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 Mount Rainier News:

Chip Jenkins Selected as Mount Rainier Superintendent...


                                                                                      (NPS courtesy photo)

     NPS Press Release
    
Kathryn Steichen
     February 1, 2018


    SAN FRANCISCO – The National Park Service has selected Palmer "Chip" Jenkins, Jr., to be the next superintendent at Mount Rainier National Park. Jenkins replaces Randy King who retired in January.

   "Chip brings with him his years of experience working in the Pacific Northwest,” said Martha Lee, acting regional director for the Pacific West Region. “His leadership acumen and established rapport with many key partners in Washington state will serve the park well.”

   Jenkins is a 31-year veteran of the National Park Service. He is the Pacific West Region deputy regional director based in Seattle, responsible for the region’s resource management and park planning programs. He also supervises park superintendents in the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Since March 2017, Jenkins has been on temporary assignment to Yosemite National Park as the park’s acting superintendent.

   "In my current job, I’m often away from home. Mount Rainier has always been a beacon of sorts for me,” said Jenkins. “When I see it, I know I’m home. And now, that cannot be more true. I am honored to have the chance to work with the professional and passionate people who make Mount Rainier a magical place.”

   Jenkin’s career began as a seasonal park ranger at North Cascades National Park. He has worked on some of the Park Service’s more complex development and restoration issues including expanding the purpose of Fort Clatsop National Memorial to encompass the Lewis and Clark sites along the Washington and Oregon sides of the lower Columbia River. During a previous tour at Yosemite National Park, he helped develop a regional transportation system and numerous partnership projects.

   Jenkins has served as a superintendent at North Cascades National Park Service Complex in Washington and Lewis and Clark National Historical Park headquartered in Astoria, Oregon. He’s also worked at parks in Southern California, Colorado and Indiana; and as a special assistant to the Park Service director in Washington, D.C.

   Jenkins is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental studies.

   He is looking forward to exploring Mount Rainier and the surrounding area with his wife, Laurie Lee Jenkins, who also works for the Park Service and his two sons Hayden, a student at the University of Washington and Logan who is in high school.

   Jenkins will assume his new role in mid-March.

   Mount Rainier National Park is the nation’s fifth national park, created when President William
McKinley signed legislation into law 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. For more about the park visit: https://nps.gov/MountRainier.
 



Tracy Swartout Named as Acting Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park
She Made Park History in 2012 as First Woman Deputy Superintendent

     Mount Rainier was declared a National Park in 1899 and 113 years later, in 2012, a woman, Swartout, was named deputy superintendent. She began her new position September 2, 2012. Swartout moved to the area with her husband, Tom, and children, Grayson and Sierra in 2012. (courtesy photo NPS)

        Press Release Date
        from Kelsea Holbrook

     Tracy Swartout has been named Acting Superintendent for Mount Rainier National Park, effective January 8, 2018. Swartout will replace Superintendent Randy King, who retires in January following a 40 plus year career with the National Park Service (NPS), including the last 14 plus years at Mount Rainier. Swartout will serve until the Superintendent position can be announced and filled.
     In addition to working as Mount Rainier National Park’s Deputy Superintendent  for the last five years, Swartout has held a variety of NPS positions throughout her 18+ year career, including stints in Utah, Washington D.C., and as Superintendent of Congaree National Park in South Carolina.
     Swartout received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geography from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. She also completed postgraduate work at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Graduate School.
    Swartout shared, “I'm looking forward to carrying on the good work at Mount Rainier and supporting the park’s dedicated staff, our affiliated tribes, many park neighbors and partners, and our visiting public to provide access and enjoyment, while ensuring long term preservation and protection of the natural and cultural resources entrusted to our care."


 



Mount Rainier National Park Announces Winter Operating Hours
Snow Play Area Remains Closed Due to Insufficient Snow
Vehicles Areas Which Remain Open for Recreation

       Press Release
       December 2017

     Recent storms have set the stage for winter recreation at Mount Rainier National Park, with enough snow at Paradise for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding. However, the Paradise snow play area remains closed due to an insufficient snow depth to open.

    A minimum of five feet of snowpack is needed throughout the area to create the run and containment berm, and to prevent resource damage from the grooming equipment and sledding activity. The Paradise snow play area is the only location in the park where visitors are allowed to use soft-sided sliding devices, such as 100% plastic sleds and discs.

    Beginning Friday, December 22, the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise is open throughout the winter on Fridays through Sundays, from 10:00 am to 4:15 pm. In addition, this visitor center will be open December 25-January 1, January 15, and February 19.

    Ranger guided snowshoe walks at Paradise are scheduled to begin Saturday, December 23, 2017 through March 25, 2018. The walks will be offered on weekends and holiday periods at 11:00 am and 1:30 p.m., and last two hours each. Sign-ups are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and begin one hour in advance of each walk at the Jackson Visitor Center information desk.

     Participants should dress warmly (layers), wearing warm hats, gloves, and waterproof footwear suitable for snowshoes. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and water are also advised. On January 6, snowshoe walks for organized groups of 15 to 25 visitors begin. Group snowshoe walk reservations can be made by calling 360.569.6575 between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. If the gate opening between Longmire and Paradise is delayed, snowshoe walk times may be adjusted or led from the Longmire Museum.

    The Longmire area is open seven days a week, unless major storm events require  closure. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Longmire Museum provides general park information, winter activity guidance, backcountry permits, and Discover Your Northwest books and maps for sale. The historic National Park Inn is also open daily and provides lodging, food, gifts, and snowshoe/ski rentals. For reservations, call 360.569.2275 or visit
www.mtrainierguestservices.com

    The main gate at the southwest entrance to the park will remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless conditions require a temporary closure. The higher elevation gate, located on the road between Longmire and Paradise is closed nightly to ensure visitor and staff safety, with uphill access closing at 4 p.m. to allow for visitors and staff to exit safely. Each morning, rangers and road crew staff evaluate road, weather, avalanche, and equipment conditions to determine when it is safe to open the road above Longmire.

    Unexpected staffing shortages due to illness or injury can also impact projected opening times. While park staff understand that visitors are disappointed when the gate is opened later than projected, in all cases, public and staff safety is the highest priority. Webcam viewers should note that a clear parking lot at Paradise doesn’t mean road conditions between Longmire and Paradise are safe. Standard open hours of this road are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with daily road opening and closing updates posted to Twitter. Follow the feed at www.twitter.com/MountRainierNPS.  

    Visitors are reminded that all vehicles (including 4WD) are required to carry tire chains or other state-approved traction devices when traveling in the park from November 1 – May 1. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles. Tire chains are available for sale in Ashford and at the National Park Inn in Longmire.

    Overnight winter camping is allowed in many areas throughout the park with a valid permit; however, access is dependent on road conditions and snow depth, as follows:

·   In the Paradise Day Use Zone (surrounding Paradise, outside of Wilderness), camping is permitted when snow depth exceeds 5 feet at the campsite. All Paradise Zone camping must be at least 300 feet from buildings, roads, established winter trails and the designated sledding area. The maximum party size is 12 persons.

·   Elsewhere the park, camping is permitted in undeveloped areas, where snow depth is at least 2 feet. Campsites must be more than 200 feet from roads and at least 300 feet from lakes, streams and wetlands. The maximum party size is also 12 persons.

    Campers should plan travel with gate closures in mind. Overnight camping in vehicles is not allowed in the park. For camping reservations, call 360.569.6575 between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

    Backcountry travelers are encouraged to get updates on weather conditions, current and projected snow, and avalanche conditions before coming to the park. Additionally, backcountry travelers must heed warnings, and come prepared to survive winter conditions.

    Vehicle access to other areas of the park is closed for the winter, but the following areas remain open for recreation. Please note that temporary closures may become necessary due to changing conditions:

Carbon River Road
 Mowich Lake Road
 Paradise Valley Road
 Ricksecker Point Road
 SR123 (Cayuse Pass)
 SR410 (Chinook Pass)
 Stevens Canyon Road
 Sunrise Road
 Westside Road
 White River Road

      Information on current park road closures and weather conditions can be obtained by calling the park at 360.569.2211 for recorded information that is updated regularly. Park information, announcements, and the Mount Rainier webcams are available on the park’s official website, www.nps.gov/mora

     Get additional information and updates by joining the Mount Rainier community on Facebook
www.facebook.com/MountRainierNPS 

     Find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed www.twitter.com/MountRainierNPS
    Explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube
www.youtube.com/MountRainierNPS
    Share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group
www.flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS

 



Park Valor Memorial Dedicated August 25, 2017


                                                                                            (courtesy photo NPS)

Memorial Honors the Employees and Volunteer
who Lost Their Lives While Saving Others

      Press Release
        from Tracy Swartout
       Deputy Superintendent
       August 29, 2017

     LONGMIRE, WA – A new memorial was dedicated at Mount  Rainier National Park on Friday, August 25, 2017- the 101st anniversary of the National Park Service. The memorial honors four people who lost their lives in the park while in the act of saving or rescuing others. United States Congressman Dave Reichert, Superintendent Randy King and Deputy Superintendent Tracy Swartout spoke at the ceremony.

    More than 150 friends, family, and park staff attended a dedication ceremony for the Mount Rainier National Park Valor Memorial on Friday, August 25. The memorial was constructed adjacent to the Longmire Community Building this summer.

     It honors Park Ranger Sean Ryan and Student Conservation Association Volunteer Ranger Phil Otis, who died together during a high-mountain rescue on August 12, 1995. The Valor Memorial also honors Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, who was shot and killed by a heavily armed gunman when she prevented him from traveling into the crowded Paradise area on January 1, 2012, and Park Ranger Nick Hall, who died on June 21, 2012 during the rescue of four injured climbers on the upper mountain.


                                                                                                                                                                                  (courtesy photo NPS)

   The memorial was designed and installed by park staff, with the engraving and delivery completed by Marenakos Rock Center of Issaquah, WA. Funding for the memorial was provided by donations from the State of Washington and the Redmond Cycling Club, with the assistance of Washington’s National Park Fund.

   Superintendent Randy King stated, “This memorial serves as a place to permanently honor and remember those who have lost their lives in the act of saving others at Mount Rainier National Park. It also reminds us of the selfless work that continues each day, and the risks faced, by those who serve in our National Parks as they protect park resources for the future, provide a way for visitors to connect with those resources, and work to keep people safe.”

   Additional information about the honorees and the memorial itself is being developed  for print and online publication this fall.

    To learn more about national parks in Washington and how the National Park Service works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to
https://www.nps.gov/washington.
 



Body Recovered from Pebble Creek Hole

       Press Release
       from Fawn Bauer
      August 20, 2017

     Saturday, August 19, 2017 - Mount Rainier National Park successfully recovered the body of a 30 year-old Washington man who, on July 3, had fallen into a hole above Pebble Creek while descending on skis from Camp
Muir.
    Since the initial report, the park has conducted over 22 ground and air searches of the area. Late-season snow cover, combined with unstable conditions prevented locating the skier until the snow over Pebble Creek melted out. In early August the body of the missing skier was located at the bottom of a waterfall approximately 30 meters from the location where he had fallen into Pebble Creek. Since then, the park has been monitoring the site, including snow and water conditions, awaiting an opportunity to safely access the area.
    On Saturday, August 19, a team of eight search and rescue personnel safely reached the body for extraction by a long line helicopter operation. The individual was then transferred to the Pierce County Examiner, who will confirm positive identification.
    Over 40 personnel assisted in the search and recovery, including Mountain Rescue Association and Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue's Swift Water Team. The park's exclusive use helicopter was used.



Road Construction Update August 24 to August 31...

       Press Release
      August 24, 2017

     In the early 1900s, the Nisqually to Paradise Road was built to offer the best views possible as visitors approached the mountain. Each year thousands of vehicles, cycles of freeze and thaw, and falling trees take their toll on the road. Improvements to the road are necessary to preserve its integrity as a popular and historic scenic drive.

    • Road construction takes place until late September, 2017. Expect delays of up to 30 minutes total between Longmire and Paradise.

    • Work this week includes grinding, digging, and paving along the roadway. Some pullouts and parking areas may be closed for short periods of time. Expect delays at Glacier Bridge as repair
work continues. The bridge is closed to pedestrians.

   • Paradise Valley Road will be closed 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. weekdays for work on Edith Creek Bridge.

   • Paradise Lower Parking Lot will be closed August 28–30, 2017 starting at 7 a.m. Any vehicles left in the closed area will be towed.

   • Ricksecker Point loop road is closed for the duration of the project. Paradise Inn Annex Project
This project to rehabilitate the Paradise Inn Annex and Snow Bridge will correct structural deficiencies, update fire protection systems, and improve energy efficiency. This work will also reduce the risk of damage to the structures from excessive snow loads or a seismic event.

   • Work this week will include removal of historic trim and windows, demolition of interior finishes, installation of shoring materials to lift building, and excavation of the Annex basement.

   • Resource protection work will continue to ensure wetlands in the area will recover after completion of the project.

  • All Paradise Inn services will remain open.

  • Please stay out of construction site and all fenced off areas. Avoid parking next to fences. Stevens Canyon Road Project.

  • Work this week will repair damages to rock wall structures near Backbone Ridge. Please maintain a slow speed in the work zone.    



Road Construction Update August 17 to August 24...

     Press Release
      August 18, 2017

     Nisqually to Paradise Road Project In the early 1900s, the Nisqually to Paradise Road was built to offer the best views possible as visitors approached the mountain. Each year thousands of vehicles, cycles of freeze and thaw, and falling trees take their toll on the road. Improvements to the road are necessary to preserve its integrity as a popular and historic scenic drive.

    • Road construction takes place until late September, 2017. Expect delays of up to 30 minutes total between Longmire and Paradise. Expect and plan for long delays during times of peak visitation.

    • Work this week includes grinding, digging, and paving along the roadway. Some pullouts and parking areas may be closed for short periods of time. Weekday closures are possible at Narada Falls. Expect delays at Glacier Bridge as repair work continues. The bridge will be closed to pedestrians.

    • Paradise Valley Road will be closed 7 a.m. - 10 a.m. weekdays while work is being completed on Edith Creek Bridge.

    • Ricksecker Point loop road is closed for the duration of the project. Paradise Inn Annex Project This project to rehabilitate the Paradise Inn Annex and Snow Bridge will correct structural deficiencies, update fire protection systems, and improve energy efficiency. This work will also reduce the risk of damage to the structures from excessive snow loads or a seismic event.

   • Work this week will include removal of historic trim and windows, demolition of interior finishes, and excavation of the Annex basement.

   • Resource protection work will continue to ensure wetlands in the area will recover after completion of the project.

   • All Paradise Inn services will remain open.

   • Please stay out of construction site and all fenced off areas. Avoid parking next to fences. Stevens Canyon Road Project.

   Work this week will repair damages to rock wall structures near Backbone Ridge. Please maintain a slow speed in the work zone.



Second Death at Park in July...

     Press Release
      July 16, 2017


     Mount Rainier in Washington state. (ASHFORD, WA.) -- Officials at Mount Rainier National Park say "an unresponsive hiker" was extracted by helicopter from the vicinity of the Eagle Peak Trail in the Tatoosh Range of the park on Thursday.
    "The victim showed no signs of life and was released to the Pierce County Medical Examiner," said a park issued statement.
    The hiker, a 75-year old man according to later news reports, had separated from his group of four around 1:30 p.m. to travel cross-country.
     At around 2:30 p.m. several parties "observed rockfall in the area which was reported to the park at 4:30 pm. The victim was unresponsive when located in the rockfall by aerial search," according to the statement.
     Park search and rescue crews and the park's Astar B3 helicopter ship from Helicopter Express, Inc., were involved in the operation.
     The man was identified by the Pierce County Medical Examiner's office as Burt Meyers of Olympia, Washington.

 



Update on the Pebble Creek Search and Rescue (SAR)


                                                                                                                                                                                 (photo by Bob Walter)

      Press Release
       July 7, 2017

     Update on the Pebble Creek Search and Rescue (SAR) Mount Rainier National Park rangers continue to search for a 30-year old male from Washington State who fell in a hole in the snow over the rushing waters of Pebble Creek on Monday during a ski descent from Camp Muir to Paradise.

    The missing man’s ski partner observed the fall and searched for two  hours using an avalanche probe and transceiver before descending to Paradise and reporting the incident. The Park’s climbing rangers responded on Monday following the report and searched until dark. Twenty National Park Service employees and a guide from Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated were involved in the initial search on Monday.

    The rangers on scene estimated three to five feet of snow covered Pebble Creek in the search area and reported hazardous conditions due to unstable snow and the potential to fall through the snow into the creek. Photos taken during the search on Monday depict a large amount of water flowing through the hole in the snow where the missing skier was reported to have fallen.

    On Tuesday and Thursday, the Park’s helicopter, with a pilot and crew of three, flew the search area under clear weather and favorable flight conditions. Two hours of careful searching yielded no new clues as to the location of the missing skier. Photos taken during the search on Tuesday and Thursday depict rapidly melting conditions, and continued hazardous conditions in the area where the missing skier was reported to have fallen.

    Park staff are continuing to search the area in an attempt to locate the missing skier as snow melts and conditions permit. On Friday, several independent search parties familiar with the missing skier arrived in the park and have been apprised of the dangerous conditions, as well as the prohibition of the use of search dogs or drones by independent parties within the National Park.

    Independent searchers are advised that their safety may be at risk by entering the area at this time. The missing skier’s name is not being released by the National Park Service pending further resolution of the incident.

    “We offer our condolences to the family and friends of the missing skier,” said Randy King, the Park’s Superintendent. “From the outpouring of concern, he was obviously much loved. What would compound this tragedy would be the loss of another life. For this reason we advise against private efforts to continue the search."

 



Mount Rainier National Park has Released Paradise Cellular Environmental Assessment for
 Public Comment...

     Press Release
     June 5, 2017


   The National Park Service (NPS) has prepared an Environmental Assessment that considers the issuance of right-of-way permits to Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T that would allow co-location of a limited range Wireless Communications Facility (WCF) in the Paradise area, Mount Rainier National Park, Pierce County, Washington. The NPS is required by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to consider all applications for the installation of wireless communication facilities on NPS lands.

   This Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluates two  alternatives: a no action alternative and an action alternative. Under the no action alternative, cellular service would not be provided at Paradise. The proposed action alternative would include installation of supporting equipment in the east and west attics of the Paradise

    Visitor Center with antennas mounted and concealed behind the outside panels on the gable ends of the building. Fiberglass panels on the exterior would mask the antennas. The purpose of the facility would be to provide year-round cellular service to the Paradise developed area.

   This EA has been prepared consistent with NPS guidance for implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act, and provides the decision-making framework that 1) analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet objectives of the proposal, 2) evaluates potential issues and impacts to the park’s resources, values and visitors, and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.

   Mount Rainier National Park invites you to provide  comments on  the Paradise Cellular Environmental Assessment. Comments that provide corrections or suggestions to improve the alternatives or the environmental analysis would be most helpful.

    Please comment online using the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at:
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/paradisecellular  or mail comments to: Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Ave. E., Ashford, Washington, 98304. This EA will be available for public review and comment for 45 days ending July 19, 2017.

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal  identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can request in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, this cannot be guaranteed. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.



Climber Rescued from Crevasse on Mount Rainier

        May 28, 2017

      Rangers at Mount Rainier National Park today completed the rescue of a climber who fell into a crevasse while descending yesterday from the summit of Mount Rainier. The climber was retrieved from 12,300 feet elevation on the Emmons Glacier, on the mountain’s east side, by the park’s exclusive-use A-Star B3 helicopter.
     Officials at Mount Rainier received word of the accident yesterday afternoon via a 911 cell phone call. A party of three had climbed the mountain that morning and were descending by skis and snowboard when one member of the party, a 24-year-old female, fell into a crevasse.
     Park rangers responded by helicopter, inserting six rescuers to the site, who used rope rescue techniques to raise the injured but responsive climber 100 feet to the surface of the glacier by nightfall. Two rangers spent the night with her on the mountain while the rest descended with her companions.
    This morning, the A-Star helicopter returned to retrieve the injured climber, who was lifted from a 35-degree slope using short haul techniques and delivered to a waiting medical unit at White River Ranger Station around 11:00 a.m. The patient has unspecified pelvic and back injuries and head lacerations, and was delivered by ground transportation to Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup.
     The rescue was completed with National Park Service climbing and aviation resources and FD/AMR Medic 35 out of Buckley. Rangers will spend the remainder of the day retrieving gear and resupplying high camps.

    Kevin Bacher
    Public Information Officer
 



Greg Burtchard National Park Service Cotter Award Winner

     "Archeologist Greg Burtchard shows a sample of ash from a Mount Saint Helens blast 3,500 years ago. Volcanic events create distinct layers, which archeologists use to help date human activity on Mount Rainier.  Drew Perine Staff file, 2009."

        from Roger Andrascik
        May, 2017


     The National Park Service (NPS) has announced the winners of the 2017 John L. Cotter Award for Excellence in NPS Archeology. This award is presented to archaeologists who excel in scientific archaeological research, community involvement, and public education.


     Greg Burtchard, retired Mount Rainier National Park Cultural Resource Specialist/Archaeologist, received the Cotter Award for Professional Achievement. Burtchard a 17 year veteran of the NPS was recognized for his exceptionally distinguished long-term service and outstanding accumulative career achievements in archaeology.

     Burtchard has been actively engaged in disseminating archaeological research results; and developing and maintaining partnerships with universities and federal agencies. Burtchard also greatly expanded interaction and collaboration between Mount Rainer National Park and federally-recognized tribal members and the traditionally associated people of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, the Nisqually Indian Tribe, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, the Squaxin Island Tribe, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.

     In Holocene Subsistence and Settlement Patterns: Mount Rainier and the Montane Pacific Northwest. Archaeology in Washington, Burtchard addresses the capacity of this and other mountain landscapes to attract and sustain pre-contact hunters and gatherers.

    He offers a food intensification model based on forager to collector principles and demonstrated through paleo-climate modeling and sampling that vegetative communities on the mountain were highly variable over time. Burtchard used his paleo-climate models to inform predictive modeling for archaeological sites in high country, and as a result, was able to identify many new sites.

     Dr. John L. Cotter (1911 – 1999) was best known for his work at Jamestown, Virginia, and his contributions to the development of historical archaeology. The award was created to recognize professional achievements and exceptional projects in honor of Cotter’s long and distinguished career. Award nominations are peer submitted and voted on by the award committee comprising five National Park Service archeologists.
 



Mount Rainier Tourism Creates $64.8M in Local Economic Benefit
Part of $35B impact overall that supports
 318,000 jobs nationwide...

     from Tracy Swartout
      Deputy Superintendent
      April 2017

    ASHFORD, WA - A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that nearly than 1.4 million recreation visitors to Mount Rainier National Park during 2016 spent $50.7M in communities surrounding the park with a net impact to the economy of approximately $64.8M.

   This spending supported approximately 650 jobs in the local area, not including  the 100-110 permanent and 175-185 seasonal staff working directly for the park and another 450-500 commercial concessions service employees working in or near the park to support lodging, dining, mountaineer-led climbing and other essential visitor services.

   Park visitation for the National Park Service Centennial in 2016 reached levels not seen in the park since visitation at Mount Rainier peaked in the 1990s. Despite an incredibly wet fall in the Puget Sound area, visitation at the park remained strong through the end of 2016.

   “Mount Rainier continues to provide a world-class travel destination for visitors from around the globe as well as residents of the Pacific Northwest,” said park Deputy Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “The Centennial was an opportunity to bring even greater awareness about the value of our nation’s National Parks to the American public, so while their destinations may be the national parks, millions of park visitors also connect with our local communities, providing a valuable economic investment in the area.”

   National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. The information for Mount Rainier National Park is part of a peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas (U.S. Geological Survey) and Lynne Koontz (National Park Service).

   The report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion.

   According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).

   This report and new interactive tool are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage at go.nps.gov/vse. The tool allows users to explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies.

   To learn more about national parks in Washington and how the National Park Service works with Washington communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/WASHINGTON.



Snowplay Update - Area Scheduled
to Open December 23...


                                                                                                                                                        (photo by Bob Walter - December 2015)

Press Release
December 21, 2016


Due to recent snow events, Mount Rainier National Park anticipates opening the snowplay area at Paradise this Friday, December 23. The Jackson Visitor Center will also open for daily operations starting Wednesday, December 21 through Monday, January 2.

The Paradise snowplay area is the only location in the park where visitors are allowed to use soft-sided sliding devices, such as 100% plastic sleds and discs. Sufficient snowpack depth has now developed in the area and park crews have begun grooming the sled runs in advance of the opening. A minimum of five feet of snow depth is needed across the entire sledding area to prevent resource damage from the grooming equipment and sledding activity. In some areas slightly more than five feet is needed to clear vegetation. Current snowpack is also adequate for visitors to enjoy snowshoeing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and other backcountry uses.

At Paradise, the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is open weekends only, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with additional days of operation on December 21-January 2, January 16, and February 20.

Ranger guided snowshoe walks at Paradise are scheduled to begin December 23, 2016 through March 26, 2017. The walks will be offered on weekends and holiday periods when the visitor center is open, at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and last two hours each. Sign-ups are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and begin one hour in advance of each walk at the Jackson Visitor Center information desk.

Participants should dress warmly (layers), wearing warm hats, gloves, and waterproof footwear suitable for snowshoes. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and water are also advised. On January 7, snowshoe walks for organized groups of 15 to 25 visitors begin. Group snowshoe walk reservations can be made by calling 360-569-6575 between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If the gate opening between Longmire and Paradise is delayed, snowshoe walk times may be adjusted or led from the Longmire Museum.

The Longmire area is open seven days a week, unless major storm events require closure. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Longmire Museum provides general park information, winter activity guidance, backcountry permits, and Discover Your Northwest books and maps for sale. The historic National Park Inn provides lodging, food, gifts, and snowshoe/ski rentals. For reservations, call 360-569-2275 or visit www.mtrainierguestservices.com
.

The main gate at the southwest entrance to the park will remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless conditions require a temporary closure. The higher elevation gate, located on the road between Longmire and Paradise is closed nightly to ensure visitor and staff safety, with uphill access closing at 4:00 p.m. to allow for visitors and staff to exit safely. Each morning, rangers and road crew staff evaluate road, weather, avalanche, and equipment conditions to determine when it is safe to open the road above Longmire. Unexpected staffing shortages due to illness or injury can also impact projected opening times.

While park staff understand that visitors are disappointed when the gate is opened later than projected, in all cases, public and staff safety is the highest priority. Webcam viewers should note that a clear parking lot at Paradise doesn’t mean road conditions between Longmire and Paradise are safe. Standard open hours of this road are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with daily road opening and closing updates posted to Twitter. Follow the feed at www.twitter.com/MountRainierNPS. 

Visitors are reminded that all vehicles (including 4WD) are required to carry tire chains or other state-approved traction devices when traveling in the park from November 1 – May 1. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles. Tire chains are available in Ashford and at the National Park Inn in Longmire.

Overnight winter camping is allowed in many areas throughout the park with a valid permit; however, access is dependent on road conditions and snow depth, as follows:

In the Paradise Day Use Zone (surrounding Paradise, outside of Wilderness), camping is permitted when snow depth exceeds 5 feet at the campsite. All Paradise Zone camping must be at least 300 feet from buildings, roads, established winter trails and the designated sledding area. The maximum party size is 12 persons.

Elsewhere the park, camping is permitted in undeveloped areas, where snow depth is at least 2 feet. Campsites must be more than 200 feet from roads and at least 300 feet from lakes, streams and wetlands. The maximum party size is also 12 persons.

Campers should plan travel with gate closures in mind. Overnight camping in vehicles is not allowed in the park. For camping reservations, call 360.569.6575 between the hours of 9:30a.m. and 4 p.m.

Backcountry travelers are encouraged to get updates on weather conditions, current and projected snow, and avalanche conditions before coming to the park. Additionally, backcountry travelers must heed warnings, and come prepared to survive winter conditions.

Vehicle access to other areas of the park is closed for the winter, but the following areas remain open for recreation. Please note that temporary closures may become necessary due to changing conditions:

Carbon River Road

Mowich Lake Road

Paradise Valley Road

Ricksecker Point Road

SR123 (Cayuse Pass)

SR410 (Chinook Pass)

Stevens Canyon Road

Sunrise Road

Westside Road

White River Road

Information on current park road closures and weather conditions can be obtained by calling the park at 360.569.2211 for recorded information that is updated regularly. Park information, announcements, and the Mount Rainier webcams are available on the park’s official website, www. nps.gov/mora.  

Get additional information and updates by joining the Mount Rainier community on Facebook facebook.com/MountRainierNPS

Find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed twitter.com/MountRainierNPS

Explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube youtube.com/MountRainierNPS

Share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS
 



Fishers Reintroduced at
 Mount Rainier...


                                                                                                                                    (stock photo)

Release marks the return of a native species after an absence of about 75 years.

Press Release
WDFW
December 4, 2016

State and federal biologists released 10 fishers in the Nisqually River watershed of Mount Rainier National Park as part of a collaborative effort to restore the species to Washington.

Fishers, a housecat-sized member of the weasel family, were eliminated from Washington by the mid-1900s through over-trapping and habitat loss. They have been listed as a state-endangered species since 1998.

The four female and six male fishers released today were captured in British Columbia as part of a multi-year project to reintroduce 80 fishers to the southern Cascades. They underwent veterinary checkups and were equipped with radio transmitters to allow biologists to track their movements.

The reintroduction was made possible by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the National Park Service, Conservation Northwest and other partners. Last year these partners released 23 fishers, 11 females and 12 males, in the southern Cascades on Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Releases in the northern Cascades are planned for coming years.

Joining the partners in today's event were representatives from the Nisqually Tribe, the Cowlitz Tribe, and two Canadian First Nations bands, the Nemiah Valley Indian Band from the Chilcotin (Tsilhqot'in) Nation and the Williams Lake Indian Band from the Northern Shuswap (Secwepemc) Nation.

"Watching the fishers return today to their native forests of Mount Rainier National Park after a long absence was inspiring," said Randy King, Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent. "It was an honor to have the Nisqually and Cowlitz Tribes, and the Canadian Chilcotin and Northern Shuswap First Nations attend bringing their blessings and songs."

WDFW and the National Park Service are coordinating the monitoring of the state's reintroduced fishers. Conservation Northwest is supporting ongoing fisher monitoring with volunteers and remote cameras through its Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project. These partners worked together from 2008 to 2010 to release 90 fishers in Olympic National Park.

