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"Of all the fire mountains which, like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest."

~ John Muir

 
 

 

 

 



Mount Rainier News:

Search for Missing Snowshoer Enters Third Day...

       from Lee Taylor
       10:06 a.m.

     January 16, 2012—The search for a snowshoer missing since Saturday afternoon continues today on Mount Rainier, with more than 90 people from a variety of organizations involved in the search effort. Yong Chun Kim, 66, of Tacoma, was leading 16 members of a hiking club on a snowshoe hike in the Paradise area Saturday afternoon when he became separated from the group and failed to return. The search is currently focused on the Stevens Creek drainage, based on tracks discovered late Sunday leading in that direction from near the point where Yong Chun Kim was last seen.
    The search is occurring in mountainous terrain at an elevation of 4,000-6,000 feet. The weather has been wintry, with fresh snow each day, low temperatures in the teens, and high winds. Yong Chun Kim is an experienced snowshoer who was well equipped for a day hike, but was not prepared to be out overnight.
     “We are grateful for the assistance we are getting from so many different organizations,” said Park Superintendent Randy King. “Hopefully with their help we will locate Mr. Kim today.” Organizations participating in the search include National Park Service staff from Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Parks; Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol; German Shepherd Search Dogs; Volcanoes Rescue Team; and Mountain Rescue Units from Tacoma, Seattle, Olympic, Portland, and Central Washington.



Tacoma Man Still Missing on Mount Rainier...

      from Lee Taylor
      7:22 p.m.

     January 15, 2012-- The search continued Sunday afternoon for Yong Chun Kim, 66, of Tacoma, who failed to return from a snowshoe hike Saturday. Nearly 50 searchers from Tacoma, Seattle, and Everett Mountain Rescue units as well as National Park Service rangers searched the snowy terrain above Paradise for clues to Mr. Kim’s whereabouts. Three dog teams with German Shepherd Search Dogs also joined the effort.
     Yong Chun Kim came to Mount Rainier on Saturday with a hiking club from Tacoma to snowshoe in Paradise. He became separated from his group after sliding down a steep slope. Rather than ascend the slope back to the group, he chose to go around and meet them further down the trail. The group returned to the parking lot and reported Mr. Kim overdue at 2:00. When he had not returned by 3:00, park rangers began a search.
      Kim has been snowshoeing for 10 years, is a good hiker, and was well equipped for a day of snowshoeing. He was not carrying overnight gear, however, and the weather conditions at Paradise were harsh overnight, with blizzard conditions, temperatures in the teens, and strong winds.
      If the search continues into a third day, the road from Longmire to Paradise will remain closed on Monday  . The search area includes much of the trail system above Paradise and the presence of park visitors in this area could interfere with the search effort. In addition, opening the park for snow play and other activities would diminish the number of staff available to assist with the search, which is the park’s highest priority at this time. “Time is of the essence in a search like this and we want to focus everything we’ve got on finding Yong Chun Kim,” said Park Superintendent Randy King.



Search Underway for Missing Snowshoer on Mount Rainier

     from Lee Taylor
    10:22 a.m.



    January 15, 2012--There is a search underway for a snowshoer who failed to return from an outing in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park on Saturday. Yong Chun Kim, 66, was leading a snowshoe walk for a hiking group from Tacoma when he slipped down a steep slope.
    He was unable to ascend back to the group and told them he would go around and meet them. His hiking companions returned to Paradise, and when Mr. Kim had not returned by 3:00, the NPS initiated a hasty search, which continued until 9:00 pm. Mr. Kim is an experienced snowshoer who has done many day trips at Mount Rainier. He is well equipped for day travel but does not have overnight gear or experience.
    He is carrying a radio and last spoke to his companions yesterday at 2:30, saying he was OK and on his way out. Weather conditions at Paradise were severe yesterday afternoon, with winds gusting 30-50 mph, blizzard conditions, and about 5" of new snow overnight. Snow showers are expected to continue on Sunday. There are 25 searchers on the ground today, from Tacoma, Seattle, and Everett Mountain Rescue units, as well as NPS staff.



Mount Rainier News:

Park to Observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend with Free Admissions...

    from Donna Rahier
    January 13, 2012


   Mount Rainier National Park will be offering free entry during the upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, January 14-16. This is the first of 14 fee free days in 2012 – National Park Week (April 21-29), Get Outdoors Day (June 9), National Public Lands Day (September 29), and the weekend of Veterans Day (November 10-12).
    Superintendent Randy King invites the public to the park to enjoy the peaceful beauty that nature provides every day at “The Mountain,” to cross-country ski, snowshoe, play on the inner tubing runs, snow board or just to sit, relax and enjoy nature.
    The Paradise snowplay area will be open, with limited runs until the additional snow accumulates.



Research on Rare Cascade Fox
"Keeping Our Wildlife Wild" 


                                                                                                                                                      (photo by Jesus R. Hernandez)

       Press release
       from Mason Reid, Wildlife Ecologist
       December 12, 2011

   Mount Rainier National Park has just begun a research project to assess visitor impacts on Cascade foxes (Vulpes vulpes cascadensis). The Cascade fox is a rare species currently known to inhabit only Mount Rainier and Mount Adams. Many of Mount Rainier’s Cascade foxes have learned to get food from people, “begging” on roadways in the Paradise area, increasing the risk to both foxes and humans.
     The research will evaluate the ecological impacts on these foxes as a result of human activities, and will enable park managers to better manage visitor use and protect the foxes. The study is a cooperative effort between Mount Rainier and the USGS-Forestry and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center.
    Visitors may see radio collars on some foxes. These radio collars automatically collect time and location information  via GPS receivers, similar to what is used in a car or on the trails. Programmed to record time and location at 3.5 hour intervals, the collars will provide a wealth of information of how visitor use may alter the natural movements and habits of foxes.
    Mount Rainier has had a persistent problem with people continually feeding the foxes, and this project is designed to better evaluate the behavioral responses of the foxes to this illegal and damaging practice. The substantial ongoing efforts to educate the public and enforce no-feeding laws will continue. Results of this study will lead researchers to better understand human impacts and develop new ways of protecting the foxes and keeping our wildlife wild.
 



Death on the Mountain...

    from Patty Wold
     December 13, 2011

    Overdue Paradise Hiker Found Deceased in Upper Stevens Creek Drainage Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 16:30 – Rescue operations for an overdue hiker at Paradise were set into motion Monday morning, 12/12/11, upon receipt of a report of an overdue hiker. The hiker, Brian Grobois, 54, of New Rochelle, NY, had planned a day hike at Paradise on Sunday while visiting the area.
     Monday’s search focused on high probability areas, including Nisqually and Steven’s Creek drainages, Mazama Ridge, and the Nisqually Glacier valley north of Glacier Bridge.The victim was spotted in the late afternoon by air searchers in a remote area of upper Stevens Creek drainage. The helicopter was not able to land or insert rescuers at the victim’s location. The victim was lying in the drainage and was unresponsive to the helicopter. An attempt to reach the victim Monday evening was not safe for search teams due to difficult terrain and travel conditions, and approaching darkness.
    Tuesday morning a ground team was transported to Stevens Creek Bridge by pisten bully. The ground team then moved up the drainage where they located the victim. He was airlifted to Madigan Army Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased. He is believed to have been dead for at least 24 hours.
     An investigation following up on the incident is ongoing.
    The ground search was conducted by six teams of 2-3 rangers. Park rangers joined Bravo Company 1/214 out of Joint
Base Lewis McChord in the aerial search by Chinook Helicopter.
 



Winter News from Park...


                                                                                                                                       (photo by Bob Walter - December 3, 2011)

Snowshoe Walks to Begin - Snowplay Opening Delayed

      from Lee Nook
     December 16, 2011

     
Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King invites the public to join a Park Ranger to learn the art of snowshoeing in the winter wonderland of Paradise and learn about the ecology of the area. During the upcoming holiday break, the guided walks will be offered daily December 17 through January 1. From January 7 through March 25 (?) the walks will be conducted on weekends and holidays only. The walks are offered at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center information desk at Paradise beginning one hour before the start time.
     Organized groups of 13-25 people may reserve a snowshoe walk in advance. Group snowshoe walks begin at 10:30 a.m. For more information or to make a group reservation, call 360.569.6575.
     Snowshoe walks cover approximately 1.5 miles and last up to 2 hours. Snowshoes are provided, or visitors may  use their own. A donation of $4 per person is asked to help defray the cost of snowshoe maintenance. Snowshoeing is a moderately strenuous activity, and participants must be at least 8 years old. Remember to wear sturdy boots and dress in layers.

Snow Play Opening Delayed:

     Due to a lack of adequate snow depth, opening of the Paradise snowplay area will be delayed. Currently there is only 49 inches of snow on the ground in the area. A minimum of 60” is desired to allow snow grooming equipment to access the area to create the tubing runs, without causing considerable damage to vegetation. Sledding and sliding can be dangerous because of safety hazards beneath the snow if there is insufficient snow depth. In addition, with the recent low temperatures and no new snow, snow that is on the ground has consolidated and is hard and icy. Until additional snowfall occurs, bringing the base level up to the 60” depth, snow play will be
delayed.
     Because of the high potential for personal injury and frequency of accidents, no other park areas are open to sliding activities. Serious injuries have occurred when people mistakenly slid over waterfalls, into trees, down slopes that were too steep, broke through thin snow into stream gorges, or slammed into other people. Cross-country skiing and snowboarding are permitted in other areas, outside of the snowplay area.

Educational Snowshoe Walks for School Groups:

     Curriculum-based snowshoe education walks are available at no charge to school groups on weekdays through the park’s Education Program.These programs are tailored to meet the teacher’s identified learning objectives. Contact the park’s Education Office at 360.569.6591 for more information or to schedule your field trip.

     Please check the Mount Rainier National Park website at http://www.nps.gov/mora/forteachers/index.htm for more information about field trips and teacher workshops.

Facilities and Hours:

     The Longmire Museum (360.569.6575) is open daily from 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center (360.569. 6036) is open from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. during holiday break (December 17 through January 1) and on weekends and holidays through March 27.

     The National Park Inn at Longmire open daily offering lodging, food, gift shop, snowshoe and ski rentals. During the holiday period they will be offering a Christmas Buffet on December 25. For reservations call the National Park Inn at 360.569.2411. For more information call 360.569.2400 or visit their website at
www.mtrainierguestservices.com

     For your enjoyment and safety, these few guidelines apply: Dress warmly and in layers with a wicking fabric such as wool or polypropylene next to the skin and a waterproof outer layer. Wear hats, gloves, and snow-sealed boots. Do not wear lightweight blue jeans and t-shirts.
     They get wet easily and will not keep you warm. Rest, re-warm, and snack frequently to help keep you comfortable and alert. Take a warm-up break at the Jackson Visitor Center before feet, hands, noses, or ears feel numb. Food service is available from 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. when the visitor center is open. The uphill gate at Longmire closes nightly at 5 p.m. All vehicles must carry tire chains when traveling in the park. Check 1610 on your car radio while in the park, for updates on current road conditions.

     Visitors are reminded that roads in the park may be closed at any time due to hazardous conditions. When driving on park roads, please use caution as the roads are icy, narrow, and steep. Carry chains at all times and pay attention to changing conditions. Updates on chain requirements, Paradise gate opening/closing times, and snow pack are posted on the park Twitter newsfeed at www.twitter.com/MountRainierNPS and is viewable without a
twitter account. General park information is available at
www.nps.gov/mora or by calling 360.569.2211.

    For additional information on businesses inside and outside the park check
the following websites: www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com,
www.staycrystal.com, www.minerallake.com,
www.destinationpackwood.com, or
www.mtrainierguestservices.com



Randy King Named New Park Superintendent ...


                                                                                          (NPS Photo)

    Pacific West Region News Release
    October 13, 2011


    SAN FRANCISCO – Randy King has been selected as the new superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park. King has been serving as acting superintendent of the park since July 17. He replaced Dave Uberuaga who was recently named superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
   “Randy’s charisma, leadership and park experience make him a triple threat and the natural choice for this selection. Having served as both the acting superintendent and deputy superintendent, Randy is extremely familiar with the park, its partners and staff and has demonstrated success in building partnerships and solving problems. We look forward to his continued guidance,” said Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz.
    Over the course of his 34-year National Park Service career, King has served in six national parks and the Intermountain Regional Office. King also participated in a six-month work exchange between the Alaska Region and Western Australia’s Department of Conservation and Land Management. He and his family lived in Denham, Western Australia where he served as the district operations officer for Shark Bay World Heritage Area and adjacent national parks. 
    Since 2003 he has worked as Mount Rainier’s deputy superintendent, which included a 15-month detail as acting superintendent in 2009-2010. King is a graduate of Michigan State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Park and Recreation Resources. He and his wife, Sally, and their three children, Mackenzie, Dylan and Skylar, now make their home in Eatonville, Washington.
    "From a resources standpoint – both natural and cultural – Mount Rainier is an incredible unit of our national park system. It is a park beloved by generations of visitors, served by dedicated and talented employees, volunteers and concession operators; and strongly supported by its partners and gateway communities. For all of these reasons, and many more, I am grateful for the privilege to serve this great park as superintendent,” said King upon hearing of his selection.
     Mount Rainier National Park was designated as the nation’s fifth national park when President William McKinley signed a bill that was passed by Congress on March 2, 1899. The boundaries of the park encompass 235,625 acres of forests, meadows and mountains, with 97 percent of the park designated as wilderness and the remaining three percent being part of the National Historic Landmark District. Mount Rainier, the focal point of the park, is a large volcanic peak that rises to 14,410 feet, towering far above any other peak in the North Cascade mountain range.
 



Always Fascinating Rainier...

     Lenticular clouds by Mount Rainier Wednesday, September 21, 2011. The clouds are formed by warm, strong winds across "rugged terrain." This type of cloud, in other shapes, have been mistaken for UFO. Photo by Nancy Mays.
 



Transition Season at Mount Rainier

      from Donna Rahier
      October 5, 2011

     All public facilities at Sunrise will also be closed as park maintenance personnel must begin the annual job of shutting down water, electrical and heat systems; boarding up facilities to protect them from the winter snows; and placing snow poles to identify road alignments during next spring’s road opening. This same process will continue into the fall at White River
and Ohanapecosh.
    At Paradise, the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center, Paradise Camp Deli and Gift Shop will go to a winter schedule being open on weekends and holidays only. Visitor Center hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The historic Paradise Inn closed for the season on October 3.
    The National Park Inn and General Store and the Longmire Museum are open daily throughout the year, providing visitor information, overnight accommodations, dining, and gifts. To make reservations at the National Park Inn call 360.569.2275, or go online to www.mtrainierguestservices.com.
    For online information on visitor services and accommodations in the gateway communities surrounding the park go to the following websites:www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com, www.staycrystal.com, www.destinationpackwood.com, www.minerallake.com.
   Park visitors are reminded that weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains during this time of the year. Be prepared for inclement weather and possible ice and snow on park roads.
   Effective November 1, all vehicles (including 4-wheel and all-wheel-drive) are required to carry tire chains that fit your vehicle, while in the park.
   For additional information, check the Mount Rainier web page at www.nps.gov/mora or call 360.569.2211.
 



First Fall Snow on the Mountain
Photos by Tony Sirgedas

      September 29, 2011: Tony says, "Noo!! Not yet!! Are you ready for some snow? I sure am not, but when the mountain made its appearance today [September 28] it had its first dusting of snow for the fall. The first picture was taken Friday evening [September 23[, the second one this afternoon with the fresh dusting of snow still on it. Must have stayed cold up there today since the sun didn’t melt the new snow off."



National Public Lands Day
Volunteers Work on Trails, Planting Saturday, September 24
Free Entrance to Park...

