In 1969, the Sierra Club of British Columbia was founded by advocates including Ken Farquharson who had their eyes set on protecting the valley. This helped create linkages with advocates south of the border who also wanted to stop the flooding. Members of Sierra Club BC, the BC Wildlife Federation, the Alpine Club of Canada and a number of other outdoor and natural history groups established the ROSS (Run Out Skagit Spoilers) committee.
For 16 years, Sierra Club BC continued to oppose the flooding. Having worked on a number of BC Hydro’s dams as an engineer, Ken Farquharson’s knowledge was instrumental in convincing BC’s provincial cabinet to direct BC Hydro to provide Seattle with sufficient power from a different source. Finally, BC and Seattle reached an agreement to cancel the plans. The Skagit River Treaty was signed in 1984 between Canada and the US, creating the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission to conserve the area’s ecological values.
After continued lobbying, the BC government announced in 1995 that the Skagit Valley would be upgraded from a Recreation Area to a Class A Provincial Park.
In 2018, the area was again threatened by industrial logging and new proposals for mining projects in the Donut Hole, a sensitive unprotected area between the Skagit Valley and Manning provincial parks. Sierra Club BC called on the BC government to deny Imperial Metals’ proposal to drill in the Skagit headwaters and ban clearcut logging in the Donut Hole.
In December 2019, in response to pressure from environmental groups and Seattle’s mayor, the BC government announced that clearcut logging would be banned in the Donut Hole. However, mining still threatens the Donut Hole.