Monitoring efforts show that the released animals have distributed themselves throughout the Olympic Peninsula and have successful reproduced. Updates about the released fishers are posted on the WDFW website, http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisher/reintroduction_cascades.html.

"We are excited to work with so many committed people to reintroduce fishers into another area where they have lived historically," said Hannah Anderson, WDFW's listing and recovery manager. "Fisher enthusiasts ranging across nations have come together to work toward a more robust natural balance with the introduction of these animals in Washington."

Fishers are related to minks and otters and are native to the forests of Washington, including the Cascade mountain range. This elusive carnivore preys on various small mammals – mountain beavers, squirrels and snowshoe hares – and it is one of the few predators of porcupines.

"Mount Rainier is an icon of the Pacific Northwest, and today our region is wilder and healthier with the return of the fisher to Mount Rainier National Park," said Mitch Friedman, Executive Director of Conservation Northwest. "We're thrilled to be a part of this historic reintroduction effort, and thankful to all the scientists, agencies, and supporters who made it possible."

Re-establishing viable populations of fishers in the Olympic and Cascade Mountains are important steps to down-listing the species in Washington State. The state recovery plan and implementation plan for fisher reintroduction in the Cascades can be found at: http://wdfd.wa.gov/conservation/fisher/reintroduction_cascades.html.

Sources of funding for the reintroductions include the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, the National Park Service, Conservation Northwest, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington's National Park Fund, state wildlife grants, Washington State personalized license plates, and funds from other partners.
 



Mount Rainier National Park Winter Access Update...

Press Release
December 1, 2016


Mount Rainier National Park welcomes you to come enjoy the great outdoors this holiday weekend. Winter conditions are
arriving, so the park advises visitors to plan ahead and prepare for potential conditions.

The Longmire Museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. At Paradise, the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is open on weekends from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. Additionally, it will be open for the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday and Friday, November 24 and 25.

PLEASE NOTE: the Paradise snowplay area is not yet open. Sledding and sliding is only allowed within the designated area at
Paradise to reduce visitor injuries on otherwise hazardous terrains. A sufficient snowpack depth is needed before snowplay can be opened, for both visitor safety and to avoid resource damage to the fragile meadows below. Further updates will be announced, dependent on conditions.

The Nisqually Entrance to the Longmire area remains open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless  hazardous  conditions
require temporary closure. The higher elevation gate, located on the road from Longmire to Paradise is closed nightly to ensure visitor and staff safety, with uphill access closing at 4:00 pm to allow time for visitors and staff to exit safely. Road, weather, and avalanche conditions are evaluated each morning to determine when it is safe to open the road above Longmire. The standard open hours of this road are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Daily road opening/closing updates are posted on Twitter: twitter.com/MountRainierNPS.

The following roads have been closed to vehicle access for the season:

Mowich Lake Road
Paradise Valley Road
Stevens Canyon Road
Sunrise Road
Westside Road
White River Road

Chinook (SR410) and Cayuse (SR123) passes are closed in advance of the forecasted storm and will be reevaluated by WSDOT next week. More information can be found on the WSDOT website: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/chinook-cayuse.

Visitors are reminded that all vehicles (including 4WD) are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the park from
November 1 to May 1. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles.

Information on current park road closures and weather conditions can be obtained by calling the park at 360-569-2211 for
recorded information.

 



Fee-Free Entrance on Veterans Day


In honor of Veterans Day, Mount Rainier National Park will waive entrance fees for park visitors this Friday, November 11.

The National Park Service and United States Military have strong ties, dating back over a century. The U.S. Cavalry served as
the first park rangers at many parks until the creation of the National Park Service in 1916. While troops were not assigned to protect Mount Rainier National Park in those early years, there has been a long-standing relationship with the military. During World War II, the famous 10th Mountain Division trained within the park and today, units from Joint Base Lewis-McChord support joint training exercises and assist with search and rescue operations.

Active duty military members and their dependents can receive a free military annual pass at the park entrance station. A free lifetime pass is also available to disabled veterans. These passes provide free entrance to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and other federal recreational areas. More information about the passes can be found at: www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm.

General park information is available at the Longmire Museum, open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise remains closed except for weekends. The National Park Inn and Longmire General Store are open year-round to provide lodging, dining, and gift-shop services.

AN IMPORTANT REMINDER TO ALL PARK VISITORS: Effective November 1, all vehicles are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the park, including 4WD vehicles. Weather in the mountains can change rapidly at this time of year and mandatory chain use may become required, even for 4WD vehicles. Visitors are reminded to be prepared for possible sudden storms.

www.nps.gov

Park information, announcements, and the Mount Rainier webcams are posted on the park’s official website, nps.gov/mora.

· Get additional information and updates by joining the Mount Rainier community on Facebook: facebook.com/MountRainierNPS

· Find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier’s Twitter feed: twitter.com/MountRainierNPS

· Explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube: youtube.com/MountRainierNPS

· Share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group: flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS 

 



Paving Paradise Parking Lot  September 5 - 23


                                                                                                                                                                                 (photo by Bob Walter)

     from Kathy Steichen
    September 3. 2016

   Beginning Tuesday, September 6, 2016 Mount Rainier National Park will begin a three week paving project in the Paradise area parking lots. Parking will be significantly limited throughout the project in both the upper parking lot near the Jackson Visitor Center and the Paradise Inn, and in the lower parking lot.

   Visitors who will be parking overnight in the Paradise area between September 5 and September 23 should park either along the Paradise Valley Road or in the Paradise Picnic Area.

   “While we realize that park visitors could be impacted by the paving project, September provides the contractor with a small window of time when visitation drops off and when temperatures and moisture levels are still suitable for paving,” said Randy King, Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent.

   The paving project will occur in phases. For the week of September 6 – 9, work will occur Tuesday through Friday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Half of the spaces in the upper parking lot near the Paradise Inn and half of the lower parking lot will be unavailable for parking as workers mill the asphalt and repair damaged areas. Flaggers will direct vehicles needing access to the Paradise Inn. The closed area will be signed and cars parked in the closed area will be ticketed and towed.

   For the week of September 11 – 16, work will occur Monday through Friday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. This week work shifts to the other half of the upper and lower parking lots where workers will continue to mill the asphalt and repair damaged areas. Flaggers will direct vehicles needing access to the Paradise Inn and the Jackson Visitor Center. The area that was closed the first week will be open for parking, but the parking lot surface will be gravel and without parking stripe lines.

   It is anticipated that the entire lot will be paved the week of September 19 – 23. Sections of the parking lots will be closed as paving progresses. The project is scheduled to be completed on September 23, but the schedule is subject to change based on weather and worksite conditions.

   The paving project is one part of a four-year project to repair and pave the park road between the Nisqually Entrance and Paradise. Each year thousands of vehicles, cycles of freezing and thawing, and falling trees take their toll on the road. Improvements to the road will preserve its integrity as a popular and historic drive and will provide safe access for years to come.

 



High Visitation Expected at Mount Rainier National Park During Centennial Weekend


                                                                                                                                                                                   (photo by Bob Walter)
Entrance Fees Waived!

Press release
from Kelsea Holbrook
August 20, 2016

With an extended forecast for sunny, summer weather, Mount Rainier National Park officials advise park visitors to anticipate high traffic volumes and full parking areas in the park for the National Park Service Centennial Weekend, August 25-28. This summer visitors to Mount Rainier National Park have experienced hour long waits at park entrance stations during mid-day peak travel times, particularly on weekends. With the nice weather and park entrance fees waived, the park expects a very busy Centennial Weekend.

In recognition of the National Park Service’s anniversary date of August 25, 1916, throughout the National Park Service entrance fees will be waived for the extended weekend dates of August 25 through August 28.

For visitors to Mount Rainier National Park on Thursday, August 25, the park invites  visitors to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial with some special activities around the park at Longmire, Ohanapecosh, Paradise and Sunrise between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

At Longmire, the park is celebrating the history of the park. At the historic gas station you can visit with the park’s curator while viewing some of the rarely seen items from the park’s museum collection. Every hour, beginning at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 2:00 p.m., the park’s living history team will be presenting programs that feature stories about people from the park’s past. On the half hour, beginning at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 2:30 p.m., there will be walking tours of the Longmire Historic District led by the park’s historic architect and historic landscape architect.

At Ohanapecosh, the park is celebrating the next generation of park stewards with special Junior Ranger activities beginning every half hour from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. These programs will be followed by a National Park Service birthday celebration and Junior Ranger ceremony at the Ohanapecosh Amphitheater at 2:00 p.m. Kids can earn their Junior Ranger badge while learning about birds, bugs, animals, and more!

At Paradise, the park is celebrating the work that park rangers and park partners do to run the park. Visitors can roam the plaza outside the Jackson Visitor Center to learn about the work and the specialized equipment used to keep Mount Rainier National Park going. From tracking fox to rescuing climbers, there is no shortage of interesting work in national parks. Meet rangers between 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., followed by a Centennial birthday celebration at 2:30 p.m. with speaker Randy King, Superintendent.

At Sunrise, the park is celebrating the science conducted in the park to learn about and protect park natural and cultural resources. Through activities, demonstrations and guided walks learn about the work archeologists, botanists, ecologists and geologists do in the park. Meet scientists between 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., followed by a Centennial Birthday celebration in the Sunrise Picnic Area at 2:30 p.m. with speaker Tracy Swartout, Deputy Superintendent.

For those wishing to celebrate the anniversary with a service project, there will be volunteer projects at both Longmire and Paradise, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and lasting about four hours. Meet at the Longmire Museum to volunteer for maintenance projects at the Longmire Stewardship Campground. To volunteer at Paradise, meet outside the Jackson Visitor Center at the staircase with the John Muir quote for a trail brushing project. Please bring water and snacks; tools and gloves will be provided.
 



Enjoy Classical Music on the Mountain August 12, 13 and 14...


                                                                                                                                                                       (photo by Bob Walter)

     Press release
     from Fawn Bauer
    August 8, 2016

    Mount Rainier National Park is excited to announce that in celebration of the National Park Service’s Centennial Birthday this year, the park will be hosting classical music performances by Music in the American West. These concerts will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday August 12, 13 and 14.

Friday’s performance will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Ohanapecosh Amphitheatre
Saturday’s performance will be at 2 p.m. at Paradise
Sunday’s event will be at Sunrise also at 2 p.m.

    Music in the American West is a group of seven performers who are touring national parks this year, honoring our country’s grandest locations with a new production of inherently American music. The seven musicians as well as the eleven composers of the Music in the American Wild ensemble are all affiliated with the Eastman School of Music.
    Inspired by the natural grandeur of our nation’s national parks, the group’s music will honor American conservation, and is sure to enchant all who travel to the Mountain to hear this group.
    For more information, contact Fawn Bauer@ fawn_bauer@nps.gov 

 



Missing Hiker Found Safe and Reunited with Her Family...

Press release
from  Kevin Bacher
Public Information Officer
August 9, 2016

Missing hiker found, reunited with family

A search for a missing hiker ended successfully this morning when she was reunited with family at the Mowich Lake trailhead
in Mount Rainier National Park.

Lacy Murphy, 24, of Missouri, left Puyallup, Washington on Sunday afternoon, August 7, to go for a short hike by herself. When she did not return, she was reported missing, and on the morning of August 8, a search began. Murphy’s vehicle was located at Mowich Lake, a trailhead in the northwest corner of Mount Rainier National Park. A 26-person search team assembled at that location, made up of park rangers and members of Pierce County Explorer Search and Rescue; Seattle, Everett, and Olympic Mountain Rescue; and German Shepherd Search Dogs of Washington.

At about 5 p.m., two members of the search team made verbal contact as they hiked the trails south of Mowich Lake calling Murphy’s name. Over the next several hours, Murphy was located at the bottom of a steep slope below the Spray Park Trail in heavily wooded terrain. A Mountain Rescue team conducted a technical rescue using ropes and a litter to lift Murphy up the slope and assist her back to the trail. After warming up and eating some food, she was able to walk out under her own power, and was reunited with her mother at the Mowich Lake trailhead about 5 a.m. this morning.

Murphy reports that she stepped off the trail to take a photograph, lost her footing, and slid down a steep slope. She tried to find her way back to the trail, but the terrain was so steep that she kept sliding further down instead. She spent Sunday night in a hollow log to keep dry.

The National Park Service recommends that hikers leave a detailed itinerary with a friend or family member, and carry  the 10 essentials,” including emergency food, water, and clothing.

 



New Stamp Highlights Mount Rainier National Park Night Sky


Postal Service Previews 13th of 16 Stamps Celebrating the National Park Service’s Centennial

Press Release

WASHINGTON - A stunning star trail photograph comprised from 200 images was previewed today to celebrate Washington’s Mount Rainier as the 13th of 16 National Parks Forever Stamp series to be revealed over a three-week period to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary.

Mount Rainier National Park

Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous United States, spawning six major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forests cloak Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems. A lifetime of discovery awaits. Visit this link for more information about the park.

Creating the Star Trail Photo

The stamp image is the creation of Matt Dieterich of Pittsburgh, PA. “This night was one I will never forget,” said Dieterich, who worked at Mount Rainier as an intern with the National Park Service Geoscientist-in-the-Parks to educate the public on dramatic views of the stars and the effect of light pollution near highly populated areas. “After working with visitors at the Mount Rainier astronomy program on June 22, 2015, I noticed there was an aurora, so I drove down to Reflection Lake to capture it.”

“The location was perfect as it contained a view of Mount Rainier and water for reflections,” he continued. “To create this star trails image I took 200 photos in a two-hour window between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. with my Nikon D750 and 24mm lens set at F/1.4 and ISO 5000. Since the Earth is rotating, each 8-sec. exposure shows stars at slightly different locations. When the photos are combined into one image the stars create a circular pattern around the North Star, which is just out of view at the top of the image. The pink aurora spread throughout the background sky. Mountaineers can be seen with their white headlamps climbing Mount Rainier on the right side of the volcano.”

“To capture star trails photos just like this,” he added, “all you need is a digital single lens reflex camera, a wide angle lens, tripod and shutter release cable. So what are you waiting for? Grab your gear and get out under the stars!"

“We are honored that such a striking view of Mount Rainier night sky was included in the National Parks Forever Stamp series,” said Randy King, Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park. “We are working with the United States Postal Service to plan a first-day-of-issue event at the park on June 2.”

Other National Parks Forever Stamps previewed to date include Acadia National Park, Arches National Park, Assateague Island National Seashore, Bandelier National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park , Everglades National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Grand Canyon National Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Haleakalâ National Park, Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens and Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.

The June 2 first-day-of-issue ceremony for the National Parks Forever Stamps pane will take place at New York City’s Javits Center at 11 a.m. as part of World Stamp Show-NY 2016. Dedication ceremonies will also take place at or near each of the National Parks depicted on the stamps. Individuals are asked to spread the news on social media by using the hashtags #NPSStamps, #FindYourPark or #NPS100.

World Stamp Show-NY 2016 will take place May 28–June 4. Held only once a decade, this mega event is not to be missed by beginners through advanced stamp collectors alike. There will be something for everyone there, no matter what you collect. Stamp collecting is a hobby for a lifetime. No matter what your specialty, you’ll find it at the show.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Park information, announcements, and the Mount Rainier webcams are posted on the park’s official website, nps.gov/mora.

Get additional information and updates by joining the Mount Rainier community on Facebook: facebook.com/MountRainierNPS

Find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier’s Twitter feed: twitter.com/MountRainierNPS

Explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube: youtube.com/MountRainierNPS

Share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group: flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS
 



Successful Rescue on Rainier's Disappointment Cleaver...


                                                                                                                                                                          (photo by Bob Walter)

     Press release
     from Patti Wold
     Incident Information Officer
     June 20, 2016    

    Monday, June 20, 2016— Two climbers were rescued on June 19, from Disappointment Cleaver at  13,500' on  Mount Rainier. The climbing team was overtaken by extreme weather while descending from a successful summit. They dug a snow cave and waited out the weather at 14,300' just below the crater rim.
     They activated their SPOT locator beacon twice on June 17. Adverse weather delayed search operations until early morning June 19, when clear weather permitted a search by the park contract helicopter. In spite of spending two nights in single digit temperatures the climbers were ambulatory and in stable condition.
     Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Olympic mountain rescues, and the US Army Reserve B Company of the 1-214th Air Battalion supported incident operations.
 



Tourism Creates $58.3M in Local Economic Benefit
Part of $32B impact overall supports 295,000 jobs nationwide

ASHFORD, WA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that more than 1.2 million recreation visitors to Mount Rainier National Park during 2015 spent $45.7M in communities surrounding the park and a net impact to the economy of approximately $58.3M. This spending supported approximately 596 jobs in the local area, not including the 100-105 permanent and 175-185 seasonal staff working directly for the park and another 450-500 commercial concessions service employees working in or near the park. Park visitation in the first two months of 2016 exceeds visitation for the same period in 2015 by 30 percent. The park anticipates another year of high visitation due in part to the celebrations and events associated with the NPS Centennial, including several weeks of fee-free days throughout 2016.

“Mount Rainier is a physical icon of the Pacific Northwest, and connects people to the land, as it has for centuries. The park is also home to a trove of natural and cultural resources that tell an important part of the history of the National Park Service,” said park Deputy Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “The mountain attracts visitors from across the U.S. and around the world. While their destination may be the national park, they also enjoy connecting with our local communities, such as Eatonville, Greenwater, Enumclaw, Packwood and Ashford- as well as other public lands and destinations along the Chinook and Cayuse Scenic Byways. These local communities are also where many of our dedicated park employees, and their families, live.”

National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. The information for Mount Rainier National Park is part of a peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas (U.S. Geological Survey) and Lynne Koontz (National Park Service). The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion. According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).

This report and new interactive tool are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage at go.nps.gov/vse. The tool allows users to explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies.

 



Weather Allows Body Recovery

     Press release
     from Patti Wold
     Incident Information Officer
     March 30, 2016    

     Winds and weather cooperated this afternoon for a successful recovery off the south flank of Mount Rainier.  Attempts earlier in the week were suspended due to high and erratic winds on the upper mountain preventing safe operations. A ground crew of four rangers climbed to the unresponsive individual at 10,600 feet on the Gibraltar Ledges route where they worked with the crew of a Hughes 530F out of Northwest Helicopters to accomplish the mission.
    TEMPORARY ROUTE CLOSURE LIFTED: The temporary closure of the Gibraltar Ledges Route is now lifted.
    The Pierce County Medical Examiner will determine the final identification and report on the cause of the climber’s condition. He was found where alpinist Monique Richard, 41 of Canada, described last seeing her climbing partner Arvid Lathi, 58 of Norway, in the area of the Gibraltar Ledges route.
    “Despite the tragic events it is always a good reminder to know the weather forecast before any climb and come prepared for any and all weather conditions. Sunny weather at the start of your trip may deteriorate quickly.” stated Peter Ellis, Mount Rainier National Park Climbing Ranger.
    The climbing party of two left Paradise on Thursday, March 24, for the summit via Gibraltar Ledges. They overnighted at Camp Muir on Friday night and began their climb on Saturday morning, March 26. Private parties at Camp Muir reported overnight gear left there all day when no one returned to use it Saturday night. The park initiated search operations Sunday morning. That afternoon Richard was seen descending from the Gibraltar Ledges route to Camp Muir. Several individuals assisted her to the public shelter at Camp Muir. On Monday, March 28, she was airlifted to a local hospital.
     An unresponsive climber was located in the area of the ledges by air reconnaissance on Monday, March 28. On the climbing team’s descent from the summit on Saturday, March 26, they were caught out overnight in a winter storm, causing them to take shelter from extreme wind, blowing snow, and frigid temperatures on the lee side of a ridge. During this time it is believed that Lathi may have succumbed to exposure.
   Members of Seattle, Olympic, Tacoma, and Everett mountain rescues, volunteer Nordic Patrol, U,S. Army Reserve B Company of the 1-214th Air Battalion and Northwest Helicopters assisted Mount Rainier National Park personnel throughout this incident.
 
 



Update: Weather Prevents Recovery of Dead Climber

     Press release
     from Patti Wold
     Incident Information Officer
     March 29, 2016

    An early morning attempt at an air recovery of the climber near Gibraltar Ledges encountered high and erratic winds on the upper mountain. Conditions prevented safe operations, shutting down operations for the day. Resources are being staged for recovery at the next opportunity, as weather permits.
   TEMPORARY ROUTE CLOSURE: A temporary closure of the Gibraltar Ledges Route is in place until a successful recovery has been achieved.



Search and Rescue Operations Underway on Mountain
"Avalanche conditions are considerable"

     Press release
      from Patti Wold
     Incident Information Officer
     March 28, 2016

     Operations are underway to extract two patients from Camp Muir, at 10,000’ on Mount Rainier’s south slope. In separate incidents a climbing party of two and a snowshoer were unexpectedly caught out overnight in a winter storm Saturday. The patients, the snowshoer and one member of the climbing party are in stable condition at Camp Muir. The second climber, a 58 year old male from Norway, is believed to be near Gibraltar Ledges.

     The first operational objective is to assess weather and snow conditions prior to putting crews in the field. The patients will be extracted from Camp Muir by air if possible, or by ground. Weather permitting, air operations will conduct reconnaissance for the second member of the climbing team. A Chinook CH47 out of JBLM with two climbing rangers and an investigator on board attempted to approach the mountain on Sunday, but the weather was too extreme to reach Camp Muir. The mission will be attempted again today under improving conditions.

    The climbing party of two left Paradise on Thursday, March 24, for the summit via Gibraltar Ledges. Their permit indicates that they overnighted at Camp Muir on Friday night and were to begin their climb on Saturday morning, March 26. Private parties at Camp Muir reported overnight gear left there all day when no one returned to use it Saturday night. The park initiated search operations Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon one member of the climbing party was seen descending from the Gibraltar Ledges route to Camp Muir. Several individuals assisted the climber back to the public shelter at Camp Muir. The climber, a 41-year old female Canadian, is reported to be alert and ambulatory.

    In a second, unrelated, incident a spot locator beacon began signaling on the Muir Snowfield Saturday night, and continued through the night. The beacon belongs to a solo snowshoer, a 26-year old male from Lacey, Washington, attempting to reach Camp Muir to overnight Saturday. The snowshoer eventually made it to Camp Muir on Sunday. He is reported to be alert and ambulatory with some frostbite.

    A winter storm hit the mountain Saturday night, at approximately 6:00 pm. Both parties were unexpectedly caught out overnight in blowing snow with temperatures in the single digits. Search crews encountered the same conditions Sunday while ascending to Camp Muir.

   Weather is expected to improve which will assist search operations. A drier northerly flow  will allow the top part of the mountain to begin clearing early today with a good chance of  partly cloudy to mostly sunny conditions beginning Monday afternoon. Avalanche conditions are considerable.

   Members of Seattle, Olympic, Tacoma, and Everett mountain rescues, volunteer Nordic Patrol, US Army Reserve B Company of the 1-214th Air Battalion and Northwest Helicopters are assisting. Rainier Guest Services provided dinner for the operation on Sunday.



Hours of Operation Update - Roads and Facilities...


                                                                                                                                                        (photo by Bob Walter February 15, 2016)

     From Kelsea Holbrook
     Press Release
     March 1, 2016


     Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King advises that beginning Saturday, March 12 the road between Longmire and Paradise will have extended hours of operation. As weather and conditions allow, the road will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the uphill gate closing at 8 p.m. On weekdays, the road will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the uphill gate closing at 5 p.m. (weather and conditions permitting).
    These hours will be in effect until evening gate closures end, typically in mid-April. Rangers and road crew staff evaluate road, weather, and avalanche conditions each morning to determine when it is safe to open the gate located on the road from Longmire to Paradise. Daily road updates are posted on Twitter: twitter.com/MountRainierNPS.
    At Paradise, the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is open weekends only, with extended hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning March 12. The Longmire Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and provides park information, winter activity guidance, and backcountry permits.
    Winter backcountry camping is available in areas with sufficient snow depth. At least 5 feet is required to camp at Paradise, and other areas of the park require at least 2 feet of depth. Permits are required for all overnight stays, and can be obtained by calling 360.569.6575 between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. Overnight car camping is not allowed at any time.
     In addition to the recreational opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding within the park, Mount Rainier’s snow play area will remain open through March 27, as conditions allow, in the designated area located directly north of the upper parking lots at Paradise. Sledding, tubing, and other sliding activities are permitted only in this location. The snow play area allows visitors to enjoy groomed snow runs, using “soft” sliding devices such as flexible plastic sleds, inner tubes, and plastic saucers. Hard toboggans and sleds with runners are not permitted because of the increased potential for injuries.
     Ranger-guided snowshoe walks at Paradise are offered on weekends through March 27. Each walk lasts two hours, departing at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sign-ups are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and begin one hour in advance of each walk at the Jackson Visitor Center information desk. Participants should dress in warm layers with hats and gloves, and wear footwear suitable for snowshoes. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and water are also advised.
    Visitors are reminded that all vehicles (including 4WD) are required to carry tire chains or other approved traction devices (i.e. tire socks) when traveling in the park from November 1 – May 1. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles. Tire chains are available for rent outside the park in Ashford and in the park at the National Park Inn in Longmire.
    Park information, announcements, and the Mount Rainier webcams are posted on the park’s official website, www. nps.gov/mora. 

 



Park Commemorates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Free Admission

from Kelsea Holbrook, 360-569-6501
January 13, 2016

On Monday, January 18, national parks throughout the country will commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. All national parks, including Mount Rainier National Park, will provide free admission for all visitors. At Paradise, the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center will be open on the holiday from 10:00 am to 4:15 pm. The Longmire Museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm and provides park and winter activity information.

The park’s popular snow play area is currently open in the designated area located directly north of the upper parking lots at Paradise. Sledding, tubing, and other sliding activities are permitted only in this location. The snow play area allows visitors to enjoy groomed snow runs, using “soft” sliding devices such as flexible plastic sleds, inner tubes, and plastic saucers. Hard toboggans and sleds with runners are not permitted because of the increased potential for injuries.

Ranger-guided snowshoe walks at Paradise are offered on weekends and holidays through March 27. Each walk lasts two hours, departing at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sign-ups are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and begin one hour in advance of each walk at the Jackson Visitor Center information desk. Participants should dress in warm layers with hats and gloves, and wear footwear suitable for snowshoes. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and water are also advised.

Mount Rainier’s current entrance fee is $20 per vehicle for a seven day access pass. The entrance waiver on fee-free days does not cover the costs of camping site fees, Special Use Permits, or Climbing Passes. Other available passes also cover entrance fees at national parks and other federal recreational lands throughout the country. Find more information about the range of options at nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm, or get a pass of your own at the park’s entrance booths.

Visitors are reminded that all vehicles (including 4WD) are required to carry tire chains or other approved traction devices (i.e. tire socks) when traveling in the park from November 1 – May 1. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles. Tire chains are available for rent outside the park in Ashford and in the park at the National Park Inn in Longmire.

The main gate at the southwest entrance to the park remains open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, unless hazardous conditions require temporary closure. The gate located on the road from Longmire to Paradise is closed nightly to ensure visitor and staff safety. Conditions permitting, this gate is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with uphill entry closing at 4:00 p.m. to allow visitors and staff to exit safely. Rangers and road crew staff evaluate road, weather, and avalanche conditions to determine when it is safe to open the road above Longmire each morning. Daily road opening/closing updates are posted on Twitter: twitter.com/MountRainierNPS.

The additional entrance fee-free days for 2016 will be April 16 through 24, August 25 through 28, September 24, and November 11. Visiting national parks provides opportunity to discover the sites and stories of our shared heritage.
www.nps.gov

Park information, announcements, and the Mount Rainier webcams are posted on the park’s official website, nps.gov/mora.

· Get additional information and updates by joining the Mount Rainier community on Facebook: facebook.com/MountRainierNPS

· Find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier’s Twitter feed: twitter.com/MountRainierNPS

· Explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube: youtube.com/MountRainierNPS

· Share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group: flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS

       

National Park Service Turns 100 in 2016 – 16 Special Days will be Entrance Fee-Free...

     The National Park Service was created by Congress August 25, 1916. To celebrate this historic time all national parks will waive entrance fees for 16 days this year.

The 2016 Special Days Are:

January 18 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

April 16-24 – National Park Week

August 25-28 – National Park Service Birthday Weekend

September – Public Lands Day

November 11 – Veteran's Day

  



Park Extends Comment Period

      Press Release
      from Karen Thompson
     Environmental Coordinator
     January 8, 2016

    The National Park Service has extended the public scoping period for the proposed Wilderness Stewardship Plan (WSP), which will guide future efforts to preserve Mount Rainier National Park's wilderness character.
     A Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement was published in the Federal Register, establishing an official end date to the public scoping period, which began early December. Public involvement is crucial to the WSP planning process.
    Public comment on the proposed WSP can be submitted online at
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/morawild.  All written comments must be postmarked or transmitted no later than February 22, 2016.
    Questions about the Mount Rainier National Park planning process and the proposed Wilderness Stewardship Plan should be referred to Karen Thompson, Environmental Coordinator at 360-569-6507.
  



Winter Wonderland Returns to Mountain


                                                                                                                                            (photo by Bob Walter)

    Press Release
    from Kelsea Holbrook
    December 15, 2015


   Recent storms have set the stage for winter fun at Mount Rainier for the upcoming holidays, with enough snow at Paradise for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding. For visitors without equipment, the National Park Inn and General Store at Longmire offer full-day rentals of cross-country skis and snowshoes, in addition to lodging and dining.

  With snow varying from 3 feet to 6 feet on the ground and trees still protruding, the snow play area at Paradise – the  only park location authorized and designated for sliding – doesn’t yet have enough snow depth to open. A minimum of 5 feet of snow is needed throughout the area to cover vegetation and rocks, and provide enough snow to create containment berms.

  The snow play area allows visitors to enjoy groomed snow runs, using "soft" sliding devices such as plastic, flexible sleds, inner tubes, and plastic saucers. Hard toboggans and sleds with runners are not permitted because of the increased potential for injuries.

  Winter backcountry camping is available outside the Paradise area where snow depths exceed 2 feet. Camping on snow at Paradise requires 5 feet of depth, and is not yet open. A snow depth of 8 feet is recommended before constructing snow caves. Permits are required for backcountry camping and can be obtained by calling 360-569-6575, between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Group size is limited to 12 persons. Overnight car camping is not allowed at any time.

   Before exploring the winter wonderland, visitors should prepare for the elements with adequate clothing and equipment, and check with park staff for current conditions. The Longmire Museum is open daily, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and provides park information, winter activity guidance, backcountry permits, and books and maps for sale.