 

      From Kevin Bacher
       Volunteer - Outreach Manager
       September 20, 2011

      On National Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 24, 2011, more than a hundred volunteers will assemble at Mount Rainier National Park to plant native plants, maintain trails, and rededicate the Glacier Basin Trail after four summers of repairs. The work day will cap a highly successful season during which about 2,000 people have contributed to the protection of Mount Rainier’s natural and cultural treasures and helped serve its visitors.
     National Public Lands Day is an annual celebration of public involvement in the stewardship of America’s national, state, and local parks and forests. More than 120,000 individuals are expected to participate in events all over the country. In recognition of this, entrance fees will be waived at all national parks for the day. Volunteers will receive an additional coupon for free admission on a day of their choice.
     Members of the public are invited to join in the day’s work. The National Parks Conservation Association and the Washington Trails Association will help coordinate the event and lead volunteer projects. Participants may register at the event, or pre-register by e-mailing Mariely Lemagne at
mlemagne@npca.org.
     National Public Lands Day volunteers will sign in at the amphitheater in White River Campground, in the northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park, beginning at 8:00 a.m. Travelers should note that the Stevens Canyon Road in the park is closed due to construction. The White River Campground can be reached via State Highways 410 or 123.
     At 9 a.m., the Glacier Basin Trail will be rededicated in a short ceremony recognizing the many groups and individuals who contributed to the project. The popular trail was devastated by flooding in November 2006, and would have taken many times as long to rebuild without help from the public, said Kevin Bacher, Volunteer Program Manager at Mount Rainier. “The Glacier Basin Trail is a perfect example of the power of partnerships,” said Bacher. “On our own, we can slowly chip away at a project. But together, we can move mountains.”
     In addition to National Park Service crews, participants in the reconstruction have included Alpine Ascents International; Boy Scout troops 224, 436, the Pacific Harbors Council, and T’kope Kwiskwis Lodge 502; EarthCorps; the Northwest Youth Corps; Recreational Equipment, Inc.; sailors from the USS Henry M. Jackson; and the Washington Conservation Corps. The Washington Trails Association leads about 500 volunteers per year in the park, many of them at Glacier Basin, and continues to be an invaluable partner in trail maintenance. Interns and Seattle-based youth crews from the Student Conservation Association work throughout the park on projects including volunteer coordination. The Mount Rainier National Park Associates coordinate volunteer projects every month throughout the summer.
     After the dedication ceremony, volunteers of all ages will help with revegetation efforts at Sunrise and with several trail projects near White River Campground. Volunteers should come prepared for cool, wet weather, with warm clothing, rain gear, sturdy footwear, and gloves. If the weather is nice, sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats are recommended. Volunteers should also bring water, snacks, and a lunch. Volunteers will re-gather at the amphitheater in White River Campground at 3:30 p.m. for a more informal celebration, with refreshments provided by the Washington Trails Association.
     In addition to trail maintenance, volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park patrol wilderness areas and climbing routes, assist and educate visitors, conduct research as citizen scientists, plant native plants, provide roadside assistance, and catalogue historic records. Last year, 2,016 volunteers contributed 73,990 hours of service, an effort valued at $1.54 million.
     Information about Mount Rainier’s volunteer program, including a list of open positions, a calendar of activities, and pictures and videos of volunteers in action may be found on Mount Rainier National Park’s website at www.nps.gov/mora, or on its volunteer program blog at rainiervolunteers.blogspot.com.



Man Falls from Cliffs above Christine Falls...


                                                                                                  
  (NPS photo)

Christine Falls, with the park road going over it. The trail bridge is visible above the road bridge.

Body Recovery Happening Now...

      from Kevin Backer
     September 13, 2011
     9:15 a.m.

     Rangers at Mount Rainier National Park this morning are engaged in recovering the body of a man who fell from the cliffs above Christine Falls last night. Fifty-nine year old Roger Alan Wagner, of Ocala, Florida, was taking pictures with his son near the Comet Falls trail bridge just above Christine Falls at about 7:15 p.m. on Monday, September 12 when he fell from the cliff into the water about 40 feet below.
    By the time park rangers arrived on scene, it was too dark to safely effect a recovery from the swift, glacier-fed Van Trump Creek. Recovery efforts continued this morning. In all, 30 people have participated in the recovery effort, including members of Tacoma Mountain Rescue, Tacoma Police, and Pierce County Fire District 23. During the night, Wagner’s body was swept over the 69-foot double falls, coming to rest a hundred yards downstream from the park roadway. The Christine Falls viewpoint is closed to the public during the recovery operation, which will involve high angle technical climbing.
 
 

Man's Body Found Same Day as Search Began

     Roger Alan Wagner, 59, was found dead about three hours after searching started looking for his body. His son, John, 31,was traveling with his dad, Roger, when the elder Wagner fell about 40 feet to his death while taking photographs.

 



Historic Chinook Pass Entrance Arch Restoration Completed


     The Chinook Pass Entrance Arch as drawn by the staff of the Historic American Engineering Record.

       by Sueann Brown
       Press release
       August 19, 2011


    Mount Rainier park craftsmen have completed the year-long restoration work on the Chinook Pass Entrance Arch, a unique historic structure in the National Park system. Spanning across the Mather Memorial Parkway (SR 410) at 5,432 feet in elevation on the eastern boundary of the park, the arch was designed as both an entrance portal and an equestrian overpass, to convey hikers and riders on the Pacific Crest Trail. Built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Rustic Style arch had deteriorated due to the elements and nearly eight decades of use. The final phase will take
place on Monday, August 22, when the log stringers will be put in place.
    The restoration project replaced inkind all of the deteriorated parts of the structure, including replacement of the log stringers that support the bridge deck and repair of the stone masonry abutments. Deteriorated components of the arch were removed last season, including the log
stringers and masonry to prepare for replacement. Replacement logs were shaped and fitted according to National Park Service standards over the winter, in preparation for installation this summer.
    The entrance will remain open, but visitors traveling on State Route 410 are advised that short traffic delays will occur as the logs are put in place.
    When the project is complete, there should be no discernible changes for visitors, except the remarkable structure will be in good condition for another 80 years of service!



The Flowers are Coming!

The Flowers Are Coming! The Flowers Are Coming! To Mount Rainier.

       from Donna Rahier
      Press Release
      August 19, 2011

     With the continuing days of warm sunshine, the snow on the meadows at Mount Rainier is rapidly receding and the wildflowers are making their appearance for the season. Visitors can see many wildflowers along park roadsides, tucked into the rock crevices and hillside cliffs, especially along Stevens Canyon and at Sunrise. In the Sunrise area the snow has melted more
rapidly than at Paradise, and the meadows are a lush green and wildflowers are abundant. Other specific areas where wildflowers are prevalent are on the Snow Lake Trail, Crystal Lake Trail and Shriner Peak Trail.
     Trail conditions in the subalpine zone have improved notably with the warmer weather. Hikers are accessing the Wonderland Trail and most park trails are completely snow free. Updates on trail conditions are posted on the Mount Rainier webpage, www.nps.gov/mora. Under Quicklinks click on Current Trail Conditions. Some snow patches still exist, however, and
visitors should use caution where trails are still snow covered. Park visitors are reminded to avoid walking or sliding on the thin snow patches in the meadows, as it can cause irreparable damage to the fragile flowers and meadows, who struggle to survive in this harsh environment.
    “Conditions for hiking and viewing wildflowers are excellent and now is the time to visit Mount Rainier to enjoy the best of the rest of the summer,” said Randy King, Mount Rainier’s Acting Superintendent. “Come when you can and consider riding the free shuttle into the park from Ashford on Saturday or Sunday, and from Longmire on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and leave the
driving to us.”
    All park roads are open and visitor operations are in full swing inside the park. Construction/repair work is occurring on the Stevens Canyon Road, with minor delays through Labor Day. On September 6, the Stevens Canyon Road will be closed entirely just west of the Grove of the Patriarchs to just east of the popular Backbone Ridge viewpoint and will remain closed through October 30, the contract ending date. Visitors will be able to access the Reflection Lakes, Box Canyon and Backbone Ridge areas and adjacent trailheads from the west during the 2011 closure.
    Guided interpretive walks and programs as well as Junior Ranger programs are being conducted daily at Longmire, Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise/White River and Paradise. Check the Mount Rainier web page, www.nps.gov/mora or at a visitor center for current schedules and program topics.
     Webcams showing current views of park areas can also be found on the Mount Rainier web page.
     At Paradise, the historic Paradise Inn and Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center offer lodging, dining, gift shops,
exhibits, and visitor information. On the mountain’s north side, the Sunrise Visitor Center and Sunrise Day Lodge are also open providing visitor information, new exhibits, a snack bar and gift shop. At Longmire, the National Park Inn is open for dining, lodging and also has a gift shop. The Longmire Museum is also open daily providing visitor information.
     Information on gateway communities surrounding the park can be found on the
following web sites: www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com,
www.staycrystal.com,
www.destinationpackwood.com, www.minerallake.com, or
www.mtrainierguestservices.com

 



Keep Wildlife Wild Day


                                                                                                                                                            
(stock photo)

        from Sarah Yates
       July 8, 2011

       Mount Rainier National Park will host its third annual Keep Wildlife Wild Day on August 6, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in an effort to educate visitors on wildlife and the impacts we have on them. The day will focus on protection and education to keep Mount Rainier’s wildlife wild.
      The park will celebrate the day with a number of short educational programs in the Paradise area. Interpretive Rangers and Biologists will present talks on native wildlife throughout the day. Activities will be provided for children to explore the interesting world of wildlife through artistic expression.
     Join Mount Rainier in helping to keep wildlife wild! For more information, or to sign up to volunteer, contact Sarah_Yates@nps.gov.
   
  More information on the “Keep Wildlife Wild” program can be found at
http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/keep-wildlife-wild.htm. For more information on volunteering for the park, visit Mount Rainier’s volunteer website at http://www.nps.gov/mora/supportyourpark/volunteer.htm.



Boy Scouts’ ArrowCorps Volunteer Project Planned for Mount Rainier National Park and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

       from Kevin Bacher
      July 27, 2011
 

     On Sunday, July 31, about 100 Scouts from across the nation will arrive at Camp Sheppard to kick off ArrowCorps502, a service learning program developed by the Boy Scouts of America’s Chief Seattle Council, T’Kope Kwiskwis Lodge, in partnership with Mount Rainier National Park and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
       Scouts of ArrowCorps502 will begin their week on Monday, August 1, with onsite Leave No Trace education before dispersing to their work locations within the shadow of Mount Rainier. Service projects within Mount Rainier National Park will focus on trail building and maintenance along the Crystal Lakes Trail in the Sunrise area, as well as converting the Ipsut Creek Campground to a backcountry campsite along the Carbon River. After three days of work participants will return to Camp Sheppard on Friday, August 5, for a closing jamboree.
      In addition to giving volunteer service in Mount Rainier National Park and the surrounding National Forest, the goal of ArrowCorps502 is to provide participants with the opportunity to build their leadership experience, cultivate lifelong friendships, and enjoy firsthand the power and beauty of the mountain.
     “We’re looking forward to seeing this program happen,” said Kevin Bacher, Volunteer and Outreach Program Manager at Mount Rainier National Park. “We’ve been working with Scouts from the Order of the Arrow for two years now, and they’ve done a fantastic job of putting this very complex program together.”
       Randy King, Acting Superintendent at Mount Rainier National Park, said he looks forward to continue working with the Chief Seattle Council in the future. “We’ve built a good foundation for this to become a recurring partnership,” he said. “It’s exciting and important to see young people playing an active role in the stewardship of their national park.”
      ArrowCorps502 is a partnership between the Boy Scouts of America and the National Park Service  and U.S. Forest Service. Students from The Evergreen State College will also assist with the program. The project is sponsored by grants from the Boy Scouts of America and the National Park Service’s Volunteers-in-Parks program, with significant contributions from REI, Inc. and Home Depot.
      For more information regarding ArrowCorps502 or to follow daily updates during this highly anticipated event please visit
www.ArrowCorps502.org and RainierVolunteers.blogspot.com/.



 Sunrise Visitor's Center Updated


                                                                                                                                                                                                     (NPS photo)

       from Mimi Gorman
         July 2011

 

      Mount Rainier National Park invites the public to view the new Sunrise Visitor Center  exhibits, which explore the area’s geology, history and ecology. The execution of these exhibits, which were planned in 2003, was made possible by visitor entrance fees and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Additional upgrades to the doors, floor and information desk enhance the building’s rustic architecture. 

      The Sunrise Visitor Center is open to the public through September 10, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily. Weekends and holidays are crowded, thus the best time to visit is during the week. As the snow melts, more trails will become available and wildflowers will begin to bloom. Daily guided walks with a ranger occur at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
      Perched on top of the earliest known lava flow on Mount Rainier, Sunrise offers some of the most spectacular panoramic views and flowering meadows in the park.  Located at 6,400 feet on the northeast side of Mount Rainier National Park it is the highest elevation visitor center in the park and second most visited at 60,000 to 90,000 visitors per year.
    The view from Sunrise is almost overpowering. The eye is drawn up the White River Valley, to the massive Emmons Glacier, and finally to the mountain, only seven miles away, towering over and dwarfing the area. The numerous trails of Sunrise meander through lush meadows, up rocky slopes and into the treeless alpine environment. Throughout these meadows, a variety of birds and animals can be seen including the Clark’s nutcracker, mountain goat, deer, and elk.
     Completed in 1941, the visitor center is a classic example of rustic architecture using large exposed timber and rock construction. Visitors entering this building are awestruck by the massive lodge feel and grand rock fireplace. Sunrise Visitor Center is historically significant and part of a National Historic Landmark District.
     While plans for Sunrise Visitor Center exhibits were completed in November 2003, exhibit fabrication did not occur until funding came in the form of the President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The old 1970s exhibits desperately needed complete replacement.

Old Exhibits Inaccurate...

     They were inaccurate, dated, did not meet accessibility requirements, and were ineffective in conveying  essential interpretive and visitor safety messages.    The new exhibits greatly increase the quality of the Sunrise visitor’s experience and provide the opportunity for visitors to make an enduring connection to The Mountain, the park, and its resources.
     The new exhibits tell the story of Mount Rainier’s geologic history, subalpine and alpine ecology and the importance of the mountain, past and present, to area Native Americans. The exhibits maintain the rustic look and feel that is appropriate for their historic setting, yet evoke a sense of drama that speaks to the volatile potential of the mountain, the power of glaciers, and the fragile tenacity of plant life. These exhibits provide an interactive experience where visitors will gain an understanding of, and appreciation for the natural and cultural resources of the Sunrise area.
     The refurbished interior of the building nearly outshines the much needed new exhibits. The  old 1970s gray flooring, furnishings and exterior doors have been replaced with skillfully crafted natural woodwork that both warms the building and draws light into the space.
     The new flooring is beautiful vertical-grain Douglas-fir and the information desk and sales area cabinetry are constructed of rough cut Western red-cedar and are crowned with counters of Alaskan yellow cedar with naturally contoured edges. The new doors and hardware closely resemble the original doors to retain the building’s historic character. Design and materials used throughout the project reflect the rustic architecture and natural setting of the building.
     
A celebration of the new exhibits and the refurbished Sunrise Visitor Center was held on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 11 a.m. Park partners,  including the  U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory were there to be honored for their continued support of this project and many others.



New Webcam at Camp Muir

       from Stefan Lofgren
       July 18, 2011


     Mount Rainier National Park is excited to announce that a new webcam at Camp Muir is now fully operational and available
online to the public. This is a unique location for a webcam as it is certainly the highest webcam in Washington State and one of the most remote in the United States. This project was a cooperative effort between the National Park Service, the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center, and Dan Howlett of NoHow, Inc.
     The design and installation of this webcam involved some difficult technical challenges, for which Dan “Howie” Howlett created a solution on the backbone of the park’s existing weather telemetry equipment. Think of the webcam image as another weather parameter like temperature or wind speed. The image is transmitted down in the same data bursts as the weather information. After the initial installation by climbing ranger Stefan Lofgren in mid-May, several unanticipated issues were hammered out. Mark Moore of the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center helped troubleshoot some of these problems, coordinate the new data acquisition, and dissemination.
     The images from Camp Muir are expected to be very popular and broadly used by a wide array of interested groups. Climbers and hikers into Mount Rainier alpine zones, of course, will be able to use the webcam to see where the tops of the clouds are and will discover that often when it is rainy at Paradise or lower down in the valley, it may be sunny and warm at Muir!
    Weather forecasting centers such as the National Weather Service will also be able to use the images and data for
forecasting purposes both for the public and for pilots.  There are scientific opportunities associated with the images as well regarding snowmelt, glacier mass-balance, and air quality, to name a few.
    As extraordinary as the images are, there are limits to how often we will see clear images. It will be common when there are clouds and/or blowing snow that the camera will rime and the images will show only white. This is expected to be the case for much of the winter. There is not enough power at Camp Muir to operate any heating elements that could keep the camera shedding rime ice.  As this is a newly developed application of existing technology, we may encounter more unanticipated challenges. Please be patient as you notice interruptions in service or problems with the images. We will also be immediately aware and try to fix it as soon as practicable.
     Currently, the image is set to a resolution of 1024 x 786 and it is slightly pixelated. We endeavor to increase the resolution so that greater detail can be shown. The camera is fixed and cannot be moved remotely, so we must actually physically move the camera to change its view. Another item on the wish list would be to install a remotely moveable camera.
     You can access the image on Mount Rainier’s webpage: http://www.nps.gov/mora or the direct address of the image is:
http://www.nps.gov/webcams-mora/muir.jpg



Work Begins on Carbon River Access

       from Eric Walkinshaw
      July 18, 2011


      In response to flood damage to the Carbon River Road and Ipsut Creek Campground following the major November 2006
flood event and subsequent flood events as recent as last winter, the Carbon River Access Management Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed by the Pacific West Regional Director on February 3, 2011.
    
