that's full of snow and dropping in a basin that's got to live glacier and you just have a different feeling it feels. I know older feels more. More quiet. Sol Wisenberg has been working in the North Cascades and climbing in the back country for over 30 years. I grew up in Ohio and I sort of followed trends and the writings of Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder and Ken Keyes and folks with Northwest and just love the place. Every peek every ridge there's just this kind of sense of magic. And finding places that are new. And that sense of wildness I haven't felt other places. The rugged nature of our peaks makes them renowned all over the world. We've got serious approaches you've got. Glaciers. Rock and ice and weather.
And without the glaciers the North Cascades of this land of you know rock and ice. GREENE And you take away the ice. It's it takes away a piece of. The mountains that's just it's it's at their core it's basic. Experts from the world glacier monitoring service say. That unless drastic measures are taken. The glaciers could disappear by 2050. Figures from 2005 to 2006. Show possibly the greatest loss in the last 5000. In the northern hemisphere. The trend was for a. Larger. Place. Some scientists suggesting that we're looking at the next ice age. Or worse. But what we're seeing now is. Just the opposite of that. Environmentalists worry that we have waited too long and even if we reversed carbon dioxide emissions now or held them at zero I think there's a lot of momentum in the climate that is going to lead us to continued melting
for the foreseeable future. The endless snow capped peaks that appear to stretch on forever might look very different in the future. It would be a real real loss. It will be a real loss because of something that's already happening. You might think what could be more environmentally friendly than a national park but they aren't as green as you might believe. Our three biggest parks have a combined carbon footprint of 30000 tons of carbon dioxide caused by cars and visitors who leave behind tons of garbage plastic bottles food wrappers and the like. But the parks are taking action and Morris shows us how. Every year millions of tourists pack into their car SUV. To take in majestic views from all inspiring over the last in our national parks. But few consider the carbon footprint their visit leaves behind every summer
thousands of tonnes of emissions are released by vehicles polluting the very places we're trying to protect. Under the climate friendly parks project Mount Rainier National Park has just hired Justin loggers to measure impact in the project really involves collecting activity based greenhouse gas emissions for all the parks in the north coast and Cascade networks as well the upper Columbia Basin. What does he mean by activity based emission. Well basically anything the park does that pollutes. With. Homes cars buildings or gardening. What we want to do is we want to track that and we want to record that to ultimately build a carbon footprint for each part. Currently not Rainier National Park releases a missions equal to about 11 hundred households. Visitors account for about two thirds of the greenhouse gases released. More than 12000 metric tons mostly by simply driving in and around the park. It really poses a fundamental challenge for the Park Service for taking it seriously and say well what can we do.
We're looking to get lead design buildings energy efficient buildings and really incorporate the whole green idea behind our new buildings and so they we can obtain the goal of becoming carbon neutral as a network. The park is adding recycle bins solar panels and encouraging visitors to use its daily shuttle from long wire up to Paradise. In addition park staff are educating the public on becoming more sustainable tourists. We're not going to solve this problem by ourselves I mean we're not deluding ourselves and that we can set a good example. It's not clear whether the parks can actually meet their goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2016 through conservation alone. But Park officials are taking aggressive steps to get as close as possible. At the turn of the 20th century of the Pacific Northwest was one of the last true wilderness areas left in the US. The men and women and families who came here were tough and they had to be. And one of the toughest was a man named John Hughes dong who settled his family in one of the most inhospitable
places on the planet. Johnny Cunningham has the true story of the Iron Man of the hole. Jagged ridges waving grasses. Olympic National Park is known for nature a million acres of wild rising rainy right out of the sea. Peak at Mount Olympus and wool and sunny ridges toward Seattle. This remote peninsula is famous for what it doesn't have. Roads clear cuts buildings. But wait a minute. Look closely and you will see the hand of man the Iron Man of the homo. Think of Iron Man and you think of the iron stove and you think of taking down the trees and carving a life in the wilderness and hunting the bear and the cougar and all the things that he did. But I see an iron will.
Die and show stack loves the Olympics just like her great grandfather John Hill's dock one of America's last plan yes. At the turn of the century the US entered a transitionary period and we had pretty much explored it all. And the last place really for people to end up was this northwest corner of Washington state on the Olympic Peninsula. Native tribes had lived for thousands of years on the Olympic coast. But in the late 1800s the rugged Olympic interior was considered the last unexplored place in America. You may have heard about the press expedition. In 1889. These men famously struggled up the Elbow River and across low divide. It took six months and was covered every step of the way by the expedition sponsor the Seattle Press newspaper.