   At Paradise, the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is open weekends only, from 10 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., with  additional daily openings for holiday break from December 23-January 3. On days the visitor center is open, the Paradise Camp Deli offers dine-in and to-go lunch and snack options. The book/gift shop and deli close 15 minutes prior to JVC building closure.

  Ranger guided snowshoe walks at Paradise are scheduled to begin December 23, 2015 through March 27, 2016. Walks are offered when the Jackson Visitor Center is open on weekends and during holiday periods. Each walk lasts 2 hours, departing at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sign-ups are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and begin one hour in advance of each walk at the Jackson Visitor Center information desk.

   Beginning January 2, there will be a 2 p.m. walk scheduled on weekends for reserved groups of 15 to 25 participants. Reservations for group walks can be made by calling 360-569-6575 between 9:30 a.m. and 4  p.m. Participants should dress in warm layers with hats and gloves, and wear footwear suitable for snowshoes. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and water are also advised. Snowshoe walk times may be adjusted or led from the Longmire Museum if the gate opening to Paradise is delayed.

   Visitors are reminded that all vehicles (including 4WD) are required to carry tire chains or other approved traction devices (i.e. tire socks) when traveling in the park from November 1 – May 1. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles. Tire chains are available at the Summit House in Ashford and at the National Park Inn in Longmire.

   The main gate at the southwest entrance to the park remains open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless hazardous conditions require temporary closure. The higher elevation gate located on the road from Longmire to Paradise is closed nightly to ensure visitor and staff safety. The standard access hours of this road are daily from 9  a.m. to 5 p.m., with uphill entry closing at 4 p.m. to allow for visitors and staff to exit safely.

    Rangers and Road Crew staff evaluate road, weather, and avalanche conditions to determine when it is safe to open the road above Longmire each morning. Daily road opening/closing updates are posted to Twitter: twitter.com/MountRainierNPS 

   Communities in the local area provide great getaway experiences throughout the year. More information on the range of services available in and around the Mount Rainier area can be found on their websites:
www.visitrainier.com www.mt-rainier.com www.mtrainierguestservices.com www.minerallake.com www.staycrystal.com www.discoverlewiscounty.com www.destinationpackwood.com

   Information on current park road closures and weather conditions can be obtained by calling the recorded information line at 360-569-2211. Park information, announcements, and the Mount Rainier webcams are posted on the park’s official website,
www.nps.gov/mora



Mount Rainier Fluvial Geomorphologist Receives National Park Service Professional Excellence in Natural Resources Award...


                                                                                (NPS photo)

      Paul Kennard, Fluvial Geomorphologist for the National Park Service, Pacific West Region stationed at Mount Rainier National Park is the recipient of the “Director’s Award for Professional Excellence in Natural Resources.”

from Roger Andrascik
October 2015

Paul Kennard, Fluvial Geomorphologist for the National Park Service, Pacific West Region stationed at Mount Rainier National Park is the recipient of the “Director’s Award for Professional Excellence in Natural Resources.” Kennard has worked at Mount Rainier National Park for the past 12 years and is being recognized for his outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of fluvial geomorphology.

“Paul’s familiarity and experience with glaciers, glacial river systems and their geomorphic dynamics affecting park infrastructure and visitor safety are invaluable to park management. His knowledge of these processes is unsurpassed. Paul has made numerous contributions as principle author and advisor on numerous planning efforts,” said Randy King, Superintendent.

Chip Jenkins, Deputy Regional Director, Pacific West Region, said “Paul continues to make a great contribution not only to Mounts Rainier National Park but also to the entire National Park Service. His achievements have significantly improved our understanding in identifying mitigating geological hazards. ”

“Paul developed techniques for predicting landslides/debris flows; prepared venerability risk assessments; and recommended innovative solutions to protect natural resources, historic infrastructure, visitor safety and experience. Paul’s cooperative efforts involve coordinating and collaborating with multi-disciplinary and multi-parties (researchers, governmental, contractors, and universities). Paul leveraged funding to secure interns and mentor students. Paul is extraordinary at public outreach with the ability to communicate his findings and message through publications and the media that are understandable and informative,” said Roger Andrascik, Chief, Natural and Cultural Resources

The Director’s Award for Professional Excellence in Natural Resources is given annually to an employee of the National Park Service in recognition of an outstanding contribution in a specific natural resource professional field. This award is to recognize those individuals who significantly contribute to resource management successes by employing a high degree of technical excellence in a narrowly focused, professional role. The achievement should have the potential to be recognized by peers as a significant advancement in the science of natural resource management. Experts recognized through this award include, but are not limited to scientific, research administration, technical, policy, and educational specialists who materially support the protection, restoration, and/or understanding of natural resources in units of the National Park Service.

Though the awards celebrate individual achievements, the award winners call attention to teamwork, professionalism, and a shared sense of purpose among park staff – critical qualities in the successful management of national parks.

"I'm always amazed at the motivation and selflessness of those who work in National Parks to protect and restore them, and to facilitate public understanding and enjoyment of their nation's natural and cultural heritage,” said Ray Sauvajot, National Park Service, Associate Director Natural Resource Stewardship and Science. “Each year we call for nominations from the field and have them judged by their peers to recognize the most outstanding efforts. It's certainly a privilege to present these awards. "

Here are the other winners for other categories and the National Park Service unit they work in and the award:

Natural Resource Management- Mark E Miller, Chief of Resor¡rce Stewardship & Science, Southeast Utah Group

Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resource Stewardship - Mark Spier, Superintendent, South Texas Group

Natural Resource Research -Steve Windels, Wildlife Biologist, Voyageurs National Park

Resource Management in a Small Park - David Bustos, Chief of Resources, White Sands National Monument

Natural Resource Stewardship through Maintenance -Lyrur Chan, Landscape Architect, Yellowstone National Park

The Director's 2014 awards was presented to recipients on October 2l in the Main Interior Building in Washington DC. Each
award recipient received a $2,000 monetary award, a framed award certificate and a limited edition bronze bison sculpture created by the artist Chris Schiller.

 



  Park Winter Access Update...

     Press release
     November 12, 2015

     Mount Rainier National Park announces winter operations, in preparation for weather conditions and recreation opportunities the winter season provides for visitors. Though many park roads are closed to vehicle access for the winter, areas throughout the park remain open for recreation. Superintendent Randy King advises: “Visitors can come have a great park experience during a time that offers incredible seasonal opportunities, if they plan ahead, prepare for changing conditions, and know their limitations.”
     The Longmire area will remain open seven days a week, unless major storm events require closure. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Longmire Museum provides general park information, winter activity guidance, backcountry permits, and Discover Your Northwest books and maps for sale. The historic National Park Inn provides lodging, food, gifts, and snowshoe/ski rentals. For reservations, call 360-569-2275 or visit mtrainierguestservices.com.
     At Paradise, the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is open weekends only, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., with additional days of operation for the holidays on November 26-27, and December 23-January 3. PLEASE NOTE: the Paradise snowplay area is not yet open. A sufficient snowpack depth is needed before snowplay can be opened, for both visitor safety and to avoid resource damage to the fragile meadows below. Further updates will be announced, depending on conditions.
     Ranger guided snowshoe walks at Paradise are scheduled to begin December 23, 2015 through March 27, 2016. The walks will be offered on weekends and holiday periods when the visitor center is open, begin at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and last two hours each. Sign-ups are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and begin one hour in advance of each walk at the Jackson Visitor Center information desk.
     Participants should dress warmly (layers), have warm hats and gloves and wear appropriate footwear suitable for snowshoes. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and water are also advised. On January 2, reserved snowshoe walks will begin for groups of 15 to 25 visitors, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Group reservations can be made by calling 360-569-6575 between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If the gate opening between Longmire and Paradise is delayed, snowshoe walk times may be adjusted or led from the Longmire Museum.
     As in past years, the main gate at the southwest entrance to the park (Nisqually) will remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless hazardous conditions require a temporary closure. The higher elevation gate, located on the road between Longmire and Paradise is closed nightly to ensure visitor and staff safety, with uphill access closing at 4:00 p.m. to allow time for visitors and staff to exit safely. Each morning, Rangers and Road Crew staff will evaluate road, weather, and avalanche conditions to determine when it is safe to open the road above Longmire. The standard open hours of this road are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with daily road opening/closing updates posted to Twitter. Follow the feed at twitter.com/MountRainierNPS.
 



Fees Waived for Veterans...

      Press release
     November 9, 2015

     Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King announces that Mount Rainier National Park, along with all National Park Service sites, will waive entrance fees for park visitors on Wednesday, November 11 in honor of veterans and current members of the United States Armed Forces.
     Additionally, current U.S. military members, and the dependents of active duty or deployed military can receive a free annual pass by showing a current, valid military identification card at the park entrance station. The military version of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass permits free entrance throughout the year to sites managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S. Forest Service. More information is available at www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm.
    General park information, winter activity guidance, and backcountry permits are available at the Longmire Museum, open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the Longmire Information Center (historic Longmire Administration Building), open on November 11 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The National Park Inn and Longmire General Store provide services such as lodging, food, and gifts. The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise remains closed except for weekends.
    AN IMPORTANT REMINDER TO ALL PARK VISITORS: Effective November 1, all vehicles are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the park, including 4WD vehicles. Weather in the mountains can change rapidly at this time of year and mandatory chain use may become required, even for 4WD vehicles. Visitors are reminded to be prepared for possible sudden storms.
    Information on current park road closures and weather conditions can be obtained by calling the park at 360-569-2211 for recorded information that is updated regularly. Park information, announcements, and the Mount Rainier webcams are available on the park’s official website www.nps.gov/mora.  Visitors can get additional information and updates by joining the Mount Rainier community on Facebook facebook.com/MountRainierNPS ;  find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed twitter.com/MountRainierNPS;  explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube youtube.com/MountRainierNPS; and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS
   Gateway community businesses also provide services throughout the winter and offer great get-away opportunities during the holiday period. Check their websites for visitor information: www.visitrainier.com, www.mtrainier.com www.mtrainierguestservices.comwww.minerallake.comwww.staycrystal.com www.discoverlewiscounty.com,  and www.destinationpackwood.com
 



Mount Rainier National Park News Release
October 30, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Randy King, Superintendent, 360-569-6501
MOUNT RAINIER PREPARES FOR SIGNIFICANT WEATHER EVENT

Mount Rainier Prepares for Significant Weather Event

Superintendent Randy King advises that Mount Rainier National Park has begun preparations for a significant weather event that is expected this weekend. Visitor access will be impacted and evacuations could become necessary.

Current weather models are predicting 12”-15” of rain to fall in the park over the next 48 hours, with snow at higher elevations. This event is expected to produce high precipitation and high winds throughout the park. All park rivers are expected to reach near flood stage, with potential for debris flows associated with glaciers. Power outages may also occur throughout the park and emergency services may be significantly delayed. Travel in the park is discouraged until the storm passes.

As result of the storm event, the following emergency closures are in effect (no driving, biking  or hiking) until further notice:

 Westside Road
 Sunrise and White River Campground Roads, closed at the junction with SR410.
 Carbon River Trail, entrance to Ipsut Creek
 Mowich Lake Road, beyond the Paul Peak vehicle barricade

The timing of these emergency closures coincides with the last few days of planned operations for some roads, so effectively this storm will end seasonal driving access to Mowich Lake and the Sunrise/White River Road. Other park roads or areas may be closed as conditions warrant during or following the storm.

For their safety, visitors are asked to respect any closure signs, barriers or staff directions as it relates to park access this weekend. Backcountry camping permits will not be issued through the weekend and camping in vehicles is not permitted in the park.

Updates on road conditions and restrictions can be obtained by calling the park at 360-569-2211 for recorded information or subscribing to the park’s Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS.  Information is also available through the park’s official website www.nps.gov/mora  and Facebook at http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS.

Mount Rainier webcams can also be viewed at the main park website.

 



Backcountry Climber's Body Found after Fatal Fall...

    from Fawn Bauer
    September 15, 2015

     Weather conditions cooperated this morning for searchers in Mount Rainier National Park  who located and extracted a climber who suffered a fatal fall while climbing in the northern part of the park. Inclement weather with white-out conditions on Monday impeded efforts to locate the climber by air.
     On Sunday, September 13 a party of three left Carbon River to camp and climb in the Lake Crescent area. After a successful climb of The Chief (elevation 7026 feet), one of the climbers fell during his descent. The Chief, one of the two summits of Sluiskin Mountain, is a pronounced, rugged peak located in an isolated area just east of Windy Gap on the Northern Loop Trail.
    This morning, Mount Rainier National Park’s exclusive-use helicopter, along with a ground team of two park rangers reached the victim, who is being transferred to the Pierce County Medical Examiner.
    A Northwest Helicopters’ MD 500 assisted with search efforts on Monday.

 



Glacial Outburst Flood and Debris Flow Occurs at Mount Rainier National Park
Westside Road Temporarily Closed
Through the Weekend...

 rom Kathy Steichen
August 14, 201


A glacial outburst flood and debris flow occurred at Tahoma Creek in Mount Rainier National Park on Thursday, August 13, 2015 beginning at approximately 9:40 am. The glacial outburst flood originated from the South Tahoma Glacier as a 0.5 acre portion of the terminus of the glacier broke off and quickly released water stored in the glacier.

The outburst flood event was first reported by a park volunteer who was working near Tahoma Creek on an unrelated research project. The volunteer heard a loud roaring sound, followed by the sounds of water moving boulders and the cracks of breaking trees. As the debris flow from the initial outburst crossed the Westside Road, the volunteer hiked to higher ground. Another volunteer at Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground also heard the loud roar coming from the direction of the South Tahoma Glacier and hiked to a safe location near the suspension bridge over Tahoma Creek to report on subsequent outburst surges.

The debris flows was also recorded by seismic monitoring equipment at Emerald Ridge in Mount Rainier National Park at 9:40 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am and 12:40 pm. The largest event was recorded at 11:30 am and generated a debris flow that reached the Westside Road at approximately 12:00 p.m.

Mount Rainier Park rangers and geologists responded quickly contacting park visitors in the area and assisting them across the area impacted by the debris flow. A Hughes MD530 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters assisted the park with two reconnaissance flights to look for park visitors hiking in the area, check the condition of the trail for possible washouts, and check the South Tahoma Glacier for possible additional outburst geologic hazards. All of the park visitors in the area were accounted for by Thursday evening, but park staff will continue to monitor visitor use in the area.

Some damage to Mount Rainier’s Westside Road was reported on Thursday. The Westside Road will be closed at least through the weekend as the park continues to monitor Tahoma Creek and assess damage to the road and area trails.

“This most recent glacial outburst and debris flow demonstrates again that Mount Rainier is a dynamic landscape,” said Randy King, Mount Rainier Superintendent. “Visitors should be aware of their surroundings when traveling in the park. Remember to remain alert for changes in water levels, unusual sounds or shaking of the ground. If you are near a river or stream, move quickly to higher ground.”

About seven waves of debris flow occurred on Thursday afternoon and evening. As the outburst flood moved down valley, it carried sediment, rocks, and uprooted trees and deposited the debris within the Tahoma Creek valley near Mount Wow in Mount Rainier National Park. A stream gage on the Nisqually River at National registered the 0.5 foot river rise on Thursday afternoon. The debris flow had no impact to properties outside of Mount Rainier National Park.

A glacial outburst flood is a large, abrupt release of water from a glacier. The exact mechanisms through which water moves through glaciers and how these events occur are not well known. Geologists report that stagnant and slow moving ice on the lower part of the glacier combined with faster moving ice on the upper glacier, have been associated with these events in the past.

Since 1985, over 30 debris flows have occurred in the Tahoma Creek valley. Glacial outburst floods from the South Tahoma Glacier during hot, dry weather caused most of the debris flows, but heavy rainstorms in the fall caused several others.

Park visitors who have additional information about the debris flow or photographs are asked to contact Scott Beason, Park Geologist, at scott_beason@nps.gov  or 360.569.6781.

For information about visiting Mount Rainier National Park, visit www.nps.gov/mora  or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MountRainierNPS  or Twitter at www.twitter.com/MountRainierNPS.

 



Star Party at Paradise Saturday



Star Party at Paradise: Saturday July 18, 9:45 p.m. to at least 11:45 p. m. (Weather Permitting)

     from Curt Jacquot
     July 15, 2015

     Families and individuals of all ages are invited to the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park for a special “star viewing party” on Saturday July 18. The event starts at 9:45 PM at the plaza in front of the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise. If the sky remains clear, the event will last until at least 11:45 PM. The outdoor star gazing will be led by the 2015 Mount Rainier Astro-Volunteer team. These volunteers donate the use of their personal telescopes for the public and educate about the night skies.
    Weather permitting, nightly star viewing with at least one of the Mount Rainier astronomers will take place outside the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center through Labor Day this season. This Saturday, all six of the Mount Rainier Astro-Volunteer team will be present with telescopes for this special event. If weather makes star gazing difficult, the star party will be cancelled. Call the Mount Rainier Astronomy hotline at (360) 569-6230 for updates on sky viewing and cancellations.
    The National Park Service has come to embrace night skies as one of the many scenic vistas the agency is a  steward of. It is essential to keeping a park whole and touches on almost every aspect that is important to us - from sustainability to stargazers, and animals to ancient ruins.
    This event is free and open to all. The entry fee to the park is $20 per private vehicle. Information about the National Park Service Natural Lightscapes program is available at:
http://www.nature.nps.gov/air/lightscapes/
     General park information is available at
www.nps.gov/mora  or by calling 360.569.2211.



Search Suspended After a Dead Male Climber Seen Near Summit


                                                                                                                                                                                (NPS courtesy photo)

     Searching for the lost climber. A member of the large search party is silhouetted against the rugged country while trying to find the missing man.  Photos from this weekend's search are available at Liberty Ridge Search 6/12-13/2015 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Body being Recovered by Climbing Rangers...

     from Patti Wold
     June 13, 2015

     Saturday, June 13, 2015, 2:30 pm— The search for Kyle Bufis is being suspended today after a deceased male climber was spotted by the search helicopter near the summit of Mount Rainier. The body is currently being retrieved by climbing rangers. Although the subject matches the description of the missing climber, confirmation rests with the Pierce County Medical Examiner.
     Bufis, age 25 from Utah, was a member of an independent three person climbing team when he went missing near Liberty Saddle on Mount Rainier at approximately 9:00 pm on Thursday, June 11, 2015, after climbing the challenging Liberty Ridge route on the north flank of Mount Rainier. The other two members of the climbing team, Derek Gavelis and Mathew Wiech, descended to Camp Schurman of their own accord late the next day. Both were tired, but are in good physical condition.
     Special thanks goes out to the US Army Reserve 214th Air Division and Northwest Helicopters for air support during this mission and to King County for delivery and use of their under mount helicopter avalanche beacon receiver.
     Two helicopters with crews and Mount Rainier climbing rangers were involved in the search. Thirty nine park personnel were assigned over the course of the incident.
 

Liberty Ridge - National Park Service Photo.



June 13 - Liberty Ridge Climber Kyle Bufis Still Missing...


                                                                                                                      (file photo)

       from Patti Wold
      June 13, 2015
      8:30 a.m.

      Saturday, June 13, 2015, 8:30 a.m.- from Patti Wold:  The search for missing climber, Kyle Bufis, continues today. Day two of the search is focused on the area of the confluence of the Winthrop and Emmons glaciers.
      Bufis, age 25 from Utah, was a member of an independent three person climbing team when he went missing near Liberty Saddle on Mount Rainier at approximately 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, after climbing the challenging Liberty Ridge route on the north flank of Mount Rainier. The other two members of the climbing team, Derek Gavelis and Mathew Wiech, descended to Camp Schurman of their own accord late yesterday afternoon. Both were tired, but are in good physical condition.
      Today’s search will be conducted by two air operations. Three climbing rangers on board a US Army Reserve 214th Air Division Chinook will conduct a visual aerial search. A helicopter from Airlift Northwest will search for signals from an avalanche beacon believed to be carried by Bufis using an avalanche beacon receiver provided by King County. This helicopter's second mission is to carry searchers while they look into crevasses from the air. Climbing rangers are on standby to assist at Camp Muir and Camp Schurman high camps.
     Weather conditions will become increasingly favorable for search efforts throughout the day. Forecasted daytime conditions at the summit: Winds NW 40, 12 degrees Fahrenheit.
     The temporary flight restriction remains in place. A new press release will be issued when additional information becomes available or check the park’s incident information line by calling 360.569.2211 then dial 9 then select option 2.



Update June 12, 7 p.m. Liberty Ridge Search Suspended for the Night...


                                                                                                                                                                        (NPS photo)

Rainier National Park rangers search for a missing climber from a US Army Reserve 214th Air Division Chinook.

     Liberty Ridge Search Suspended for the Night - Friday, June 12, 2015, 7 p.m. - from Patti Wold - Climbers Derek Gavelis and Mathew Wiech descended to Camp Schurman of their own accord late this afternoon. The search for the third climber, Kyle Bufis, has been suspended for the evening and will resume tomorrow morning.
     Bufis went missing during extreme weather at approximately 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 11. Search efforts are focused in the vicinity of the confluence of the Winthrop and Emmons glaciers. The Public Information Office will be staffed tomorrow starting at approximately 8 a.m. following the incident staff briefing. A recording of the final update is available on the park incident information line at 360.569.2211 then dial 9 and option 2. Press releases are posted on the park website www.nps.gov/mora.



June 12 - Update: Climber Remains Missing
Two Climbing Companions Safe...

     From Patti Wold - Friday, June 12, 2015, 3:30 p.m.  - Two of the climbers in the Liberty Ridge incident, Derek Gavelis and Mathew Wiech, are now at Camp Schurman with park climbing rangers where they will be debriefed. Both are tired, but in good physical condition. The third climber, Kyle Bufis, 25, remains missing. A second air reconnaissance flight is currently underway.
    A new press release will be issued when additional information becomes available or check the park’s incident information line by calling 360.569.2211 then dial 9 then select option 2.

 



Search Underway for a Missing Climber on Liberty Ridge...


                                                                                                                                          (photo by Bob Walter)

     June 12, 2015 - from Patti Wold:  search is underway for a climber missing from a team of three on Liberty Ridge on the north flank of Mount Rainier. He went missing yesterday, June 11th, during their descent from Liberty Cap in high winds and low visibility.
    Today’s initial search will be an air reconnaissance with a US Army Reserve 214th Air Division Chinook out of Joint Base Lewis McChord with park rangers on board. The Chinook will also attempt a summit landing to offload rangers who will attempt to locate the reporting party. Winds at the summit today are predicted to reach 70mph presenting challenges to search operations.
    The initial missing person report reached the park at 5:10 am this morning. The climber went missing above 14,000’ in elevation in the vicinity of Liberty Saddle.
    A temporary flight restriction is in place. There are 26 park personnel assigned to this incident.
    A new press release will be issued when additional information becomes available or check the park’s incident information
line by calling 360.569.2211 then dial 9 then select option 2.



Technical Rescue at Christine Falls - Man Injured...


                                                                                                                                                                                         (NPS courtesy photo)

     June 11, 2015 - from Patti Wold: Park rangers conducted a technical rescue today below Christine Falls in  Mount Rainier National park where an 18-year old male from Tacoma, fell 30-40 feet this afternoon. Due to multiple injuries he was taken to a local hospital by life flight.
     The fall/slide took place from a bank below Christine Falls Bridge. Initial assessments indicate a head injury  and fractured arm.
    Airlift Northwest provided life flight support. Fifteen park personnel were assigned to the incident.

 



Grizzly Bear Restoration Public Comments Now Available...


                                                                                                                                                        (file photo)

       from Denise Shultz
      National Park Service
      June 12, 2015


      Sedro Woolley, Wash. – The National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have released the report analyzing public comments received during the first phase of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for grizzly bear restoration in the North Cascades ecosystem.
     The EIS is a three-year process to determine a range of actions that could be taken to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades ecosystem, a 9,800 square-mile area of largely federal lands in north central Washington state.
      FWS listed the grizzly bear as a threatened species in the lower 48 United States in 1975. The species was listed as endangered by the state of Washington in 1980. The EIS is being developed jointly by the FWS, which administers the Endangered Species Act, and the NPS. The U.S. Forest Service and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are cooperating agencies in the process.
      The NPS and FWS held a series of public open houses from Feb. 13 through March 26 in which they shared information and solicited public input on the range of issues related to grizzly bears and the North Cascades ecosystem. Comments were also accepted by postal mail, online, and in person at North Cascades National Park. The summary of some 3,000 individual comments be used by the agencies to identify key issues during development of a range of alternatives to address grizzly bear recovery.
      A draft Environmental Impact Statement containing the proposed alternatives will be released in summer 2016 and another public comment period will follow. The analysis report and other documents related to the planning process can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/3PZMG
     More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.govon Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice,  Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice,  and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.
     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their
habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov/pacific/or connect with us through any of these channels: www.facebook.com/USFWSPacific www.tumblr.com/blog/usfwspacific www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/,  or https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/.

 



Sunrise Scheduled to Open Friday
Mowich Lake Road Opening Delayed...

      from Tracy Swartout
     Deputy Superintendent
     June 3, 2015


     Superintendent Randy King advises that public access to the Sunrise area on the east side of Mount Rainier will open this
Friday, June 5. The Sunrise Lodge and Visitor Center will remain closed until June 27 when seasonal staffing is on board to run these facilities. Restroom facilities will be available in the Sunrise area. The Ohanapecosh Visitor Center is scheduled to open June 26.
     The park has had to delay the Mowich Lake Road opening for a second time in order to complete work on the damaged Stevens Canyon Road, which opened May 22 and to get the Sunrise Road and area ready to open by June 5. Park crews will now move to the Mowich Road to get it graded, ditches cleaned and ready for the new opening date of Friday, June 19.
     Other than the locations mentioned above, all other areas of Mount Rainier National Park are now open for the summer season.
     For updates on current conditions check the park’s webpage at www.nps.gov/mora,  or join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group. Recorded park information is also available by calling 360.569.2211.
     Outside the park visitor lodging, food, gifts and activities are available year round. Check the following web pages for information on these communities surrounding the park
- www.visitrainier.com www.mt-rainier.com www.staycrystal.com www.minerallake.com www.destinationpackwood.com.
 



Mount Rainier Fee Increases Approved for 2015...

       from Tracy Swartout
      Deputy Superintendent
      May 2015


     ASHFORD, WA – Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King announces that the park will begin increasing park entrance and camping fees on May 22, 2015. These fee increases, first announced in November, were open for public comment through the end of 2014. The timeline for implementation and in some cases the rates themselves have been adjusted based on feedback received from the public and other park stakeholders. The fee increase implementation date coincides with the anticipated opening of the Stevens Canyon Road, linking the park’s east and west districts. These fees will support over $1M in projects each year that have a direct benefit to the park’s visitors.
     Mount Rainier became the fifth national park in 1899, and was the first to admit vehicles for a fee in 1907. Eighty years later, the cost for a one week visit to the park was raised from $2 to $5 per vehicle. In 1996 the fee was increased to $10, and by 2006 it reached $15 where it has remained. This fee provides entry for all occupants in a single vehicle for seven consecutive days. Entrance fees are not charged for holders of a variety of passes, including the Interagency Pass, the Military Pass, and the Senior Pass.
     These passes may be purchased online or are available at Mount Rainier National Park when entrance booths are staffed. The National Park Service (NPS) fee program allows Mount Rainier to retain up to 80% of fees collected in the park, with the remaining 20% supporting national park units without fees. This revenue makes it possible for the park to provide many essential services, including repair and maintenance of visitor facilities, capital improvements, resource protection, and amenities. In addition, it supports park entrance, campground and wilderness information center staffing, and visitor information and brochures.
    Recreation fee revenue is an important component of the overall financial health of Mount Rainier National Park and the National Park Service. In recent years, fee funding at Mount Rainier has been used to augment the restoration of historic Paradise, build a new ranger and visitor contact station at Carbon River, and support an ongoing project to replace the electric power and telecommunication utilities serving Longmire and Paradise. Fee revenue supports trail, campground and picnic area repairs and improvements, the restoration of subalpine meadows, the management of hazard trees, and enables the park to provide social media and update aging interpretive exhibits.
     Over the next few years, the park plans to continue rehabilitating restrooms, trails, campsites, and further improve accessibility for a variety of park facilities. In addition, the park will continue to invest in improvements to the Carbon River trail corridor, the rehabilitation of the Paradise Inn Annex, and evaluate improved visitor services elsewhere in the park.
     With few exceptions, national parks across the United States have not increased entrance fees since 2006.  However, in order to provide funding necessary for key projects and programs, all 131 fee-collecting national park sites evaluated potential fee increases, within an established fee structure. As a result, the entrance fee at both Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks was proposed to increase to $25 for a seven-day vehicle pass based upon an updated rate schedule to be used by all park sites that charge fees.
     Mount Rainier also proposed to increase camping fees, bringing them up to $20 per night for any park “single” campsite (up to six people). Group sites (up to 40 people) would increase to $60. A 2014 campground comparability analysis confirmed that the existing park rates, which presently range from $12 to $15 per night for single sites and $40 to $64 for group sites, were significantly lower than local area public and private campsites outside of the park.
     Public engagement was conducted in November and December of 2014. During the comment period, the park received over one hundred comments online, via mail, and in person- several of which were from organizations representing membership views. The majority of comments received were supportive of all or part of the proposal to increase park entrance and camping fees, with references made to the value of national parks in relation to costs for other recreational alternatives, the length of time since the last fee increase, and support for projects that could be funded by a fee increase. Of comments received in opposition to the proposed fee increase, primary themes included affordability and access for lower income individuals and families, the magnitude of the proposed increase (in particular the “per-person” fee), and a desire to see improved park access.
     Alternatives presented by the public included phased-in fee increases, increases for the interagency and senior passes, lower rates for a shorter-duration visits, and a reduction in the “individual” entrance fee proposed. Based on public feedback and general support for the fee changes, the park will phase in many increased fees over two years, and has reduced the “per-person” rate for bicyclists and walk-up visitors.
     As of May 22, 2015, the park’s single vehicle rate will increase from $15 to $20. This rate will increase again to $25 on May 27, 2016. Individual camping fees would increase to $20 on May 22, 2015 and group sites would increase to $60 per night. These camping rates would not increase again in 2016.
    For further information, visit the park’s “Plan Your Visit” webpage at
www.nps.gov/mora

 

Fee type

Current fee

Proposed fee (before public comment)

Approved fee

(after public comment)

Mount Rainier NP annual pass

  • Grants unlimited entry for one year to pass owner and passengers in same car

$30

$50 in 2015

$40 in May, 2015

$50 in May, 2016

Mount Rainier single vehicle fee

  • Grants unlimited entry for one vehicle and passengers for seven consecutive days

$15

$25 in 2015

$20 in May, 2015

$25 in May, 2016

Mount Rainier “per person” fee

  • Walk-up or single bicycle fee
  • Grants unlimited entry for seven consecutive days

$5

$12 in 2015

$10 in May, 2015

Mount Rainier motorcycle fee

  • Grants unlimited entry for one motorcycle and passenger for seven consecutive days

$5

$20 in 2015

$10 in May, 2015

$20 in May, 2016

Campground fee (single sites, nightly)

  • Accommodates up to six people

$12-$15

$20 in 2015

$20 in May, 2015

Campground fee (group sites, nightly)

  • Accommodates 25 to 40 people

$40-$64

$60 in 2015

$60 in May, 2015

 




     Mount Rainier Tourism  Creates $57.7M in Local Economic Benefit ...