The selected Preferred Alternative #2 states that the Carbon River Road would be reopened to private vehicles as far as a turnaround/drop-off at the Old Mine Trailhead, 1.2 miles from the park entrance. Between the Old Mine Trailhead and Ipsut Creek Campground, intact sections of the road would be used as an improved trail and new improved trail sections would
be constructed through or around flood damaged sections.
     Eventually the improved trail will provide sufficient width and sight distance to safely accommodate hikers and bicyclists, and meet Universal Access guidelines. Existing road culverts will eventually be removed and up to 9 wood trail bridges installed to improve fish passage. The Ipsut Creek Campground will be converted to a hike-in/bike-in backcountry camp with a minimum of 15 individual sites and 3 group sites. 
     The existing vault toilets will be replaced with composting toilets and the former Ipsut trailhead parking area will be recontoured and the historic Ipsut Patrol Cabin will be reconstructed near the trailhead. At the Carbon River entrance area, an entrance archway will be constructed, the existing ranger station will be replaced with a new fee station/visitor contact office, and additional parking will eventually be provided at the entrance and in the former maintenance compound located 1/4-mile up the road.
     This project will be multi-phased and time to complete is solely dependent upon funding.  Work beginning this Summer/Fall will include: Construction of up to 5 log flood protection structures within the Carbon River floodplain adjacent to the Carbon River Entrance Area and the former maintenance compound; placement of log-span check dams in the damaged Falls Creek area to protect the adjacent unimproved trail and location for the future improved trail from future flooding; remove existing vault toilets and install new composting toilets (likely this Fall); general decommissioning of portions of the Ipsut Campground for downsizing (i.e. remove fire grates, parking barriers, etc.); install bike racks and bear-proof food boxes in the downsized campground; begin to clear/widen unimproved trail in the Falls Creek area; begin construction of new trail bridges; and remove dysfunctional culverts along the length of the old roadway.
     Visitors will be able to access the Carbon River area, continuing to park in the limited parking area immediately inside the entrance and hike/bike to the Ipsut Creek Campground.  Biking is only permitted on the unimproved trail up to the Ipsut Creek Campground.  Please be aware of the construction work going on in the area (during weekdays) and wait for permission from the workers when it is safe to pass through the construction zone.  Bikers, please be particularly aware of other bikers and hikers using the unimproved and narrow trail, especially in areas of restricted sight distance.



Injured Hiker Rescued from Disappointment Clever
Not the Same Person as "Missing Hiker" - See Hiker Story Below

      For Immediate Release: 9:17 p.m.

      July 9, 2011, 8:30 p.m. In the midst of a two-day search and rescue for an injured hiker that had just been found, the incident dispatch received a call regarding a climber who had broken his leg in the summit crater of Mount Rainier. 
     
Personnel were shifted from the now-found missing hiker incident to respond to the climber. The injured climber began descending the mountain with the assistance of his two climbing partners. The Chinook helicopter from the 214th General Support Aviation Brigade from Joint Base Lewis McCord responded with Mount Rainier climbing rangers to the 11,300 foot level on the Disappointment Clever. The climbing rangers were inserted into the injured climber’s location and prepared him to be hoisted into the hovering aircraft.
     The climber was safely raised into the Chinook helicopter and flown to Kautz Helibase. He was evaluated by Pierce County Fire District 23 medical personnel and transported to Morton General Hospital with an injury to the lower left leg.
     The Chinook helicopter team from Joint Base Lewis McCord was a significant partner in the successful response to both rescue incidents today.
 



Missing Hiker Found and Safe...

      for Immediate Release: 8:24 p.m.

     July 9, 2011, 8:00 p.m. At approximately 3:30 p.m. this afternoon, Steve Haley, the missing hiker, in the Comet Falls area had been found. He was located on a steep slope by one of 10 ground teams. The team assessed the safety of the area and proceeded to the hiker’s location. He was found hypothermic but responsive with some possible fractures.
A military Chinook helicopter was ordered to the location to lower supplies that were used to stabilize the hiker and lift him
safely from the area where he was believed to have fallen. Additional ground teams were sent to assist with these efforts.
     The search began Friday after Haley was reported missing by his employer, Guest Services Inc., a concessionaire within the
park. Haley was scheduled to work at 9:30 on Friday morning and is always prompt. The park was notified at 10:40 and by 11:30 a.m. the park employees began the initial search efforts. Five teams searched along Rampart Ridge, Van trump Park and Comet Falls, looking for any clues that would lead to Haley. Several teams remained over night.
     Rescue efforts were continued early Saturday morning with more than 45 people involved .There were 10 teams of park employees and a volunteer, dogs, and helicopter fly-overs. Additional agencies involved in this search and rescue include, German Shepherd Search Dogs of Washington State, U.S. Army Reserve 214th General Support Aviation Brigade from Joint Base Lewis McCord, Medic 84 out of Eatonville, and Pierce County Fire District 23.


 



Missing Hiker Found...


   For Immediate Release: 4:30 p.m.
      

     July 9, 2011, 4 p.m. At approximately 3:30 p.m. the missing hiker, in the Southwest area of the park had been found. He was located by one of 10 ground teams on a steep slope. The hiker’s condition is being assessed and rescue efforts are underway.
    
Additional information will be forthcoming as it is available. For recorded incident informational updates call 360-569-2211 and press 9. Contact the park Public Information Officer at 360-569-6701.
 



Search Continues for Missing Hiker on Mount Rainier...

     July 9, 2011, 10 a.m. - - Park rangers initiated a search Friday, July 8, for a missing 65-year old male hiker in the southwest area of the park. He was reported missing yesterday morning and a search operation was initiated at approximately 10:40 a.m. Five park search teams (23 individuals) and one helicopter searched the area on Friday where the missing party was reportedly hiking. Searching continues today with additional ground teams, the helicopter and dogs.
    
Last seen on Thursday in the Longmire area, and reportedly hiking towards the Van Trump Park and Comet Falls areas, the avid hiker has not yet been located. The missing 65 year old white male is described as having gray hair, wearing a tan collared shirt and tan shorts. He is about 5’6” tall and 120 pounds. He may be carrying a backpack with many pins and National Park patches, and walking with a hiking pole. Anyone with information is asked to contact the search incident command center at 360.569.6700.
    The aerial search is being conducted with assistance from Northwest Helicopters. For recorded incident informational updates call 360.569.2211 and press 9. Contact the park Public Information Officer at 360.569.6701.

 



Summertime Ranger-led Programs return to the Mountain

       from Curt Jacquot

      Mount Rainier National Park is pleased to announce the return of regularly scheduled summer Ranger programs. The
Ohanapecosh Campground is snow-free and Rangers have returned to present a variety of daily programs starting
Friday, June 17. These include Junior Ranger activities, walks and evening programs.
     In June at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise, visitors can join a daily Ranger’s Choice walk at 2 p.m. and on Friday, June 17 there will be an evening program at the Paradise Inn starting at 9 p.m. The complete schedule of daily ranger programs at Longmire and Paradise will begin Friday, July 1. The summer schedule of Ranger-led activities is available on the park website at:
http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/rangerprograms.htm.
     Follow upcoming Mount Rainier National Park events via our new twitter page at:
http://twitter.com/#!/MountRainierNPS

Upcoming evening programs are as follows:

     Friday, June 17, Paradise Inn Lobby at 9 p.m. Journey to Paradise - Join Ranger Maureen McLean for a 1915 sojourn to Mount Rainier National Park.

    Friday, June 17, Ohanapecosh Campground Amphitheater 8:30 p.m. - Treemendous Trees Come and discover the many
special gifts that the coniferous forests of Mount Rainier provide for all with Ranger Bev Killam.

   Saturday, June 18, Ohanapecosh Campground Amphitheater 8:30 p.m. - Climbing Mount Rainier Have you ever wondered,
dreamed, or imagined what you would experience were you to climb the mountain? Join Ranger Dan Smith for a journey into the world of thin air and ice as he shares his 40+ years of climbing experiences.

    Sunday, June 19, Ohanapecosh Campground Amphitheater 8:30 p.m. - Life in the Treetops The old growth forests of Mount
Rainier National Park are some of the last remnants of the forests that covered this area in the past. These biologically diverse ecosystems provide life to thousands of plant and animal species. Join Ranger Scott Coombs in a tour of the old growth forest and an introduction to the animals that call these treetops home.

    Monday, June 20, Ohanapecosh Campground Amphitheater 8:30 p.m. - Climbing Mount Rainier Ranger Dan Smith

   Tuesday, June 21, Ohanapecosh Campground Amphitheater 8:30 p.m. - Treemendous Trees Ranger Bev Killam

   Wednesday, June 22, Ohanapecosh Campground Amphitheater 8:30 p.m. - Where the Wild Things Are

   Thursday, June 23, Ohanapecosh Campground Amphitheater 8:30 p.m. - Life Comes From The Volcano!

   General park information is available at
www.nps.gov/mora  or by calling 360.569.2211.



Snow a Problem at Mountain


                                                                                                                                  (photo courtesy NPS)

Deep Snow Delays Opening of Sunrise and White River Campgrounds...


                                                                                                                                
(photo courtesy NPS)

 Entrance Fees Waived on June 21

     from Donna Rahier
    June 17, 2011


     Deep and persistent snow levels at higher elevations on Mount Rainier will delay the opening of the road to Sunrise until at least July 8. Park road crews, using bulldozers and a rotary snow blower, are working daily to remove snow from the road and expect to reach the parking area at Sunrise
early next week.  Once access is available, additional park and Washington Conservation Corps crews will be brought into the area to shovel out buildings and activate the power and water systems.
     Since July 1, 2010, a total of 907 inches of snow have fallen at Paradise. The record for the park is 1,122 of snowfall during the 1971-72 winter season. Cool and wet temperatures have persisted into June, delaying snow melt in the upper elevations and slowing snow removal operations that began in March. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) road crews have faced similar deep snow conditions on Highway 410, delaying the opening of Chinook Pass on the east side of the park. WSDOT’s projected opening for Chinook Pass is June 23 at 10 a.m.
     Persistent snow conditions will also delay the opening of the White River Campground until July 1. The road to the campground is open and accessible. Mowich Road opening operations will be delayed until snow removal at Paradise and Sunrise are completed. All other park roads and areas are open. Travelers are advised to check the park’s website prior to a visit to get updated information on road and trail conditions, services and activities. Mount Rainier National Park’s website is at:
www.nps.gov/mora. Other photos are posted on the park website.
     Please check the WSDOT website, www.wsdot.wa.gov,  for current updates on all highway and pass conditions in Washington State.

June 21 is a Fee Free Day at Mount Rainier!

     June 21 marks the first day of summer and the next Fee Free Day at Mount Rainier National Park and all other national parks charging entrance fees across the nation. This is one of 17 fee free days that have been designated this year. Other remaining fee free periods are September 24 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11-13 (Veteran's Day Weekend).
     Fee free days serve to encourage Americans to visit and appreciate their national parks.
 



Mount Rainier National Park Releases Twitter Page...

       Patti Wold
       Pubic Information Officer
       June 14, 2011

       Superintendent Dave Uberuaga announces the launching of the Official Mount Rainier National Park Twitter page. Follow the park on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/MountRainierNPS  to discover news as it’s happening, learn more about park topics that are important to you, and get the inside scoop in real time.
      Before you leave home, or during a stop while en route to the park, check the park out on Twitter. Is the parking lot full at
Paradise? Are the roads open throughout the park? Are there any emergency situations that will affect your visit? Keep up-to-date on road and facility openings and closures, emergency situations, special events, and watch for other noteworthy and timely tweets.
     Future plans for park social media include Facebook, Flickr and YouTube pages. The best place to learn about the launching
of these sites is on the Official Mount Rainier National Park Twitter page!
 



Search For Missing Climber Underway on Liberty Ridge

       from Patti Wold
      Public Information Officer

      June 14, 2011, 3:11 p.m. – Park climbing rangers initiated a search for a seriously ill climber on Liberty Ridge at 13,600’ Monday evening. During search operations this morning teams were unable to locate the climber, Rob Planker, age 50 of Olympia, WA, at the point last seen. During an aerial search a 2,000’ slide path was detected leading down a 50 degree ice and snow covered slope over some of the steepest, most inhospitable terrain on the mountain.
      No signs of the climber were found during an extensive visual search of the slide area. The search was conducted from a Chinook helicopter out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Ground searchers located some of Planker’s equipment at the point last seen. Search efforts continue by air this afternoon with the support of Northwest Helicopters.
    The climber’s situation was reported Monday at 5 p.m. by his climbing partners. Following the report two teams of climbing rangers attempted to reach the climber. At 12,100’ one of the teams was forced to turn back due to extreme winds of 55 mph. The second team overnighted in a snow cave until the search resumed at 5 a.m. this morning.
    Liberty Ridge is one of the most technical climbs on Mount Rainier. Members of the climbing  party are  experienced climbers and well equipped for the climb.
 
   The search will continue through the afternoon. Planning for Wednesday’s operation is currently in process.

Search On Liberty Ridge Suspended

       from Patti Wold
      Public Information Officer

     June 14, 2011, 6:20 p.m. – The search on Liberty Ridge for Rob Planker, age 50 of Olympia, WA, was suspended this afternoon due to strong winds.The climber fell ill during a climb up the challenging Liberty Ridge route. During an aerial search today a 2,000’ slide path was detected leading down a 50 degree ice and snow covered slope over some of the steepest, most
inhospitable terrain on the mountain. The track initiated at the point Planker was last seen at 13,600’ and appears to end in an icefall below Liberty Wall at 11,500’.
    No signs of the climber were found during an extensive aerial search of the slide area. Ground searchers located some of Planker’s equipment at the point last seen. The operation is now considered a body recovery as the risk-to-benefit ratio is not conducive to extensive searching. Limited visual searching from the ground will continue.
    The climber’s situation was reported by his climbing partners on June 13. He’d become nonambulatory, hypothermic and was suffering from mild frostbite.They attempted to get him up and walking the that morning. By 10 a.m. they decided to seek assistance. They made their way to the Emmons Glacier where they made contact with a ranger at 5 p.m. that evening. Following the report two teams of climbing rangers, one team from Camp Schurman and the second from Camp Muir, attempted to reach the climber. At 12,100’ one of the teams was forced to turn back due to extreme winds of 55 mph. The second team overnighted in a snow cave until the search resumed at 5 a.m. the morning of June 14.
     A Chinook helicopter out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and an MD 530 from Northwest Helicopters assisted in the search.



David Uberuaga Named New Superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park


                                                                                       (National Park Service photo)

     Press release
     June 1, 2011

     DENVER –  Intermountain Regional Director John Wessels today announced that Mount Rainier Superintendent David Uberuaga has been named Superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park.  Uberuaga will begin his duties in mid-July.
    
I am extremely pleased that we have someone of Dave’s character, experience and ability at Grand Canyon National Park,” Wessels said. “He has all the skills necessary to take on the many complex issues that are part of managing a park the size and stature of Grand Canyon.”
   
 Uberuaga is currently the Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state, a post he has held for the past 9 years.  During that time he served for more than a year as Acting Superintendent of Yosemite National Park.  He has spent 37 years in federal service and has been with the National Park Service since 1984.
    
I am humbled to have been selected as Superintendent at Grand Canyon,” Uberuaga said. “I look forward to working with the park staff, the many stakeholders who care so deeply about the park, and the local community. Grand Canyon National Park is a truly spectacular place, one that has inspired people around the world.”
   
 Uberuaga has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Idaho. Among his many awards, he is the recipient of the National Parks Conservation Association’s Stehpen Tyng Mather Award for promoting environmental preservation in parks; the Department of Interior Cooperative Conservation Award; and the Department of Interior Superior Service Award.  In 2008, he was named Federal Land Manger of the year by the Department of Interior.
 
   Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, he and his wife Barbara have three grown children, Mark, Michelle and Amy.

 



Spring/Summer Opening Schedule...

     Paradise Inn Opens - On Friday, May 20, the historic Paradise Inn opens its doors once again to greet visitors for the 2011 season. Constructed in 1916, the Inn showcases a beautiful lobby and dining room featuring hand painted hanging lamps depicting park wildflowers, three huge stone fireplaces to welcome guests, 118 guest rooms, a café, and gift shop with authentic Native American arts and crafts. A full service dining room offers Northwest cuisine. The Inn is listed as a National Historic
Landmark.
     In addition to the Paradise Inn, the National Park Inn at Longmire is also open for visitors. The National Park Inn offers 25 guests rooms, a cozy fireside room for guests to enjoy, full service restaurant, general store and gift shop.
     Both inns are operated by Guest Services, Incorporated. Reservations can be made on line at www.mtrainierguestservices.com or by telephone at 360.569.2275.
     Gateway communities surrounding the park are open daily also providing lodging, meals, gifts, equipment rentals, horseback riding, fishing, special events and a variety of other needs to park visitors. Information on these businesses is available on the internet at
www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com www.staycrystal.com, www.destinationpackwood.com  or www.minerallake.com.