At the same time these men were making headlines for their quote abundance of grit and manly vim. A German immigrant named John Hill's dog was doing some quiet exploring of his own up the whole river. His goal was not merely to cross the land but to tame it. In 1889 he filed for a homestead on 160 acres of rainforest. One of the first things you want to do of course here where we get you know in excess of a hundred forty inches of annual percentage is get a roof over your head. You have built a rudimentary structure then hauled in a cookstove and a nickname. It was a 27 mile walk to Fords and there was no road really no trails. Dog was packing the cookstove on his back when a friend dubbed him the Iron Man. The heavy load that stove you're carrying John says it's not so much the stove that's heavy it's the 50 pound sack of flour in the oven.
With his shack and stove in place. Doc went back to Iowa to bring back a bride. It would be 17 years before Dora Wolf saw civilization again. If she complained there was no one to listen except John Hill's dog and he was busy taming a rain forest and she was busy having babies they were all daughters on a homestead so they were very enterprising young women they they were strong and they knew how to. They knew how to work the Iron Man of the hoe never worried that his girls were too soft for life in the outback. They could shoot and ride even capture baby elk which they raised and so. They gradually want to share a lot of pleasure go to other places didn't have their own. Dave Richmond is the son of one of those pioneer daughters. To this day he lives like the olden days doesn't have much in his cabin except a
wealth of memories. There's nobody here and here that's my buddy as a kid Richmond remembers following John Hill's dock into the forest in pursuit of a cougar. Well what I'm doing I would hope would know that the cat might joke around about me I guess. We seek a good cougar hunting wasn't just to keep the family safe. It was far and few between paychecks and when they offered bounties on cougars that was one opportunity for folks living out here on the thresholds to bring in some cold hard cash heals dog was known as one of the greatest hunters and trappers on the Olympic Peninsula. He figured he killed one hundred fifty cougar in his lifetime including the legendary Bigfoot the largest cougar ever seen on Olympic Peninsula. Cougar by cougar tree by tree. The hills dog family tamed the land and waited for civilization to head up the
home but it never did because the whole time they were proving up the homestead a force was growing with the capacity to destroy their forest home. John Hill's donk arrived at a time when the mission of Manifest Destiny conquering the wilderness first found a rival in the preservation movement. The National Park Service wanted the homestead and the Iron Man of the HOA may have met his match. As early as 900 environmentalist sounded a warning about the West disappearing forests. Maybe 8 percent of the potential temperate rain forest are 8 percent of the historic temperate rainforest ecosystem is inside the boundaries of Olympic National Park. That other 92 percent is scattered all throughout the country. As a study in your wall or trusts holding up your ruff a national conservation organization campaign to establish a national park here. There was much wrangling over the years about the boundaries but at the time President Franklin
Roosevelt added his support in the 1930s the homestead was inside the park. They would essentially give you. Tell you that you had to sell your land and they would tell you what the value was and it may or may not be and very often wasn't a fair market. The last feat of strength of the Iron Man performed was taking on the federal government. They were trying to move the families off the homestead. And my great grandfather and his family. Were not having any of that and they fought the park and they went all the way to the Supreme Court and they won. To this day John 160 acre homestead is in the family and his great granddaughter were critical to 50000 of those and I have no idea if that's going to last us till September. Diane shows stack and her husband used to own a small logging company. They thought they might have to leave the peninsula when the timber industry crashed in the 1980s. But
with that heals dog stubborn streak she vowed to stay. Getting to share this place that we call home has been one of the loves of my life and that is today as executive director of tourism on the peninsula works closely with the Park Service for waterfalls room. It's nice to be doing this so. That's helped heal the rift between her pioneer family and the park and the way shows taxies it. She's merely continuing the work the Iron Man began. Bringing people to the last best place in America. I guess if I had anything to say to John host I could just be thanks. Thanks for what. Just thanks. It was worth it. A lot of people many volunteers work hard to restore and Protech to our national
parks. Well group in particular is the SCA the Student Conservation Association. It was the first organization to give students a unique hands on opportunity to work in our national parks and learn skills in leadership and conservation. Leslie McClurg shows us how this group got started thanks to one young woman's ambitious idea. The best idea we ever had. Absolutely American absolutely democratic. They reflect us at our best rather than our wars. The dean of Western riders Wallace Stegner called the National Parks America's best idea. If true then Liz Putnam could be credited for the best innovation to that idea. She was in her junior year at Vassar College. And I just declared a major conservation being this interdepartmental major in this exciting field and I suddenly found this article By Bernard DeVoto in Harper's magazine. And Mr. Devoto wrote in his
magazine. Let's close the national parks according to Devoto Harvard historian our parks are being loved to death. Thousands of Americans were visiting but no one was cleaning up after them. And he said the way to awaken the American public to the problems. Let's close close Yellowstone close you Sammy Putnam had a different idea. What about rallying other budding conservationists like yourself still eager to make a difference. The Young did not have opportunities much to give of service to do something and here were something that needed desperately to be done and I thought I would love to do it in the summer of 1955. She took her idea on the road visiting parks staff and Olympic Mt. Rainier Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. From that original concept in 1955 by 1957 we had 53 students in two national parks Olympic and Grand Teton National Parks and is now a national movement.