      Tracy Swartout
      Deputy Superintendent
      May 2015


     ASHFORD, WA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that nearly 1.3 million recreation visitors to Mount Rainier National Park during 2014 spent $45.5M in communities surrounding the park and a net impact to the economy of approximately $57.7M. This spending supported approximately 595 jobs in the local area, not including the 100-105 permanent and 175-185 seasonal staff working directly for the park and another 450-500 commercial concessions service employees working in or near the park. Due to warmer and drier than normal weather in the first quarter of 2015, visitation to the park is already 50% higher than the same period in 2014.
    “Mount Rainier National Park is a touchstone for residents and visitors in the Pacific Northwest, and connects people to the land, as it has for centuries. The park is also home to a trove of natural and cultural resources that tell an important part of the history of the National Park Service,” said park Deputy Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “The mountain attracts visitors from across the U.S. and around the world. While their destination may be the national park, they also enjoy connecting with our local communities, such as Greenwater, Enumclaw, Packwood and Ashford- as well as other public lands and destinations along the Chinook and Cayuse Scenic Byways. These local communities are also where many of our dedicated park employees, and their families, live.”
     National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. The information for Mount Rainier National Park is part of a peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz. The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally; 235,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.
     According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending across the NPS was for lodging (31%) followed by food and beverages (20%), gas and oil (12%), admissions and fees (10%) and souvenirs and other expenses (10%).
    To download the report visit
http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm

    The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

    To learn more about national parks in state name and how the National Park Service works with Washington communities
to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to
www.nps.gov/WASHINGTON.

 



Wonderland Trail Applications  Suspended

       from Donna Rahier
      April 10, 2015

      Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King reports that the park is no longer accepting reservation requests for hiking the Wonderland Trail (either the full circuit or large portions), for the summer 2015 hiking season due to overwhelming and unprecedented demand.
      The park’s current reservation procedure provides that reservations received between March 15 and April 1 each year are processed in random order starting on April 1. All reservations received on or after April 1 are processed in the order they are received, after the first batch is handled. A small number of Park Rangers are tasked with processing all reservation requests.
       Prior to 2013, the number of wilderness reservation requests received at Mount Rainier during the first two weeks of the reservation window averaged around 800. In 2013, that number jumped to 1,400- perhaps partially due to increased press related to hiking the Wonderland Trail. In 2014, the park received 2,000 reservation requests during that same period. This year, the park received approximately 2,600 reservation requests as of March 31, the majority of which are for hiking the Wonderland Trail.
      The number of requests received in 2015 within the first two weeks exceeds space that can be reserved at backcounty camps along the trail this summer. Established carrying capacity for wilderness camping in the park dictates the number of reservations that will be accommodated, and this number does not change annually. Therefore, in order to minimize processing of reservation requests that will then be denied - and to minimize would-be applicants’ frustrations - the park is no longer accepting reservation requests for Wonderland reservations in 2015. Visitors may still seek walk-up reservations throughout the summer.
     The park holds approximately 30 percent of available backcountry space for first come, first served (walk-up) permits. Hikers may attempt to get a first-come, first-served permit (based on availability) on the start day of the hike (or up to one day in advance of the start date). No walk-up reservations are accepted prior to one day in advance of the start of the proposed hike. The best locations to obtain a walk-up permit are the ranger stations at Longmire, White River and Carbon River.
     Another option for experiencing the Wonderland Trail is to hike it in smaller segments, which will improve chances of obtaining a permit both via reservation and in person. Hikers can also improve their chances by being flexible with trip dates and destinations.
 



Snow Conditions Update

     Mount Rainer swathed in clouds during the "pink moment." Photo by Bob Walter taken on Christmas Day and stolen "fair and square" by Elmer Potts on Facebook.

     from Dave Larson
    Acting Deputy Superintendent
    December 30, 2014


    With fresh snow in the Cascades and consistently cold temperatures, visitors to Mount Rainier National Park can enjoy a
variety of independent winter recreation opportunities, including backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and taking in the sights around Longmire and Paradise.
   At this time, the snow play area directly north of the Paradise parking lot is not yet in operation. The snow  level is currently not deep enough to protect the fragile meadow vegetation during park grooming operations. The park will be monitoring snow depth over the next week to determine when the snow play area can be groomed and opened for public use.
   The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. through January 1, then resume its weekend/holiday schedule.
   The National Park Inn at Longmire remains open throughout the winter for lodging, food, gifts and rental gear.
   Be sure to check weather conditions and road gate status before heading to the park. As always, gear up for winter weather
and prepare for icy road conditions so that you can enjoy a safe visit.




                                                                                                                                                                            (photo by Bob Walter)

 Entry Fees Waived Tuesday January 19 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday...

    Press Release
    January 15, 2015

    Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King advises that entrance fees to Mount Rainier National Park will be waived for the upcoming federal holiday on January 19, which honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is the first of six fee waiver events scheduled for 2015. The others are:

February 14-16 – Presidents’ Day Weekend

April 18-19– First Weekend of National Park Week

August 25 –National Park Service Birthday

September 26 – National Public Lands Day

November 11– Veterans Day

Paradise Snowplay Area Still Lacking Snow

     Only the southwest entrance (Nisqually) on State Route 706 is open to vehicle access this time of year. All other park entrances are closed to vehicles. The Longmire and Paradise areas are expected to be open (dependent on weather conditions)
     Visitors are reminded that all vehicles (including 4WD) are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the park during the winter months. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles.
     The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise will be open offering exhibits, a movie, information, gift shop and food services. Ranger guided snowshoe walks will also be conducted at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. starting from the visitor center. Sign up at the information desk one hour before the scheduled times. A $5 donation from each participant helps defray the costs for snowshoe repair and replacement.
     The Paradise snowplay area remains closed due to a lack of snow.
Sledding/sliding is prohibited until the snow play area opens. Currently there is between 30 and 40 inches of snow on the ground at Paradise. A minimum of 60 inches is needed to construct the snowplay runs and to provide protection to the fragile Paradise meadows from damage. There is plenty of snow for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing so come to Paradise!
   
Join the Mount Rainier community on Facebookhttp://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS - find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS- explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTubehttp://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS.
 



Tragic Conclusion to Search Efforts for Snowshoer...

     from Patricia Wold
     Information Officer
    December 31, 2014

   Search crews located an unresponsive male fitting the description of the overdue snowshoer at 11:57 this morning. The
Pierce County Medical Examiner will make the final determination and identification. The body was found by ground searchers next to Edith Creek in the Paradise area.
   The missing snowshoer, a 37 year old male from Puyallup, Washington, disappeared during Saturday evening’s winter storm that dropped 20 inches of snow in 48 hours. He intended to overnight at Camp Muir, but was forced to descend due to formidable winter storm conditions.
    A second party took him into their shelter at Panorama Point, but when the shelter was destroyed by the extreme conditions they attempted to complete their descent to Paradise together. During the descent the individual separated from the party in the vicinity of Edith Creek.
   Members of the Nordic Patrol, and Tacoma, Everett, Seattle, and Olympic Mountain Rescues conducted the ground search. The US Army Reserve 214th Air Division out of Joint Base Lewis McChord and park climbing rangers aboard searched the avalanche prone areas by air. Approximately 30 personnel were assigned to the incident.



Search Underway for Snowshoer

      from Patricia Wold
     Information Officer
     December 29, 2014

     A search is underway above Paradise for an overdue snowshoer from Puyallup, Washington, who disappeared during Saturday evening’s winter storm. The missing party intended to overnight at Camp Muir, but was forced to descend due to formidable winter storm conditions.
    A second party took him into their shelter at Panorama Point, but when the shelter was destroyed by the extreme conditions they attempted to complete their descent to Paradise together. During the descent the individual separated from the party in the vicinity of Edith Creek.
    The park worked with the Nordic Patrol to conduct a hasty search on Sunday. Today’s operations include a ground and air search from Edith Creek to the upper Stevens Canyon Drainage. Members of Tacoma, Everett, Seattle, and Olympic Mountain Rescues are conducting the ground search. The US Army Reserve 214th Air Division out of Joint Base Lewis McChord and park climbing rangers aboard are conducting the air search.
   Current conditions are cold and windy. Avalanche conditions are considerable. The air search will focus on high avalanche areas.
   The road to Paradise will remain closed during the search.
 



Nisqually Entrance Reopens Following Flood Event...

     from Patti Wold
     November 26m 2014


    Public access to Mount Rainier National Park is now open through the Nisqually Entrance following a brief closure on November 25, 2014, due to a flood event. Heavy rain falling onto the significant snowpack filled park streams and creeks, creating dangerous conditions throughout the park.
   A logjam just above the Kautz Creek culverts on the Nisqually Road caused the creek to divert over the road. The park road crew worked throughout the afternoon to remove the logjam and return the creek to its channel. Measures were taken to protect park infrastructure from Nisqually Entrance to Paradise—pumping water out of basements and keeping culverts free of debris. Park roads are now clear and safe for travel.
   As always, the safety of park visitors and staff is the priority of park management. To ensure their safety, visitors in the Longmire area and nonessential employees stationed at Longmire were evacuated from the park beginning at approximately 11 a.m. Essential employees remained in the park to remove the logjam and maintain the integrity of park infrastructure.
    Park photos of this event are available for use on the park Flickr page https://www.flickr.com/photos/mountrainiernps/sets/72157649461747061/.
 



Nisqually Entrance to Park Closed Temporarily Due to Flooding...

                                                                                                                                                                                                (NPS photo)

   "Kautz Creek looking downstream with debris." See more photos High Water - November 25, 2014 - an album on Flickr

      from Patti Wold
      November 25, 2014

     Mount Rainier Acting Superintendent Tracy Swartout advises that access to Mount Rainier National Park is closed temporarily at the Nisqually Entrance due to flooding in the Kautz Creek area and potential for flood damage in other park areas. 
     Heavy rain at high elevations on the mountain falling onto the significant snowpack at Paradise has created dangerous conditions throughout the park. This “rain on snow” event is similar to conditions that were present when the historic flood occurred in November 2006.
    As a precautionary measure, all park visitors on the west side of the park (from the Nisqually entrance east through Longmire and on to Paradise) have been advised to leave the park. Only authorized employees will remain until conditions stabilize, allowing for an assessment of conditions as well as a determination of any road or infrastructure damage.
    The weather forecast is for continued rain throughout today, with rain and snow showers projected for Wednesday.

    Updates are posted through social media on the park’s Facebook and Twitter sites, as well as the Mount Rainier webpage www.nps.gov/mora.   Recorded telephone updates are available at 360.569.2211 - https://www.facebook.com/MountRainierNPS
https://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS
 



Parks Seeking Public Review on Plan to Restore Fisher...


                                                                                                                                    (stock photo)

      from Karen Thompson
     Environmental Protection Specialist
     September 16, 2014 


     Sedro Woolley, WA –The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public comments on a proposal to restore the fisher (Pekania pennanti) to Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks. The recently completed Fisher Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment for Mount Rainier National Park and North Cascades National Park Service Complex (Fisher EA) proposes the reintroduction of 80 fishers into the southwestern Cascades, including Mount Rainier National Park, over the course of two years. Similar efforts in the northwestern Cascades, including North Cascades National Park Complex, would follow a successful release to the south.

    The fisher is a medium-sized carnivore in the weasel family that is native to the north and south Cascades of Washington State. Considered absent from Washington by the mid-1990s, Washington State formally listed the fisher as endangered in 1998. Since the fisher is not expected to return to the Cascades on its own, Washington State has determined that fisher reintroduction is necessary in both the southwestern and northwestern Cascades to restore this species to its historical range in the state. Fishers would likely be brought in from central British Columbia and monitoring would follow each reintroduction effort for at least three years.

     The NPS is seeking public review and comment on the Fisher EA through October 15, 2014. To see the full plan and provide comments, go to www.parkplanning.nps.gov/RestoreFisher.  Limited physical copies are also available at several public libraries throughout the region including Bellingham, Burlington, Mount Vernon, Seattle, Tacoma, Puyallup, Enumclaw, Buckley, Eatonville, Chelan, East Wenatchee, and Yakima Valley and by request at noca_superintendent@nps.gov.  During the comment period, you may also submit comments through the regular mail or by hand delivery directly to: Superintendent’s Office, ATTN: Fisher EA, North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284.

     All comments on the Fisher EA are welcome, particularly those that assess the adequacy of the document in disclosing and evaluating the effects on the environment. These comments are most useful if they are as specific as possible and do the following:

     ■Discuss a particular plan element or alternative
     ■Identify incomplete or incorrect information
     ■Offer reasons why a particular alternative or plan element would or would not work
     ■Offer a reasonable, new plan element or completely new alternative that could help accomplish the stated goals
     ■Point out discrepancies between legal mandates and proposals
     ■Highlight deficiencies in the analysis of environmental consequences
     ■Provide information on how you use the park and how particular proposals in the planning document would affect that use.

    The NPS and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will be holding public open houses to provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the Fisher EA and provide verbal or written comments. Details on the location, date, and time of  these meetings is available on the project website at: www.parksplanning.nps.gov/RestoreFisher.



Nisqually Road Update from Mount Rainier...

      from Patti Wold
     September 15, 2014

     Road construction is scheduled for Monday, September 15 to Friday, September 19, from 8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. Plan for a maximum 30 minute delay, including multiple short stops along the seven mile road.

     •Work continues at the Westside Road intersection.

     •Guardrails will be installed at the double culverts in the Kautz area.

     •Ricksecker and the Valley Road remain closed for the season.

     •Some paving near Longmire should begin toward the end of the week.

     •The paving schedule is weather dependent and subject to change
 



Three Bodies Recovered Successfully from Mountain...

      from Patti Wold
   

     Wednesday, August 20, 2014—The bodies of three deceased climbers were removed from a debris field on the Carbon Glacier, below Liberty Ridge, on Tuesday, August 19, 2014. This is the same location the search for six missing climbers was focused on earlier this year. While they are believed to be members of the party of interest, the Pierce County Medical Examiner will provide final identification.
    The bodies were spotted on August 7, during a training flight in the area. Recent warm weather melted some of the ice and snow in the debris field, exposing the three. Park staff, working with personnel from Northwest Helicopters, developed a plan to mitigate the risk involved in extricating the bodies from this highly dangerous location. Rock and ice fall off Willis Wall, and an increase in new crevasses in Carbon Glacier below, combine to make this one of the most hazardous locations in the park.
    The operation consisted of Northwest Helicopters MD-530 using a remote controlled Heli-Tech grabber device mounted from a 100 foot long line. Eight park rangers participated in the planning and execution of the operation.
    No evidence of additional remains was encountered during the operation.



Mount Rainier Fires Drenched by Rain...

        from Patti Wold

      Thursday, August 14, 2014—The Shadow Lake fire, ignited by lightning the night of August 11, was drenched by heavy rainfall from a subsequent storm the following evening. The storm poured 1.7 inches of rain on the half-acre fire leaving the perimeter cold. Firefights were pulled off the fire midway through the storm due to lightning danger and heavy rainfall. The fire is now in patrol status to monitor warm spots on the interior of the burned area.
      While located in the backcountry, the fire was on the far edge of the Sunrise developed area. Due to dry conditions, stretched resources, and the unavailability of a Wildland Fire Use Module*, park management made the decision to suppress the fire. Mother Nature took her own action and extinguished the fire with a downpour.
      The section of the Wonderland Trail closed to the fire is reopened.
      Within three hours of the initial report of smoke from the Scarface West Fire, located near Grand Park, the area received
almost two inches of rain. No smoke has been reported since.
      * The primary mission of a WFM is to provide an innovative, safe, highly mobile, logistically independent, and versatile fire module with a primary commitment to maintain fire’s role as a natural ecological process for wildland fire management and incident operations.
 



Lightning Sparks Fires on Mount Rainier...

     from Patti Wold

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014—Two lightning fires ignited overnight are burning in Mount Rainier National Park’s backcountry. The Shadow Lake fire is located near Sunrise and the Scarface West Fire near Grand Park. At this time no structures are threatened.
   The Shadow Lake fire is a half-acre in size including several small spot fires. A fire crew is actively suppressing the fire. The Wonderland Trail between White River Campground and Sunrise is closed as a safety precaution. An alternate route is recommended via Glacier Basin and Second Burroughs. Sunrise Camp, White River Campground, and Sunrise remain open.
   The Scarface West Fire is approximately one tenth of an ace in size. The park is currently monitoring this fire which was discovered by a Puget Sound Incident Coordination Center initiated fire patrol flight. There are no closures in place in the vicinity of this fire.
   Resources assigned to the fires include a helitack crew and a park fire crew.

 



First Naturalization Ceremony to be Held at Mount Rainier...

     by Tracy Swartout
     July 17, 2014

     On Monday, July 21, Mount Rainier will host the park’s first naturalization ceremony for individuals who will become United States citizens. The special ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. at the patio area adjacent to the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center located at Paradise. Sixteen individuals from nine countries are expected to declare their Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America as they become new U.S. citizens.
    This special ceremony is one of several being held in National Park Service areas throughout the country this summer, and is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the National Park Service.
    The public is welcome to attend.
 



Missing Hiker Search Scales Back

      from Tracy Swartout
      July 19, 2014

    Search operations for missing hiker Edwin Birch of Tacoma, WA continued with a reduced number of searchers on the ground Friday. These efforts represented the sixth full operational period of the SAR, and the focus was on high probability locations near the Wonderland Trail, within the Boulder Creek drainage above the Ohanapecosh River.
    Mount Rainier National Park Search and Rescue staff were assisted by staff from Olympic National Park and Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, and were deployed in two, three person teams. Search activities will be reduced again Saturday, as the park transitions towards a limited continuous search effort.
    Birch, who has been missing since Saturday July 12, was reported missing from a day hike along the Wonderland Trail.
    This section of the Wonderland Trail is snow covered above 6300 feet and patchy at other locations. The park advises that all
hikers should come prepared with the ten essentials (http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/Assets/ClientPages/zz_TenEssentials.aspx), and be prepared for difficult travel this time of year when snow can obscure park trails.



Another Day Hiker Missing on Mountain
Edwin Birch, 64, Missing Since Saturday

       from Fawn Bauer
      Education and Youth Outreach Program Manger
      July 14, 2014

     Search efforts are underway in Mount Rainier National Park for a day hiker who went missing Saturday, July 12, while hiking with his son in the Panhandle Gap area on the Wonderland Trail. Edwin Birch, 64, from Tacoma set out from Box Canyon early Saturday morning after he dropped his son off at White River to hike the same trail in the opposite direction. Both father and son had set a goal to hike the Wonderland Trail in sections, and Saturday’s mission was to hike the section between Box Canyon and White River, roughly 19 miles in length.
    At approximately 3:30 p.m. that day, father and son met midway on the trail near Indian Bar at around 6600 feet. The son reported his father seemed well, although he was a bit tired. After arriving at the Box Canyon trailhead around midnight, the son picked up the car and drove to pick up his father at White River. When his father did not appear he notified park rangers at White River at 1:30 a.m.
    By 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, Mount Rainier National Park initiated search efforts with ten ground searchers and an MD530 helicopter from Northwest. Helicopters. The entire trail, as well as high probability areas close to the point last seen, were covered that day without any signs of the missing hiker.
    Today’s search efforts include 53 personnel including members from Everett, Tacoma, and Olympia Mountain Rescues, along with an Everett Mountain Rescue dog team, and air support from Northwest Helicopters. The Soup Ladies are providing food for searchers.
    This section of the Wonderland Trail is snow covered above 6,300 feet and patchy at other locations. The park advises that all hikers should come prepared with the ten essentials (http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/Assets/ClientPages/zz_TenEssentials.aspx) , and be prepared for difficult travel this time of year when snow can obscure park trails.
 



Search for Missing Hiker Called Off When a Woman's Body Found Near Search Area...

    June 21, 2014:

    Well known outdoor journalist, Karen Sykes, 70, was lost on Mount Rainier Wednesday and the search was suspended Saturday after a woman's body was found in the area where the search was focused.
    Park officials declined to say the body was that of Sykes until the medical examiner identified the person. It was reported that Sykes was working on a story when she failed to return to a meeting place where her partner waited. The body was discovered in the Boundary Creek area and was off the trail.
    Cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner. 



Search for Missing
 Hiker Suspended

        from Patti Wold
       Public Information Officer

     Saturday, June 21, 2014, 9 p.m. –The search for missing hiker Karen Sykes was suspended today with the retrieval of a deceased female from the search area at approximately 3 p.m. The identification of the victim will be established by the Pierce County Medical Examiner. The victim was discovered off-trail near the eastern branch of Boundary Creek in rough, steep terrain. The area is difficult to access and not commonly traveled.
    Seven ground crews and one helicopter were involved in the today’s search. 110 personnel were assigned over the course of the incident including volunteers and staff from North Cascades, Olympic, and Mount Rainier national parks. Special thanks go out to the organizations that provided highly trained search personnel including the German Shepherd Search and Rescue of Washington State, Kittatas County dog teams, King County Explorers, and Everett, Olympic, Central, and Seattle Mountain Rescues. An MD-530 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters
 



Hiker Lost Since Wednesday Not Found Yet - Search Continues


                                                                                                                                             (photo courtesy NPS/Emily Brouwer)

 Olympic Mountain Rescue preparing for the search.

      from Patti Wold
       Public Information Officer

    
Saturday, June 21, 2014, 10 a.m. – The third day of searching for missing day hiker, Karen Sykes of Seattle, Washington, is underway on Mount Rainier’s east side. Six ground crews, including two Kittatas County dog teams, are searching an expanded area further out from the Owyhigh Lakes Trail. Air operations are also supporting today’s search efforts.
      The search area is in steep, rugged terrain with snow cover starting at the 4500-6500 foot level. Current safety concerns for Ms. Sykes and ground crews include snow bridges, tree wells, and steep, wet, and slippery terrain. A searcher sustained an injury caused by punching through a snow bridge on Thursday, June 19. He was air lifted out of the search area.
    On Wednesday, June 18, Ms. Sykes was hiking the Owyhigh Lakes Trail with a partner when they parted at 3 p.m. with the intention to meet back at that location. She went ahead when the party of two encountered snow at approximately 4500-5000 feet in elevation. Her partner stayed at the location last seen, as arranged, to wait for her return. When she failed to return to the point last seen and eventually to the trailhead her partner called in an overdue hiker report at 10:30 p.m.
    Ms. Sykes is an outdoor journalist, marathon runner, and considered a knowledgeable, experienced hiker. Search efforts to locate a missing hiker on the Owyhigh Lakes Trail continue today. She had adequate survival gear to overnight in the event of an emergency.
    The German Shepherd Search and Rescue of Washington State, Kittatas County dog teams, King County Explorers, and Everett, Olympic, and Seattle Mountain Rescue personnel have been or are actively involved in the search efforts. An MD-530 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters in Olympia, Washington is providing air support.
    A temporary flight restriction is in place covering a six mile radius from Barrier Peak to the 12,000 feet in elevation.
    Operations and the information team are working
 



Search Continues for Another Hiker on Mount Rainier
Searchers Include Dogs, Helicopters

    from Patti Wold
    Public Information Officer

   Friday, June 20, 2014, 9 a.m. – Search efforts to locate a missing hiker on the Owyhigh Lakes Trail continue today. In an unrelated incident, an injured climber was air lifted off Double Peak near Eastside Trail on Thursday, June 19.
    The search for the overdue day hiker, Karen Sykes of Seattle, continues today with ground crews scouring the Owyhigh Lakes area. On Thursday, June 19, ground and air search operations focused on the length of the eight-mile Owyhigh Lakes Trail. She went ahead when the party of two reached snow at approximately 4500-5000 feet in elevation at 3 p.m. The park received the overdue hiker report at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 18, 2014.
    Search teams are currently performing ground operations. Air operations will be conducted later in the day if the weather improves. The search area is in steep, rugged terrain with snow cover starting at the 4500-6500 foot level. Ms. Sykes is a knowledgeable hiker and had adequate survival gear to overnight in the event of an emergency.
    Current safety concerns for Ms. Sykes and ground crews include snow bridges, tree wells, and steep, wet, and slippery terrain. Yesterday, a searcher sustained an injury caused by punching through a snow bridge. He was air lifted out of the search area.
    A second search, initiated in response to a spot locator beacon, resulted in an air lift of an injured climber off of Double Peak yesterday. The climber obtained injuries to his leg that prevented descent under his own mobility.
   The German Shepherd Search and Rescue of Washington State, King County Explorers, and Everett, Olympic, and Seattle Mountain Rescue personnel are actively involved in the search efforts. An MD-530 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters in Olympia, Washington was used in support of the incident.
   Operations and the information team are working out of the White River Ranger Station in the northeast segment of the park.
 



Summer Openings Update...

        from Donna Rahier
       June 13,2014


     With summer and the July 4th holiday rapidly approaching, Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King advises that additional park areas will soon be opening. Park staff has been working for months to prepare the park for summer visitors. Without the effort to remove snow from roads and parking lots, the higher elevation areas of the park would not melt out and be accessible to vehicles until mid-July under normal conditions. In a normal year Mount Rainier spends over $1 million dollars moving snow to provide public access.

    To promote safety and health, ensure a good visitor experience and protect resources, some conditions need to be met before areas of the park are opened to public vehicle access:

   
* No safety conflicts with snow removal or opening operations

  
* A clear road and shoulders, parking available

  
* Regulatory road signs in place

  
* Functioning toilets and accessible trash cans

  
* Staff presence in the area, including emergency response capability.

   The Sunrise area is located at 6,400’ elevation and is off the power grid. Since May 27, the park’s road crew has been working to remove snow, rock and other material from the Sunrise Road. This week the crew reached the Sunrise parking lot. Next week, park utility and grounds crews will begin their work, and signs will be re-installed along the road. If facilities have not been damaged over winter, it will take the crews two weeks – until June 27 - to dig out, test and activate the power, water and septic systems, and prepare buildings for summer use. Once potable water is available, employees will move in and prepare the lodge and visitor center to welcome our visitors.

   Public vehicle access will be provided to Sunrise on June 20-22, barring a storm or other unforeseen event. However, flushing toilets, running water or other visitor services will not be available. The road will be closed to public access June 23-26 to enable the road crew to safely remove remaining rock and other material from the roadside. The road will reopen to public access on June 27 for the season. Water and flushing toilets should be available by that date. Full visitor services, including the Sunrise Day Lodge and Sunrise Visitor Center, will be open and staffed by July 4. Visitors should come prepared for snow on the ground that persists into July at Sunrise.

   Westside Road near the park’s southwestern Nisqually Entrance will be reopened to the Dry Creek area tomorrow June 14. This area was closed temporarily after several large boulders fell onto the parking area at the trailhead and destroyed a visitor’s vehicle. A temporary barricade will be in place until the parking area is permanently relocated to better protect visitors from rock fall.

   The Ohanapecosh Visitor Center, closed all of last summer due to budget constraints, will open on June 28 for a limited schedule through September 7.

  
*June 28-29 (Sat.-Sun.) the visitor center will be open from Noon until 4 p.m.

  
*July 2 through August 3 the visitor center will be open Wednesday through Sunday from Noon to 4:00 p.m. Morning Junior Ranger programs will occur Wednesday through Sunday. Evening campground programs will occur Wednesday through Saturday.

  
*August 7 through September 7 the visitor center will be open Thursday through Sunday from Noon to 4:00 p.m. Morning Junior Ranger programs will be presented on Friday and Saturday; evening Junior Ranger programs on Sundays and Thursdays. Evening campground programs will be presented Thursday through Saturday.

  
*Additional programs for youth and families will be offered at various times. Check at the visitor center desk for details.

    As of June 7, the Mowich Lake area of the park still had about five feet of snow on the ground, with nearly three feet of snow on the last two miles of roadway. The targeted opening of this road is in early July, following additional snow removal activities at Paradise.

   All other areas of the park accessible by vehicles are open for the season.

   For updates on current conditions check the park’s webpage at www.nps.gov/mora,  or join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group." Recorded park information is also available by calling 360.569.2211.
 



Family of Climber Lost on Mount Rainier Releases Statement...

     This picture was taken by Mark Mahaney at Mount Rainier National Park. (photo courtesy of the Mahaney family)

     
June 4, 2014

     Mark Mahaney, age 26, from St Paul, formerly of Prior Lake, Minnesota, died while scaling Mt. Rainier, in Washington State. Mark had summited Mt. Rainier in 2013 but was determined to return and complete the most difficult and technically challenging route, the Liberty Ridge. Prior to the incident that claimed Mark's life as well as the 5 others in his group, they completed the technically challenging portion that makes Liberty Ridge so respected. Mark’s young life may have tragically ended, but his loved ones take solemn joy in knowing Mark was participating in his true passion in life, climbing.
    Mark is survived by the love of his life, Desiree Norins, his parents Shawn and Kathy Mahaney, grandfather Myrl Mahaney, sisters Kara Bresnahan and Ashley Mackinnon, and brothers Christian Pool and Max Mahaney. Mark is also survived by numerous loved family members and friends, as well as the worldwide climbing community he was so proud to be a part of. A memorial mass is planned for Friday, June 6th at the Church of St Michael in Prior Lake, MN. A memorial fund is also being established in Mark’s name. While we appreciate the concern so many have shown since the incident, we ask for your understanding and allow us privacy during this time of grief and mourning. Thank you.



Liberty Ridge Search Comes to a Tragic Conclusion
"All Indications Point to a Fall of 3,300 Feet...No Viable Chance of Survival..."
Six People Killed

Liberty Ridge from the west. Liberty Cap is at the top. (photo by Bob Walter 2013)

     from Patti Wold
    May 31, 2014 - 8 p.m.

