The Enchantments—Being Loved to Death

One of the key indicators that we are over the tipping point of sustainable tourism in the Leavenworth area is the overuse of the Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. There have been two recent articles in the news describing the impacts of too many visitors. The Chelan County Board of County Commissioners recently sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service expressing concern over the number of unprepared hikers and the escalating costs for search and rescue services provided by the Sheriff’s office. About a week later, the Seattle Times ran a big article on the overuse issues including environmental damage, illegal parking, and waste. Here is the link– Washington’s Enchantments threatened by boom in foot traffic  | The Seattle Times  Even in a community whose lifeblood is tourism, we need to raise a warning flag that we are attracting more tourists than we can handle. The situation in the Enchantments is the “canary in the coal mine.”