Current Status and Projected Opening Dates of Other Park Facilities by Area

     Note: Some dates may change due to snow conditions and accessibility

Roads

Stevens Canyon Road Open Friday, May 27 at 8 a.m.
SR 410 to SR 123 over Cayuse Pass Open Thursday, May 26
Sunrise Road Open Friday, June 24 at 8 a.m.
Mowich Lake Road Open Friday, July 1 at 8 a.m.
Skate Creek Road (USFS Road 52) Opened Thursday, May 19

Longmire:

Longmire Museum Open daily - 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Longmire Wilderness Information Center Open daily - 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
National Park Inn Open daily year round

Cougar Rock:

Cougar Rock Campground Opening delayed until June 3, 8 a.m. due to snow
Cougar Rock Picnic Area Same as Cougar Rock Campground

Paradise:

Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center Open daily -10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (starting May 20)
Paradise Inn Open daily beginning May 20

Box Canyon:

Box Canyon Picnic Area and Restrooms Open May 27

Ohanapecosh:

Ohanapecosh Campground Open May 27 – 8 a.m.
Ohanapecosh Visitor Center Open May 27–30 - 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., then weekends only until June 11
June 11-September 4 - open 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Grove of the Patriarchs Open 5/27

White River:

White River Road to WR Campground May 27 (Projected-subject to snow conditions)
White River Campground Open June 24 - 8 a.m.

Sunrise:

Sunrise Lodge (snack bar and gift shop) Open June 24
Sunrise Visitor Center July 1 (10 am - 6 pm)

Carbon River:

Ranger Station open year round Call for hours - 360.829.9639

For additional information visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/mora or call 360.569.2211
 



Fatality on the Upper Mountain
First Death on Rainier This Year


     from Patti Wold
    Interpretive Media Specialist
    May 10, 2011

     Climbing rangers working with guides from Alpine Ascents International conducted a search and recovery effort today at13,180’ on Mount Rainier. Tucker Taffe, an experienced skier, was with an independent climbing party of four when he skied into a crevasse on the upper Nisqually Glacier.
     Guides from Alpine Ascents International were already on the upper mountain and responded to the incident, rappelled into the crevasse, and reported the fatality.
     A team of four climbing rangers was inserted at the 14,410’ summit by a helicopter where they descended to the scene. They removed Taffe from the crevasse and prepared his remains for airlift off the mountain. A ground team of four climbing rangers was stationed at Camp Muir to assist as needed.
     Taffe, age 33, was originally from New York.
     The park recognizes the major efforts of the Alpine Ascents International guides throughout this incident. Approximately
20 park personnel were involved in the operation. A Bell 210 from Whirlwind Helicopters was assigned to the incident. Northwest Helicopters retained an aircraft and a pilot on standby for this operation and Army Reserve 1st Battalion (General Support), 214th Aviation out of Fort Lewis was diverted from another mission to assist but was later cancelled.

 



Nature Art Show Raises $20,000 for State's National Parks...

      April 20 – Washington’s National Park Fund’s “Art in the Parks” event March 18 in Seattle raised more than $20,000 to benefit programs at Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic National Parks.
     “I would like to thank all Washington’s National Park Fund supporters who attended the event for their tremendous generosity,” said Eleanor Kittelson, Executive Director of Washington’s National Park Fund. “We are proud to help Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic National Parks achieve an extra level of excellence as they attain important goals that focus on visitors to the parks, education and outreach in the communities, scientific research for preservation and protection, and environmental sustainability.”
     The evening included photo displays and a silent auction of nature photography along with a special program about our national parks. Photographers who exhibited their impressive collections were:
Mary Liz Austin, John Chao, Stephen Matera, and Dave Schiefelbein.  The evening’s featured speaker, Harry von Stark, discussed his project documenting the Elwha River dam removal and watershed restoration projects at Olympic National Park.
    “We are indebted to our featured photographers who were gracious enough to share their talents during the evening with a very appreciative audience,” said Kittelson.
    In the past three years, Washington’s National Park Fund has awarded nearly $750,000 in grants to Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic National Parks for 33 projects. Washington's National Park Fund is the only philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to supporting Olympic, North Cascades and Mount Rainier National Parks through charitable contributions. All gifts to the Fund are fully tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. To learn more about Washington’s National Park Fund, visit
www.wnpf.org. Follow the Fund on Facebook and Twitter @WANatlParkFund.
    Purchase your
Washington's National Park Fund license plate and directly support your parks.

 



Mount Rainier National Park Seeks Public Comment on Draft Alternatives to be studied for the Air Tour Management Plan Environmental Assessment

      Press release
     April 6, 2011

     The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS), is in the process of developing an Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) and associated Environmental Assessment (EA) for Mount Rainier National Park (Mount Rainier), pursuant to the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000 (NPATMA).
     Five air tour operators have authorization to provide commercial air tours over and within ½ mile of Mount Rainier. Most of these operators originate from the Puget Sound area, and one originates from Wenatchee. Since January of 2003, these five operators have had authority to conduct a maximum combined total of 114 air tours per year, though in recent years, operations have likely been below this level. While the air tour visitor experience varies depending on weather conditions and the desires of the air tour client, the primary attraction for air tour visitors is viewing the summit of Mount Rainier.
     An ATMP EA is being developed to provide measures to mitigate or prevent significant adverse impacts, if  any, of commercial air tour operations at Mount Rainier, including impacts on natural and cultural resources, visitor experiences, and tribal lands. The NPATMA applies to any person who conducts a commercial air tour operation over a unit of the national park system, over tribal lands that are within or abutting a unit of the national park system, or over any area within ½ mile outside a unit of the national park system.
    A commercial air tour operation is defined as a flight conducted for compensation or hire in a powered aircraft where the purpose of the flight is sightseeing, during which the aircraft flies below an altitude of 5,000 feet above ground level (AGL). The ATMP has no authorization over non-air-tour aircraft, such as military or general aviation aircraft, so it will not address these operations.
    In April and May 2010, the FAA and NPS solicited public input during the public scoping period for the ATMP EA. Based on input received during the scoping period, in combination with knowledge of staff at Mount Rainier, the FAA and NPS have developed four draft alternatives that may be evaluated in the ATMP EA.
    The FAA and NPS are now making a second request for public input on the Mount Rainier ATMP. The agencies are inviting the public, agencies, tribes, and other interested parties to provide comments, suggestions, and input regarding the routes and parameters (e.g. time of day and days of the week when flights could be allowed) of the preliminary alternatives under consideration for study in the Mount Rainier ATMP EA.
    During the comment period, three public meetings will provide opportunities for members of the public to learn more about the draft alternatives under consideration and to provide comments to the FAA and NPS. An ATMP EA Draft Alternatives Packet that describes the project and the draft alternatives in greater detail is available at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/MORA_ATMP
faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/arc/programs/air_tour_management_plan/park_specific_plans/mountrainier.cfm

   Mount Rainier National Park Tahoma Woods Administrative Office
    Eatonville Library
    Graham Library
    South Hill Library

PUBLIC MEETINGS:

    April 27, 2011, 6:30-8:30 p.m: Mount Rainier National Park Education Center Tahoma Woods, Ashford Headquarters 55210 238th Ave E., Ashford, WA 98304

    April 28, 2011, 6:30-8:30 p.m: Washington State History Museum, 2nd Floor, Activity Room, 1911 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

PUBLIC COMMENTS:

    Comment Period: Please submit any written response you may have no later than May 16, 2011.

SUBMITTING COMMENTS:

    Written comments on the draft alternatives to be studied in the ATMP EA can be submitted via one of the following methods:

    At any of the public meetings: Electronically via the electronic public comment form on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment System at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/MORA_ATMP

   By mail: Larry Tonish, FAA, P.O. Box 92007, Los Angeles, California 90009-2007
 



Free Snowshoe Walks for School Groups at Mount Rainier...

      Press release
      Fawn Bauer
      Education Specialist

     With these recent storms that have hit the Cascades, the Education Staff at Mount Rainier National Park is offering additional curriculum-based snowshoe education programs for school groups.  If you are a teacher looking to bring your students on a field trip to Mount Rainier during the school week, don’t miss this opportunity. These programs are available at no charge to school groups and are tailored to the teacher’s identified learning objectives.
     Through a “Connecting Kids to Parks” grant from Washington’s National Park Fund, several mini-grants are available to help subsidize the transportation costs for schools to bring students to the park during this spring 2011 school year. These mini-grants are intended to be cost-share subsidies for bus transportation, so that the maximum amount of students can benefit. Number and size of grants will vary, with most grants being in the $100-$250 range. These mini-grants are made possible in an effort to increase the accessibility of park experiences for youth who may not otherwise have an opportunity to visit a national park.
     For more information about these school snowshoe education walks and the bus subsidy grant, please contact Fawn Bauer at 360.569.6037.
     Please check the Mount Rainier National Park website at
http://www.nps.gov/mora/forteachers/index.htm  for more information about field trips and teacher workshops.
     Please remember that roads in the park may be closed at any time due to hazardous conditions.  General park information is available at
www.nps.gov/mora  or by calling 360.569.2211.
 



Last Winter Sunset on Mount Rainier...

     March 20, 2011 - Photo by Tony Sirgedas March 19, 2011: Tony says, "I'm sure glad today is the last full day of winter. Looking forward to something warmer and drier now. The clouds came in this afternoon so we probably won't see the super moon tonight. But a break to the west put the spot light on Mount Rainier leaving everything else in the shadows."
     Currently Mount Rainier has 203 inches of snow on the ground, 121 percent above normal.


2011 Spring Opening Begins...

       Press relase
       March 18, 2011


  The calendar may say it’s almost the first day of Spring, but at Mount Rainier National Park Spring is still a long way off.  But, despite the fact that Paradise currently has 203” of snow on the ground (121 percent above normal) staff at Mount Rainier is once again beginning the annual spring opening. 
     This process, which begins at the lower elevations of the park such as Longmire and Ohanapecosh and moves up the mountain to the higher elevations of White River and Sunrise as the snow melts or is plowed away, is like bringing a small community back to life every year. 
     Roads that have been completely snowed in since last fall are blown out with snow equipment; removal of   slides, boulders and rocks and fallen trees from these roads, cleaning ditches of debris and repairing any damage; shoveling snow from park buildings; reactivating water, sewer and heating systems that have been shut down since fall; repairing damage from winter’s harsh conditions and many other maintenance activities associated with getting the park’s public facilities ready for another season of visitation.

Snow Play and Snowshoe Walks Ending March 27

  The public snow play area at Paradise will be staffed and groomed through Sunday, March 27.  After that date the snow play runs will not be maintained and sledding will not be permitted due to safety concerns.
 
      The ranger-led snow shoe walks will also end that same date - March 27.

 
The new Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is open weekends only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until May 7 when it will begin 7-day a week operation.

    The Paradise Inn is scheduled to open for the 2011 season on Friday, May 20. Reservations can be made by phone – 360-569-
2275, or on line at
www.mtrainierguestservices.com

    While snow play activities will be ending, great opportunities still exist for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the
Paradise area. Before heading out, visitors are advised to check with park staff for current weather and avalanche conditions. Spring can be a wonderful time to experience the park, but dangerous conditions can exist.

   
For current road and weather information, visit the park’s web page at www.nps.gov/mora,   or call 360.569.2211 for recorded updates. For local business information web sites visit:  www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com www.staycrystal.com www.minerallake.com, www.destinationpackwood.com, or www.mtrainierguestservices.com



Climbing Fees Increased at Mount Rainier National Park

  by Stefan Lofgren
      March 15, 2011

   
 Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga announces that the proposed increase in climbing fees at Mount Rainier has been approved by Pacific West Regional Director Christine Lehnertz, and is effective immediately.
     Climbers will now be charged $43 for an annual climbing pass which is good through December 31 of the year it is purchased. This is a $13 increase from the previous fee of $30 which has been in effect since May, 2003.
     In addition, the park is implementing a new $30 “youth” climbing pass for climbers 24 years old and younger, in support of National Park Service and Department of Interior initiatives, and in response to comments made during public meetings the park held in November and December of 2010. It is estimated that 5-10% of the total climber volume is in this age group.
     The public comment process involved three public meetings held in Seattle, Tacoma and Ashford in November and December as well as one additional meeting held in early February in Bellevue. Attendees included mountaineering groups, professional guides, rangers, independent climbers from broad backgrounds, non-climbing public and mountain rescue groups. An Executive Summary, a Frequently Asked Questions document, and a Climbing Program Cost Analysis were produced and posted on the Mount Rainier web page (www.nps.gov/mora)  and widely distributed.
     After a thorough analysis of all of the comments submitted, the park staff decided on the above fee structure for implementation.
     Climbing fees, in addition to other park funding sources are used to support climber services and management of climbing activities on Mount Rainier. These services and programs include: registering approximately 11,000 climbers each year; providing up-to-date climbing route and safety information; updating weather, climbing, route, and climbing related information on web blog; staffing ranger stations at Paradise and White River; issuing climbing passes and providing updated information for climbers; staffing two high camps (Camp Muir & Camp Schurman); briefing hundreds of climbers during peak season; responding to numerous search and rescues and emergency medical situations on the upper mountain; operating and maintaining high camp facilities and communications systems; maintaining toilets at the high camps and managing the “blue bag” and “Leave No Trace programs; hauling several thousand pounds of human waste off the upper mountain to processing facilities.
     In addition, the revenue from these fees allows the park to provide the climbing ranger staff training in core skills, including mountaineering, search and rescue, emergency medical services, incident management and aviation-related training, to be able to perform their jobs in the extreme environment in which they work. Part of their job responsibilities also involves monitoring the alpine wilderness areas for impacts related to visitor use and climate change.
     Superintendent Uberuaga said “I very much appreciate the ideas, recommendations and feedback from all of the people who provided comments, either at the public meetings or in writing. Their participation helped us make better decisions that will guide management of the climbing program for the next several years.”

  



Happy Birthday Mount Rainier
112 Years Old...


                                                                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                  (photo by Bob Walter)

Mount Rainier National Park Established 112 years ago.

  March 2, 2011: On March 2, 1899, the United States Congress approved an Act to set aside a portion of certain lands in the State of Washington, then known as the “Pacific Forest Reserve,” as a public park to be known as Mount Rainier National Park.
    
Today, Mount Rainier National Park celebrates its 112th anniversary as the fifth oldest national park in the United States.



Ten Mile Rehab of Stevens Canyon Road Next Three Years

   from Eric Walkinshaw, Project Manager
      February 18, 2011

     Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga and Federal Highway Administration, Western Federal Lands Highway Division officials announce that the planned rehabilitation of  Stevens Canyon Road is
tentatively scheduled to begin in early September, 2011 and be completed by late September,  2013.
     Federal Highway Administration, Western Federal Lands Highway Division officials will be announcing a pre-solicitation site visit for prospective bidders in early May, 2011. The contract will likely be awarded by August,2011 with the project starting immediately following the Labor Day holiday on September 6, 2011.
     The National Park Service prepared an Environmental Assessment and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), which was approved by the Pacific West Regional Director on July 1, 2010.  The FONSI calls for the resurfacing, restoration, and rehabilitation of the Stevens Canyon Road and other related facilities, including bridges, tunnels, culverts, guard walls, retaining walls, turnouts and the short Wonderland Trail section adjacent to Reflection Lake. The improvements will occur along two segments of the road, totaling 10.09 miles of the 19 mile road.  Segment 1 begins at the Nisqually-Paradise Road intersection and extends east for 4.83 miles to the Stevens Creek Bridge. Segment 4 begins at the Backbone Ridge Viaduct (just east of the Backbone Ridge Viewpoint) and continues for 5.26 miles to the intersection with Washington State Route (SR) 123.
     Ten sites in Segment 1 and 35 sites in Segment 4 have been identified as needing subsurface stabilization to halt roadway embankment creep that has resulted in surface tension cracks and appreciable horizontal and vertical displacement. Two of the 10 sites in Segment 1 require full roadway embankment replacement down to 22 foot depth and retaining/guard wall replacements.  Most of the 35 sites in Segment 4 require either ¾- width or full road embankment replacement down to 5 foot depth, some of which require retaining/guard wall replacements.
     Due to the scope of the extensive roadway embankment stabilization efforts, it will be necessary to close the east end (Segment 4) of Stevens Canyon Road from the gate located just west of the Grove of the Patriarchs (see attached map) to just east of the popular Backbone Ridge Viewpoint from September 6, 2011 to when the road is shut down for the winter (October 24 in 2010). The contractor will also be doing subsurface compaction grouting in both road segments to stabilize the roadway in 2011. Visitors will be able to access the Reflection Lakes area, Box Canyon and Backbone Ridge Viewpoint area and adjacent trailheads from the west during the 2011closure period.
     During the 2012 season, the subsurface stabilization work on the west end (Segment 1) will require a closure from just east of the Paradise Valley Road to the Box Canyon Area immediately following Labor Day to when the road is shut down for the winter. The contractor will also be repairing the tunnel walls at milepost 6.9 and 8.5 during the closure period. During this period, visitors will be able to access up to the Box Canyon area from the east. From approximately June 2012 to just before Labor Day 2012 the contractor will be conducting work in both segments, at which time visitors should anticipate 20 minute delays Mondays through Fridays.
     During the 2013 season, the contractor will focus on drainage improvements, repair/stabilization and reconstruction of historic rock retaining walls, milling/recycling the asphalt surface as road base; and resurfacing with new hot-mix asphalt which will be accomplished while the roadway is open to the public. At this time visitors should again anticipate 20 minute delays Mondays through Fridays until project completion estimated in September, 2013.
    Stevens Canyon Road connects the east and west side of the park, extending for 19 miles from SR 123 at the east end to intersection with the Nisqually to Paradise Road at the west end, two miles south of Paradise. During the 2011 and 2012 closure periods, visitors are encouraged to access the Paradise area from the southwest via the Nisqually Entrance at east end of SR 706.Visitors traveling from the east via SR 410, SR 123, and/or US 12 who wish to visit the Paradise area have two detour options: Via Gifford Pinchot National Forest Service Road 52 (Skate Creek Road) beginning on US 12 in Packwood and ending on SR 706 east of Ashford; or the longer route via SR 7 beginning in Morton on US 12 and ending on SR 706 at Elbe (see attached map).
    While the construction and associated closures and traffic delays present an inconvenience, the rehabilitation work will not only improve the driving surface of the roadway, but ensure its longevity.
     Updated information on this project may be obtained by calling Mount Rainier National Park at 360.569.2166. Information on this project, as well as general park information, is also available on Mount Rainier National Park’s Intranet Homepage (
www.nps.gov/mora).
     NOTE:  Drivers can now get real time traffic and weather information by dialing 5-1-1 from most cell phones. This new traveler information system builds upon the highly successful Washington State Highway hotline that manages 4.6 million calls each year. Callers can also use 5-1-1 to get statewide construction, mountain pass conditions, and state ferry system information, as well as toll free numbers for passenger rail and airlines. TTY users can call 1.800.833.6388.
 