     Searchers located climbing gear and detected signals from avalanche beacons at the top of the Carbon Glacier at 9,500 feet in elevation during an extensive search for six missing climbers today. All indications point toward a fall of 3,300 feet from near the party’s last known location at 12,800 feet on Liberty Ridge. There is no viable chance of survival from such a fall. The Liberty Ridge route is one of the more technical and advanced routes on the mountain.
    The area the avalanche beacons were detected on the Carbon Glacier is extremely dangerous due to continuous rock and ice fall. At this point there are no plans to put people on the ground at the site because of the ongoing hazards. In the weeks and months to come the site will be checked periodically by aircraft. As snow melts and conditions change potential opportunities for a helicopter-based recovery will continue to be evaluated. There is no certainty that recovery is possible given the location.
   “This accident represents a horrific loss for our guide partners and the families and loved ones of every one of the climbers lost on the mountain” stated Superintendent Randy King. “The climbing community is a small one and a close one and a loss of this magnitude touches many. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragic accident.”
   The party, consisting of two skilled climbing guides and four clients, began their climb on Monday, May 26, and was due out on Friday, May 30th. Alpine Ascents last spoke with their guides on Wednesday at 6:00 pm by satellite phone. At that time the party was at 12,800 feet with plans to overnight. Alpine Ascents reported the party missing at 4:30 pm on Friday, May 30th, when they failed to return to the trailhead as expected.
    A ground search of the Liberty Ridge route and the Bergschrund was conducted by a team of three Mount Rainier National Park climbing rangers. The US Army Reserve 214th Air Division out of Joint Base Lewis McChord and Northwest Helicopters conducted the air search working with park rangers.

 



Rescue Underway on Liberty Ridge Mount Rainier...

      from Patti Wold
     May 31, 2014 - 12:30 p.m.


     A search is underway for an Alpine Ascents International climbing party of six in the Liberty Ridge area on the Northwest shoulder of the mountain. Liberty Ridge is one of the more technical and advance routes on the mountain.
    The party began their climb on Monday, May 26, and were due out on Friday, May 30th. The party consists of two skilled climbing guides and four clients. Alpine Ascents last spoke with the guides on Wednesday at 6 p.m. by satellite phone. At that time the party was at 12,800 feet with plans to overnight. Alpine Ascents reported the party missing at 4:30 pm on Friday.
    Today, a team of three climbing rangers is conducting a ground search in the area of Liberty Ridge and the Bergschrund. Two climbing rangers on board a Hughes contract helicopter from Northwest Helicopters are conducting an air search and a US Army Reserve 214th Air Division Chinook out of Joint Base Lewis McChord is also providing air support.
    A flight restriction is currently in place.

 



Gateway Community Meetings for Mount Rainier National Park

      May 29, 2014

      Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King advises the park has scheduled several local community meetings beginning next week. The meetings are focused on the gateway communities to provide updates on activities and projects ongoing within the park . Meeting dates and locations are:

    * Enumclaw – Monday, June 2 – 6:30 p.m. at the Enumclaw Library, Rooms 1 & 2

    * Packwood – Tuesday, June 3 – 7 p.m. at the Windemere Real Estate office

    * Yelm – Wednesday, June 4 – 7 p.m. at the Triad Theater in downtown Yelm

    * Ashford – Wednesday, June 11 – 6 p.m. at Whittaker’s Mountain Haus

    Superintendent King and Deputy Superintendent Tracy Swartout will be on hand to provide information and answer questions
 



Facilities Opening in Time for Memorial Day Weekend

      from Donna Rahier
     May 20, 2014

     With around 13 feet of snow still piled high on the ground at Paradise and along the roadsides, Mount  Rainier  National Park and Rainier Guest Services employees are working hard to get park facilities ready to open for the Memorial Day weekend - the beginning of the summer visitor season at Rainier.
     This involves plowing the winter snows from the Stevens Canyon Road (east/west park connection), cleaning up the roadsides and ditches, and placing information and regulatory signs along the roadways of the newly opened areas; starting up water and utility systems at Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh Campgrounds, and the Box Canyon and White River areas; and cleaning and preparing the Paradise Inn to welcome visitors for its 97th season. In addition all the park’s housing units must be opened and cleaned for the 200+ seasonal employees, many who live in the park throughout the summer.

     Listed below are the areas and facilities scheduled to be open for the Memorial Day weekend:

Paradise Inn Opening, Wednesday, May 21

National Park Inn at Longmire Open year round

Stevens Canyon Road Friday, May 23 at 8 a.m.

Cougar Rock Campground Friday, May 23 at Noon (only Loops B, D, E, roadside and group sites will open on this date.

Loops A & C will open at a later date.

Ohanapecosh Campground Friday, May 23 at Noon

White River Road to White River Entrance Friday, May 23 at 8 a.m.

Box Canyon Picnic Area and Restrooms Friday, May 23

Wilderness Information Centers at Longmire and White River Friday, May 23

For lodging reservations at Paradise Inn and the National Park Inn go to www.mtrainierguestservices.com  or call 360.569.2275.

     In addition to the above openings, Washington State Department of Transportation advises that State Route 410 east over Chinook Pass is scheduled to open to the public at noon on Friday, May 23.
     For updates on current conditions check the park’s webpage at www.nps.gov/mora,  or join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group." Recorded park information is also available by calling 360.569.2211.
     Outside the park visitor lodging, food, gifts and activities are available year round. Check the following web pages for information on these communities surrounding the park - www.visitrainier.comwww.mt-rainier.comwww.staycrystal.comwww.minerallake.com www.destinationpackwood.com
    NOTE: The Nisqually to Paradise Road Rehabilitation Project is underway repairing 17.6 miles of road between the Nisqually Entrance and the developed area at Paradise. The project will take place in two phases, each taking up to two years. Phase 1 includes the installation of in-road buried conduits and junction vaults, as well as improvements to the road's substructure and drainage between the Nisqually Entrance and Longmire. This will also include paving and substructure work on Ricksecker Point Loop and Paradise Valley Road. Phase 2 should begin in 2016 at Longmire and end at Paradise in 2017.
    This project is addressing deteriorating road conditions that are due to many factors including abundant precipitation, structural and design deficiencies, large traffic volumes, and normal wear. The road work is designed to protect adjacent natural and cultural resources, will replace culverts to improve aquatic conditions and will preserve the character of the National Historic Landmark District.
    Park visitors may encounter traffic delays of up to 30 minutes in the construction areas throughout the summer. Motorcyclists and bicyclists should be aware that road conditions between Nisqually Entrance and Longmire will be hazardous, with numerous unpaved sections, loose gravel and mud, uneven road elevations and patches throughout the roadway. Cyclists should plan extra time into their rides, slow down, and pay close attention to road surfaces. All motorists should use caution when driving through construction areas.
 



Huge Falling Boulders Cause Major Damage to Westside Road and Vehicle - Road Closed Until Further Notice

      from Chuck Young, Chief  Ranger
      May 16, 2014

     The Westside Road, in Mount Rainier National Park, near the park’s southwest entrance, has been closed to the public until
further notice due to a rockfall involving truck-sized boulders that occurred sometime prior to Thursday, May 14. On Thursday afternoon, a park resource management crew returning from a multi-night monitoring trip found that a rockfall, involving numerous large boulders had occurred on the Westside Road at the Dry Creek public parking area.
     A private vehicle that had been parked there suffered total damage when one of the boulders apparently hit it squarely on the driver’s side, severely damaging the vehicle and pushing it nearly over the edge of the roadway. The vehicle was unoccupied and the rockfall was unwitnessed. Numerous large boulders, one larger than a truck, were strewn over the parking area and road, and some of the boulders hit the road and continued moving until coming to rest in the bed of Tahoma Creek.
     Large craters, one at least eight feet in diameter and 3 feet deep, were created in the road by the impact of the falling boulders (see attached photos). The rockfall originated on Mount Wow, which towers above the Westside Road.
     In addition to the damage caused to the private vehicle, a park gate and welded steel rock separation box which is located in the area were severely damaged. The park’s geomorphologist and his crew are assessing the cause and the likelihood of additional rockfall in the area. Once it can be ascertained that park crews can safely enter the area to work, they will remove the boulders, repair the road and gate prior to reopening the road back up to the public.
     Until that time, for safety reasons, the public will be required to stay off Westside Road. The park will announce when the road is reopened for public use.

NPS Courtesy Photos



Longmire/Paradise Gate Opening Full Time April 10
What's Open and What's Closed at Park
 

     from Chief Ranger Chuck Young
     April 9, 2014


     Visitors to Mount Rainier National Park are advised that effective Thursday, April 10, the gate between Longmire and Paradise will remain open 24 hours. Some overnight closures may still occur during inclement weather periods. All vehicles entering the park are required to carry tire chains in their vehicle through May 1. Road and weather conditions can deteriorate quickly during Spring storms and traction tires may be advised or chains may be required at any time. Please obey the posted traction requirements to avoid accidents.
    The Paradise snow play area and guided snow shoe walks have ended for the season.
    Road rehabilitation work is currently underway between the Nisqually Entrance and Longmire. Visitors can expect to
encounter large equipment, truck hauling and rough road conditions, with delays up to 30 minutes. Drive with caution.
    The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is open weekends only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Paradise Camp Deli, located within the visitor center, is open from 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
    The historic Paradise Inn is scheduled to open for the 2014 season on Wednesday, May 21. Reservations for Paradise Inn and the National Park Inn at Longmire can be made by phone – 360.569.2275, or online at www.mtrainierguestservices.com . The National Park Inn at Longmire is open daily and Spring is a great time to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the mountain during an overnight stay. The National Park Inn will be offering an Easter Brunch to the public on Sunday, April 20. For reservations, call 360.569.2411.  

    Check road and weather conditions before coming to the park. The park’s twitter feed https://twitter.com/mountrainiernps provides the latest on road status. View conditions at Paradise, Longmire, and Carbon River on the park webcams http://www.nps.gov/mora/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm.
    Businesses outside the park in the gateway communities also offer lodging, food services, equipment rentals, get-away packages and other amenities. 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.
 



Weekend Hours to be Extended
on Longmire-Paradise Road

      from Chuck Young
     Chief Ranger
     March 3, 2014   



     Park Superintendent Randy King advises that the park will be extending the evening weekend hours on the Longmire to Paradise road beginning Saturday, March 8. Those hours will be:

     6 p.m. Uphill gate closes

     7 p.m. Downhill gate closes, road closed

     Weekdays, Monday-Friday hours will remain the same as present through March:

     4 p.m. Uphill gate closes

     5 p.m. Downhill gate closes, road closed

     Opening of the gate at Longmire in the morning will remain at 9:00 a.m. Actual open and close times will be dependent on
current conditions (weather, avalanche conditions, safety factors, staffing).
     Visitors are reminded that the road between the Nisqually Entrance and Longmire is open year round, unless closed by extreme conditions. All vehicles are required to carry tire chains when driving in the park from November 1 through May 1. Traction tires or chains may be required on any type of vehicle, at any time.
     There’s always plenty to do in and around Mount Rainier, any day of the week! Visitors are encouraged to obtain up-to-the-minute updates on road conditions and restrictions by calling the park at 360.569.2211 for recorded information. View park webcams at http://www.nps.gov/mora/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm  for conditions at Paradise, Longmire, and Carbon River. Information is also available through the park’s social media pages on Facebook, and on Mount Rainier's Twitter feed. Links used: http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS
 

 



Mount Rainier Tourism Creates $36.8 Million in Local Economic Benefit...

                                                                                                                                                                                (photo by Bob Walter)

from Tracy Swartout
Deputy Superintendent
March 3, 2014

ASHFORD, WA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that just over one million visitors to Mount Rainier National Park in 2012 spent $36.8M in communities surrounding the park. This spending supported over 430 jobs in the local area, not including the 100-110 permanent and 180-200 seasonal staff working directly for the park and another 450-500 commercial concessions service employees in or near the park.

“Mount Rainier National Park is an icon of the Pacific Northwest, and serves as inspiration today, as it has for centuries. The park is also home to a nationally significant set of places that tell an important part of the history of the National Park Service,” said park Deputy Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “The mountain attracts visitors from across the U.S. and around the world. While their destination may be the park, they also spend time and money in our local communities.” National park tourism is also a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service.

The information on Mount Rainier National Park is part of a peer-reviewed spending analysis of national park visitors across the country conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber, and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.

According to the report, most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39%), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27%), and other amusement and recreation (20%). For more information on the Economic Impact reporting across the National Park Service, visit: http://www.nps.gov/news/econ_b-roll.htm.  To download the report itself, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Washington and how the National Park Service works with Washington communities to
help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/WASHINGTON.
 



Fee Free Weekend on President's Day.

     Monday, February 17 is President’s Day, a federal holiday. Mount Rainier and other national park areas will be celebrating this holiday with a fee free weekend February 15 through February 17. Visitors are invited to come enjoy winter at the park, to ski, snowshoe, snow board, or to have fun on the snowplay runs at Paradise.
     It’s also Valentine’s weekend and the National Park Inn at Longmire is offering a special four course Valentine’s dinner on Friday, February 14, and Saturday, February 15 from 5-8 p.m. For reservations call 360-569-2411. For hotel reservations call 360-569-2275 or go online to www.mtrainierguestservices.com.  A winter weekend at the mountain can be a wonderful getaway experience. Businesses in the surrounding communities also offer weekend getaway specials. Check these sites for information - www.visitrainier.com www.mt-rainier.com www.staycrystal.com www.destinationpackwood.comwww.minerallake.com.
    Currently approximately110 inches of snow is on the ground at Paradise, with more expected over the next several days. The road between Longmire and Paradise is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., subject to weather conditions. Heavy snow and avalanche conditions may delay or prevent opening of this road section. Safety of park visitors is the top concern for park staff when making the daily decisions on road opening. Visitors are reminded that tire chains must be carried in all vehicles when entering the park during the winter. Chain requirements may be in effect at any time, if road conditions deteriorate.
     The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center will be open throughout the 3-day weekend. Guided snowshoe hikes lasting about two hours, will be led by park staff each day at 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Sign up at the visitor center desk one hour before each walk begins. Snowshoes are provided. Each participant is asked to donate $5 to help provide the walks and support repair/replacement of snowshoes. Dress warm, with layers of clothing, hats, gloves and suitable boots for snowshoeing, sunglasses and sunscreen. If you are adventuring out on your own, check the weather forecast and avalanche conditions before you go.
     Winter area maps, avalanche and weather forecast information is available at the Jackson Visitor Center (weekends) and the Longmire Information Center (daily) or with the Northwest Avalanche Center www.nwac.us/forecast/avalanche/current/zone/7/  or 206.526.6677. Backcountry travelers should carry the winter 10 essentials and know how to use them – 1)shovel (avalanche rescue); 2)full length insulated sleeping pad; 3) stove & fuel (melt water); 4)heat packs; 5)goggles & wool/pile hat; 6) gloves (waterproof/lined; 7)avalanche transceiver; 8)avalanche probe; 9)reliable weather & avalanche forecasts; 10)map, compass, & GPS with extra batteries. Lastly, let someone know your plans.
    For current conditions follow us on Twitter at www/twitter.com/MountRainierNPS, www.facebook.com/MountRainierNPS , and the Mount Rainier webpage at www.nps.gov/mora . Park information is also available at 360.569.2211. To see current webcam pictures at the mountain, go to www.nps.gov/mora  and click on the webcams link.
 



Mini-Grants for School Field Trips Availability...

     from Fawn Bauer
     February 11, 2014

     Mount Rainier National Park is now accepting reservations for the spring 2014 school field trip season on the Mountain. These ranger-led curriculum-based educational programs are available at no charge to school groups on week days through the park’s Education Programs. Programs are tailored to meet the teacher’s identified learning objective and typically take place at Longmire or Paradise.
     This spring through a “Connecting Kids to Parks” grant from Washington’s National Park Fund, Mount Rainier National Park will be offering several mini-grants to help subsidize transportation costs for school groups bringing students to the park.
     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, depending on how many requests we receive relative to our available funding. In order to qualify for the grant and to support our climate friendly park initiative; students must be transported by bus, with one additional support vehicle for the group. We ask that teacher submit signed photo release forms for all students who participate. School groups may not receive more than one grant per school year.
     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. In order to be considered for a field trip bus subsidy during the 2013-2014 school year; teachers can request a transportation grant application by contacting Fawn_Bauer@nps.gov
      If you need information about the types of programs that are offered and to schedule a program; please contact the Mount Rainier National Park Education Center at 360.569.6592 or by visiting the park’s web page http://www.nps.gov/mora/forteachers/planafieldtrip.htm.
 

 

Snow Play Runs to Open at Paradise Saturday, January 18

from Patti Wold
January 15


Last weekend’s storms brought the snow depth at Paradise to 112”, providing enough snow to open the snow play runs beginning Saturday, January 18. This weekend the runs will be open through the three-day holiday weekend, as will the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise.

The park road crew has worked hard clearing the three and a half feet of snow from roads, parking lots, and around the buildings at Paradise. Once completed, they will turn to grooming the snow play runs in time to open Saturday morning.

The weather forecast appears to be good for the entire weekend, but there is always the chance that roads may be impeded or closed due to weather conditions or other unforeseen issues. Check road and weather conditions before coming to the park. The park’s twitter feed https://twitter.com/mountrainiernps  provides the latest on road status. View conditions at Paradise, Longmire, and Carbon River on the park webcams http://www.nps.gov/mora/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm.

The road to Paradise is open seven days a week, weather and staffing permitting, with nightly closures. Rangers and snow plow operators evaluate road, weather, avalanche, and staffing conditions each morning before making a decision on whether it is safe to open the gate to Paradise. Even on sunny days avalanche danger and icy roads can create hazards requiring the road to be closed. All vehicles are required to carry tire chains when driving in the park from November 1 through May 1. Traction tires or chains may be required on any type of vehicle, at any time.

The Longmire to Paradise road hours are 9:00 am - 5:00 pm daily, under ideal conditions. The road may close early or remain closed the entire day due to avalanche danger, severe weather, or from a shortage of the necessary staffing to maintain safe access. Visitors must leave Paradise by 4:30 pm to clear the Longmire gate by its 5:00 pm closure. The uphill gate at Longmire closes at 4:00 pm. Longmire is open daily except in the case of extreme weather or road conditions. The Carbon River Road is closed to vehicles just past the entrance parking lot, but is open to pedestrians and bicycles.

Recreationists should be prepared for winter conditions by carrying the Winter 10 Essentials: shovel (avalanche rescue); Full Length Insulated Sleeping Pad; Stove & Fuel (melt water); Heat Packs; Goggles & Wool/Pile Hat; Gloves (waterproof/lined); Avalanche Transceiver; Avalanche Probe; Reliable Weather & Avalanche Forecasts; and Map, Compass, & GPS (with extra batteries). Be aware of hazards such as flowing creeks covered by snow and avalanche danger, and be able to navigate in a winter environment. Heed all cautions or warnings—weather can change suddenly in extreme ways. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety.

Winter travel, safety, and recreation information is available on the park website http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/winter.htm.
 



Ski Fans are Happy, Crystal Mountain Open Again...


                                                                                                       (courtesy photo)

      from Tiana Enger
      December 2, 2013

      Crystal Mountain - After being closed for over a week due to low snow coverage, Crystal Mountain is now open again. The
resort plans to remain open for daily operations. Over 20 inches of snow fell at the higher elevations over the past 48 hours and it's still snowing. The total snow depth in Green Valley is 45 inches. There will be two lifts open today, possibly more by tomorrow.
     "This is the storm we've been waiting for," said John Kircher, General Manager. "The mountain is filling in nicely and we plan to get more lifts and terrain open as soon as possible," he added.

Details...

Lifts open: Mt. Rainier Gondola & Green Valley (Rainier Express is under evaluation) Hours: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Lift rates:

$35 (rates subject to change as more lifts and terrain open)

Stay tuned to the website for the latest info and updates: http://crystalmountainresort.com/The-Mountain/mountain_report



Day Hiker Survives an Unexpected Night on the Mountain...

      from Patti Wold
      November 27, 2013

     A search for an overdue hiker ended on a positive note today with the individual walking out after spending an unplanned night in the backcountry. The hiker, a 68-year-old male from Everett, Washington, set out on a day hike in the Kautz area on Tuesday, November 26. He was reported as overdue by his wife late Tuesday when he didn’t return home as planned.
    Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputies attempting to locate him late Tuesday evening confirmed his vehicle was at the trailhead, but were unable to locate the missing individual. This morning a hasty search of the Kautz Creek Trail was conducted by park staff during which the missing hiker was not located.
    The park’s incident overhead team was calling in more resources to ramp up the search when the hiker returned to the Kautz Trailhead of his own accord. While hiking off-trail he was overtaken by darkness. He stopped hiking and bundled up in extra clothes and garbage bags to stay warm through the night. This morning he was able to locate the trail and return to the trailhead.


 



Park Winter Access Schedule

     from Superintendent Randy King
     November 7, 2013

     With snow beginning to accumulate and winter recreation demand starting to increase, Mount Rainier National Park staff are preparing for winter operations and visitors. Superintendent Randy King notes that “Mount Rainier provides outstanding winter recreation opportunities and has been doing so for over 100 years. It’s a wonderful time to visit the park and area, provided visitors come well-prepared for the snow and road conditions. Safe backcountry travel in winter requires an especially high level of preparation, caution, and knowledge.”
     The park will transition to winter hours of operation and service on Tuesday, November 12. As in past years, the road gate immediately above Longmire is closed nightly to ensure visitor safety and the safety of park staff, including rangers and the road crew. Rangers and snow plow operators evaluate road, weather, avalanche and staffing conditions every morning in making a decision on whether it is safe to open the Paradise road above Longmire. All times stated in this release are subject to change based on weather and road conditions. Visitors planning a trip to Paradise should check for current road status and weather on the park’s website or Twitter feed.
      “Due to the reduced and uncertain budget picture, we are strategically deploying available park staff and resources to provide as much access as possible”, said King. Between November 12 and December 21, the gate at Longmire will open Thursdays through Mondays, at 9:00 a.m. The road will close nightly at 5:00 p.m., with the uphill gate closing at 4:00 p.m. to allow time for visitors and staff to exit safely. The gate will not open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during this period.
       Between December 21 and the end of March, the goal will be to provide seven day a week access to Paradise. The target open hours for the road above Longmire during this period will continue as 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., with the uphill gate closing at 4:00 p.m. Maintaining fixed hours through the winter use season is intended to maximize public access to Paradise, while managing costs for snow plows and ranger staffs. To sustain seven day a week access to Paradise it will be important for visitors to heed gate closure times. Each instance of overtime required for handling after-closure issues will impact services available in summer. If set daily hours prove ineffective, or the park’s budget and staffing picture is worse than anticipated, mid-week closures or other management actions may be necessary at Paradise.
      The entire park is open for visitor use throughout the winter season, including overnight winter camping with  a valid permit seven days a week. Overnight campers should plan their travels with an understanding of nightly or scheduled gate closures. Visitors camping at Paradise between now and December 21 should not plan on driving out on Tuesday and Wednesday when the road is closed.
      The Longmire area will remain open seven days a week, barring major storm events. This includes the historic National Park Inn (where lodging, food, gifts, snowshoes and skis rentals are available). For reservations at the National Park Inn, call 360-569-2275 or visit
www.mtrainierguestservices.com. With the exception of the Thanksgiving and December holiday periods noted below, General park information, including winter activity guidance, backcountry permits, and sales of park books and maps from Discover Your Northwest will be available.
      The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise is open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The visitor center will also be open on Thanksgiving and the Friday that follows, as well as December 21 – January 1. During weekdays, Park Rangers will be available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Longmire Visitor Information Center (historic Longmire Administration Building).     “Conservative management decisions are required in the current funding environment,” King said. “This year’s winter operation – with fixed hours of access to Paradise - is an experiment. It seeks to balance winter services against summer needs when most people visit the park. It will require cooperation from the public to work, particularly as the days get longer. If it doesn’t work, we’ll make adjustments as needed.”
       Businesses in the gateway communities are also open throughout the winter. Check these websites for  contact information:
www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com, www.mtrainierguestservices.com, www.minerallake.com, www.staycrystal.com, or www.destinationpackwood.com
       Visitors are reminded that all vehicles are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the park, including 4WD. Tire chains are available at the Summit House in Ashford. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles.
       At this time, State Routes 123 and 410 remain open, but dependent on changing weather conditions. The Stevens Canyon Road east of Paradise, the White River, Sunrise and Mowich Lake Roads are now closed to vehicle access for the winter, but remain open to winter recreation.
      There’s always plenty to do in and around Mount Rainier, any day of the week! Visitors are encouraged to obtain up-to-the-minute updates on road conditions and restrictions by calling the park at 360-569-2211 for recorded information. Information is also available through the park’s social media pages. Join the Mount Rainier community on
Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group."
     Links used:

http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS 
http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS
http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS
http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS
    Backcountry travelers are advised to get updates on current and projected snow, avalanche and weather conditions before coming to the park, and come prepared to survive winter conditions

 



Fees Waived for all Park Visitors Over Veterans Day Weekend

      from Donna Rahier
        October 31, 2013

     Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King announces that entrance fees into Mount Rainier National Park will be waived for all visitors to the park from Saturday, November 9, through Monday, November 11 in honor of U.S. Veterans and current members of the U.S. Armed Forces. This is the final fee free weekend for 2013.
    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 have served.
    Entrance fee waivers on the Veterans Day 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 National Park Inn at Longmire (lodging and meals) and the Longmire General Store (gifts and food items). Visitor information is available at the Longmire Information Center. The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise will be open on Saturday and Sunday only.
    The visitor center offers exhibits, visitor information, food service, a gift shop and book store. In addition, many  businesses in the gateway communities surrounding the park remain open throughout the winter for park visitors to enjoy. They offer accommodations, food services, and many other visitor amenities. For more information on these businesses, check the following websites: www.visitrainier.com www.mt-rainier.com www.staycrystal.com www.destinationpackwood.comwww.minerallake.com,  or www.mtrainierguestservices.com

More Park Information...


     As weather and road conditions warrant, the road between Longmire and Paradise will close nightly for visitor safety, reopening each morning after the road has been cleared of snow/ice and is ready for the public. The Stevens Canyon Road, connecting the west and east side of the park is closed for the season as of this date. The White River/Sunrise Road is closed for the season at its junction with State Route 410. However, these roads do remain open to hikers, bicyclists, skiers, and snowshoers. On the east side of the park, State Routes 123 and 410 remain open, but are subject to closure at any time due to inclement weather.
    AN IMPORTANT REMINDER TO ALL PARK VISITORS: From November 1 through May 1, all vehicles must carry tire chains on the Nisqually Road to Paradise when traveling above the Nisqually Entrance. Law Enforcement Rangers may prohibit any vehicle from driving above the Nisqually Entrance (State Route 706) when it is determined that the vehicle may have difficulty safely traveling the area. This requirement applies to all vehicles (including four-wheel drive), regardless of tire type or weather conditions. Weather in the mountains can change rapidly at this time of year, and visitors are reminded to be prepared for possible sudden storms. Roads may close at any time due to weather changes.
    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. Additional park information is available on the park’s web site www.nps.gov/mora.
    Connect to Mount Rainier National Park through our social media pages. Join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group.

Links used:

http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS

http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS

http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS

http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS

 



Fall Visitor Update...

      Press release

    While fog has been a daily hassle in the lowlands, clear skies, sunshine and warm temperatures have been the daily norm at Mount Rainier with Fall colors still vibrant. Mount Rainier Superintendent Randy King encourages visitors to take advantage of this opportunity to come to the mountain before conditions change.
     Most areas of the park, such as Longmire, Paradise, Carbon River, Ohanapecosh and White River still remain open to public access. Superintendent King notes that the White River Road will remain open to vehicles through the upcoming weekend for visitors to enjoy, but will close at the end of day on October 27 to vehicle access. Bicyclists and hikers may still access the area, including the Sunrise Road, but all facilities are closed.
    Other closures include the Mowich Lake Road which has snow, and Paradise Inn which closed for the season October 1. The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center has changed to its winter schedule, operating weekends and holidays only. Some snow is on the ground in the Paradise area from the early October storm, but trails are accessible.
     State Routes 410 and 123 on the east side of the park remain open with tentative closing dates scheduled for December 2 (dependent on weather/snow conditions). The Stevens Canyon Road within the park will remain open through October 31 and then closed to vehicular traffic for the season.
     At Longmire, the National Park Inn is open seven days a week and offers lodging, a full restaurant and gift shop. Fall is a great time for a quiet weekend getaway at the mountain. For reservations, call 360.569.2275.
    Trying to recover from the impact of the two-week government shutdown, businesses surrounding the park are open and anxious to greet park visitors once again, especially with the beautiful fall weather. Soon the winter snows will arrive, and these businesses will prepare for slower times. For information on what’s available at businesses on the east and west side of the park visit the following websites:
www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com, www.staycrystal.com, www.destinationpackwood.com, www.minerallake.com, or
www.mtrainierguestservices.com
    For current information check the park’s web page at www.nps.gov/mora. Webcams showing current conditions at Paradise and Longmire are located at this site along with information for planning your trip. Information can also be obtained through the Mount Rainier Facebook and Twitter sites, or by calling the park directly at 360.569.2211.

 



Rainier Guest Services, LLC Awarded New Contract...

      Press release
       October 21, 2013

    National Park Service Selects Rainier Guest Services, LLC to operate Lodging, Food & Beverage, Retail and other commercial services within Mount Rainier National Park.
       Pacific West Regional Director Christine Lehnertz announced that after a highly competitive process, Rainier Guest Services has been selected to be awarded a new concession contract to operate lodging, food and beverage, retail and other commercial services within the Longmire, Paradise, and Sunrise areas of Mount Rainier National Park.
       Rainier Guest Services, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Virginia-based Guest Services Inc. and has over 40 years of hospitality experience in a variety of venues including Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, and several locations in the National Capital Region.
      “Mount Rainier has a long history as an overnight destination with the National Park Inn and Paradise Inn,” remarked Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King. “We look forward to working with Rainier Guest Services as we continue to welcome and serve our visitors while we care for our historically significant lodges,” he said.

