Category Archives: North Cascades National Park

If only…

My “office” for the past two days in Hozomeen.


Canoeing Ross Lake

What better way to celebrate Independence Day than to go camping in a national park? Five friends and I canoed up Ross Lake for a long weekend of fishing, campfires, and solitude. It was a true adventure and it felt like we had the whole park to ourselves.

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First Bloom Video

The First Bloom students graduate this Saturday! Using their film clips, here’s a little movie I put together for them. These kids are hilarious and crack me up. (Can anyone guess how the opening sequence was made?)

Behind the Scenes

Does the graphic design process mystify you? Ever wonder how a project evolves from nebulous idea to a tangible publication? In tonight’s post, I pull back the tracing paper to reveal how we designed a recent handout, from start to finish. (You’ll be able to download the final version at the bottom of the post.)

In preparation for a meeting on youth development, Charles and Chip asked me to develop a sheet that illustrates our new Pathways for Youth. In this program, we use multiple stewardship and employment opportunities to engage youth with our national park. We believe that it is through this continual connection to the park that we develop the next generation of environmental caretakers. Offering multiple summer programs and internships isn’t easy and we rely heavily on partnerships to create these stepping stones for our “pathway”.

From the very beginning, this handout had the following goals:

  • show the raw numbers of our youth participants, especially those who have returned year after year
  • explain that our success depends heavily upon the good work of organizations like North Cascades Institute and the Student Conservation Association
  • share specific examples of youth who have traveled a pathway to stewardship

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Six months in the making, our park swag has started to arrive, featuring one of my designs:

Available soon at all visitor centers in North Cascades.

Last fall, I began working with Jan, the new bookstore manager at North Cascades Institute, to develop a graphic we could use on coffee mugs, t-shirts, magnets, and patches. After much deliberation, we finally settled on this view from Desolation Peak, looking south down Ross Lake.

When Jan gave me my keepsake patch today, it was both jarring and exciting. Typically, I do print publications and I’d never before seen one of my designs applied in this form. How cool to be able to start with a digital file and four weeks later, end up holding something tangible. We’re both very impressed with the craftsmanship of the patch and are proud to add it to our retail stores.

And as Charles pointed out to me today, now I know what to get everyone for their birthday this year!

Paper Cut

Because I’m always seeking to grow as a designer, I try to push myself and break habits. I know that I rely heavily on the efficiency of digital programs like Adobe Illustrator and that the Command+Z function (undo) can be a creative crutch. Complacency is just one step away from boring design.

So last night, I brought out my exacto-knife and experimented with paper sculptures as a design element for this publication cover.

The idea is still in development, but I’m clearly having fun.