Update: Carbon River Area...

        from Karen Thompson, Environmental Specialist
       February 14, 2011


      Chris Lehnertz, Pacific West Region Director, National Park Service, has issued a decision and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Carbon River Area Access Management Environmental Assessment (EA). Lehnertz’s decision sets the future direction for management of public access to this spectacular area of Mount Rainier National Park.
      The Carbon River Area Access Management Environmental Assessment, consistent with direction provided in the Mount Rainier National Park General Management Plan, presented a description and analysis of several alternatives for the management of the Carbon River Road. The FONSI authorizes implementation of Alternative 2, which includes the conversion of the road to a hiking and bicycling trail. Effort will be made to retain intact sections of the historic road and the trails connecting these sections will be improved to better accommodate bicycle use. The Ipsut Creek Campground will be converted for use by backcountry campers. When funding becomes available, a new auto campground is planned on properties in the expanded park boundary area, away from the threat of flooding.
     Superintendent Dave Uberuaga acknowledged the difficulty of the decision, but emphasized the opportunity it presents, “Carbon River is an incredibly special area of the park for me and many others. We think it will become a destination for bicyclists and hikers when they learn what the area has to offer. Using a bicycle to get to Ipsut Creek Campground still makes a day-trip into Carbon Glacier feasible, and provides an enjoyable way to experience the area and park.”
     The historic Carbon River Road was heavily damaged during a November 2006 storm event and has been closed to vehicle use since then. Aggrading rocks and gravel from prior flood events have raised the bed of the Carbon River as much as 31 feet since the Carbon River Road was constructed next to the river in the 1920s. Several sections of the historic road are now lower
than the adjacent river and increasingly vulnerable to flood damage.
     Implementation of the preferred alternative will occur over the next several years as funding is available. Funding priorities include protection of the entrance and intact sections of the historic road from additional flood damage, improvement of the trail sections, and transition of some visitor services and operations out of the flood plain to nearby facilities on new lands added to the park by Congress in 2004.
    The FONSI, EA, Errata and associated documents are available for viewing on-line via the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at:
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/mora/carbon. For a printed copy of the FONSI, please call Mount Rainier National Park at 360.569.2211, extension 2301.



Winter Recreation Activities Begin at Mount Rainier National Park


                                                                                                                                                      (December 18, 2010 photo by Bob Walter)    

      from Lee Snook
     December 18, 2010

     Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga announces that the Paradise snowplay area will open for the season, Saturday, December 18. Snowshoe walks led by Park Rangers will also begin on that date.

     Snowplay - Sledding and Sliding: The snowplay area is immediately north of the upper parking lot at Paradise. Sliding and sledding in the park is permitted ONLY in this designated area.  Snowplay runs are supervised daily by Park Rangers from
December 18 through January 2, then on weekends and holidays from January 8 through March 27. Visitors may use the sled runs when the area is not staffed, but the runs are not groomed during the week. For current snowplay status, contact the Longmire Museum at 360.569.2211 ext. 3314 (9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily).
     Because of the high potential for personal injury and frequency of accidents, no other park areas are open to sliding activities.  Serious injuries have occurred when people mistakenly slid over waterfalls, into trees, down slopes that were too
steep, broke through thin snow into stream gorges, or slammed into other people.  Skiing and snowboarding are permitted in other areas, outside of the snowplay area.

For your enjoyment and safety, these few guidelines apply:

    Use only inner tubes, plastic sleds, saucers, or other soft sliding devices. No wooden toboggans, runner sleds with metal edges, or other  hard devices are permitted.
    Compressed air is available at the rock restroom tunnel across the plaza from the new Jackson Visitor Center when snowplay rangers are present.
    Be sure the run is clear before starting your slide. Collisions may cause serious injury.
    Dress warmly and in layers with a wicking fabric such as wool or polypropylene next to the skin and a waterproof  outer layer. Wear hats, gloves, and snow-sealed boots. Do not wear lightweight blue jeans and t-shirts. They get wet easily and will not keep you warm.
    Rest, re-warm, and snack frequently to help keep you comfortable and alert. Take a warm-up break at the Jackson Visitor Center before feet, hands, noses, or ears feel numb. Food service is available from 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. when the visitor center is open.
    The snowplay area is usually closed by 4:30 p.m. nightly. Check 1610 on your car radio while in the park, for updates on current road conditions.

     Snowshoe Walks: Join a Park Ranger to learn the art of snowshoeing in the winter wonderland of Paradise and learn about the ecology of the area. During the holiday break, the guided walks will be offered daily December 18 through January 2. From January 8 through March 27 the walks will be conducted on weekends and holidays only. The walks are offered at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis.  Sign up at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center information desk at Paradise beginning one hour before the start time.                              
     Organized groups of 13-25 people may reserve a snowshoe walk in advance. Group snowshoe walks begin at 10:30 a.m.  For more information or to make a group reservation, call 360.569.2211, ext. 3314. Snowshoe walks cover approximately 1.5 miles and last up to 2 hours. Snowshoes are provided, or visitors may use their own. A donation of $4 per person is asked to help defray the cost of snowshoe maintenance. Snowshoeing is a moderately strenuous activity, and participants must be at least 8 years old.  Remember to wear sturdy boots and dress in layers.
    Educational Snowshoe Walks for School Groups Curriculum-based snowshoe education walks are available at no charge to
school groups on weekdays through the park’s Education Program. These programs are tailored to meet the teacher’s identified learning objectives. Contact Fawn Bauer at 360.569.6037 for more information or to schedule your field trip.
    Please check the Mount Rainier National Park website at http://www.nps.gov/mora/forteachers/index.htm for more information about field trips and teacher workshops.
    Facility Hours: The Longmire Museum 360.569.2211, extension 3314) is open daily from 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center 360.569.2211, extension 6036 is open from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. during holiday break (December 18 through January 2) and on weekends and holidays through March 27.
    Visitors are reminded that roads in the park may be closed at any time due to hazardous conditions.  When driving on park roads, please use caution as the roads are icy, narrow, and steep.  Carry chains at all times and pay attention to changing conditions. General park information is available at www.nps.gov/mora
 or by calling 360.569.2211.
 



Paradise Webcams for Winter Tip Traveling and Weather...


                                                                                                                             
  (photo courtesy Mount Rainier)

     December 3, 2010 – Images from the Paradise webcams provide valuable real-time information to visitors preparing for a winter visit to Paradise. Webcam images give critical winter travel information on weather and road conditions at a glance. On a clear day, the view of snow-covered Mount Rainier against a clear blue sky, or the rugged Tatoosh Range to the south, is enjoyed by many virtual visitors worldwide. These tools are available on the home page of the park website for your use. Look “below the fold” for the Paradise webcam highlight at http://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm.



Washington's National Park Fund Wins Boeing Grant
Supports Free Summer Shuttle Service

     Press Release
      December 14, 2010


     Dec. 14, 2010 - Washington’s National Park Fund will use a $50,000 grant from The Boeing Company to help Mount Rainier National Park become carbon neutral and cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly half. “The Boeing grant is great news for Mount Rainier National Park and for everyone who enjoys it,” said Eleanor Kittelson, Executive Director of Washington’s National Park Fund.
     The money will be used to continue a free visitor shuttle that cuts down weekend traffic in the park during the summer. This project assists Mount Rainier National Park achieve its goal to become carbon neutral and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2016.
    The Mount Rainier grant supports Boeing’s goal of funding projects that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, inspire environmental citizenship and protect and restore critical natural habitat. This is the second year in a row that The Boeing Company is supporting the Mount Rainier National Park free summer shuttle service.
    More than 26,000 people rode the shuttle in 2010 between Ashford and Paradise within the park, reducing private vehicle use, congestion, and emissions. New in 2011 will be the addition of park-specific and environmental education displays on the buses, as well as a park interpretive ranger riding along on selected routes.
    “At Boeing, we are serious about lowering our environmental footprint,” said Shyla Miller, the company’s community investor for environmental issues in the Northwest. “Just as we have set targets for improving our operations' eco-efficiency, we think the Mount Rainier project has set a most worthwhile goal.”
    “Boeing has shown a real commitment to environmental leadership through this grant,” said Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. "We are thrilled The Boeing Company is renewing its support of Mount Rainier's shuttle service and look forward to a great summer in 2011."
     Washington's National Park Fund is the only philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to supporting Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic National Parks through charitable contributions. To learn more about or to become involved with the Fund, visit
http://wnpf.org  or call 253.566.4644.
     Purchase a your Washington's National Park Fund license plate and directly support your parks.
 



No Entrance Fees at Rainier For Veteran's Day...

       Press release
       November 6, 2010

    
 Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga announces that entrance fees into Mount Rainier National Park will be waived for all visitors on Thursday, November 11, 2010 for the Veterans Day holiday. November 11 was declared Armistice Day in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson to honor the soldiers who fought in World War I. The name was changed to Veterans Day on June 1, 1954 to honor all those who served.
     Entrance fee waivers on this holiday have been observed since 2006 and apply to all public lands managed by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture.
     Facilities open within the park during this holiday include the Longmire Museum (exhibits, information and books sales) the National Park Inn (lodging and meals) and the Longmire General Store (gifts and moderate food items) as well as the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise which offers exhibits, visitor information, food service, gift shop and book store.  In addition, most businesses in the gateway communities surrounding the park remain open. 
     More information is available at the following websites: 
www.visitrainier.com www.mt-rainier.com,
www.staycrystal.com, www.destinationpackwood.com www.minerallake.com, or
www.mtrainierguestservices.com
.
     The road between Longmire and Paradise was scheduled to begin nightly closures on November 1, however a mild weather
forecast for the near future will allow the road to remain open.  The Stevens Canyon Road, connecting the west and east sides of the park also remains open at this time. Weather in the mountains can change rapidly at this time of year, and visitors are
advised to be prepared for possible sudden storms.  Roads may close at any time due to weather changes, and chains should always be carried. Visitors should not park overnight on the Stevens Canyon Road as this road may also close without warning and visitors risk having their vehicles "stuck" between closed gates.
     Information on current park road and weather conditions can be obtained by calling the park at 360.569.2211 for recorded information that is updated regularly.
 

 

 

Public Input Sought for Proposed Climbing Fee Increase...

      from Donna Rahier
     October 28, 2010

     Mount Rainier Superintendent Dave Uberuaga has announced that the park is soliciting public input on a proposal to increase annual pass fees for those climbing Mount Rainier, beginning in the 2011 climbing season. The comment period will be open for 90+ days beginning November 1, and will close January 31, 2011.
     A series of public meetings to provide information and solicit comments from the public regarding this proposal have been scheduled for the following dates, locations and times:

Tuesday, November 30: Tacoma, WA
      7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
      Mountaineers Building
      2302 N 30th St
      Tacoma, WA 98403-3323

Tuesday, December 7: Seattle, WA
      Seattle Mountaineers Building
      7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.
      7700 Sand Point Way NE
      Seattle, WA 98115

Wednesday, December 8: Ashford, WA
      Mount Rainier Education Center
      7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.
      55210 238th Ave E.
      Ashford, WA 98304


Mount Rainier’s Climbing Program:

      Manages climbing activities to provide a world-class experience

      Registers about 11,000 climbers each year, issues and accounts for
         climbing passes

      Provides up-to-date climbing route and safety information

      Keeps weather, climbing, route, and climbing related information
         updated on a web blog

      Staffs two ranger stations (Paradise and White River) providing
         climber information, orientations and passes

      Staffs two high camps (Camp Muir and Camp Schurman) and briefs
         hundreds of climbers each evening during peak season

      Responds to dozens of climbing related searches and rescues; provides
         emergency medical services

      Maintains toilets daily at the high camps and hauls several thousands
         of pounds of human waste off the upper mountain to processing
         facilities

      Manages the “blue bag” program to keep human wastes off the climbing
         routes

      Maintains  and operates high camp facilities and communication
         systems

      Provides climbing rangers with competencies in core skill areas,
         including mountaineering, search and rescue, emergency medical
         services, incident management, and aviation

      Operates a fee collection and point of sale system (credit card
         machines/iron rangers)

      Monitors the alpine wilderness areas for impacts related to visitor
         use and climate change

     The park’s Climbing Program is largely funded by cost recovery revenue from climbing pass fees, required by each individual climbing Mount Rainier.The pass fee of $30 per person per year has not increased in eight years; program funding is no longer adequate to support essential education, safety and other public services.
     Mount Rainier is proposing an increase in the annual pass fee to between $43 and $58, with yearly adjustments thereafter determined by changes in the Consumer Price Index or other methodology. A cost recovery fee in the $43 range would re-establish essential public safety, education, information, and resource protection services and programs.
     A cost recovery fee in the $58 range would support new or improved services for the climbing public. Public input is sought to assist the National Park Service in formulating a climbing pass fee that is fair and equitable, supports unique services for climbers, and sustains a world-class climbing experience on Mount Rainier.

     For more information on the proposal, please visit the Park’s web site at:
http://www.nps.gov/mora/parkmgmt/climbingfee.htm

    Comments may be submitted by e-mail or in writing to the following addresses: rainierclimbingfee@nps.gov, Superintendent
ATTN:  Climbing Cost Recovery Fee, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Ave E, Ashford, WA 98304



Seasonal Changes Continue...


                                                                                                                                                                                    (photo by Tony Sirgedas)

    Press release
     October 15, 2010

   
Columbus Day weekend marked the final seasonal transition at Mount Rainier from summer operations to fall/winter operations  throughout the park. Park staff  began shutting down utility systems, boarding up windows, removing signs to avoid winter snow damage and general winterization in the outlying areas necessary before winter snows begin to blanket the park.
   
 Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh Campgrounds closed for the season on October 11 along with the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center, and White River and Longmire Wilderness Information Centers.
    
The road to Sunrise closed October 12 at the White River Campground wye to automobile traffic, however is still accessible to hikers and bicyclists. This is a great opportunity for hiking and biking enthusiasts to enjoy this beautiful area and the fall colors without having to compete with automobiles. The White River Road will remain open to automobiles until October 30 (weather permitting).
    
Gateway businesses on the east side of the park in Greenwater, Enumclaw, Buckley, Clifdell, Naches Packwood, remain open and welcome visitors.
   
 Park staff report that fall colors at Chinook Pass, Stevens Canyon, Grove of the Patriarchs and many other popular areas on the east side are at their peak making this a great time to come, with a favorable weekend weather forecast.
   
The Stevens Canyon Road will remain open until closed by weather.
    On the west side of the park the Paradise Inn has closed for the season and the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center has transitioned to its weekends and holiday schedule. Visitor center hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
   
The National Park Inn and General Store at Longmire are open year round offering overnight accommodations, dining and gifts. The Longmire Museum is also open daily providing visitor information, exhibits, and book sales.
   