       Concessioners fill a vital role in helping the NPS carry out its mission by operating publicly owned facilities and offering high-quality commercial visitor services at reasonable prices. As required by the 1998 Concessions Management Improvement Act, the NPS solicited for proposals from June 21 through October 16, 2012, for this contract for concessions operations within Mount Rainier National Park.
      Offers were evaluated on their responses to questions asked, including how to preserve and maintain buildings in a Historic Landmark District, ensure high-quality visitor services while incorporating the park interpretive themes throughout the operations, assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reduce solid waste, implement a progressive Healthy Food Program and promote employment opportunities. Additional guidelines used to evaluate proposals can be found online at
www.nps.gov/commercialservices
.
     For information about Rainier Guest Services, contact Mr. Gerry Gabrys at phone 703-849-9304 and email
ggabrys@guestservices.com. Information about Mount Rainier National Park can be found at www.nps.gov/MORA.



Mount Rainier National Park Reopened at 8:30 a.m. Today, Thursday, October 17

     October 17, 2013: After the 16 day government shutdown national parks and monuments are reopened. Mount Rainier National Park estimated the park would lose $4,000 daily when the shutdown occurred. More information below. Businesses on the road to Rainier took big financial hits during those 16 days! Courtesy photo from Cathy Farwell circa 2006.



Park Welcomes Visitors Back

     October 17, 2013
     from Patti Wold
    Public Information Officer


     
For Immediate Release: Ashford, WA – Mount Rainier National Park is open! Main access roads are now open with limited services while operations are brought back on-line. Services such as food and lodging are available in communities outside the park.
    “We are relieved and extremely pleased to open the park and invite people to experience and enjoy Mount Rainier,” stated Superintendent Randy King. “We can now fulfill the purposes of the park.”
    Colorful fall foliage welcomes visitors back to the park. Take any of the main roads that are open this time of year to experience fall at its best. Roadways that are open include: Nisqually Road to Paradise and Paradise Valley Road; Stevens Canyon Road, with some delays due to road striping today: and the White River Road to the White River Campground. Sunrise and Mowich roads are closed for the season.
    The Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise is now open on weekends and holidays and the Carbon River Ranger Station is now open. Seasonal facility closures now in effect include: the Paradise Picnic Area; Sunrise; Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, and White River campgrounds and picnic areas; and the Paradise Inn. Mount Rainier Guest Services, the park concessioner, will provide food and lodging services inside the park by the weekend; the Longmire General Store is open. Check the park website for specific facility and road condition information at
http://www.nps.gov/mora.
     We are proud to partner with our gateway communities in serving over 1 million recreation visitors to Mount Rainier each year. A recent report estimates that these visitors spend over $33,000,000 and support over 450 local jobs outside the park. The economic impact of closing this park for 16 days has been extremely tough on our gateway communities, local businesses, neighbors, and park partners. Please help support the local businesses when you are in the area. With your help we can lessen that impact.

     We are happy to be back at work serving the American people and welcoming visitors to their national parks!

 



Mount Rainier National Park Closed Due to Government Shutdown!


                                                                                                                                                                                     (photo by Bob Walter) 

     October 1, 2013: From Mount Rainier Web site, "Because of the federal government shutdown, all national parks are closed and National Park Service web pages are not operating. For more information, go to  -  www.doi.gov.  All a viewer sees from the park's site is the terse announcement above.

      October 1, 2013: Update from Patti Wold, Interpretive Media Specialist at Mount Rainier National Park. "Because of the government shutdown, all trails, facilities and roads within Mount Rainier National Park are closed with the exception of State Routes 410 and 123. Trails along the two State Routes are closed. Visitors are being turned away and a plan is being put in motion to implement the shutdown."

 More Mount Rainier News:

Government Shutdown Forces Closure of Mount Rainier
 Park Estimates Daily Loss of $4,000 in Entrance Fees and Loss of Approximately 130,000 Visitors This Month Alone

     Press release
     from Patti Wold, Ingrid Nixon
     October 1, 2013 - 1:30  p.m.

   Ashford, WA– Mount Rainier National Park remains closed due the federal government shutdown caused by the lapse in appropriations. To clarify, with the exception of thru traffic on SRs 410 and 123, the park in its entirety is closed. Staffing during the closure is not adequate to accommodate normal public access, use or services, or to respond to visitor emergencies. The closure includes all visitor facilities, trails, backcountry areas, winter recreation activities, park hotels, visitor centers, and roads – except for State Routes 410 and 123. Trails along the State Routes are closed. The closure applies to all vehicle, pedestrian, winter recreation, and bicycle traffic. The park will remain closed until the government reopens.
     Park Superintendent Randy King advises that park visitors in all overnight facilities will be given until 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Thursday, October 3 to make travel arrangements and leave the park. In addition, all park programs or special events have been canceled.
     Mount Rainier National Park hosts approximately 130,000 visitors on average in October; nationally, more than 715,000 visitors a day frequent the National Park System. The park will lose an estimated $4,000 in entrance fees each day of the shutdown. Nationwide the NPS stands to lose approximately $450,000 per day in lost revenue from fees collected at entry stations and fees paid for in-park activities such as cave tours, boat rides and camping.
     Gateway communities across the country see about $76 million per day in total sales from visitor spending that is lost during a government shutdown. In 2011 over one million visitors to Mount Rainier National Park spent $33 million in communities surrounding the park.
     In Mount Rainier National Park, 192 government employees are on furlough because of the shutdown. A total of 32 employees remain on duty, providing various services including law enforcement, facility protection and emergency services.
     Nationwide the shutdown has also furloughed more than 20,000 National Park Service employees; approximately 3,000 employees remain on duty to ensure essential health, safety, and security functions at parks and facilities. About 12,000 park concessions employees are also affected.
     Because it will not be maintained, the National Park Service website will be down for the duration of the shutdown. NPS.gov has more than 750,000 pages and 91 million unique visitors each year.
     For updates on the shutdown, please visit www.doi.gov/shutdown.
    “Mount Rainier National Park employees are public servants who work tirelessly to protect the mountain’s resources and
provide memorable experiences for park visitors. We hope to reopen our gates at the earliest possible date,” said Superintendent King.
    About the National Park Service. National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.
 



 Mount Rainier News:

Body of Missing Hiker, George Merriam, Recovered on Pinnacle Peak...

      September 27, 2013
       Kevin Bacher, Public Information Office

     Rangers and Mountain Rescue volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park recovered the body of George Merriam, 66, of Lakewood, Washington today after an overnight search on Pinnacle Peak.
      Merriam was reported missing by his wife last night when he did not return from a planned day hike. Rangers found his vehicle at the trailhead and conducted a hasty search of the trail and vicinity in the dark, then initiated a more thorough search at daybreak. Merriam was spotted by helicopter about 8:30 this morning, in steep terrain more than 200 feet below the trail, just before an approaching storm drove the helicopter off the mountain.
     Ground teams spent the next seven hours completing recovery operations, wrapping up about 3:30. Merriam’s name is being released following confirmation of his identity and notification of his family.
     Twenty-nine individuals assisted in the search and recovery, including six volunteers from Olympic, Seattle, and Everett Mountain Rescue

 



No Entrance Fees for Volunteers Saturday, September 28...

     September 23, 2013
     Kevin Bacher, Volunteer Program Manager

     Volunteers will work on trails and campground restoration at Mount Rainier on National Public Lands Day, September 28 – Entrance fees to be waived
     Mount Rainier National Park will celebrate National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 28, 2013, with several volunteer projects open to public participation. The work day caps a busy summer in which nearly 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 170,000 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 will help coordinate registration for the event beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Longmire, six miles inside the southwest entrance to the park. After a brief welcome at 9:00, participants will divide into work groups. The Washington Trails Association and Park Service crew leaders will lead trail maintenance projects around Paradise, while other crews will continue historic restoration work in a campground at Longmire that is used by volunteers, school groups, and other park partners. Trail work is suitable for ages 16 and up, while campground restoration is good for all ages.
     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.
      Free camping at the Longmire Campground is available both the day before and after National Public Lands Day for event participants. Contact Joshua Jones at Joshua_Jones@partner.nps.gov to reserve a campsite.
     Volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park maintain trails, patrol wilderness areas and climbing routes, assist and educate visitors, conduct research as citizen scientists, plant native plants, and catalogue historic records. Last year, 1,804 volunteers contributed 74,615 hours of service, an effort valued at $1.65 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 www.rainiervolunteers.blogspot.com.  

 



Mount Rainier Rescue of Three Canadian Climbers Successfully Utilizes Helicopter Short Haul System

     from Chuck Young, Chief Ranger
     September 3, 2013

    Three male Canadian climbers sustained multiple injuries from a fall into a crevasse while descending from the summit at 11,200’ on the Emmons Glacier on Sunday, September 1. The incident was reported to Mount Rainier National Park at approximately 4 a.m. by another climbing team ascending the route that came upon the team that had fallen onto a ledge approx. 30 feet below the lip of the crevasse.
    The park's contract cooperator, Northwest Helicopters (Olympia WA), inserted four climbing rangers and rescue gear at a landing zone a few hundred vertical feet above the accident site. The patients were each lifted from the crevasse and flown to the Sunrise Visitor Center area using the short-haul technique whereby rescuers and their patients are flown into and out of remote accident sites secured by rope and harness below a flying helicopter. The two most seriously injured climbers were airlifted from Sunrise to Harborview Medical Hospital by two helicopters from Airlift Northwest. The third climber was transported to a local hospital via ground ambulance.
    This was Mount Rainier National Park's first short-haul mission for its newly established helicopter short-haul program. Over the last two decades many parks throughout the National Park Service (NPS) have incorporated use of the short-haul technique to extract lost and injured visitors from remote and difficult to reach sites. Mount Rainier is the tenth park in the NPS to develop a short-haul program.
    Short-haul tends to minimize the number of rescue personnel exposed to the hazards of rescue operations, and  allows for line of sight and direct communication between the pilot and the rescuers. The use of a helicopter short-haul is but one of a number of methods by which the NPS rescues climbers off the mountain. The method chosen for any particular rescue is determined by environmental conditions, resource availability, and risk assessment.
    Approximately 36 personnel were assigned to the incident. Partners involved in the mission included Northwest Helicopters out of Olympia, Washington, Airlift Northwest, American Medical Response out of Buckley, Washington.
    The number of climbers attempting to scale the mountain after Labor Day drops off significantly due deteriorating climbing conditions. Longer meandering routes with challenging route-finding become the norm due to the size and greater number of exposed crevasses. Firm icy conditions make falls more likely and less forgiving. Shorter days, cooler conditions and less predictable weather also reduce the margin of error on the mountain. It is strongly suggested that those considering a climb or hike on the mountain check for current conditions with park rangers before setting out, and that they conservatively heed warnings of anticipated changes in weather and deteriorating conditions.

 



Park Celebrates 20-Year Partnership with Japanese Volunteers

日本自然環境ボランティア協会
 
Japan Volunteers In Parks Association

       Press release
       August 28, 2013

     This week Mount Rainier National Park staff will celebrate with present and past members of the Japanese Volunteers-in-Parks Association (J-VIPA) and thank them for the contributions they have made to the park during the past 20 years. Each summer, students, individuals and staff from Japan have come to Mount Rainier to volunteer their time.
     The completed projects have been numerous, including the ADA accessible boardwalk at Kautz Creek; repairing and rehabilitating campsites throughout the park; trail repair on the Westside Road; building the ADA trail near the Jackson Visitor Center; and revegetation projects in many areas. Staying with host families during their visits has resulted in lifetime friendships and memories. Some park and local families have hosted J-VIPA volunteers the entire 20 years. This year will be the final season the group will come to “the Mountain” for this volunteer program.
     The J-VIPA program began as an International Volunteer Experience in 1993 coordinated by Mr. Hiro Yamaguchi with Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. Inquiries were sent to several national parks about interest in utilizing a volunteer group from Japan. Mount Rainier National Park responded favorably.
     As a result, in 1994 the first group of volunteers arrived at Mount Rainier – the beginning of a long-standing partnership. During the past 20 seasons, over 380 individuals have contributed 22,656 hours of service to the park – equivalent to $501,600+ dollars. J-VIPA is the longest international volunteer group in the National Park Service. They have also sent volunteers to other national park areas such as Hawaii Volcanoes, Glacier, and Manzanar and done volunteer project in their own country as well.
     Mount Rainier Superintendent Randy King said, “We are sincerely grateful to all of the participants of the J-VIPA program for their hard work and dedication in helping us repair and improve the resources of Mount Rainier National Park. The work they have done will benefit the park for many years to come, and the friendships that have been formed through this program will last a lifetime.”
 



Notification: Search and Rescue (SAR) Response Readiness at Park... 


                                                                                          (NPS photo)

      "The 2012 climbing ranger accident [Nick Hall] has led to a great deal of analysis of the park’s rescue response process. An external board of review was conducted as well as a less formal internal review. Criteria the park has implemented in response to recommendations of these reviews will necessitate a slower, more deliberate and well thought-out response. Where hazards to rescuers are deemed unacceptable, no response may be possible.
      "This information is provided to allow climbers and other backcountry users to better understand the current capabilities for rescue response at Mount Rainier National Park and to plan accordingly. As always, climbers must accept personal responsibility for their decisions and safety."
    
       Nick Hall had worked at Mount Rainier National Park's climbing ranger program for four years before dying in a fall
during a rescue on Emmons Glacier. He was not married and had no children. Ranger Hall was formerly from Patten, Maine.    

"Where Hazards to Rescuers are Deemed Unacceptable, No Response may be Possible."

       from Chuck Young, Chief Ranger
      July 18, 2013

      Mount Rainer National Park currently has a reduced ability to perform upper mountain rescues. Under especially hazardous conditions, no rescue may be possible. Climbers should take special heed of this notice.
      Due to the accident last June where a climbing ranger was killed during a rescue at 13,900 feet on the Emmons-Winthrop Glacier, the park’s use of military CH-47 Chinook helicopters for hoist operations was suspended. Mount Rainier National Park has long relied on US Army Reserve personnel and helicopters to extract injured climbers and hikers from inaccessible terrain around the mountain. This critical partnership continues, with limitations only on hoist operations.
      The CH-47 helicopter is one of only a handful of helicopters in the Pacific Northwest that can perform sufficiently at altitudes up to 15,000 feet and the only one available which can hoist an injured party into the helicopter at such altitudes. This has been a very important resource for SAR operations at Mount Rainier for more than 30 years.
      The remote locations and technical terrain in which many accidents occur, often makes ground evacuation of injured parties a lengthy, laborious and exceedingly high-risk operation for rescuers. Traditionally, this helicopter resource has allowed rescuers to be lowered via hoist very near to, if not right at, the rescue site, speeding up response time, and reducing both patient extraction time and rescuer exposure time. The absence of this resource means that response times to injured parties may be longer and, when ground transport is the only viable option, injured parties can expect a much longer rescue, if rescue is even possible.
     The park is currently working on finalizing plans for an alternative helicopter rescue resource known as short-haul. With short-haul, rangers will clip into a line suspended from a helicopter 100 or more feet above, and be flown as ‘human external cargo’ to the rescue site. Once there they will either unclip and begin patient care, or depending on terrain or other hazards, remain clipped to the hovering helicopter while working to secure the injured climber/hiker and immediately fly them to safe terrain.
      Short-haul has become the rescue standard at national parks, on other large mountains and in Europe. The park has a goal of bringing this program online by August 2013, but it could take longer.
     The 2012 climbing ranger accident has led to a great deal of analysis of the park’s rescue response process. An external board of review was conducted as well as a less formal internal review. Criteria the park has implemented in response to recommendations of these reviews will necessitate a slower, more deliberate and well thought-out response. Where hazards to rescuers are deemed unacceptable, no response may be possible.
     This information is provided to allow climbers and other backcountry users to better understand the current capabilities for rescue response at Mount Rainier National Park and to plan accordingly. As always, climbers must accept personal responsibility for their decisions and safety.
     Mount Rainier National Park is the only mountain in the Pacific Northwest with climbing rangers regularly staffing high camps. Over the years, climbers on Mount Rainier have enjoyed a relatively broad safety net where rangers have quickly accessed injured parties. The National Park Service commitment to rescue climbers in need remains; every response on the mountain will be measured within existing capabilities.
 



July 10, 2013: Rainier Selected to Receive one of 34 National Parks America's Best Ideas Grant...


Alanna Sobel, National Park Foundation, asobel@nationalparks.org, (202) 354-6486
Kevin Bacher, Mount Rainier National Park, kevin_bacher@nps.gov, (360) 569-6567
Jay Satz, Student Conservation Association, jsatz@thesca.org, (206) 550-5977


     Mount Rainier is one of 34 national parks across the country selected to receive a 2013 America’s Best Idea grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. Inspired by the critically acclaimed Ken Burns documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” the America’s Best Idea program funds park activities designed to connect diverse, underserved and under-engaged populations throughout the United States with their national parks in innovative and meaningful ways.
     “One of the great things about our national parks is that every American can relate to these treasured places if given the chance to experience them,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. “It’s our mission to engage visitors from all backgrounds in the diverse stories that we tell in our national parks. Thanks to the support of the National Park Foundation, we can propel that outreach, and engage new audiences that would otherwise never have the opportunity to experience a national park.”
     “The America’s Best Idea program gives people – particularly youth – incredible opportunities to connect to our national parks through unique and innovative ways,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “From experiences that center on history, the environment and even adventure, we are able to capture the imagination of a new generation of park-goers in ways that benefit their lives and the future of the parks.”
      At Mount Rainier, the America’s Best Idea grant supports a long standing and growing partnership between the National Park Service and the Student Conservation Association (SCA). “SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation stewards, by connecting them to our parks and forests through the action of conservation service,” said Jay A. Satz, SCA’s Regional Vice President.
      “We are fortunate here at Mount Rainier to work with SCA’s Community Conservation Program, which engages high school students in Seattle during the school year, and then brings them to Mount Rainier to serve with 15-day trail crews during the summer,” said Kevin Bacher, Mount Rainier’s Volunteer Program Manager. “SCA’s outreach to members of military families at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, through a program called ‘Base to Base Camp,’ has resulted in almost half of this year’s crew members coming from JBLM. And we’ve worked with SCA For decades to provide interns who support park staff in critical roles, learning skills, doing important work, and serving the public. Through our partnership with SCA this summer, 37 young people will contribute more than 9,000 hours of conservation service at Mount Rainier while having an extraordinary national park experience.”
       Funding from the National Park Foundation supports the crew leaders for three eight-person trail maintenance teams, each made up of Community Program members from Seattle and Base-to-Base Camp youth from JBLM. The first crew is in the field now, and the second and third will be in the park later this month and next. Additional funding for the program comes from the National Park Service’s Youth Partnerships Program and Washington’s National Park Fund.

      “We are pleased to work with SCA’s Community Crews again this year, and especially pleased to welcome members of our
military families at Joint Base Lewis-McChord,” said Randy King, Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park. “These grants allow us to reach out to the conservation leaders of tomorrow and offer them a great experience in their national parks, as well as stepping stones toward possible future careers. We look forward to working with these young men and women for many years to come.”

       For a full listing of participating parks and program descriptions, please visit the National Park Foundation website.
      The National Park Foundation wishes to thank L.L. Bean, the Anschutz Family Foundation, and The Ahmanson Foundation for their generous support of the America’s Best Idea program.

About the National Park Service

      More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov and www.nps.gov/mora.

About the National Park Foundation

     The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, raises private funds that directly aid, support and enrich America’s more than 400 national parks and their programs. Chartered by Congress as the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation plays a critical role in conservation and preservation efforts, establishing national parks as powerful learning environments, and giving all audiences an equal and abundant opportunity to experience, enjoy and support America’s treasured places. For more information on the National Park Foundation or how you can support and protect America’s national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org.  Follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/nationalpark  and on Twitter at twitter.com/goparks.

About the Student Conservation Association

    The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school volunteers who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, and other public lands. For more than 50 years, SCA’s active, hands-on approach to conservation has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save our planet. For more information, visit www.thesca.org.
 



Body of Suicide Victim Recovered Near Longmire...

      from Kevin Bacher

    
For Immediate Release - June 28, 2013: At 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, 2013, visitors at Mount Rainier National Park reported seeing a body lying near the Wonderland Trail north of Longmire, near the Rampart Ridge Trail. Rangers responded and determined that the individual, a 58-year-old man, was deceased, and a victim of suicide. He has been identified as Robert J. Congelli of Kent, Washington, who had been absent since Wednesday and whose wife had reported him missing Thursday morning. Congelli’s body was transported to the Pierce County Medical Examiner Thursday evening.

 



More Facilities Opening in Time for July 4 Holiday, Sunrise to Open Ahead of Schedule...

 

         Press release
         June 27, 2013    

     Mount Rainier Superintendent Randy King advises that the Sunrise Road, Sunrise Lodge and Sunrise Visitor Center will be open for public access beginning Wednesday, July 3 at 10 a.m. The recent warm spring weather in the northwest has assisted with the snowmelt and allowed the park staff to open earlier than scheduled.   
       Sunrise sits at 6,400’ on the eastern flanks of Mount Rainier. It is the highest point in the park that can be reached by vehicle and is closed from late October until early July due to snow. Paradise, on the southern side of Mount Rainier sits at 5,400’ and has recorded 744”of snowfall during the measurement period so far this year. The snowfall measurement period is from July 1 – June 30. Approximately 3-4 feet of snow is on the ground in the Sunrise area.

Other Openings Include:

  • Cougar Rock Campground Thursday, June 27

  • White River Campground Friday, June 28

  • Mowich Lake Road Opening Wednesday, July 3 - parking lot clear; approximately 3 feet of snow remains - lake is still frozen, but melting out; trail route finding necessary

  • Narada Falls Trail Open – may close intermittently for construction zone safety

     Other areas in the park that are open include Ohanapecosh, Paradise, Longmire and Carbon River. Numerous businesses in the gateway communities surrounding the park are open for business and ready for the summer visitor season. For information on these gateway businesses visit the following websites: www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com, www.staycrystal.com, www.destinationpackwood.com, www.minerallake.com, or www.mtrainierguestservices.com.
     For park information or current updates visit the Mount Rainier web page at
www.nps.gov/mora or follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/#!/MountRainierNPS.

 



Another Update - Steven's Canyon Road Opening Today

    May 25, 2013 - Barring any other unforeseen circumstances or inclement weather, the Stevens Canyon Road is expected to open at approximately 2:00 pm today, May 25, 2013.
     No construction or delays are expected through the Memorial Day Weekend.
     As with all our our roads, visitors are advised to drive with caution and watch for rock and other debris on the roads as well as bicycles, motorcycles and buses/travel trailers.

Stevens Canyon Road Opening Delayed

      Update May 23, 2013: Due to continued inclement weather in the construction area of the Stevens Canyon Road, the opening of the road has been delayed until further notice. Snow continues to fall in the area preventing the contractor from completing the work needed to provide safe access for the public. The road will open as soon as this work can be completed.
     We apologize for the delay. The reservation number for Paradise Inn and National Park Inn is 360.569.2275

Rehab of Stevens Canyon Road Resumes Friday, May 24...

      from Eric J. Walkinshaw
     Project Manager
     May 22, 2013 
 

     On Friday, May 24 work will resume on rehabilitation of 10 miles of Stevens Canyon Road in Mount Rainier National Park according to park Superintendent Randy King and officials from the Federal Highway Administration’s Western Federal Lands Highway Division. This will be the second and final season of road rehabilitation effort that begun last summer by Tucci and Sons, Inc. of Tacoma that was awarded the contract for $8,910,093.

This season the contractor will focus on drainage improvements, repair/stabilization and reconstruction of historic rock retaining walls, localized milling and leveling of the existing asphalt surface and resurfacing with new hot-mix asphalt. Work also includes minor repair of two road tunnels west of Box Canyon. At this time visitors should again anticipate maximum 20 minute delays through each segment Mondays through Fridays until project completion, scheduled for mid-September.

    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. Visitors wishing to avoid delays are encouraged to access the Paradise area from the southwest via the Nisqually Entrance at the 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 are encouraged to seek alternate routes. Bicyclists are strongly encouraged to avoid Stevens Canyon Road this summer due to frequent construction delays and need for escorted traffic through specific areas. Those who do choose to bicycle or ride motorcycles on this road should take extra care in maintaining slower than normal speeds as loose gravel and/or tack oil surfaces will be encountered throughout the construction areas.  
    While the construction and associated 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 website
www.nps.gov/mora/parknews/newsreleases.htm.

 



National Park Week April 22-26
Visit Mount Rainier for Free!

     Press release
    April 17, 2013


    Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King advises that April 22 – 26 is designated as National Park Week across the nation. In celebration of this week, admission to all national parks will be free during that time. Please come and enjoy your park!
    Spring is a great time to visit the park, to enjoy spring skiing and snowshoeing, experience the 16 feet of snow currently on the ground at Paradise, or just spend a night and enjoy the peacefulness of the mountain – and pay no entrance fee!
    While many of the areas and roads at Mount Rainier still remain under winter snows at this time of year, the park is open to Longmire and Paradise. Road access is through the Nisqually Entrance (southwest area of the park via State Route 706). The gate from Longmire to Paradise remains open 24 hours a day, but may close at any time if unusually heavy snowfall occurs or other conditions are present making the road unsafe for travel. Through April 30, park visitors must carry tire chains in their vehicles when traveling on park roads. Spring weather in the mountains is very unpredictable and sudden snow storms may necessitate chains even later into the season, for safe travel.
    The winter activities of sledding and ranger-led snowshoes walks have concluded for this season. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are still very popular activities during this time of year. Visitors should check with Rangers for current weather and avalanche conditions before heading out on a trip. Conditions can change rapidly and getting caught unprepared in a sudden storm could result in tragedy. Be sure to let someone know your plans in case your return is delayed.
    The National Park Inn at Longmire is open year round offering lodging, dining, a gift shop, as well as ski and snowshoe rentals – a great place for a getaway in early Spring.
    The Paradise Inn is scheduled to open for the season on May 22. For reservations at Paradise or Longmire, call 360-569-2575 or on the web at www.mtrainierguestservices.com
    On the east side of the park, the Washington State Department of Transportation is in the process of clearing the winter snowpack from State Routes 123 and 410. There are no confirmed opening dates at this time. Local businesses in the gateway communities surrounding the park are open and ready for the beginning of the 2013 visitor season. For more information visit these websites: www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com www.staycrystal.com www.destinationpackwood.com www.minerallake.com,  or www.mtrainierguestservices.com
    The Skate Creek Road (Forest Service Road 52) which travels along the park’s southeastern boundary east of Ashford to Packwood remains closed at this time. Current information can be obtained from the Cowlitz Ranger District Office in Randle, Washington - 360.497.1100.
    If you are looking for a good location to hike or bike, the Carbon River area is currently snow free to Ipsut Creek Campground and provides a great opportunity for hikers and bicyclists.
    You can connect to Mount Rainier National Park through our social media pages. Join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share you own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group.

    Links used:

    http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS

    http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS

    http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS

    http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS

    For recorded park information on roads and current conditions call 360-569-2211 and follow the menu. Road and weather conditions are updated as conditions change. Information is also available on the Mount Rainier web page – www.nps.gov/mora. Web cams showing current conditions at Paradise can be accessed from the web page – scroll down to Paradise web cameras.

Spring Safety Tips...

    SPRING SAFETY TIPS: Recreating during the transition between winter and summer offers challenges and hazards unique to this time of year. The following information will help you prepare for conditions that may be encountered:

· Storms can occur any month of the year at the mountain. Spring and early summer are notorious for unpredictable and rapidly changing weather. Be prepared for winter-like conditions even into June.

· Before starting your hike, check with the Wilderness Information Center or visitor center for current weather, avalanche and trail conditions or visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/mora.

· Hypothermia and frostbite are cold weather hazards which can lead to serious injury or death. If you are spending time outside dress sensibly, drink lots of fluids, and take warm-up breaks indoors.

· A reliable map and compass skills, along with use of a GPS, may be needed in many areas of the park because snow-covered trails can be difficult to follow.

· Avoid crossing steep, snow-covered slopes where a fall or avalanche could be disastrous. Turn around instead.

· Falling through thin snow bridges is a hazard anywhere streams remain snow-covered. Stay alert for muffled sounds of running water.

· Falling into snow moats, or tree wells around trees and adjacent to logs and rocks, can cause injury or even death. Avoid getting too close and make sure you have firm footing before proceeding.

· Avoid stepping on wet, slippery rocks, especially near rivers and waterfalls. Be mindful that ice may be covering these areas.

· Avoid stepping onto snow cornices. They may collapse under your weight.

· Observe for avalanche conditions and take precautions to prevent being caught in an avalanche.


 



Mount Rainier National Park Tourism Creates $33M in Local Economic Benefit
Part of $30 Billion Impact that Supports 252,000 Jobs Nationwide


     Press release

    ASHFORD, WA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2011 shows that just over one million visitors to Mount Rainier National Park spent $33M in communities surrounding the park. This spending supported approximately 450 jobs in the local area, not including the 100-110 permanent and 180-200 seasonal staff working directly for the park and another 450-500 commercial concessions service employees working in or near the park.

    “Mount Rainier National Park is a stunning example of the grandeur and influence of the forces of nature, and the deep relationship that people have had with these lands and waters for centuries. A park undergoing constant physical change, Mount Rainier is also home to a nationally significant set of historic places that tell an important part of the National Park story in the United States,” said park Deputy Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “The mountain attracts visitors from across the U.S. and around the world. While their destination may be the National Park, they also spend time and money in our neighboring communities. The National Park Service is proud to have been entrusted with the care of America’s most treasured places and delighted that the visitors we welcome generate significant contributions to the local, state, and national economy.”

    The information on Mount Rainier National Park is part of a peer-reviewed spending analysis of national park visitors across the country conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service. For 2011, that report shows $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. That visitor spending had a $30 billion impact on the entire U.S. economy and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide.

    Most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent) followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent) and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent.)

   To download the report visit www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation, 2011.

   The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

   To learn more about national parks in Washington and how the National Park Service works with communities to preserve
local history, conserve the environment, and provide local recreation opportunities, go to www.nps.gov/washington
 



Spring Operations Update...

March 20, 2013

Even though the calendar says Spring has arrived, most of Mount Rainier National Park is still covered in deep winter snow. Paradise currently has 167 inches of snow on the ground. Although it may be late June, mid-July, or even early August before the last remnants of snow finally leave the slopes of “The Mountain”, park and concessions personnel are beginning the annual ritual of opening building; bringing utility systems back into operation after the winter closure; removing snow in and around buildings for access; opening park roads; and hiring of seasonal staff is underway. This process is like bringing small, isolated villages back to life each year.

Following are the park’s projected opening dates for 2013. These are projected dates only and subject to change depending on conditions.

