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To help ease the difficulties in obtaining a back-country permit, the North Cascades National Park Service will institute a pilot program starting next month.

Much of this is due to a rise in visitations over the past several years, making permits harder to obtain in some locations of the park.

The new reservation system will begin March 15 for back-country areas in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex.

A $20 non-refundable cost recovery fee will be charged for the reservation application, and requests can be made between March 15 and May 15 for camping between the dates of May 15 through September 30.

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Reservations can be made for 60 percent of the available sites with the remainder of the campsites available for no-cost walk up permits on a first-come, first-serve basis.

These include sites at Ross Lake including the East Bank Trail); Diablo Lake; Copper Ridge area including ridge camps and Chilliwack Valley camps; Cascade Pass area including Sahale, Pelton Basin, Basin Creek, Johannesburg, and Cottonwood; and the Stehekin area in Lakeview, Purple Point, and Harlequin.

Climbing areas where permits can be obtained are all cross-country zones around Mt. Shuksan, Forbidden and Sharkfin Peaks including Boston Basin, Eldorado, and Mt. Triumph.

Stock camps within these areas can also be reserved with priority given to stock parties. They include Big Beaver Stock Camp, Deerlick Stock Camp, Devils Creek Stock Camp, Hidden Hand Stock Camp, Lightning Creek Stock Camp, and US Cabin Stock Camp.

Stock parties must submit applications by March 31 in order to receive priority. If there are no stock reservation requests, these sites may be allocated to hiker or boater parties. After March 31, all reservations are processed in the order received.

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