 The road from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire remains open throughout the winter, except during extreme weather. The Longmire to Paradise Road will close nightly beginning November 1, reopening each morning after
conditions have been assessed and snow removal is complete.
 
   Even though the park is transitioning into its winter mode, many opportunities still exist for visitors to enjoy smaller crowds, great recreation opportunities and beautiful fall colors before the snows of
winter arrive.
 
   For information on gateway communities, please check the following websites: 
www.visitrainier.com www.mt-rainier.comwww.staycrystal.com www.destinationpackwood.comwww.minerallake.com,  or www.mtrainierguestservices.com.

 



Time to See Fall Colors at Park
Time Changes and Seasonal Closures...


                                                                                                                                                                                         (photo by Tony Sirgedas)

     Tony says, "This was the last day of summer and the colors above Paradise were already starting to turn."

     Press release
     October 7, 2010


     Park staff at Mount Rainier report that fall colors at the higher elevations are probably at their peak right now and continuing for the next week or two, weather permitting. The Paradise area, Reflection Lakes, Bench and Snow Lakes are showing outstanding colors according to the Paradise Visitor Center staff.  The Sunrise area is also reporting a good color display as well as the Grove of the Patriarchs and Silver Falls Trails in the Ohanapecosh area.
     Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga advises that this coming weekend, October 9, 10 & 11, will be the last weekend for car camping in Mount Rainier for this season. After that date, Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh Campgrounds will close and park staff will begin winterizing facilities. White River Campground, on the park’s northeast corner closed for camping on October 3.
     Other facilities closing after October 11 include the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center and the Longmire and White River Wilderness Information Centers.
     After October 11, the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center will change to its winter operation schedule of weekends and holidays only. Hours of operation will be 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The snack bar and gift shop in the visitor center will operate from 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. during this time.
      Paradise Inn closed October 4 for the 2010 season.
     At Longmire, the National Park Inn and General Store are open daily year round, as well as the Longmire Museum, which provides visitor information, exhibits and book sales.
     The road between Nisqually Entrance and Longmire remains open throughout the winter except during extreme weather. The road between Longmire and Paradise will close nightly beginning November 1 and reopen each morning or when snow removal operations are completed.
     Closure of State Routes 123 and 410 are weather dependent. Call 1-800-695-ROAD for current status. Visitors should check the park’s website
www.nps.gov/mora  for current conditions and closures before traveling to the park, or call 360.569.2211 for recorded information.
     Most facilities in the gateway communities surrounding the park remain open daily. Information on these businesses is available on the internet at
www.mt-rainier.com www.visitrainier.com www.desitnationpackwood.com  or
www.minerallake.com.
 



Mather Overlook Scenic View to be Improved this Month...

        from Karen Thompson
       October 6, 2010


     Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent David Uberuaga announces a project to improve the Mather Memorial Overlook will begin Tuesday, October 12 and may continue through October 28, 2010. The Mather Memorial Overlook is located along State Route 410 within Mount Rainier National Park, about ½ mile south of the Sunrise Road intersection.
     
The project involves the preservation of a historic viewpoint along the Mather Memorial Parkway (SR 410). The scenic vista will be restored by selectively removing about 100 small-diameter conifer trees adjacent to the overlook that are now blocking the view of Mount Rainier. The vista was originally cleared in the 1920s and has been maintained infrequently since that time.
      Most of the trees to be felled are less than 6 inches in diameter, with a few trees nearly 12 inches in diameter. The felled trees will remain on site for habitat benefits but will not be visible from the viewpoint because of the thick canopy of remaining trees. The project also involves safety improvements and removal of non-historic additions, including a non-historic turnout on the opposite side of the road.
     Work will occur Mondays through Thursdays. State Route 410 will remain open through the construction area unless closed by snowfall. During work periods, traffic control and single-lane closures may be in effect for visitor and worker safety, and visitors are reminded to obey posted speed limits. The Mather Overlook will also be closed during work periods, but may reopen on weekends, depending on site conditions. The Sunrise Road to the White River Campground junction will remain open unless intermittent closure is required for safety.
     The overlook and parkway were named for Stephen T. Mather, the first director of the National Park Service. When the project is complete, visitors will once again be able to enjoy the superlative view of Mount Rainier intended when the overlook was created.
     Updated information on this project may be obtained by calling Mount Rainier National Park at 360.5692211, x3376.
 



       

Volunteers to Work on Trails, Planting at Park this Saturday
Entrance Fees to Be Waived...

     Press release
     by Kevin Backer
     September 22, 2010


     
On National Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 25, 2010, more than a hundred volunteers will assemble at Mount Rainier National Park to plant native plants and work on completing repairs to the Glacier Basin Trail. Volunteers will also conduct general maintenance around the Longmire Volunteer Campground in preparation for winter. The work day will cap a
highly successful season in which more than a thousand volunteers have contributed to the protection of Mount Rainier National Park’s natural and cultural treasures and helped serve its visitors.
    Members of the public are invited to join in the day’s work. The National Parks Conservation Association, the Washington Trails Association, Evergreen State College, and the T’Kope Kwiskwis Lodge of the Boy Scouts of America will also participate.
    National Public Lands Day is an annual celebration of public involvement in the stewardship of America’s national, state, and
local parks and forests. More than 120,000 individuals are expected to participate in events all over the country. In recognition of this, entrance fees will be waived at all national parks for the day. Volunteers will receive an additional coupon for free admission on a day of their choice.
    National Public Lands Day volunteers will register at the Longmire Museum, on the south side of Mount Rainier National Park, by 9 a.m. and then continue on to Paradise. Volunteers throughout the months of September and October have been helping park crews to plant 120,000 native plants on the site of the old Jackson Visitor Center, which was replaced in 2008. Meanwhile, at White River Campground, in the northeast corner of the park, volunteers will join crew leaders at 9:00 a.m. to rebuild sections of the Glacier Basin Trail that were damaged by flooding in November 2006.
    Volunteers should come prepared for cool, wet weather, with warm clothing, rain gear, sturdy footwear, and gloves. If the weather is nice, sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats are recommended. Volunteers should also bring water, snacks, and a lunch.
    A coalition of nonprofit organizations and corporations has supported volunteer efforts at Mount Rainier throughout the summer. The National Parks Conservation Association coordinates National Public Lands Day and leads efforts to increase public awareness and understanding of issues facing northwest parks. Washington Trails Association members and crew
leaders have led projects at Glacier Basin and elsewhere. Student Conservation Association interns and crews serve as volunteer coordinators and on trail teams. Washington’s National Park Fund supports volunteer and outreach efforts through fundraising. Corporations including REI and Starbucks have contributed with both financial and on-the-ground volunteer support.
   Hundreds of individuals and dozens of groups have invested their time and sweat, in partnership with park employees, to build and patrol trails, assist and educate visitors, conduct citizen science research, plant native plants, provide roadside assistance to visitors, maintain backcountry campsites, and catalogue historic records. Last year, 1,865 volunteers contributed 72,231 hours of service at Mount Rainier, an effort valued at $1.5 million.
    Information about Mount Rainier National Park’s volunteer program, including a list of open positions, a calendar of activities, and pictures and videos of volunteers in action may be found on Mount Rainier National Park’s website at www.nps.gov/mora, or on its volunteer program blog at
Mount Rainier Volunteers



National Park Seeks Public Comments on the Future of Public
Access at Carbon River

      by Karen Thompson
      September 17, 2010
    

      Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga has announced the release of the Carbon River Area Access Management Environmental Assessment (EA) for a 45-day review and comment period. Three public meetings will be held on September 27, 29, and 30 to present the EA and discuss options for the management of access along the Carbon River Road in Mount Rainier National Park.
     The first meeting, on September 27, will be held at the City of Buckley Multi-Purpose Building, 811 Main Street, Buckley, WA. The second meeting, on September 29, will be held at The Mountaineers Clubhouse in Tacoma, 2302 N. 30th Street, Tacoma. The third meeting, on September 30, will be held at the Seattle REI Store, Second Floor, South Conference Room, 222 Yale Avenue North, Seattle. All meetings will begin at 7:00 p.m. Mount Rainier National Park staff will present the EA and discuss alternatives being considered for the road, which has been closed to vehicular traffic since record flooding and high winds caused widespread damage in the park during November 2006. Current access is by foot and bicycle only.
     During November 2006, a record rainfall event triggered debris flows and major flooding in glacially fed tributaries, causing damage to all major access roads to Mount Rainier National Park. Flooding damaged and washed out several segments of the Carbon River Road, and altered the course of the Carbon River within the historic floodplain. The second and third largest events recorded downstream at Fairfax were the 1996 and 1990 floods, respectively. The Carbon Glacier continues to deliver sediment to
the aggrading riverbed, and damage to the road has continued to occur following moderate flood events since 2006. Passage of the three largest floods within the last 20 years underscores the need for additional planning for this unique area.
    The EA, consistent with direction provided in the Mount Rainier National Park General Management Plan (GMP), presents a description and analysis of potential alternatives that would close all or portions of the Carbon River Road to private vehicles, and concurrently, to support public access in some form within the corridor. The nature and extent of public and administrative access to the Carbon River area is defined for hikers, campers, bicyclists and vehicles, and in consideration of National Park
Service goals including protection of the environment and the road itself, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The road is an important part of the Mount Rainier National Historic Landmark District, and home to numerous threatened species and their critical habitat, including the northern spotted owl, the marbled murrelet, bull trout, Puget Sound Chinook salmon and Puget Sound steelhead trout.
     Five alternatives are presented in the EA that present a range of options for access, including conversion of the road to a hiking and bicycling trail as called for by the GMP (Alternative 2), reopening a portion of the road to public vehicles (Alternative 3), seasonal shuttle use of the road (Alternative 4), and temporary use of the road as a hiking and bicycling trail while a wilderness reroute trail is constructed (Alternative 5). The No Action alternative (Alternative 1) describes continuing current
management of the road as an unimproved hiking and bicycling trail. The National Park Service preferred alternative and the environmentally preferred alternative is Alternative 2, conversion of the road corridor to an improved hiking and bicycling trail.
    The EA is available for review on-line via the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at:
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/mora.  For a printed copy or CD of this document, please call Mount Rainier National Park at (360) 569-2211, extension 2301. A limited number of printed hard copies of the EA are available at selected libraries. Those wishing to provide comments should submit them in writing to: Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, Washington 98304-9751. Comments submitted via electronic mail may be addressed to MORA_Carbon_River_Comments@nps.gov or electronically on-line via the PEPC website listed above. Your comments should be postmarked or electronically date stamped no later than November 3, 2010.
    Refer to the park’s website for more detailed information on the project and comment period located at
http://www.nps.gov/mora/parkmgmt/planning.htm and on the PEPC website. You may also contact park Environmental Protection Specialist, Karen Thompson at (360) 569-2211, extension 3376 for more information about the project.
    Individual respondents may request that their name and/or address be withheld from public disclosure. If you wish to do this, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. Commentators using the website can make such a request by checking the box "keep my contact information private." Such requests will be honored to the extent allowable by law, but you should be aware that pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, your name and address may be disclosed. We will make all submissions from organizations, businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses available for public inspection in their entirety.
 



  Mountain Traffic News:

Reconstruction to Begin on Nisqually Road near Longmire
Some Traffic Delays Anticipated...

       from Eric J. Walkinshaw
      August 27, 2010

     Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga announces that construction of a log-crib flood protection structure and reconstruction of the eroding roadway embankment at milepost 6.0 of the Nisqually Road, six miles east of the park’s southwest entrance at the end of Washington State Route 706, is to begin next week.
      As a result of a late December, 2009 flood event, a 110 feet long by 30 feet high section of the river bank was undermined and slumped into the Nisqually River, coming to within 7 feet of the roadway edge at milepost 6.0, approximately ½ mile west of Longmire.
      The park contracted with Entrix, Inc. Seattle Washington, who designed an engineered log-crib structure consisting of cabling together over 200 horizontally layered logs to 22 vertical anchor logs (buried 15 feet into the river bed), ballasted with large river alluvium boulders. The log-crib structure will form the base on which to rebuild the roadway embankment and
provides a roughened face to reduce flow velocities and rate of river bank scour.
      This relatively new technology, in addition to its primary purpose to protect the roadway embankment, mimics natural river banks throughout the park where large standing and downed trees provide protection. The park intends to plant the rebuilt road embankment w/ native trees, scrubs, and grasses in order to eventually re-establish the forest edge lost to the river.
      On July 30 a contract was awarded to Saybr Construction, Inc., Tacoma Washington to construct the log-crib structure for $447,685. Saybr will begin mobilization to the site early next week to begin site preparation. According to the preliminary project schedule, delivery and placement of the logs will begin in mid September and work completed by the end of September.
     Visitors should anticipate maximum of 20 minute delays at the project site during times of equipment and log delivery. Most of the work activities will take place on the river bed and therefore not impact visitors traveling on the Nisqually Road. Work schedule is primarily Monday through Thursday, with some work on Fridays if necessary. No work is scheduled on weekends.
 



Historic Arch Renovation at Mount Rainier National Park...


     The Chinook Pass Entrance Arch as drawn by the staff of the Historic American Engineering Record.

      from Karen Thompson
     Environmental Coordinator
     September 3, 2010

     This season, park craftsmen began the restoration of the Chinook Pass Entrance Arch, a unique historic structure in the National Park system. Spanning across the Mather Memorial Parkway (SR 410) at 5,432 feet in elevation on the eastern boundary of the park, the arch was designed as both an entrance portal and an equestrian overpass, to convey hikers and riders on the Pacific Crest Trail. Built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Rustic Style arch deteriorated due to the elements and nearly eight decades of use.
     The restoration project will repair or replace inkind all of the deteriorated parts of the structure, including replacement of the log stringers that support the bridge deck and repair of the stone masonry abutments. Some deteriorating components of the arch have been removed including the log stringers and masonry to prepare for replacement. Logs will be shaped and fitted according the National Park Service standards over the winter, so they are ready to install next summer.
     Pay careful attention to the changing road conditions as you drive through the construction area. The entrance will remain open, but traffic controls, including a crosswalk will be in place for visitor safety. When the project is complete, there should be no discernible changes for visitors, except the remarkable structure will be in good condition for another 80 years of service!

 



Rainier Mountain Festival  September 11 and 12


                                                                                                          (courtesy photo)

      Dave Hahn, who has climbed 12 times to the summit of Mount Everest (29.035 feet) is among the world-class climbers who will visit with mountain lovers Friday and Saturday, September 11 and 12 during the Mountain Festival. Hahn, along with Chris Olson received national awards in 2009 for rescuing a badly injured climber on Rainier in 2002.

       from Jeremy Foust
      August 31, 2010

     ASHFORD, Mount Rainier - August 31, 2010 - Rub elbows with Everest summiteers including legendary mountaineers Ed Viesturs, Dave Hahn, Jim and Peter Whittaker, Dave Hahn and other world-class climbers will share their adventures with talks, slideshows and audience Q&A's and will be available throughout the event for book signings and more casual conversation. Other activities include: Alpine Games - competitions for cash prizes in classic mountain events, five-mile trail run, mountain technique demonstrations, Mount Rainier benefit raffle with proceeds benefiting Mount Tahoma Trail Association, kids fun and games, and music and food for everyone.
    "The Mountain Festival has become a tradition, a mountaineering reunion for those of us in love with Mount Rainier and big mountains in general," commented Dave Hahn, who has reached the summit of Mount Everest twelve times. "The legends of the high altitude game are sure a lot easier to talk to over a picnic in Ashford than on the glaciers where they earned their fame."
     Hahn and other world-class climbers will share their adventures with talks, slideshows and audience Q&A's and will be available throughout the event for book signings and more casual conversation.

Other Rainier Mountain Festival highlights include the following:

  • Alpine Games - competitions for cash prizes in classic mountain events such as speed climbing, sled pull and erect-a-tent;
  • Five-Mile Trail Run - Enjoy a competitive run or leisurely walk on a meandering trail in the scenic foothills of Mt. Rainier on Sunday morning, September 12, at 10 a.m. Registration fee is $10 and includes an event t-shirt;
  • Mountain Technique Demonstrations - Mountain guides will share mountaineering techniques such as fitting a backpack, climbing food and nutrition, what to look for in a mountaineering stove, and boot fitting. Demonstrations will happen throughout the weekend at the Demo Tent;
  • Ed Viesturs free slideshow on Sunday September 12, at 11 p.m.
  • Mount Rainier Benefit Raffle - Tickets will be sold and drawings held for over $10,000 worth of gear with proceeds benefiting Mount Tahoma Trail Association. Drawings will take place throughout the day. Participants do not have to be present to win;
  • Kids Fun and Games - Supervised climbs on a rock wall, an inflatable bounce house and children's games will be offered both days for free.
  • Music and Food - Food vendors with BBQ, micro brews and more, as well as free live entertainment by local bands.