MARCH:

•Tuesday/Wednesday closure of the road above Longmire ends today, March 20. The gate at Longmire will continue to close nightly through April 15. The Paradise snow play area will close on March 31 and the guided snowshoe walks end for the season.

APRIL:

•April 5 - Westside Road open to Dry Creek
•April 15 – nightly gate closure @ Longmire ends
•Snow removal underway on Stevens Canyon, Cayuse and Chinook Passes

MAY:

•May 6 – Jackson Visitor Center open 7 days-a- week
•May 22 – Paradise Inn opens for season
•May 24 – Stevens Canyon Road
•May 24 – Cougar Rock Picnic Area
•May 24 – Wilderness Information Centers – Longmire & White River
•May 24 – Ohanapecosh Campground*
•May 24 – Box Canyon Overlook & Restrooms
•May 24 – White River Road to Campground and Parking Lot

•Snow removal continues - Stevens Canyon, Cayuse and Chinook Passes
•Cayuse and Chinook Pass/SR410/SR123 – opening dates undetermined at this time

JUNE:

•June 27 – Cougar Rock Campground
•June 28 – White River Campground
•June 28 – Sunrise Road
•Snow removal continues - White River/Sunrise Roads

JULY:

•July 3 – Sunrise Visitor Center & Day Lodge
•July 4 – Mowich Lake Road

2013 FEE FREE DAYS REMAINING:

•April 22-26 -National Park Week
•August 25 – National Park Service’s 97th birthday
•September 28 – National Public Lands Day
•November 9-11 – Veterans Day weekend

ACCOMMODATIONS:

The National Park Inn located at Longmire is open year round offering guest rooms, dining and gifts as well as a moderate supply of groceries. Paradise Inn is open daily beginning May 22 through October 7 and also offers lodging, dining and gifts. Both inns are on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. For reservations call 360-569-2275 or visit their website at www.mtrainierguestservices.com

For information on other accommodations outside the park, visit these websites:
www.visitrainier.com www.mt-rainier.com www.staycrystal.com, www.destinationpackwood.com www.minerallake.com

Visitors planning to come to the park should check for current weather and road conditions. Recorded information is available by calling 360.569.2211 or via the park’s social media pages at:

http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS
http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS
http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS
http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS 

*Ohanapecosh Visitor Center will not be open this season
 



 Winter Operations Schedule

      press release
      November 23, 2012

     November’s storms mark the transition from snow-free to winter conditions at Mount Rainier, one of the snowiest places on the planet.
     Superintendent Randy King said “Mount Rainier provides outstanding winter recreation opportunities and has been doing so for over 100 years. It’s a wonderful time to visit the park and area, provided visitors come prepared for winter conditions. The recent, successful search for two overdue snowboarders above Paradise, and the tragic deaths of five visitors last winter, remind us that safe backcountry travel – whether going out for the day, or overnight - requires a high level of preparation, caution and knowledge.”
     The park transitioned to winter hours of operation and services in early November. The gate at Longmire is closed nightly through March to keep visitors and plow operators safe during road opening. New this winter and starting November 27, the road between Longmire and Paradise will be closed to public travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Longmire and the park will remain open seven days a week, barring major storm events.
     “We are strategically deploying available park staff and resources to provide access to Paradise Thursday through Monday, the five days of the week with greatest visitation,” King said.
     Visitation statistics show that Tuesday and Wednesday are, on average, the park’s least visited days, with fewer than 60 visitor vehicles coming through the Nisqually Entrance on a typical day. By focusing staff on fewer days, the park will be better able to provide access and services during times of greatest visitation, including more consistent road plowing and emergency patrols for visitor safety.
     The park is open for overnight winter camping with a valid permit seven days a week, but vehicle access will not be maintained from Longmire to Paradise on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Therefore, if visitors are parked at Paradise when the road closes on a Monday evening, they should not expect to be able to drive back to Longmire until the road opens on Thursday morning (weather permitting).
      On Thursdays through Mondays, and every day during the Christmas holiday, the road from Longmire to Paradise will open as soon as the park’s snow plows can make it safe for travel. In good weather the road may open as early as 7:00 AM, but in bad weather (or following a heavy snowfall) the road opening may be delayed until late morning or, in some cases, may not open at all. All vehicles are required to carry tire chains when entering the park. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly during the day and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles.
     To better accommodate visitor needs and reduce energy use, the visitor information center at Longmire will move across the road from the Longmire Museum to the historic Administration Building, in the space occupied by the Wilderness Information Center during the summer. Park rangers will be available seven days a week from 9 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. to provide information on hikes, locations of interest, and interpretive map talks for winter visitors to the Longmire Historic District. Watch for more information on hikes and other programs that will be offered at Longmire on Tuesdays and Wednesdays!
     Located at Longmire, the historic National Park Inn is open year round, providing dining, lodging and a gift shop. For reservations call 360.569.2275. Businesses in the gateway communities are also open throughout the winter. Check these websites for contact information: www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com, www.minerallake.com,www.mtrainierguestservices.com, www.staycrystal.com, or www.destinationpackwood.com
     The Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise will be open on weekends and holidays through March. The Paradise
snowplay/sledding area will open during the Christmas holiday provided snow depth is adequate.
     Highways 123 and 410, and the Stevens Canyon Road east of Paradise, and the White River, Sunrise and Mowich Lake Roads are now closed to vehicle access for the winter, but remain open to winter recreation.
     There’s always plenty to do in and around Mount Rainier, any day of the week! Visitors are encouraged to obtain up-to-the-minute updates on road conditions and restrictions by calling the park at 360.569.2211 and listening to the recorded information. You can also connect to Mount Rainier National Park through our social media pages.
     Join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group."

     Links used:
     http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS
     http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS
     http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS
     http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS

     Backcountry travelers should get an update on current and projected snow, avalanche and weather conditions before coming
to the park, and be prepared to survive winter conditions.
 



Missing Snowboarders Found!

      from Fawn Bauer
     November 13, 2012

     At approximately 1100 hours this morning, searchers at Mount Rainier National Park found the two snowboarder who have been missing since Sunday, November 12th. Derek Tyndall, 21, and Thomas Dalle, 20, had spent Sunday snowboarding in the area above Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park before they became lost in white-out winter snow conditions while descending from Camp Muir.
    Monday’s search effort focused on an area believed to be where the two snowboarders had spent Sunday evening. On late Monday afternoon searcher had a visual of what they believed were the missing snowboarders. Because of difficult terrain and low visibility, they were not able to make contact with these individuals before nightfall.
    Today the park deployed a stronger search response over a greater area of the park, with volunteers from Tacoma, Olympic, and Seattle Mountain Rescue Teams; as well as four dog teams from the Washington Search and Rescue Task Force.
    Derek and Thomas were found by one of the search groups in the Upper Stevens Creek drainage. Currently Mr. Tyndall and Mr. Dalle are being rewarmed, as an appropriate way to extricate them is being determined.
    Searchers utilized a combination of snowshoes and skis in the difficult conditions they found on the Mountain. Stefan Lofgren, the Incident Commander on this search said, “We are relieved to have found Derek and Thomas! The health and safety of not only our two lost subjects but all of our searchers has been and will continue to be our greatest concern today considering the avalanche high avalanche danger and the deep and laborious snow conditions.”
     Mount Rainer is a beautiful and alluring place to visit in the winter; however it is a dynamic and extreme environment that can become hazardous if you’re not prepared. When planning a trip to Mount Rainier’s backcountry in the winter, consider these important tips:

· Before you leave home check and heed local weather forecasts, realizing weather can change for the worse in a very short period of time.

· Know your experience and ability to survive in an alpine environment and don’t exceed.

· Always carry survival gear with you, including the 10 essential. Extra clothing and food in case you have to spend the night out.

· Always leave word with someone on the specifics of where you’re going and when you expect to be home. It is always safest to not travel alone.

· While electronic locators and communication can be helpful, they cannot be always be relied upon while in the Mount Rainier backcountry.

· Remember you need to be responsible for your own safety.
 



High Avalanche Risk and Snow Slides Close Chinook and Cayuse Passes for the Year...

     from Donna Rahier
     November 13, 2012


     CHINOOK PASS – Crews closed Chinook (SR 410) and Cayuse (SR 123) passes early Monday morning due to multiple snow slides. After further inspection, the passes will remain closed for the season. “It’s difficult for crews to maintain those routes and manage avalanche control through wet and unstable conditions like this,” said Les Turnley, WSDOT maintenance supervisor.
    Approximately 20 inches of snow fell on the passes Monday, Nov. 12. There is a small break in the weather this week and the next major storm is forecast for Friday.  Each year WSDOT closes Chinook and Cayuse passes, usually in November, for the winter due to high avalanche risk and hazardous driving conditions. The combination of avalanche danger, mountainous terrain, lack of cell phone service, inclement weather and relatively few vehicles on the roads make driving these passes in the winter potentially hazardous.

     Chinook Pass (elevation 5,430 feet) is closed from Morse Creek (five miles east of the summit) to Crystal Mountain Boulevard (eight miles northwest of the summit).
     Access to the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort on eastbound SR 410 remains open.
     Cayuse Pass (SR 123) is closed within Mount Rainier National Park from the 4,675-foot Cayuse Pass summit to Stevens Canyon Road.

     WSDOT offers a number of ways to get travel information:

     View the Chinook Pass Web page
     View the Cayuse Pass Web page
     Download WSDOT’s free smartphone app to check statewide pass conditions.
    Tune into the Highway Advisory Radio at 1610 AM and 530 AM
     Call 511 using a hands-free device

    Refresh your memory on winter driving

   Hyperlinks:

   Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot
  Mountain pass closure and opening dates www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter/passdates.htm
  Chinook Pass Web page www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/chinook/
  Cayuse Pass Web page www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/cayuse
  WSDOT smartphone app www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/seattle/products
  Winter driving tips www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter

 



Search for Missing Snowboarders Will Continue Tomorrow...

       from Kevin Bacher
       November 12, 2012
       8:47 p.m.


    
Searchers at Mount Rainier National Park were not able to locate two missing snowboarders today before night and poor
weather drove them off the mountain. Missing are Derek Tyndall, 21 and Thomas Dale, 20. [See below this update for more information.]

     About 3 p.m. one of the search teams made brief visual contact, from a distance of about half a mile, with two individuals who
matched Tyndall and Dale’s description and seemed to be in good condition on the lower Paradise Glacier.
     Due to the steep terrain, it took several hours for the search teams to circle around to the location, and deep, fresh snow slowed progress to half a mile per hour with searchers trading off to break trail. Attempts to locate or contact the individuals proved unsuccessful.     
     The search was called off for the day about 7:00 as night, weather, low visibility, increasing avalanche danger, and dangerous terrain made continued efforts dangerous and unproductive.
     Search teams will renew their efforts at first light tomorrow morning.



Search Underway for Snowboarders Lost on Mount Rainier...

         from Kevin Bacher
        November 12, 2012
        12:15 p.m.


    
At 4:30 pm on Sunday, November 11, two snowboarders, ages 20 and 21, called 9-1-1 to report that they had become lost in a winter storm while descending from Camp Muir in Mount Rainier National Park. They had winter gear, smart phones, and a compass, but no overnight gear.
    This morning, Monday, November 12, four teams totaling 28 people began a search for the missing individuals, Derek Tyndall and Thomas Dale. National Park Service rescuers are being assisted by 18 members of Tacoma and Olympic Mountain Rescue and two search dogs from Kitsap County. Aerial resources are also being organized to deploy if weather conditions permit.
    Tyndall and Dale checked in by cell phone this morning and reported that they had made a snow cave for the night and were cold but in good condition. The weather overnight was severe, with high winds and 20 inches of fresh snow at Paradise.
    Conditions are better today but with low visibility. Based on landmarks the two were able to describe in the fog, and information from their cell phones, searchers are focusing on an area around McClure Rock at around 7,500 feet elevation.
    Last winter was a challenging one at Mount Rainier with numerous rescues and several fatalities. The National  Park
Service urges people to enjoy the mountain safely. Carry extra gear and be prepared to spend the night out. Get a detailed and up-to-date weather forecast. Let family and friends know your plans and itinerary. Know your capabilities, and turn around before exceeding them.
 



Veteran's Day Holiday Weekend Fee Free...

       from Donna Rahier
      November 2, 2012

      Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King announces that entrance fees into Mount Rainier National Park will be waived for all visitors to the park from Saturday, November 10, through Monday, November 12 in honor of U.S. Veterans and current members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
     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 have served.
     Entrance fee waivers on the Veterans Day 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 food items). The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise will be open on Saturday and Sunday only. This visitor center offers exhibits, visitor information, food service, gift shop and book store. In addition, many businesses in the gateway communities surrounding the park remain open throughout the winter. For more information on these businesses, check 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 is closed nightly and reopens each morning after the road has been cleared of snow and ice and is ready for the public. The Stevens Canyon Road, connecting the west and east side of the park is closed for the season. On the east side of the park, State Routes 123 and 410 remain open, but are subject to winter closure at any time when conditions warrant. The White River/Sunrise Road is closed for the season at its junction with State Route 410.
     Effective November 1, all vehicles traveling within Mount Rainier National Park between the Nisqually Entrance and Paradise are required to carry tire chains. This requirement applies to all vehicles (including four-wheel drive), regardless of tire type or weather conditions. Weather in the mountains can change rapidly at this time of year, and visitors are reminded to be prepared for possible sudden storms. Roads may close at any time due to weather changes.
     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. Additional park information is available on the park’s web site www.nps.gov/mora.
     Connect to Mount Rainier National Park through our social media pages. Join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group.

Links used:
http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS
http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS
http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS
http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS



Fire Danger:

      from Donna Rahier
      September 21, 2012


     The fire in the Three Lakes area of the park has been contained and is currently being monitored for any possible flare ups.
Record dry conditions are being experienced throughout the state and visitors are reminded to be extremely vigilant on preventing any source of ignition, as the fire danger continues to remain high.
     Smoke and haze from ongoing wildfires outside the park is visible in some areas of the park.
     At present, campfires are still being allowed in the fire pits in designated front country campgrounds. Visitors are asked to
keep fires small and manageable; monitor the fire at all times; when leaving the fire pit, put fire out with copious amounts of water; make sure it is out and cold to the touch. Campers are responsible for their campfires even after they leave it.

Trails:

     The Laughingwater Creek Trail on the east side of the park has been reopened to the public. The Narada Falls Trail will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, and then closed again on Monday when construction work resumes. This trail has been closed due to potential hazards from construction excavation work on the Stevens Canyon Road.
     The Comet Falls Trail is open to within 300 yards of the falls. Debris and ice from a large winter/spring avalanche cover the last portion of the trail creating a safety risk of breaking through and falling or being trapped. Visitors can still get a good view of the falls from the closure point. Trail access via the Rampart Ridge trail is another option.
     Visitors hiking the Wonderland Trail in the Reflection Lakes area should use extreme caution in the construction area and be very aware of construction traffic. Please follow the marked route through the construction site.

Roads:

     State Route 123 reopened to the public on Wednesday, September 19 following a two-day closure for culvert replacement work. Stevens Canyon Road is closed to through traffic (for both vehicles and bicycles) from just east of the intersection with the Paradise Valley Road to the east end of the tunnel at Box Canyon for the remainder of the season. Visitors can access Backbone Ridge, Box Canyon and adjacent trailheads via the East Entrance near State Route 123 during the 2012 closure. Wonderland Trail hikers as well as day hikers are permitted to hike through the construction zone to access adjacent
trails.

Social Media Pages:

    "Visitors can connect to Mount Rainier National Park through our social media pages. Join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier’s Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group.”

     Links used:
     http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS
     http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS
     http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS
     http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS

 



National Park Service Report on Murder of Ranger Anderson


                                                                                                    (NPS photo)

     The National Park Service has completed an internal report on murder of Mount Rainier National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson Anderson was a resident of Eatonville and a married mother of two young daughters when she was shot to death January 1, 2012. Her killer escaped into the park and was later found dead of exposure near Narada Falls. He was the suspect in fatal shootings in Skyway the night before. Guns are allowed in National Park.
     More about this story
Tragedy on the Mountain.

Tragedy Could Not Have Been Prevented...

      from Stephanie Burkhart
     National Park Service
     September 20, 2012


     SAN FRANCISCO – A National Park Service Board of Review has completed its examination of the facts and circumstances surrounding the murder of Ranger Margaret Anderson on January 1, 2012, within Mount Rainier National Park. The Board confirmed that Benjamin Barnes came to the Park well-armed and prepared to harm people, resulting in the tragic loss of a ranger who heroically acted to protect public safety. The Board also recognized the well-executed response of the many staff, volunteers and partner agencies to this difficult and horrific event and identified some lessons learned that might help prepare law enforcement staff for similar incidents in the future.
     “The courageous and decisive actions of the rangers prevented Benjamin Barnes from reaching the crowded Paradise area of the park and likely saved the lives of many park visitors and staff,” said National Park Service Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. “We still couldn’t have prevented this dangerous, disturbed and determined man from killing Ranger Anderson even if all of the recommendations that the Board has made had been in place. Her murder is a tragic reminder of the risk all law
enforcement officers face every day. It is our obligation to learn from this horrific incident and use that knowledge to increase the safety of our employees and park visitors.”
     On May 14, 2012, Lehnertz convened a Board of Review to examine the incident and identify any lessons that could be learned to enhance protection of park employees and the public. The Board consisted of law enforcement subject matter experts from around the country, both within and external to the National Park Service. The Board reviewed the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s draft report, visited the site where the shooting occurred and interviewed people who were involved in the incident.
     On May 30, 2012, the Board finalized its findings and recommendations. The Board determined that the single causal factor in Anderson’s death was the direct action of Barnes. The Board also made recommendations to update policies and standard operating practices, evaluate and strengthen training, improve crisis communications infrastructure and capabilities, review current equipment, and explore law enforcement partnerships outside the park. After a thorough review of the Board’s recommendations, the following recommendations are being implemented at the park immediately:

     • Update park law enforcement Standard Operating Procedures including those for critical incident management, use of force, and communicating during crises

     • Ensure all law enforcement patrol vehicles are properly marked according to Service standards

     • Conduct training on critical incident response and critical incident stress management

     • Pursue the development of Memorandums of Understanding with local cooperating law enforcement agencies

     Some recommendations, such as evaluating the need for additional specialized training and updates to service-wide policy,
have been referred to National Park Service Headquarters for consideration.
     Anderson was fatally shot in the line of duty on the road to Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park. Anderson and another ranger were attempting to intercept a vehicle that fled through a mandatory chain-up checkpoint. Upon being stopped just below Paradise, the driver of the vehicle, Barnes, opened fire on both rangers, killing Anderson. Barnes then escaped on foot into the woods and after an extensive manhunt by multiple agencies was later found, having died of exposure.
 



Lightning-Caused Fire Burning in Park’s Wilderness...

      from Patti Wold
     Information Officer
     September 16, 2012


     September 16, 2012, 1 p.m. – A lightning-caused fire was ignited when a storm cell moved through the park on Saturday,
September 8th. The Three Lakes Fire is being managed under a full suppression strategy due to limited firefighting resources that are currently in high demand for large fires, and to the fire’s close proximity to the historic Three Lakes patrol cabin and the Wenatchee National Forest boundary.
     Suppression efforts include construction of fire line in steep terrain using Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics, and water drops. The fire is at 5 acres, 80 percent containment, and is expected to be fully controlled on Tuesday. It is burning near the east park boundary within a mile of Three Lakes.
     Saturday’s fire activity was mainly smoldering and creeping with torching of isolated trees, backing downhill within containment lines. North Cascades Smokejumpers arrived Sunday morning to assist with ground operations.
     The Laughingwater Creek Trail is closed from SR123 to the crest for visitor safety. All other park trails remain open.
Smoke in the area is mostly from fires burning outside the park.
     Twenty-five personnel are assigned to the incident including North Cascades Smokejumpers, Mount Rainier National Park firefighters, a helicopter and crew from Denali National Park, and additional support staff.
     More information and updates are available on Inciweb.org,
www.facebook.com/MountRainierNPS, www.twitter.com/MountRainierNPS.
 



Narada Falls Trail Temporarily Closed due to Stevens Canyon Road Work...

     from Chuck Young
     Chief Ranger
     September 6, 2012


     A section of Narada Falls Trail will be closed from September 6 through September 21, 2012 (Monday through Saturday)
due to rock fall hazard from Stevens Canyon Road construction. The trail will be closed from the bridge where it intersects the Longmire-Paradise Road to its intersection with the Wonderland Trail, and includes the short trail spur from the Narada Falls
restroom down to the Falls viewpoint. During the closure, hikers will not be able to access the Narada Falls parking lot by hiking from Paradise down via the Lakes Trail. This closure may be extended depending on progress for the roadwork. This section of trail will be open to the public on Sundays (Sept. 9 and Sept. 16), as construction work will not be occurring
on those days.
    Closure is due to rock fall hazard from major roadwork being conducted on Stevens Canyon Road above this section of trail. Heavy equipment will be removing and replacing large sections of the roadway just above the closed section of trail for approximately the next two weeks. Large rocks or other material may be dislodged during the construction work and could fall down onto the Narada Falls Trail creating a hazard to hikers. The roadwork is part of the Stevens Canyon Rehabilitation project. More information about this project is available at http://www.nps.gov/mora/parknews/stevens-canyon-closure.htm.
    Updated information on Stevens Canyon Rehabilitation project may be obtained by calling Mount Rainier National Park at 360.569.6713. Information on this project, as well as general park information, is also available on Mount Rainier National Park’s website www.nps.gov/mora. "You can connect to Mount Rainier National Park through our social media pages.
    Join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group."
    Links used: http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS

   
http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS
   
http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS
   
http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS
 



Body Recovered on Trail one of Four Missing Since January

      Update August 9, 2012: The body found earlier in the week has been identified as Mark Vucich, 37, by the Pierce County Medical Examiner. Vucich was a resident of Agoura Hills, California. Vucich and Michelle Trojanowski, 30, of Atlanta, Georgia were reported missing January 15 when the didn't return from a snow camping trip on the Camp Muir Snowfield.
      Climbers Sork "Eric" Yang, 52, of Springfield, Oregon and Seol Hee Jim, also 52, of Korea are still missing along with Michell Trojanowski. The two parties began their Rainier trip in good weather conditions but a major storm hit the area and all four went missing. The storm brought high winds and snow to the mountain and a rare ice storm to lower elevations.
      The intensity of the storm made it impossible for concentrated rescue searches to begin for a week. Vucich's body was in sight of the trail between Camp Muir and Paradise, but not other evidence or bodies were found in the area. Pattie Wold, park spokeswoman, said "Warm weather is expected to continue rapidly melting snow in the area over the next month or two which may uncover evidence related to the four missing climbers."
      Searches for the three people still missing since January is ongoing.

Male Body Found Near Pebble Creek by Party Descending Muir

     from Patti Wold
     August 7, 2012

     On Monday, August 6, rapidly melting snow on the lower reaches of the Muir Snowfield revealed a male body at the 8,000’ level, approximately 0.5 mile above Pebble Creek. It appeared that the body had been under snow for some time. A party descending from Camp Muir spotted the individual late yesterday within sight of the trail. The individual was brought down the
mountain on a litter by park rangers today. His identity will be determined by the Pierce County Medical Examiner.
     It is possible that the individual may be one of the four climbers lost during the January storms; however no additional evidence or bodies were found in the search area. Warm weather is expected to continue rapidly melting snow in the area over the next month or two, which may uncover evidence related to the missing climbers. The search for the four missing climbers is still active and ongoing on a limited basis. Searches are conducted during scheduled flights in the park and as crews are in the area. The park is interested in hearing from anybody that sees any items that may be associated with the missing climbers.
 



Wildflowers Display at Rainier


                                                                                                                                                                                              (stock photo)

     August 19, 2012: Wild flowers are doing Mother Nature proud right now - Check out this link and see which blooms live on the mountain - Mt. Rainier Area Wildflower Guide.



Tacoma Woman Sentenced to Prison for Identity Theft
Linked to 16 Car Break-ins From May to July 2010

     Press Relase
     April 23, 2012


     A Tacoma woman who victimized more than a dozen visitors to Mount Rainier National Park, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to two years in prison, three years of supervised release and $7,034 in restitution for conspiracy and aggravated identity theft, announced U.S.Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
    Pamela N. Williams, 25, and her codefendant Matthew Mortinson, broke into vehicles parked at various trailheads, stealing computers, credit cards and other valuables. Some victims had been away from their cars for only an hour when the break-ins occurred. In each case the defendant admits a member of the conspiracy damaged the vehicle by smashing windows or removing the truck canopy to gain access.
    At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle ordered that Williams be banned from Mount Rainier National Park during her supervised release. “This is a serious offense,” Judge Settle said. “Unless you have been the victim of this type of offense, you don’t have an appreciation of how disruptive these crimes are on the lives of victims.”
    According to records filed in the case, WILLIAMS and Mortinson broke into vehicles at Paul Peak trailhead, Comet Falls trailhead, Crystal Lakes trailhead, White River Campground, and the Carbon River entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. The pair stole backpacks, purses and wallets from the cars. They took laptop computers, passports, outdoor tools and credit
cards.
   They used the credit cards to make unauthorized purchases. Mortinson was arrested following a traffic stop, because of a warrant for his arrest out of the state of Oregon. After he was jailed in Pierce County, further investigation linked the two to the break-ins. A search of Williams’ residence turned up some of the stolen goods. Mortinson is scheduled for trial in June. Williams pleaded guilty in December 2011.
   In their sentencing memo prosecutors wrote “Williams’ conduct was egregious. Not only does identity theft leave nearly all members of society who engage in even the most basic economic transactions feeling vulnerable, trailhead car prowling seriously undermines the public’s enjoyment of its natural areas.”
   The case was investigated by National Park Service Law Enforcement Rangers and Special Agents and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arlen Storm.
   For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office  at 206. 553.4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.



New Closure Posted  for Comet Falls Trail...

     July 18, 2012: Visitors to Mount Rainier National Park are advised that a new closure is in effect on the Comet Falls Trail from approximately ¼ mile below Comet Falls to the River crossing above Comet Falls in Van Trump Park.
     This closure is due to an abundant amount of avalanche debris in the Van Trump drainage, making the trail dangerous and creating extremely hazardous river crossings. A fall through hidden pockets in the snow could be fatal. (NPS photos)
 



Tracy Swartout Makes History at Park - First Woman to be Named Deputy Superintendent...

     For the first time since Mount Rainier was declared a national park in 1899 a woman has been named as deputy superintendent. Tracy Swartout will move to the area and begin her new job at the park September 2, Swartout will bring along her husband, Tom, and two children, Grayson and Sierra when they become part of the park family. (courtesy photo NPS)

Swartout Currently Superintendent of Congaree National Park in South Carolina...

     from Randy King
    July 10, 2012

    Superintendent Randy King announces that Tracy Swartout has been named Deputy Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park. She will begin her new assignment September 2. As Deputy Superintendent Swartout will provide management oversight and guidance for the day-to-day operations of the park. King stated “Tracy offers an outstanding blend of management, leadership, business planning and interpersonal abilities that will greatly benefit Mount Rainier. I very much look forward to working with her.”
     “I am thrilled to be selected to serve at Mount Rainier, which protects a wealth of natural and cultural resources and provides visitors a place to seek both recreation and renewal. It is an inspiring landscape, offering visitors diverse opportunities to develop connections with the forces of nature that dominate the park’s physical environment” said Swartout.
     Currently the Superintendent at Congaree National Park in South Carolina, Swartout is a 12-year NPS veteran, who began her career in the NPS Washington Office, leading the Business Management Group (BMG) within the office of the Comptroller. After six years traveling to all seven NPS regions to support park management, she left to join the team at Congaree.
    During her six years at Congaree, Swartout worked with park partners, environmental groups, and developers to provide greater protections for the area’s natural and cultural resources while encouraging the community to get involved in the park. She promoted heritage tourism and oral history work through the Southeast Rural Community Outreach organization, initiated
the park’s first living history program, Congaree Campfire Chronicles, and spearheaded the first focus groups addressing African American non-visitors in the NPS.
    Swartout also oversaw more than 1,800 acres of land acquisition, an active Research and Education Center, and an accomplished Exotic Plant Management Team, serving more than a dozen parks in the Southeast. In addition, she renewed the park’s law enforcement program, which had been dormant for several years.
   Prior to the NPS, Swartout worked for the National Parks Conservation Association, stationed at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. While in school, she worked as a climbing instructor in Colorado and a legislative aide for the SC House of Representatives.
   A native of Columbia, SC, Swartout earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geography from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Waterloo in Canada. She also started a second Master’s in Environmental Management from Duke University, with courses in Environmental Law, Natural Resource Economics, and geology before taking a leave of absence to follow her park ranger dreams!
    “I am excited by the opportunity to serve as the new Deputy Superintendent for Mount Rainier National Park and am honored to join the talented team already in place at the park,” Swartout said. “Tom and I are looking forward to becoming a part of the Rainier family, and our son is looking forward to seeing snow once again.”
    Swartout and her husband Tom, an environmental engineer who specializes in water and wastewater systems, will relocate to Mount Rainier with their two children, Grayson and Sierra. As a family they enjoy outdoor recreation, music, cooking and the arts.
 



 More Tragedy on the Mountain:

Visitor Fatality at Paradise on Mount Rainier...

       from Patti Wold
       July 5, 2012


     On July 4, 2012, a visitor was intentionally sliding down a slope in a controlled manner with his son  in the Edith Creek area of the Paradise meadows. While sliding he broke through a snow crust over the creek and fell below the surface of the snow. He was swept about 30’ down the creek, underneath the snow. His son immediately went for assistance at Paradise.
      A Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated (RIM) group training in the area responded and was first on scene. They located the individual in the water with his face submerged. A complex rescue operation ensued involving RMI guides and National Park Service rangers after risk assessments were conducted. They were able to extract the man, and start CPR. An ALS air ambulance was called in to fly the man to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
     Staff and RMI Guides successfully and safely executed a highly complex rescue that was time critical, and hazardous, with specific attention to managing risks to all rescuers throughout the entire operation.
 



