Trails for everyone, forever

Home News Blog Expect Helicopters, Drones in Gothic Basin in Coming Weeks

Expect Helicopters, Drones in Gothic Basin in Coming Weeks

Posted by Jessi Loerch at Sep 04, 2018 03:19 PM |
Filed under:

The Department of Natural Resources is installing a backcountry toilet and assessing the area. It's all part of an area to improve trails and protect the popular hiking destination.

In order to provide high-quality hiking trails and protect natural resources, the Department of Natural Resources is conducting work in Gothic Basin in the coming weeks.

As part of a recreation-planning process, crews will be conducting drone and helicopter flights in and around Gothic Basin during the week of Sept. 10, as well as the week of Oct. 8 or Oct. 23. Crews will also install a backcountry toilet in the area during that time. During the work, trails will be open, although hikers will notice helicopter and drone flights. Access may be restricted in the helicopter landing area for the toilet installation.  

Gothic Basin by Jay Weisberger
Gothic Basin. Photo by Jay Weisberger.

The dates of the work are subject to change, based upon wildfire activity and when helicopters are available.

Gothic Basin, which is part of DNR’s Morning Star Natural Resource Conservation Area in Snohomish County, is a popular hiking destination. The state agency, however, doesn’t yet have a plan in place for management of the area. Many trails there are user-built or old mining trails and pass through fragile alpine areas. And without designated campsites or signs to direct campers, backpackers have been camping too close to streams, lakes and other delicate areas.

The upcoming work will help DNR to create a sustainable trail system that hikers can enjoy for generations to come. (Comments from hikers who weighed in 2016 also contributed to the ongoing planning.)

In the meantime—while DNR works to create a plan to protect the native plants, meadows, wetlands and lakes of the area—hikers will be instrumental in helping protect the area.

Here’s what you can do to protect Gothic Basin:

  • Consider limiting visitation to Gothic Basin to day-use only until campsites can be designated to protect sensitive areas.
  • If you camp, avoid areas that are near streams and lakes, or are in an area that is a seasonal pond.
  • Do not build campfires.
  • Observe the Leave No Trace principles.


Meatcake on Expect Helicopters, Drones in Gothic Basin in Coming Weeks

I’m glad to hear that the DNR is officially studying the impacts of this incredibly beautiful area. It needs a backcountry toilet for sure! Designated camping sites will help campers pick established sites. Way to go DNR! (Former employee)

Posted by:

Meatcake on Sep 04, 2018 10:27 PM

HikingSomewhere on Expect Helicopters, Drones in Gothic Basin in Coming Weeks

This is a really beautiful area. It would be great if backpackers and hikers would use Wag bags and pack it out. We all love the backcountry but there are so many of us. Its time to rethink LNT and relegate building camp fires and digging catholes to the past -- just accept the new reality that there are too many of us to continue those practices.

Posted by:

HikingSomewhere on Sep 06, 2018 09:48 AM

surrational on Expect Helicopters, Drones in Gothic Basin in Coming Weeks

Agreed with the previous comments, a toilet and designated campsites are an overdue necessity here. I also appreciate the recommendation from WTA on not building campfires here, and hope that fires will become banned in Gothic Basin, or any alpine area like this. Ironic how people can appreciate spending time in such a fragile landscape, and then leave such a destructive trace of their visit.

Posted by:

surrational on Sep 06, 2018 02:10 PM

Muledeer on Expect Helicopters, Drones in Gothic Basin in Coming Weeks

HikingSomewhere, you are totally right! I started hiking in the bury your trash era, and moved to LNT, and yes it's now time to pack out everything in these areas. We can learn new habits!

Posted by:

Muledeer on Sep 06, 2018 02:28 PM

trailmama on Expect Helicopters, Drones in Gothic Basin in Coming Weeks

This is great news! This area is so popular now (I backpacked to Gothic in August and was amazed at how many people had the same great idea) and most people don't use wag bags. This area is largely on granite so no place to dig cat holes anyway. Lots of "business" lying around with rocks piled on top. Very gross!

Posted by:

trailmama on Oct 07, 2018 12:16 PM