     Ashford, Washington is located just outside the Paradise entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. With outfitters, guide services, shops, lodging and restaurants, it is the established base camp for Mount Rainier summit attempts as well as a longtime choice for mountain vacation getaways.
     For event information, please access
www.rainierfestival.comDescription: http://www.visitrainier.com/images/icon_externalURL.gif or contact Jeremy Foust at Jeremy@whittakermountaineering.com



Free Visit to Mount Rainier this Weekend, August 14-15...


                                                                                                                          (Mount Rainier from Commencement Bay - photo by Bob Walter)

Park Entrance Fees to be Waived This Weekend, August 14-15, 2010

      from Chuck Young, Chief Ranger
     August 12, 2010

     Mount Rainier Superintendent Dave Uberuaga announces the second fee-free weekend of 2010 will occur August 14-15 to encourage Americans seeking affordable vacations to visit the national parks. At Mount Rainier and other national parks, all park entrance fees, including commercial tour entrance fees, will be waived.  These fee free weekends are in addition to the usual fee free days: National Public Lands Day, which falls on September 25 this year, and Veterans Day, November 11.
     In addition to supporting affordable vacations for families, the Park Service hopes to attract visitors to explore the numerous local businesses in the area.
    With a forecast of warm, clear weather for this weekend, it is expected that very large crowds will be visiting the park’s most popular areas, especially the Nisqually-Paradise corridor, Sunrise, and Tipsoo Lake-Chinook Pass areas.  Heavy traffic with delays and lack of sufficient parking may be expected after mid-morning at all major park attractions; traffic may be turned around at the White River Entrance Station periodically through the weekend when all available parking has filled up in Sunrise and along the White River-Sunrise Road.
     Superintendent Uberuaga strongly encourages visitors to utilize the free shuttle bus that will operate between Ashford and Paradise on Saturday and Sunday. A shuttle also runs on Fridays between Longmire and Paradise. Visitors can board the bus at Whittaker Mountaineering in Ashford. The Shuttle makes stops at Longmire, Cougar Rock and Narada Falls on the uphill run, and at Comet Falls and Cougar Rock, and Longmire on the downhill run.
    The shuttle begins in Ashford at 9:15 am and runs throughout the day. An additional shuttle at Paradise will transport visitors to and from the Paradise Valley Road, where overflow parking will be directed.  The shuttle service will run weekends through September 5, 2010.
    Mount Rainier National Park's visitor shuttle service is made possible in part by a grant from Washington’s National Park Fund and The Boeing Company Charitable Trust.  Studies are being conducted by a company contracted by the Park Service to develop a transportation plan to address traffic congestion and crowding issues at the park.
    For shuttle schedules and other park information, check the park’s web page at www.nps.gov/mora.



Climber Dies in Fall on
 Mount Rainier...


                                                                                                                                                                                       (photo by Bob Walter)

     Magnificent Mount Rainier towers over our area providing a constant bucolic and every changing scene. However, the serene panorama hides the many tragedies which have occurred on the awe inspiring mountain. The latest being the death of Lee Adams, 52, who died after falling into a crevasse.

Body will be Flown off Mountain...

       from Lee Taylor
      July 28, 2010

       Ashford - July 28, 2010-- A climber died Tuesday on Mount Rainier high on the Emmons Glacier. Lee F. Adams, 52 of Seattle was descending from the summit as part of a four-man team when the last person on the rope tripped and fell. The party was swept off their feet and, after unsuccessful attempts to self-arrest, they slid into a crevasse at 13,000 feet. The first two climbers into the crevasse landed on a false floor and sustained minor injuries. The final two fell farther. One sustained knee injuries and Adams, the last person into the crevasse, died in the fall.
      The three surviving climbers scrambled out of the crevasse and made their way back to Camp Schurman, the high camp at 9450 feet, arriving at 3:00 pm. They spent the night there in the company of National Park Service climbing rangers.
      Today two of the surviving climbers are hiking out and the third, who has a knee injury, will be flown off the mountain by helicopter. Climbing rangers will return to the scene of the accident, locate the crevasse where the fall occurred, and retrieve Adams’ body. The body will then be flown off the mountain.

 



800 Bicyclists Expected to Ride Through Mount Rainier National Park...

     Press Release
     by R. Chuck Young, Chief Ranger
     July 21, 2010

     On Thursday, July 29, RAMROD, an organized recreational bicycle ride, will bring 800 participating bicyclists through the roads of Mount Rainier National Park and surrounding areas.  This will be the 27th year that RAMROD, sponsored by the Redmond Cycling Club, has been conducted. Due to safety concerns and to minimize impact to other park visitors, the number of riders participating in this non-competitive recreational ride has been limited to 800 pre-registered riders—all rider slots have been assigned and registration for the 2010 RAMROD has been closed.
     Motorists coming to the park that day should expect some traffic delays, congestion around designated checkpoints and support areas, and long lines of bicyclists sharing the roadway.
     The ride originates and ends in Enumclaw, Washington. Riders will pass through Eatonville and will head toward the park on State Route 706. After entering the park at the Nisqually Entrance, they will proceed up the Paradise Road to the junction with the Stevens Canyon Road. The route continues east on Stevens Canyon Road to State Route 123 and north on State Route 123 over Cayuse Pass. The last leg of the ride follows State Route 410 westbound for a return to Enumclaw.
     Park roads and facilities will remain open to the general public while the one-day ride is being conducted. Drivers and pedestrians are cautioned that bicyclists in large numbers will be sharing park roadways including the road east from Nisqually Entrance, Stevens Canyon Road, SR 123 and SR 410 throughout the day.  Slow traffic along the ride route should be expected, as road shoulders are narrow or non-existent along many sections. Drivers may encounter bicyclists walking their bikes up the long grade or riding slowly to maintain control over sections of the roadway.   Motorists are requested to use extra care when passing bicyclists, and to do so only when there is sufficient road clearance and an unimpeded line of sight to do so safely.
    Additional information on RAMROD can be found at the Redmond Cycling Club
website at
http://www.redmondcyclingclub.org/RAMROD/RAMROD.html.



Road Pavement Preservation Work within Mount Rainier National Park Begins July 12

     from Eric J. Walkinshaw
    July 7, 2010


    Mount Rainier National Park and Federal Department of Transportation officials announce that road pavement preservation work will take place in Mount Rainier National beginning Monday, July 12 through Tuesday, August 31, 2010.
    Work includes: pavement patching; fog sealing pavement patches; chip seal roadway (fractured  aggregate rock embedded in asphaltic oil); and painting roadway centerlines and shoulder lines. Work will take place primarily
Mondays through Thursdays, with some carryover work on Fridays due to anticipated weather delays.
    The public can anticipate minimum delays on State Route 123, Sunrise Road, and Ohanapecosh Campground roads on the east side of the park.  And, Cougar Rock Campground/Picnic area and the Paradise Picnic area on the west side of the park. There will also be activities on the Tahoma Woods Administrative, Nisqually Entrance, Longmire, and Ohanapecosh service area roads.  However, activities in these areas will primarily impact park staff. There will be no work on the Nisqually to Paradise Road, Stevens Canyon Road, and State Route 410 at this time.
     Following a competitive bid process, a contract was awarded by the Central Federal Lands Highway Division in Denver, Colorado for $2,588,550.00 to Granite Northwest, Inc. of Yakima Washington who has been involved in similar work in Olympic and North Cascade National Parks, as well as National Park Service facilities in the San Juan Islands.
    Updated information on this project may be obtained by calling Mount Rainier National Park at 360.569.2166. Information on this project, as well as general park information, is also available on Mount Rainier National Park’s Homepage
(www.nps.gov/mora).
 



Search for Climber Called Off July 4, 2010...



Search for Climber Unsuccessful

       Press release
      by Lee Taylor
      July 3, 2010

     Ashford - July 3, 2010--The search for Eric Lewis, 57, of Duvall, Washington, continued on Saturday as helicopters and ground searchers scoured the upper slopes of Mount Rainier. A team of climbers searched the Nisqually Ice Fall and Gibraltar Chute areas, and a Chinook helicopter flew climbing areas it seems possible Lewis could have ended up. They were unable to locate Lewis or uncover any further clues to his whereabouts.
   
 Lewis has been missing since Thursday, when his climbing companions discovered that he  had unclipped from the climbing rope at 14,000 feet and disappeared. The three-man team was ascending the Gibraltar Ledges route and encountered bad weather, with high wind and visibility of as little as 5 feet. The climber in the lead, Don Storm, Jr., stopped and was joined by the second climber on the rope, Trevor Lane. As they waited for Lewis to join them, reeling in the rope, they discovered only a coil of rope with a knot. They had caught glimpses of Lewis on the rope just moments before, and immediately searched the slope below them. They proceeded to the summit ridge in case he had skirted around them. They then returned to Camp Muir, the climbing high camp at 10,200 feet, and reported the incident to climbing rangers.
   
Climbing ranger Tom Payne and two mountain guides climbed to the summit looking for Lewis late Thursday afternoon. On Friday the search expanded, with more than 40 personnel involved. Ground searchers included National Park Service climbing rangers; climbing guides from Rainier Mountaineering, Inc, Alpine Ascents International, and International Mountain Guides; and volunteers from Olympic Mountain Rescue. Park rangers aboard a military Chinook helicopter from Fort Lewis and a commercial helicopter from Northwest Helicopters searched from the air. Searchers located the climber's backpack, climbing harness, and snow shovel at 13,600 feet, and a small snow cave at 13,800 feet. Lewis did not have a sleeping bag, tent, food, or down jacket with him.
   
 "The search area is high-elevation glacial terrain and demands a high level of technical skill. The odds of finding the missing climber alive must be weighed against the risk to searchers operating in such hazardous conditions," said Incident Commander Glenn Kessler. "We've thoroughly searched the areas where we were likely to find Eric Lewis, and believe it's now time to scale back. Normal patrols of the mountain with a vigilant eye toward finding clues pertaining to the missing climber will continue."

 



Search for Missing Mount Rainier Climber...

      Press release
      by Lee Taylor
     July 1, 2010

    Ashford - A search is underway for a climber missing on Mount Rainier since Thursday afternoon. Eric Lewis, 57, of Duvall, Washington was ascending the Gibraltar Ledges Route on Thursday in poor weather. His two climbing companions stopped to rest and when they pulled in the rope to regroup they discovered that Lewis had unclipped from the rope and was no longer with them. They immediately established anchors in the snow and swept the length of the rope across the slope below them, but were unable to find their climbing partner. The two climbers returned to Camp Muir at 10,200 feet and climbing rangers initiated a search for the missing climber. Climbing rangers ascended to the summit late in the afternoon, but found no signs of Lewis.
     Search efforts expanded today, with park climbing rangers and commercial climbing guides from Rainier Mountaineering, Alpine Ascents, and International Mountain Guides joining the search. Two helicopters were also called in, a Chinook from Fort Lewis and a MD-530 with Northwest Helicopters in Olympia. The weather is overcast, with a heavy cloud layer at 8000 feet.
    Searchers located Eric Lewis' backpack (with climbing harness and shovel) at 13,600 feet, and a snow cave at 13,800.
   "We have a dozen skilled climbers on the mountain and at least 20 others providing other types of support. We're doing
everything we can to find him and get him down safely," said search Incident Commander Glenn Kessler.

 



Woman Rescued at Paradise
 Fell into Ice Cavern Caused by Heat
 from Transformer...

      News Release

       Kevin Bacher

       June 18, 2010

       10:45 p.m.

  

      At 6:15 p.m. a visitor contacted a volunteer roadside assistance ranger in the Paradise parking lot in Mount Rainier National Park to report that someone had fallen into a "sinkhole" in the snow, across the road and south from the Jackson Visitor Center. Climbing rangers responded within minutes and discovered that heat from an electrical transformer buried under 20 feet of snow had melted a large cavern in the snow. A woman walking on the surface had broken through the ceiling of this cavern and fallen at least ten feet onto the hard surface of the transformer, and from there onto the ground, sustaining multiple traumatic injuries.

     Climbing rangers at Paradise lowered a rope into the hole and stabilized the victim. Meanwhile rangers and EMTs responded to the incident from all parts of the park, including a climbing ranger who skied down from Camp Muir to direct the technical rope rescue. The victim was raised to the surface at 7:43 p.m. Meanwhile, Pierce County District 23 Station 1 Advanced Life Support responded by ground, and Airlift Northwest by air from Olympia. The injured woman was transported by air to Harborview Medical Center at 7:53 p.m.

    For more information about the injured woman, including her identity and condition at such time as that information is released, please contact Harborview Medical Center.

 



Mount Rainier Free Visitor Shuttle Service to Begin Friday, June 18...

      Press release
      from Chuck Young, Chief Ranger
     June 17, 2010

     Mount Rainier Superintendent Dave Uberuaga has announced that park visitors will once again be able to utilize the free visitor shuttle for transportation into the park from Ashford, Longmire and Paradise during the 2010 summer season.  On Friday, Saturday and Sunday the shuttle will conduct regular runs between Longmire and Paradise with stops at Cougar Rock and Narada Falls on the uphill run, and stopping at Comet Falls and Cougar Rock on the downhill run. At Longmire, visitors will board the shuttle at the historic Longmire Gas Station.  On Saturday and Sunday, only, visitors can board the shuttle in Ashford at Whittaker’s Summit Haus (on SR 706), connecting with the Paradise Shuttle in Longmire.
     Parking at Paradise is limited due to the popularity of this unique area and limited parking spaces. Even with both upper and lower Paradise parking lots open this summer, the park is anticipating that parking and traffic will be congested at Paradise; those choosing to drive should expect traffic and long waits to get a parking space. For the added enjoyment of your trip to Mount Rainier, the National Park Service strongly encourages the public to save themselves gas and the stress of driving up the mountain by taking the free shuttle this summer from Longmire or Ashford.
     The shuttle service will run through September 5, 2010. For shuttle schedules and other park information, check  the park’s web page at http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/shuttle.htm.
    
Mount Rainier National Park's visitor shuttle service is made possible in part by a grant from Washington’s National Park Fund and The Boeing Company Charitable Trust.
 



Camping Adventures at Mountain

        

Nationwide grants program is made possible by the National Park Foundation and Unilever as part of the America’s Best Idea Grants Program...

       Press Release
       June 16, 2010

      Ashford, WA – June 16 – Mount Rainier National Park today announced receipt of a $10,000 grant from the National Park Foundation in support of the Camping Adventure with My Parents (CAMP) program. The CAMP program, now in its second year, takes families who have never camped before on a two night camping trip to Mount Rainier. The project is part of the National Park Foundation’s America’s Best Idea grants, a nationwide program currently underway in 33 national parks which seeks to connect youth and other underserved audiences to parks.
     “The CAMP program opens the door for kids who have never camped to experience nature with their parents,” said Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga.“The park rangers make it safe, fun, and a great chance to learn.”
     “As stewards of the parks, there is nothing more important than connecting our communities and young people to these treasured places,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation.
     Mount Rainier National Park recruited families for this opportunity through partnerships with Student Conservation Association, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Tacoma Metro Parks. The families will learn the basics of setting up a camp site, go on ranger-led hikes, and at night sit around the campfire roasting marshmallows. The park provides participants with transportation to the park, equipment, food, and instruction—all free of charge.
     “The CAMP program would not be possible without grant support from Washington's National Park Fund and the McKibben Merner Family Foundation,” said Uberuaga.
     Inspired by the epic Ken Burns documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, the National Park Foundation, in partnership with Unilever, has awarded America’s Best Idea Grants totaling roughly half a million dollars,
to 33 national parks across the country.

About the National Park Foundation...

    You  are  the  part-owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured landscapes, ecosystems, and historical sites -- all protected in America’s nearly  400  national  parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation  is  the  official charity of America’s national parks. We work hand  in  hand  with  the National Park Service to help connect you and all Americans  to  the  parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations   who   will   follow. Join us  –  This is Your  Land. www.nationalparks.org

   
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nationalpark - Twitter: http://twitter.com/goparks



Join Mount Rainier Junior Rangers and Earn "Extra" Reward...   

