White Pass Scenic Byway Vision
The White Pass Scenic Byway provides an exceptional traveler experience combining improved information and amenities, and vibrant local communities with unique character and hospitality. As the byway becomes better recognized as a travel destination of regional and national significance, more travelers will plan multi-day itineraries to experience the byway.
The byway will be recognized as one of Washington State’s premier wildlife viewing destinations. Wildlife viewing locations like Swofford Pond, Woods Creek , Riffe Lake, Timberwolf Mountain and other locations throughout the byway will be linked to provide wildlife tours for viewing a variety of birds, fish and mammals. The Oak Creek Wildlife area will develop into Washington State’s single best opportunity for a wildlife viewing experience. Following completion of facilities in Naches and at its headquarters, Oak Creek Wildlife area will draw travelers from throughout the region to view the elk, bighorn sheep, birds, and other wildlife that thrive in its diverse habitats.
More and more visitors to Mount Rainier National Park and Mount St. Helens will be attracted to the undeveloped, wilder recreation opportunities available in the White Pass Scenic Byway corridor, and choose the byway as the access to those destinations. Loop trips that include Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and a portion of the byway will be part of more visits, increasing the number of Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens visitors who also drive the byway and take advantage of byway communities as “base camps” for their trips.
Other recreational projects in the region, for example the development of trail systems in the Cowlitz Wildlife Area, establishment of excursion rail service to Morton, the Naches rail-trail project and the proposed William O. Douglas Trail, will improve the range of activities available to travelers in the region, and enhance the byway as a destination. Water-based recreation, including fishing, rafting, and kayaking will continue to be popular, and draw visitors from around the region. A focus on winter recreation will help to maintain the tourism economy throughout the year, as corridor communities provide food, lodging, and services for alpine and cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and snowmobilers.
Regional recreational stakeholders will partner with the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Gifford Pinchot National Forests, and Mount Rainier National park to support their ongoing recreation programs.
Byway communities will benefit from additional tourism revenues, and continue their processes of revitalization. Mossyrock, Morton, Packwood, and Naches will have healthy, walkable downtowns with a variety of restaurants, lodging opportunities, and retail shops that benefit local residents as well as travelers. Tourism development will be complemented by continuing recovery of the forest products industry, and other commercial economic development to provide a balanced and sustainable regional economy.
The scenic byway management organization, supported by predictable and sustainable operating revenues, will develop and strengthen partnerships with stakeholders agencies and regional recreation and tourism organizations.
Working with many area partners including WSDOT, local governments, and state and local agencies, the byway will contribute to quality of life and quality of the environment throughout the region, growing to be a valued asset for communities, and one of the region’s favorite travel destinations.
Goals & Benefits
- Improve the byway visitor experience
- Improve the tourism economy of the byway and its communities
- Protect byway resources
- Develop sustainable byway facilities and organization
Projects and Activities
Many projects and enhancements along the byway have taken place since the organization’s inception, enhancing the corridor and working to conserve its unique resources. Review our byway projects.
The White Pass Scenic Byway is a non-profit 501c3 organization developed to apply for grants and implement the projects outlined in the Corridor Management Plan. The group meets quarterly rotating meetings along the communities of the byway. It is not a membership organization. The board represents interests along the byway, however participation is open to anyone interested in advancing the mission of the organization.
The Board of Directors consists of nine people. These individuals represent certain agencies or groups.
Maree Lerchen, Packwood Area Lodging, President
Randy Juette, Naches Chamber of Commerce, Vice President
Debbie Angwood, Lewis County P.U.D., Treasurer
Ellie Worsham, Morton Chamber of Commerce, Secretary
Ellen Berdan, Salkum Area Lodging
Kevin McCarthy, White Pass Ski Area
Jeff Ranger, City of Naches
Mike Webb, Cowlitz Valley Historical Society
Mary Kay Nelson, MKMarketing
Annalee Tobey, Vitality Marketing
Danielle Surkatty, Yakindo Web Designs
2013 Meeting Dates
February 13: Morton
May 8: Mossyrock
August 14: White Pass
November 13: Packwood
History of the Committee
The Scenic Byway project was developed by a grassroots group of citizens from throughout the corridor. The group created the Corridor Management Plan which focuses on strategies to enhance the corridor and conserve its unique resources. The plan is not a regulatory document, and does not limit any activities allowed on private lands by local planning, zoning, and environmental requirements. The plan focuses on enhancements for the corridor that will provide more opportunities for recreation and tourism, and strengthen an important sector of the local economy.
The Steering committee met from 2003 until 2007 to complete the Corridor Management Plan. A board of directors was appointed in 2007.
In the News
Visit In the News to view past White Pass Scenic Byway press releases.
Want to get involved? Please contact us for more information.