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Speak Up for the Enchantments!

Posted by Christina Hickman at Jul 17, 2018 09:38 AM |

Chelan County and the Washington State Department of Ecology have proposed a plan called the Icicle Strategy. Parts of the plan call for new, larger dams in the incredibly popular and beloved Alpine Lakes Wilderness Enchantment Lakes region which have the potential to flood lakeside trails, campsites, and adjacent lands.

Are you one of the thousands of hikers that enjoy the unparalleled beauty of the Enchantments each year?

In 2016, Chelan County and the Washington State Department of Ecology proposed new, enlarged dams and other water-related projects in the incredibly popular and beloved Alpine Lakes Wilderness Enchantment Lakes region. 

The proposed Icicle Strategy is now available, and after careful review, Washington Trails Association has found several issues.

View into the core region of the Enchantments. Several lakes and their surrounding wilderness land would be impacted by the Icicle Strategy. Photo by thegrimrepar. 


The strategy calls for new, larger dams and water diversions in Alpine Lakes Wilderness, which would negatively impact recreation and trails. These proposals would be unprecedented actions in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness areas.

While we understand the need for more water for fish, homes and agriculture in the greater Leavenworth area, the Icicle Strategy contains projects that would have lasting negative impacts on the wilderness and for hikers.


WTA opposes the following projects included in the proposed strategy, including:

  • Increasing the size of the dam on Eightmile Lake, which could flood the Eightmile Lake trail and some campsites around the lake.
  • Increasing the size of the dams on Upper and Lower Snow Lakes, which would raise the level of the lakes and will likely flood the trail and campsites around the lake.
  • Boring a tunnel from Upper to Lower Klonaqua Lakes, which would likely have significant negative impacts to the land surrounding the lakes. This tunnel between the Klonaqua Lakes would drain water from Upper Klonaqua Lake to Lower Klonaqua Lake, and then drain from Lower Klonaqua Lake via the already existing diversion dam. 

WTA does support the sections of the strategy pertaining to habitat protection and enhancement projects, fish passage, fish screening and water conservation efficiencies.


In 2012 the Department of Ecology’s Office of Columbia River provided funding to Chelan County to form a workgroup to address Icicle Creek water quantity issues and fish habitat concerns.

Find more information about the Icicle Strategy and environmental review, visit Chelan County’s website.

The comment period is now over. Thank you to the more than 2,000 advocates who took action and sent an email to protect The Enchantments! The next Icicle Working Group meeting will be at the end of September to discuss a preferred alternative.