 

      Press release
      June 17, 2010

     ASHFORD, WA: We dare you to try to keep up with the Junior Rangers at Mount Rainier National Park! It’s fun and healthy to play in the parks and now National Park Junior Rangers get an extra reward for ‘movin’ it outside.
     Mount Rainier National Park is one of 20 national parks kicking off Let’s Move Outside Junior Ranger. Let’s Move Outside, led by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, provides tools and information to parents to make it easy to enjoy the outdoors and be active and healthy. It is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s nationwide campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation.
     “Young people inspire us; we want to help them be healthy and curious for life. It starts with family fun. We want to help parents learn the skills they need to enjoy the outdoors with their kids,” National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said.
Young people who complete at least one physical activity in pursuit of their Junior Ranger badge receive a special sticker that designates them as a Let’s Move Outside Junior Ranger. The activities range from adventures like hiking with a ranger to body surfing and canoeing.
     Mount Rainier’s Let’s Move Outside Junior Ranger program offers kids and parents the chance to hike with a park ranger on one of the park’s beautiful trails.  The Skyscraper Saddle Hike goes through alpine meadows with stunning views of the mountain.  Meet at the Sunrise Visitor Center flagpole at 10 a.m. Saturdays July 10-August 14.  Hike is 7 miles round trip and lasts until 4 p.m.  Or join a ranger for the Glacier View Walk at Paradise, a 1.5 mile hike offered at     2 p.m. daily July 1 through September 6.  Meet at the flagpole outside the Jackson Visitor Center.
     “These hikes are a fun way to explore the wildflower meadows and learn about the mountain,” said Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. “You might not even notice that you’re also getting great exercise!”
     By summer’s end, 50 national parks will offer Let’s Move Outside Junior Ranger programs.  Young people can become Junior Rangers at more than 200 national parks nationwide.
     Before heading out, families can look at
www.letsmove.gov/outside  for more information about activities and participating parks. This website hub will link families to the great outdoors and give tips and ideas on how to best plan and enjoy an active adventure. The National Park Service provides 84 million acres to explore, so there are many places and ways to move outside!

 



Beauty of Mountain Masks Unfolding Tragedy...


                                                                                                                                                                                   (photo by Tony Sirgedas)

     Tony explains, "Here's one of Mount Rainier Saturday evening just as the sun was setting and the clouds were coming it. Always seems Mount Rainier puts on a show when there's a tragedy unfolding up there." He is referring to a climber missing after an avalanche earlier Saturday, June 5, 2010. See below.

Search Ends for Missing Man

     June 10, 2010
       

    The search for Mark Wedeven has been called off due to dangerous weather conditions on the mountain. Olympia man
Mark Wedeven's family agreed with the decision to halt the recovery effort. It is hoped that melting snow will reveal Wedeven's body, but if he fell into a crevasse his body will be lost to his family.

Search Resumes on Mountain for Missing Climber

     A 27-year-old Olympia man , believed killed by an avalanche, has been identified by his family as Mark Wedeven. Search efforts had been curtailed by conditions on the mountains and was resumed June 8. Officials are considering the search a recovery, not a recue effort any longer. Victims of avalanches rarely survive for any length of time due to hypothermia,  injuries or suffocation shortly after being trapped. Wedeven has been missing since the June 5 slab avalanche. 



Slab Avalanche May have Claimed Lone Climber
Ten Climbers Rescued...


                                                                                                                                (courtesy photo - Mount Rainier National Park)

       Results of the slab avalanche which likely took the life of a climber thought to be alone. There was also a report of a skier who may be listed as missing. Slab avalanches are usually triggered by humans. Known as the most dangerous of all avalanches they are the principal cause of risk of skiing and mountain climbing.

Missing Climber Wasn't Registered...

     News Release
       Patti Wold
      Interpretive Media Specialist

     June 5, 2010 – Eleven climbers were overtaken by an avalanche early Saturday morning during a summit attempt via the Ingraham Direct climbing route.Ten of the eleven were extricated from the avalanche by guides from International Mountain Guides and Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated. The eleventh climber has not been located.
     “The missing climber did not register for his climb, so we are focusing our efforts on identifying him. Until we do, we are unable to notify his family of the situation” stated Mountaineering District Ranger Stefan Lofgren. Weather conditions are deteriorating and it may be another 48 hours before it is safe to resume search operations. The high avalanche and current weather conditions create unsafe conditions for searching from the air and ground. The search will resume when weather and avalanche conditions are favorable.
     A Chinook helicopter from the 214th Unit of the US Army Reserve out of Fort Lewis assisted in removing two injured climbers and the rescue team of six from the scene.The rescue party was composed of Mount Rainier Climbing Rangers and Guides from International Mountain Guides and Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated.
    No sign of the missing climber was found during an air search of the avalanche area. A Hughes 530 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters assisted in the aerial search, staying 1500 feet above the ground due to wind conditions. A ground search was not possible due to high avalanche danger. Searchers were able to probe the sections of the avalanche area they could reach safely.
   The avalanche began at about 12,500 feet in elevation and traveled to about 11,200 feet in elevation. It was a slab avalanche that was 100 – 200 yards wide and 1-2 meters deep.
 



Free Entry to Mount Rainier
National Park June 5 - 6...

       Press release
       June 4, 2010


     Mount Rainier Superintendent Dave Uberuaga announces that entrance fees to Mount Rainier National Park will be waived this weekend – June 5-6. Additional fee free days are scheduled for August 14-15, September 25 (National Public Lands Day) and November 11 (Veterans Day).
     While Spring-like weather hasn’t arrived yet at Paradise, where 11 feet of snow remains on the ground, the Paradise Inn, Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center and Paradise Guide House are open and operating daily on their summer schedules.
     With the exception of the roads to Sunrise and Mowich Lake all other major park roads are now open for the season.  The Sunrise Road is projected to open on June 25 and the Mowich Lake Road on July 2.
     The historic Paradise Inn and National Park Inn are open daily offering lodging, dining, café, gift shops and post office. For reservations call 360.569.2275 (
www.guestservices.com).
     The new Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is open daily at 10 a.m. The center has ranger programs, exhibits, information, a theater, bookstore, food and gifts. The Ohanapecosh Visitor Center opened to the public on May 28 and will be open weekends only until June 12, then daily throughout the summer.
     Campgrounds currently open are Cougar Rock (173 sites + 5 group sites) and Ohanapecosh (188 sites + 2 group sites). White River Campground (112 sites) is scheduled to open to the public on June 25. The road into White River Campground is currently open to provide access for early season climbing groups.
     Sunrise Lodge, Snack Bar and Gift Shop are scheduled to open on July 2 providing food and gifts. There is no overnight lodging at Sunrise.
    The following websites provide access for information on gateway communities surrounding the park:
www.visitrainier.com www.mt-rainier.com, www.staycrystal.com, www.destinationpackwood.com, www.minerallake.com.
 



Historic Paradise Inn Opens

Dining Room at the Inn. For more information please see Paradise Inn

      Press release
      May 21, 2010

     At noon today, Mount Rainier’s historic Paradise Inn will open its doors for the 2010 summer season. The Inn, constructed in 1917, is a National Historic Landmark.  The building showcases a beautiful lobby and dining room, 118 guest rooms, a gift shop and café and three huge stone fireplaces to welcome guests.
     In addition to the Paradise Inn, the National Park Inn at Longmire is also open for visitors.  The National Park Inn offers 25 guests rooms, a full service restaurant, general store and gift shop. Both inns are operated by Guest Services, Incorporated.  Paradise Inn will be open through early October. The National Park Inn is open year round.
   
Further information is available at www.guestservices.com.  For reservations call 360.569.2275.
    Gateway communities surrounding the park are open daily providing lodging, meals, gifts, equipment rentals, horseback riding, fishing, special events and a variety of other needs to park visitors.  Information on these businesses is available on the internet at www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com www.destinationpackwood.com  or www.minerallake.com.
 

Other Park Openings...

The following park facilities and roads are scheduled to open to the public on Friday, May 28:

Cougar Rock Campground                                  Noon
Cougar Rock Picnic Area                                    Noon
Ohanapecosh Campground                                  Noon
Ohanapecosh Visitor Center                               10 a.m. (weekends only until June 12)
Longmire Wilderness Information Center       7:30 a.m. daily
White River Wilderness Information Center  7 a.m. (Friday & Saturday), 7:30 a.m. (Sunday-Thursday)
Stevens Canyon Road                                            8 a.m.
Box Canyon Picnic Area

 



National Park Preparing for Visitor Season
Free Park Admission April 17 - 25...

        Press release
        April 17, 2010

      While most roads in Mount Rainier National Park have not opened yet for the season, the main park entrance on the southwest side of the mountain (State Route 706) is open, providing access to Longmire and Paradise. At Longmire, the National Park Inn and Longmire Museum are open daily.  The Inn offers food service, a gift shop/general store, and overnight lodging. The Longmire Museum provides visitor information, exhibits and book sales. The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise is open on weekends only at this time of year. It will begin full time operation May 8.
    Guided snowshoe walks have been discontinued for the season. The Paradise snowplay (sledding) area is closed for the season.  Recent heavy snows in the Paradise area have filled in the sledding runs, and the runs are no longer suitable for safe use.  Sledding activities have ended for the season at Mount Rainier.
    Although spring has arrived, the park has been experiencing heavy snowfall at higher elevations.  Paradise currently has about 13 ½ feet of snow on the ground.  Snow tires are advised for travel to Paradise and chains may be required at times.  Visitors should come prepared for sudden changes in weather.
    Local businesses surrounding the park in the many gateway communities are open and ready for the beginning of the 2010 visitor season. For more information check these web sites: 
www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com, www.minerallake.com. or www.desitnationpackwood.com.



Park Seeks Public Comment on Air Tour Management Plan...


                                                                                                                                                                             (photo by Bob Walter)


Press release
April 4, 2010

 
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS), has initiated development of an Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) and associated Environmental Assessment (EA) for Mount Rainier National Park (Mount Rainier), pursuant to the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000.

Five air tour operators currently provide commercial air tours over and within ½ mile of Mount Rainier.  Most of these operators originate from the Puget Sound area, and one originates from Wenatchee. Since January of 2003, these five operators have had authority to conduct a maximum combined total of 114 air tours per year, though in recent years, operations have likely been below this level.  While the air tour visitor experience varies depending on weather conditions and the desires of the air tour client, the primary attraction for air tour visitors is viewing the summit of Mount Rainier.

An ATMP is being developed to provide measures to mitigate or prevent significant adverse impacts, if any, of commercial air tour operations at Mount Rainier, including impacts on natural and cultural resources, visitor experiences, and tribal lands.  It should be noted that the ATMP has no authorization over other non-air-tour aircraft such as military and general aviation aircraft.

In October 2009, the NPS and FAA held a two-day kickoff meeting at Mount Rainier; minutes may be found at:   
www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/arc/programs/air_tour_management_plan/park_specific_plans/mountrainier.cfm


The purpose of the kickoff meeting was for the FAA and NPS to have the opportunity to share information regarding environmental and other issues to consider in the development of an ATMP.  Materials presented at the meeting included information on: park resources; the acoustical environment at Mount Rainier; current and historical air tour operations; and
representative air tour flight paths.  In addition, Mount Rainier staff provided information regarding sensitive park resources, tribal concerns, and tourism patterns.

The FAA and NPS are now inviting the public, agencies, tribes, and other interested parties to provide comments, suggestions, and input regarding the Mount Rainier ATMP.  Generally speaking, the agencies would like to know about any concerns or ideas the public has regarding commercial air tour operations at Mount Rainier and their management.  Questions to consider when providing input include: Are there any significant issues the agencies need to consider during the planning process?  How do you feel air tours will affect natural, cultural, and historic resources at MORA?

A Public Scoping Document that describes the project in greater detail is available at:
www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/arc/programs/air_tour_management_plan/park_specific_plans/mountrainier.cfm


Longmire Museum, Mount Rainier National Park

Henry M Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise, Mount Rainier National Park

Ohanapecosh Visitor Center, Mount Rainier National Park

Sunrise Visitor Center, Mount Rainier National Park

Eatonville Library

Puyallup Library

Enumclaw City Library

Buckley Library

Tacoma Public Library

Yakima Valley Regional Library

Environmental Ctr. Resource Library, Huxley College of Environmental Studies, Western Washington University
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?parkId=323&projectId=29122



Park Seeks Public Comments on Stevens Canyon Road Rehabilitation Project Environmental Assessment

Press release
March 29, 2010


Mount Rainier National Park Acting Superintendent Randy King has announced that an Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared for the Stevens Canyon Road Rehabilitation Project, Segments 1 and 4. The public is invited to review the EA and provide their comments.

The National Park Service (NPS) in cooperation with the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) is proposing to resurface, restore and rehabilitate 10.09 miles of Stevens Canyon Road. This action is needed because of deteriorating road conditions caused by structural deficiencies in the roadway and embankment fill slopes.

The EA examines two alternatives: No Action and the National Park Service (NPS) preferred alternative. The preferred alternative includes: roadway stabilization measures, such as embankment reinforcement and stabilization; subexcavation and reconstruction of the road base; removing and recycling asphalt; resurfacing (paving); culvert cleaning, repair and replacement;
rehabilitation of turnouts and elimination of informal turnouts; repair of concrete guardwall approaches and repair/paint of metal guardrail at Falls Creek Bridge; resurface deck, repair and clean concrete approach guardwalls, widen sidewalk and repair and paint the metal guardrail at the Ohanapecosh River Bridge; repair the concrete and stone masonry at the Park entrance station near SR 123; extension of the stone barrier, installation of a rock border and shoreline stabilization and restoration at Reflection
Lakes.

Mount Rainier National Park was established to protect and preserve its natural and cultural resources and to provide opportunities for visitors to safely experience and understand the park environment in a manner that does not impair park resources and values.  Repair and rehabilitation of the Stevens Canyon Road will contribute to the need for public safety along the Stevens Canyon road corridor, includes a process that protects park resources and values, and maintains consistency with the goals of the Mount Rainier National Historic Landmark District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

The EA is available on the park website http://parkplanning.nps.gov/.  From the drop-down menu choose Mount Rainier National Park. It is also available at local public libraries. To receive more information or to request a CD copy of the EA, please call the Superintendent’s Office at 360.569.2211, ext. 2301.

Those wishing to provide comments should submit them in writing to: Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Ave. E., Ashford, Washington 98304; or electronically at
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/, choosing Mount Rainier National Park from the drop-down menu.  Your comments should be postmarked or electronically date stamped no later than April 26, 2010, or 30 days after the date of this public release.  Your comments, including your personal identifying information (name, address,
telephone, e-mail address) may be made publicly available at any time, if requested under the Freedom of Information Act. While you can request your personal identifying information be withheld from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
                         



Spring Opening Beginning...

Press release
March 24, 2010


Throughout Mount Rainier National Park the annual process of spring opening is beginning. This involves opening up roads that have been completely snowed in since last fall; removal of slides, boulders and rocks and fallen trees from these roads, cleaning ditches of debris and repairing any damage; shoveling snow from park buildings; reactivating water, sewer and
heating systems that have been shut down since fall; repairing damage from winter’s harsh conditions and many other maintenance activities associated with getting the park’s public facilities ready for another season of visitation.

The Washington State Department of Transportation also has their spring opening underway on State Routes 123 and 410 through the park.  Check the WASDOT website at 
http://wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/for  state updates on these road conditions.

Snow was a little slow in coming to the higher slopes this winter, but it appears a spring rally is underway. On March 15, 2009 Paradise measured 143” (12’) on the ground; this year 116” (9.5’).  Last year, snow continuedto accumulate into spring and cool temperatures kept it on the ground late into summer. Spring storms have in the past brought considerable snowfall. We’ll have to wait and see what this spring will bring to Mount Rainier.

SNOWPLAY AND SNOWSHOE WALKS ENDING FOR SEASON

Mount Rainier Acting Superintendent Randy King advises that the public snow play area at Paradise will be staffed and groomed through Sunday, March 28. After that date, the snowplay area will remain open until conditions deem the activity unsafe and/or decreasing snow depth impacts the fragile meadow vegetation beneath the runs. The ranger-led snow shoe walks will also end on Sunday, March 28.

The new Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is open weekends only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until May  8 when it will begin 7-day-a-week operations.

PROJECTED OPENING DATES FOR PARK ROADS, CAMPGROUNDS, AND OTHER FACILITIES
FOR 2010 ARE LISTED BELOW:

APRIL
State Route 410/Cayuse Pass                           (check with WASDOT)
State Route 123 @ park boundary                   (check with WASDOT)



MAY
Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center (7 days/week)            May 8
Paradise Inn                                                                                              May 21
White River Road to Campground parking lot                                   May 21
Cougar Rock Campground & Picnic Area      (noon)                        May 28
Wilderness Information Center – Longmire                                     May 28
Ohanapecosh Campground (noon)                                                        May 28
Paradise Valley Road                                                                              May 28
Ohanapecosh Visitor Center                                                                 May 28

JUNE
Paradise Picnic Area                                                                              May 28
White River Campground (noon)                                                         June 25
Sunrise Road                                                                                           June 25

JULY
Mowich Lake Road                                                                                  July 2
Sunrise Lodge                                                                                          July 2
Sunrise Visitor Center                                                                          July 2

(NOTE:  These dates are projected based on current conditions and schedules, but are subject to change.)

Visitors should check the park’s website
www.nps.gov/mora  for current conditions and closures before traveling to the park, or call 360.569.2211 for recorded information.

Businesses in the gateway communities surrounding the park are open daily. Information on these businesses is available on the internet at www.mt-rainier.com www.visitrainier.com
www.desitnationpackwood.com  or
www.minerallake.com.

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