Speaking of tree canopy, it certainly is beautiful in the North Cascades along the Skagit River in Whatcom County about two hours North of Seattle.

Specifically: It’s beautiful at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, where we had an office retreat on Monday and Tuesday. It was hosted by the very groovy, very nutritional-yeast-eating, Van Morrison-LP-listening, bird-watching staff of naturalists.

The Learning Center is on the banks of the Skagit River next to the Diablo Dam. Seattle City Light owns and runs the Diablo Dam, which provides about 20 percent of Seattle’s electric power; it was built in the late 1920s under the leadership of Seattle City Light superintendent J.D. Ross.

Ross sold the idea of  getting the city to fund the expensive project by inviting the public to the grounds for group tours where he wowed them with the wonders of electricity. In addition to chicken dinners, the hard-sell tours included nighttime walks through the forest, which Ross lit up with multicolored lights as he piped in music.

That’s supposedly the D.J. booth in one of the pics below. And that’s also one of the spillways on the dam in another picture.

What do the great outdoors have to do with the city? About 1.82 million megawatt hours of electricity annually.

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