The one you just planted. What species. JS That's the vice president of the western branch of the CIA says their role is more important than ever today. We expect over 4000 young people will be doing direct Conservation Service with us this year and they will touch hundreds of thousands of other people this year with their work. Amy Brown a previous SCA volunteer that now leads under-served youth into the country through the North Cascades wild program. Couldn't agree more. If you step outside of that so-called reality and you know breathe fresh air and feel the way you know jump into a cold lake and it's funny I think you can actually see yourself more clearly in my generation and humans in general are sort of forgetting how to like truly interact with both one another and the natural environment. Scientists have even coined a new term for our tech savvy youngsters who are locked behind their screens rather than playing in the woods. Nature Deficit Disorder.
I find that kids that are out in the nature and have had experiences sort of recognizing how they fit in to a much larger landscape. Don't hop those challenges and have a larger sense of self so you get lost you don't know like what to do you know anything about your life. You're just like Lost. And. Just going on the ship. I was able to get away from. The City. Just. Getting away from all my worries. And it was the last so I clear my heart and mind of ever felt Putnam's original rallying cries have since inspired over 50000 alumni to follow in her footsteps. Just something to do something to the heart and the soul which I can't find otherwise except in the wilderness and in these national parks which we're so lucky to have. This summer. KC TS 9 launched a digital storytelling contest. We
have local kids to take their video cameras and produce their own stories about our national parks. The winner we promise would be featured in tonight's show. We got a lot of great entries and it was tough to pick a winner. Here it is. It's called the Wonderland trail. Out of time.
For the rest in other words this was. Always a lot of of 16 was one of the beauties of hiking the wonder is that you can really see all the angles of the training. Process.
We're going to play like. Them a little less species a little less including miners and the end of the fight of their example to spectacular places observed in less intelligible place. I'll still say start since this is getting thousands of elevation walking Ansel as well as there is weather to listen. We will live with this expedition that we used to tell where I live and where I'm from sunrise to a river. That's all for this edition of National Parks Northwest stories. I'm going to take a sorta thank you for joining us.
National Parks: Northwest Stories
Episode Number
Shrinking Glaciers
Producing Organization
KCTS (Television station : Seattle, Wash.)
Contributing Organization
KCTS 9 (Seattle, Washington)
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This episode of National Parks: Northwest Stories features the impact of global warming on the North Cascades; the National Park Services efforts to reduce its own carbon footprint; the life of John Huelsdonk, Iron Man of the Hoh, who settled in the untamed wilderness of what is now Olympic National Park; the Student Conservation Association; and the KCTS Digital Storytelling winner.
National Parks: Northwest Stories showcases stories about Washington states national parks: the land, the wildlife, and the people. It is a companion program to The National Parks: Americas Best Idea, a film by Ken Burns.
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Local Communities
Copyright 2009 KCTS 9 Television, All Rights Reserved
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Moving Image
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Host: Cerna, Enrique
Producer: Morris, Ethan
Producing Organization: KCTS (Television station : Seattle, Wash.)
Reporter: Cunningham, Jenny
Reporter: McClurg, Lesley
Reporter: Morris, Ethan
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: C-01224, national parks, digibeta, 02/08/2011 (tape label)
Format: Digital Betacam
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:26:46
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “National Parks: Northwest Stories; 2; Shrinking Glaciers,” 2009-01-01, KCTS 9, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 16, 2019,
MLA: “National Parks: Northwest Stories; 2; Shrinking Glaciers.” 2009-01-01. KCTS 9, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 16, 2019. <>.
APA: National Parks: Northwest Stories; 2; Shrinking Glaciers. Boston, MA: KCTS 9, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from