Ranger Nick Hall's Body Finally Taken off the Mountain
Two Weeks after Tragedy Recovery Efforts successfully

      from Patti Wold
     Public Information Officer
     July 5, 2012

    (Publiher's Note: This morning recovery efforts got underway to remove Climbing Ranger Nick Hall's body from Emmons Glacier. Prior to July 5 unsafe weather conditions had stopped the recovery since June 21 when Hall slipped and fell to his death during a rescue operation.)
    The mission to recover Climbing Ranger Nick Hall from the Winthrop Glacier on Mount Rainier this morning was successful. Ranger Hall died on June 21, 2012, while responding to a rescue of four injured climbers on Mount Rainier.
    A team of five Mount Rainier climbing rangers and a search dog team were flown up to Ranger Hall’s location at about 11,000’ on the north side of Mount Rainier. The operation, including a preliminary reconnaissance flight went smoothly and was completed in approximately two hours.
    Air operations were supported by a Chinook and crew from the 214th Aviation out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and a Hughes 530 from Northwest Helicopters.
   Rangers attempted to retrieve Ranger Hall the day of the original incident and again on June 28, but were forced to call off both missions due to high winds, deteriorating weather, and avalanche hazards.
   A memorial service honoring Ranger Hall was held last Friday. It was attended by an estimated 450 people, filling both floors of the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise. Many others watched the service via live streaming video at the Paradise Inn and at other locations across the park and country.
   Video coverage of the service can be viewed and download at the DVIDS, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, http://www.dvidshub.net/video/148209/memorial-ranger-nick-hall
   A family memorial service is being planned for this Friday, July 6 in Patten, Maine. Members of the Mount Rainier National
Park staff, along with other National Park Service representatives will be in attendance.

 



 Over 400 Attend Memorial Service for Ranger Nick Hall Recovery Effort Awaits Improved Conditions


                                                                                                                                                                                    (courtesy photo NPS)

     from Barb Maynes
     June 30, 2012


    Yesterday’s memorial service for Mount Rainier National Park Climbing Ranger Nick Hall was attended by an estimated 450 people, filling both floors of the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise. Additional people watched the service via live stream video at the Paradise Inn and at other locations across the park and country.
    The service began at 10:00 a.m. and lasted approximately 90 minutes. Hall was remembered in presentations by both his father Carter and brother Aaron, and by several friends and coworkers.
    Video coverage of the service can be viewed and downloaded at the DVIDS, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, website http://www.dvidshub.net/webcast/2477.
    Park staff and volunteers extend their gratitude to friends and donors including Washington’s National Park Fund, the Soup
Ladies and members of the park staff who contributed support in preparation for the memorial service and reception that followed.
    Meanwhile, park staff awaits a favorable weather window to allow another attempt to remove Hall from the mountain. Current forecasts indicate Monday may provide a short window of opportunity for a safe recovery. Staff will continue to monitor weather and mountain conditions. Safety of park staff remains the priority for both the Hall family and the park.
    Rangers attempted to retrieve Hall from Mount Rainier on Thursday, but were forced to call off the mission due to high winds and deteriorating weather.
    Nick Hall died on June 21, 2012 while responding to a rescue of four injured climbers on Mount Rainier. All four climbers were safely evacuated  from the mountain
 



Recovery of Ranger Hall's Body Suspended for Today
High Winds Prevent Recovery, Memorial Service Tomorrow...


                                                                                                          (courtesy photo NPS)

      from Kathy Steichen
     June 28, 2012
     3:30 p.m.


     Recovery of Mount Rainier National Park Climbing Ranger Nick Hall, who died in a rescue accident on Thursday, June 21, 2012, was suspended today due to high winds. The highest priority for the recovery effort is the safety of all personnel involved.
     On June 21, 2012, Nick Hall was assisting in the rescue of four climbers that had fallen into a crevasse on the Emmons Glacier when he fell approximately 2,500 feet down the mountain.
     After the fall, Hall did not respond to attempts to contact him. Climbing rangers assisting in the rescue were able to reach Hall within an hour and found that he did not survive the fall.
    The park continues to monitor weather and mountain conditions for future recovery efforts. Details will be announced when they become available.
 

Recovery of Climbing Ranger Nick Hall Begins...


                                                                                                             (courtesy photo NPS)

      from Kathy Steichen
      June 28, 2012


     8:20 a.m. Thursday: Recovery of Mount Rainier National Park Climbing Ranger Nick Hall, who died in a rescue accident on Thursday, June 21, 2012, began this morning. After a number of days of poor weather, several feet of new snow on the upper elevations of Mount Rainier and high avalanche danger, today’s improved weather window has provided an opportunity to safely fly a recovery attempt on Mount Rainier. Environmental variables may cause changes to these plans.
     Hall was assisting in the rescue of four climbers that had fallen into a crevasse on the Emmons Glacier when he fell approximately 2,500 feet down the mountain. After the fall, Hall did not respond to attempts to contact him. Climbing rangers assisting in the rescue were able to reach Hall several hours after he fell and determined him deceased upon arrival.
     More information regarding Mount Rainier National Park’s recovery efforts
will be announced when more details become available.
     Upon successful completion of the recovery attempt, Nick Hall will be flow to either Sunrise or Paradise depending on the weather conditions. He will then be transported to the Pierce County Medical Examiner accompanied by Mount Rainier National Park Rangers.

    (Publisher's Note: For those wishing to send condelances and/or donations to Ranger Hall's family and/or the park please see story below for addresses.)
 

   



Recovery Efforts Continue to Await Improved Safety Conditions
Memorial Service for Ranger Hall Friday, June 29...


                                                                                                                                                                         (courtesy photo NPS)

     from Kathy Steichen
     June 27, 2012

     Recovery efforts for Climbing Ranger Nick Hall await improved safety conditions. After a number of days of poor weather conditions and several feet of new snow on the upper elevations of Mount Rainier, today the park received its first day of a forecasted 36-hour window of good weather for a recovery effort. Today, high avalanche danger on the mountain resulted in
unsafe conditions that precluded efforts to recover Climbing Ranger Nick Hall. 
    We want to recover Nick as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Superintendent Randy King. “Conditions must be stable before it is safe to put recovery teams on the mountain.”
    Efforts today focused on overflights to assess conditions from the air, evaluation of mountain conditions and snowpack at Camp Schurman (elevation 9,510 feet) and finalizing a plan for a recovery attempt on Thursday providing that conditions are favorable and safe.
    Nick Hall died on Mount Rainier on Thursday, June 21, 2012 after he fell approximately 2,500 feet down  the Emmons Glacier while assisting on an upper mountain rescue.
   The memorial service for Nick Hall will be held on Friday June 29, 2012 at the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park. Nick’s family, friends, colleagues and co-workers will be attending. The Visitor Center will be closed to accommodate the service. The park is currently working to offer alternative methods to view the service.
   The Hall family has asked that donations in honor of Nick Hall be made in lieu of flowers. Donations that support search and rescue in Maine and assist the Hall family with expenses related to the tragedy may be made through the following accounts:
The National Park Foundation – www.nationalparks.org/nickhall Or, Nick Hall Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 431, Patten, ME 04765
    Donations to the fund that supports Mount Rainier National Park’s search and rescue program in honor of Nick Hall may be made to: MORA Search and Rescue Fund, (checks payable to DOI-NPS),  55210 238th Ave. E., Ashford, WA 98304.
   Cards and condolences may also be sent to the above addresses.
   Mount Rainier National Park is being assisted throughout this incident by Mountain Rescue Units from Tacoma and
Everett,  a Chinook helicopter with crew from Joint Base Lewis McChord, a MD500 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters out of Olympia, WA, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, and The Soup Ladies.
Additionally, gracious support has also been received by businesses and other partners in many of the gateway communities.
 



Park Continues Recovery Efforts for Climbing Ranger...


                                                                                      (NPS photo)

     Nick Hall had worked at Mount Rainier National Park's climbing ranger program for four years before dying in a fall during a rescue on Emmons Glacier. He was not married and had no children. Ranger Hall was formerly from Patten, Maine.    
     He is the second ranger to die at the park this year. Ranger Margaret Anderson was shot and killed New Year's Day by a shooter who was found dead January 2 in the snow. Ranger Anderson lived in Eatonville and was the married mother of two small daughters.
     In 1995 two rangers fell 1,200 feet to their deaths during a climbing rescue, also on Emmons Glacier.

Ranger's Body May Not be Safely Reached Until Midweek When Improving Weather Conditions are Forecast

     for immediate release
     from Patti Wold
     June 25, 2012


     Mount Rainier National Park is continuing efforts to recover Climbing Ranger Nick Hall. Hall died in a rescue accident on the mountain on Thursday, June 21, 2012 after he fell approximately 2,500 feet down the Emmons Glacier. Recovery efforts have been abated by deteriorating weather conditions and increased avalanche danger due to accumulation of new snow at the higher elevations.
     Deteriorating weather conditions continue to move through the area for the beginning of the week. An improving weather forecast is expected for Wednesday, June 27, and Thursday, June 28, with less chance of precipitation and increased visibility. The park will utilize the clear weather window to continue helicopter operations and complete the recovery efforts on the mountain.
     Mount Rainier National Park is being assisted throughout this incident by a Chinook helicopter with crew from Joint Base Lewis McChord, a MD500 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters out of Olympia, WA, Mountain Rescue Units from Tacoma, WA and Everett, WA, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, The Soup Ladies, and dozens of personnel from other National Park Service units. Additionally, gracious support has also been received by businesses and other partners in many of the gateway communities.
    The Hall family has asked that donations in honor of Nick Hall, in lieu of flowers, be made through the following accounts:
Nick Hall Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 431, Patten, ME 04765. Please make checks payable to Nick Hall Memorial Fund
Donations to this fund will support search and rescue in Maine and assist the Hall Family with travel expenses.
    MORA Search and Rescue Fund, 55210 238th Ave E, Ashford, WA 98304. Please make checks payable to DOI-NPS and note that the donation is in honor of Nick Hall. Cards and condolences may also be sent to the above addresses.
   A subsequent news release will be sent out when further information on the recovery is available.
 



Recovery Efforts for Climbing Ranger Continue in Park
Inclement Weather has Caused Difficulties to Park Efforts

     For Immediate Release
     from Rick Jones
     June 24, 2012

    Recovery efforts for Mount Rainier National Park Climbing Ranger Nick Hall continue today, Sunday, June 24, 2012. Hall, 33, fell approximately 2,500 feet down the Emmons Glacier on Mount Rainier on Thursday, June 21, during a rescue attempt in which four climbers fell into a crevasse on the glacier. Hall did not respond to attempts to contact him and was not moving after the fall. Climbing Rangers assisting in the rescue of the four climbers were able to reach Hall, several hours after he fell, and upon arrival found that he was deceased.
   Rescue efforts for the four climbers continued throughout daylight hours and into the next day. All four climbers were successfully rescued and transported to a hospital. Injuries sustained by some members of the climbing party remain serious.
   Mount Rainier National Park has experienced several days of inclement weather that has slowed efforts to recover Hall’s remains. Heavy cloud cover, in conjunction with several feet of new snow, has made attempts to reach Hall’s location extremely difficult. Additional amounts of snow are forecast today as well; however the park is expecting a small weather window that may be utilized to reach Hall’s body. Access to the Sunrise Road continues to be restricted as it provides the safest access for an aerial recovery of Hall’s remains.
    Mount Rainier National Park Rangers, local search and rescue team members, a Chinook helicopter with crew from Joint Base Lewis McChord and an MD500 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters out of Olympia, Washington continue to assist in the attempted recovery of Hall’s remains and to assure the safety of other climbers on Mount Rainer.
   The family has asked that donations in honor of Nick Hall, in lieu of flowers, be made through the following accounts:
Nick Hall Memorial Fund; P. O. Box 431, Patten, ME 04765 - Please make checks payable to Nick Hall Memorial Fund. Donations to this fund will support search and rescue in Maine and assist the Hall family with travel expenses.
    MORA Search and Rescue Fund, 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, Washington 98304. Please make checks payable to DOI-NPI and note the donation is in honor of Nick Hall.
    Cards and condolences may also be sent to the above addresses.    

 



Climbing Ranger Dies During Rescue Attempt...

      from Kevin Bacher
      June 21, 2012

     A climbing ranger at Mount Rainier National Park has died during a rescue attempt on the Emmons Glacier this afternoon. Ranger Nick Hall, 34, fell from the 13,700 foot level to about 10,000 feet on the mountain’s northeast side as he was helping to prepare other climbers for extrication by helicopter.
    At approximate 1:45 pm this afternoon, Thursday, June 21, 2012, a party of four climbers from Waco, Texas  fell at the 13,700 foot level of the Emmons Glacier as they were returning from a successful summit attempt on Mount Rainier. Two members of the party slid into a crevasse. A third member of the group was able to call for help using a cell phone. During the subsequent rescue, at 4:49 p.m., as the first of the climbers were being evacuated by helicopter, Mount Rainier climbing ranger Nick Hall fell, sliding more than 3,000 feet down the side of the mountain.
    He did not respond to attempts to contact him and was not moving. High winds and a rapidly lowering cloud ceiling made rescue efforts extremely difficult, but with the help of Chinook helicopters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, two of the original climbing party were lifted off the mountain by about 9 p.m. and taken to Madigan Hospital. The other two members of the party are spending the night on the mountain with climbing rangers from Mount Rainier National Park, and rescue options will be reassessed in the morning. All four suffered non-life threatening injuries.
    Climbers reached Ranger Hall several hours after the incident began and found him to be deceased.  Information about Nick’s fall was not initially released pending notification of his family and that of other climbing rangers who might be worried prior to the release of Nick’s name. Nick Hall is a 4-year veteran of Mount Rainier National Park’s climbing program and a native of Patten, Maine. He was unmarried and has no children. The names of the original four climbers will be released once all four families have been notified.
    Rescue and recovery efforts will resume in the morning. Sunrise, which had been scheduled to open for the season tomorrow morning, will remain closed while the incident is underway. We hope to reopen later in the day.
 



Comet Falls Trail Section Closed Temporarily Due to Hazardous Trail Condition...

      from Donna Rahier
     June 12, 2012

    Superintendent Randy King has announced that the Comet Falls Trail has been temporarily closed to public use ONE mile beyond the trailhead, due to an extremely hazardous condition on the trail. A substantial washout, approximately 10 ft. across and 30 ft. deep, made worse with the recent rains over the past several weeks, has created unstable conditions which has undermined the trail approximately one mile in from the trailhead.
    Snow and ice in the area of the washout adds to the hazard, especially if a hiker were to attempt to walk around the washout. It should also be noted that snow and ice conditions all along the trail are hazardous to travel even before getting to the washout area. Next week, it is anticipated that the park trail crew will access this area to begin building a safe route around the washout. Public notice will be given when the trail is again open for hiking.
    Hikers in Mount Rainier should be aware that late snow and ice from the winter still persists on trails at the park’s higher elevations. Hikers need to use caution and good judgment as steep slopes covered with snow and ice will be very slippery or unstable, and streams and rivers are running fast and high as runoff is occurring at its maximum levels. Also, as the winter snow melts back, trail damage, washed out bridges, or other unknown hazards may be uncovered before park crews can repair them.
     Trail conditions are continuously being updated on the park’s website at:
http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/trails-and-backcountry-camp-conditions.htm
     Check the park website, or contact Park Rangers to get information on current trail conditions before hiking in the park.
    "You can connect to Mount Rainier National Park through our social media pages. Join the Mount Rainier community on
Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group."



Mount Rainier Offers Free Admission this Saturday

       from Donna Rahier
      June 7, 2012


    Ashford, WA: Get a head start on your summer fun with free admission to Mount Rainier National Park this  Saturday, June 9. In celebration of National Get Outdoors Day, all 397 national parks, including Mount Rainier National Park will waive entrance fees.
    “Outdoor physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and Mount Rainier is a great place to get out and enjoy snow-free areas such as the Trail of the Shadows at Longmire or the Carbon River and Ohanapecosh areas” stated Park Superintendent Randy King.
     Park roads currently open include Nisqually Entrance to Paradise, Westside Road, Stevens Canyon, State Routes 123 and 410 and the White River Road to the White River Campground. Park Road Crews are in the process of removing the winter snowpack from the Sunrise Road in anticipation of having the road open to the public by June 22 (conditions permitting).
    Sunrise Visitor Center and Sunrise Lodge Snack Bar & Gift Shop are scheduled to open for the season June 29. The free public shuttle between Longmire and Paradise will begin operation on June 22 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and from Ashford (Saturday, Sunday only).
    National Get Outdoors Day, now in its fifth year, encourages Americans, especially youth, to participate in outdoor activities while enjoying the beauty of public lands such as national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. Nationwide, hundreds of organizations and businesses will partner
with Federal, state, and local agencies to provide fun and healthy events at sites throughout the country.
    President Barack Obama has proclaimed the month of June as Great Outdoors Month and encourages all Americans to share in the natural splendor of which we are all proud inheritors.
    At Mount Rainier visitors are invited to join a volunteer project: (1) a campground opening project for all ages at Longmire at 9:30 a.m. (for details, see http://tinyurl.com/cnktf74); or (2) a trail maintenance project on the Comet Falls Trails with the Washington Trails Association (
http://vols.wta.org/ web/web.pl?sm+19541+WP). 
    Or, go for a hike on one of our many lower elevation trails, complete a Jr. Ranger booklet at one of our visitor centers, or play in more than 10 feet of snow that still blankets the subalpine meadows at Paradise (
www.nps.gov/mora)!
    Mount Rainier National Park will waive its $15 entrance fee on four more days in 2012 – September 29 (National Public Lands Day) and November 10 to 12 (Veterans Day weekend).
    If you are planning a trip that includes multiple national parks, you might consider the $80 annual pass that provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands – more than 2,000 in all.
    This America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is offered free to all active duty military members and their dependents. Information on these and other pass options is available online. Mount Rainier National Park also offers an annual pass for the park for $30.
    "You can connect to Mount Rainier National Park through our social media pages. Join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share you own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group."
    Links used:
http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS, http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS,
http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS, http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS, www.nps.gov.



Rehabilitation of 10 miles of Stevens Canyon Road Planned in 2012 and 2013 Phase 2 Effort...

       from Eric J. Walkinshaw
      Project Manager
      June 6, 2012


    Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King and Federal Highway Administration, Western Federal Lands Highway Division officials announce that Phase 2 of the planned rehabilitation of 10 miles of Stevens Canyon Road was awarded to Tucci and Sons, Inc. of Tacoma, for $8,910,093.23 with a Notice to Proceed issued for project start on May 29, 2012 and a
contract completion date of September 17, 2013.
     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.
    Starting in early June until September 4, visitors should anticipate 20-minute delays, Monday – Friday, through each of two segments of roadwork on Stevens Canyon Road.
    From September 4, 2012 until winter closure, Stevens Canyon Road will be closed to through traffic (for both vehicles and bicycles) from just east of the intersection with the Paradise Valley Road to the east end of the tunnel at Box Canyon.
    Visitors will be able to access Backbone Ridge, Box Canyon and adjacent trailheads via the East Entrance near State Route 123 during the 2012 closure. Wonderland Trail hikers as well as day hikers will be permitted to hike through the construction zone to access adjacent trails.
    Forty-five sites 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 sites require full roadway embankment replacement down to 22 foot depth and retaining/guard wall replacements.
    Most of the sites require either ¾- width or full road embankment replacement down to 5 foot depth, some of which also require retaining/guard wall replacements, were stabilized during Phase 1 work completed in late October 2011. The contractor will also be repairing the tunnel walls at milepost 6.9 and 8.5 during the closure period.
    Stevens Canyon roadwork is scheduled to extend until mid September 2013, although no closures are anticipated during the 2013 season.
    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 maximum 20 minute delays through each segment Mondays through Fridays until project completion on September 17, 2013. No closures are anticipated in 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 2012 closure period, 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 are encouraged to seek alternate routes.
    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 website
www.nps.gov/mora/parknews/newsreleases.htm.
   
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.
    Plan to call prior driving to the park, as cell phone coverage is minimal within the park. 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.
 



Thanking America’s Armed Forces...
 
Active Duty U.S. Military Offered Free Entrance
 
to All 397 American National Parks
Details and Brief History of Park's Involvement with Military Here

     Ashford, WA- To show our appreciation for those who serve in the U.S. Military, on May 19 – Armed Forces Day – the National Park Service will begin issuing an annual pass offering free entrance to all 397 national parks for active duty military members and their dependents.
    “We all owe a debt to those who sacrifice so much to protect our country,” said Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King. “We are proud to recognize these brave men and women and hope that a visit to this or any national park will offer an opportunity to unwind, relax, rejuvenate, and just have fun with their families.”
     Mount Rainier National Park has had a long-standing relationship with military units from Joint Base Lewis/McChord as well as other military groups, during search and rescue operations and joint training exercises. In addition, during World War II. the famous 10th Mountain Division used Mount Rainier as their training grounds to prepare for their assignments in Europe.
    Active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents can pick up their pass at any park entrance. They must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass. More information is available at
www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm.
    Visit www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm for more information about the military pass. The pass is also available at any other national park which charges an entrance fee. Find a list of national parks with entrance fees at
http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparksbystate.htm.
    This military version of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass also permits free entrance to sites managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service. The pass is also available at these locations.
    “Through the years, military members, especially those far from home in times of conflict, have found inspiration in America’s patriotic icons and majestic landscapes, places like the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon that are cared for by the National Park Service and symbolize the nation that their sacrifices protect,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “This new pass is a way to thank military members and their families for their service and their sacrifices.”
    National parks and the military have strong ties going back to the establishment of Yellowstone as the world’s first national park in 1872.
    The U.S. Cavalry watched over America’s national parks and did double duty, serving as the first park rangers until the National Park Service was created 44 years later. During World War II, many parks were set aside for the training and care of military personnel. Today, dozens of national parks commemorate military battles and achievements.
   About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at
www.nps.gov.
 



Chrystal Mountain Still Open Weekends for Skiing

      from Tiana Enger
     May 11, 2012


     Crystal Mountain is the last resort in the state and one of only nine resorts in North America that is still open for skiing
and snowboarding.
     When all the other resorts in the state have already called it quits, Crystal plans to remain open Saturdays and Sundays and Memorial Day for skiing and snowboarding until May 28 or later, conditions permitting. There will be discounted tickets available for access on all 6 lifts operating this weekend including the Mt. Rainier Gondola. Crystal Mountain was the first ski resort in Washington to open this winter on November 18th and will be the last to close. With an 85" to 131" base and a record spring snowfall, the skiing is still great.
    With the opening of Cayuse Pass on May 8, 2012, residents of Eastern Washington will also be able to enjoy the slopes and views at Crystal this weekend. Yakima is as close to the ski resort as Seattle.
   The resort is offering free spring skiing to guests who purchase a bronze or gold pass to the resort for the 2012/2013 season. Season passes are on sale now until May 31, 2012.
   Foot passengers can ride the Mount Rainier Gondola and access breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Range. Washington's highest elevation restaurant, the Summit House, will also be open at the summit of the resort.
   Skiing will continue on weekends until the snow melts. The final day for skiing last season was July 16, 2011.
   Crystal Mountain will be open daily this summer for scenic gondola rides, Summit House dining, hiking, disc golf, guided
horseback riding and more starting June 16, 2012 (recreational activities are snow-permitting).

   Visit Spring Skiing - Crystal Mountain Washington for details on future operations and rates.

Crystal Mountain Resort

   Crystal Mountain Resort is situated on the Northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park. Located just 76 miles from Seattle, 64 miles from Tacoma and 85 miles from Yakima, Crystal Mountain Resort offers the most diverse and unique set of experiences delivered in a setting of unrivaled natural beauty. It provides an unmatched level of service, catering to summer travelers looking for fun and adventure as well as those looking to experience Mt. Rainier for the first time.



Mount Rainier Spring/Summer Opening Schedule...



                                                                                                                                                                              (photo by Bob Walter)


     May 11, 2012

     With warmer, sunny days becoming a little more frequent in the Northwest now, it seems Spring has officially arrived and
Summer is not far behind. However, at Mount Rainier snow still blankets the slopes (15 feet at Paradise) and roadways. The Spring melt is beginning and park Road Crews are cutting their way through the snowed-in roadway at Stevens Canyon.
    This is still a great time of year to visit the park, to view the amazing snowpack, to cross-country ski or snowshoe. Be sure to check on conditions with park staff before going – spring avalanches can be deadly.
    Paradise Inn Opens May 18 - On Friday, May 18, the historic Paradise Inn opens its doors to welcome visitors for the 2012 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 Mount Rainier Guest Services, Incorporated. Reservations can be made on line at www.mtrainierguestservices.com or by telephone at 360.569.2275.
   Businesses in the gateway communities surrounding the park are also 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.staycrystal.com,
www.destinationpackwood.com or
www.minerallake.com.


Current Status and Projected Opening Dates

Note: These dates are projected and may be subject to change depending on conditions.

Roads:

Stevens Canyon Road May 25 at 8 a.m.

SR 410 to SR 123 over Cayuse Pass Open

White River Road to Campground lot May 25

Sunrise Road June 22 at 8 a.m.

Mowich Lake Road June 29 at 8 a.m.

Skate Creek Road (USFS Road 52) Open

Chinook Pass May 25

Westside Road Open to Dry Creek


Road Construction:

     Stevens Canyon Road: Road construction repair work will be occurring on two sections of the Stevens Canyon Road throughout the summer. Work will be Monday through Friday until Labor Day - 20-minute delays should be anticipated at each section. After Labor Day the road will be closed to all traffic from just east of the intersection with the Paradise Valley
Road to east end of the tunnel at Box Canyon for the remainder of the season, Visitors will still be able to access Box Canyon via the East Entrance. During closure period, the road will be closed to through traffic for both vehicles and cyclists.

    SR 123: A micro-surfacing treatment will be applied on the roadway from MP 6.8 to MP 13.8 (Cayuse Pass) from August 6
to August 17, 2012 with 20-minute delays anticipated. In addition, replacement of a failed deep culvert at MP 10.6 will take place in mid- to late September. It is anticipated that the work will take 2-days to accomplish and due to the depth of the culvert a road closure will be necessary. A press release will be issued prior to the closure.

Longmire:

    Longmire Museum Open daily - 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. through June 30 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. July 1-September 3 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 May 25
Cougar Rock Picnic Area May 25

Paradise:

Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center Open daily -10 a.m. - 5  p.m. (until May 17)
Paradise Inn May 18 to June 15 -10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
June 16 to September 2 – 10  a.m. - 7 p.m.

Ohanapecosh:

Ohanapecosh Campground May 25
Ohanapecosh Visitor Center May 25 – May 28 -10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Fri., Sat. Sun., Mon.)
June 2-3 (Sat., Sun.)
June 9-September 2 – 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

White River:

White River Road to Campground lot May 25
White River Campground June 29

Sunrise:

Sunrise Lodge (snack bar & gift shop) June 29
Sunrise Visitor Center June 29

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 "You can connect to Mount Rainier National Park through our social media pages. Join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share you own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group."

Links used:
http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS
http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS
http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS
http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS
 



Bring Mom Mountainside for Mother's Day...

from Julie Johnson

Visit Rainier

juliejohnson@visitrainier.com
May 5, 2012

 

Mount Rainier:.- It's not too late to plan a great Mother's Day surprise! There are plenty of ways to spoil Mom this Mother's Day.

 

Train ride to brunch with Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad, Elbe
 

It is a beautiful time of year in the foothills of Mount Rainier. Treat Mom to a family day aboard a steam train which includes a gourmet brunch at pristine Mineral Lake. Mom will receive a fresh flower corsage as she boards the train. Riders depart from the Elbe and make a 40-45 minute trip out to Mineral Lake where brunch will be served, then reboard the train for a ride back to Elbe. Rides are Sunday, May 13, 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Fares: Ages 13-61: $46, Senior/Military: $42, Ages 4-12: $36, Children under 4: free. For reservations call 1-888-STEAM-11 or visit www.mrsr.com.

 

Mother's Day Buffet at the National Park Inn, Longmire, Mt. Rainier National Park
 

Surrounded by the spectacular scenery of Mount Rainier National Park, the National Park Inn is offering a bountiful Mother's Day buffet. The menu features roasted apple stuffed pork loin with a cranberry glaze, hand carved baron of beef, potatoes au gratin, fresh asparagus with hollandaise sauce, wild rice and mushroom pilaf, roasted fresh butternut squash, ambrosia salad, pasta primavera, fresh strawberry shortcake, chocolate mousse and more. Sunday, May 13, Noon - 7:30 p.m. Cost: Adults: $19.95; Children (10 & under): $10.95. For reservations call 360-569-241 or visit www.mtrainierguestservices.com.

 

Mother's Day Celebration at Alexander's Country Inn, Ashford
 

Sunday, May 13th  Brunch 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Pricing: Brunch $12 - $28. Dinner $18 - $28. Reserve now by calling 800-654-7615 or visit www.alexanderscountryinn.com.

 

Mother's Day Getaway at Westwood Chalet at Mount Rainier, Ashford
 

Westwood Chalet is located just outside the Paradise entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park. Guests can enjoy the hot tub in a private wooded setting, a full kitchen, cozy gas stove, wireless internet, and mountain-home accommodations for up to eight persons. Reserve four or more nights at Westwood anytime in May and receive a 15 percent discount. Treat Mom to a delicious Sunday brunch at one of the Ashford area restaurants! For reservations call 360-569-2860 or visit www.westwoodchalet.com.

 

VisitRainier.com
 

Check out last minute lodging deals year round! Visit the website between Thursday at noon, to Friday at noon, and check out the last minute lodging deals section. Lodging properties offer yet unsold inventory at a discount of their choice, for the upcoming weekend. For more information, www.visitrainier.com.

 

For information on visiting Mount Rainier, its surrounding communities, and to see which properties are currently offering lodging discounts, visit www.visitrainier.com.

 

Click here for a direct link to all Mother's Day specials.

 

Visit Rainier is a not-for-profit, non-membership destination marketing organization that promotes tourism in the gateway communities around Mt.Rainier.

 



 Ranger Lee Taylor Named Superintendent at San Juan Island Historic Park...


                                                                                                   (NPS photo)

    Lee Taylor with unidentified buddy.

      from Dee Sousa
     National Park Service
     Pacific West Regional Office
     March 22, 2012



     SAN FRANCISCO – Lee Taylor, a 30-year career employee of the National Park Service (NPS), has been named
superintendent at San Juan Island National Historical Park. Taylor is currently the Chief of Interpretation and Education at Mount Rainier National Park. She replaces former superintendent Peter Dederich who recently transferred to the NPS’s Pacific West Regional Office in Seattle.
    “Lee has a great deal of energy, creativity and passion, and excels at engaging communities,” said Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. “She has a collaborative approach that will lend itself well to working with the community to prepare the park for its next century of stewardship and engagement.”
    For the past three years, Taylor has managed the Information and Education Program at Mount Rainier National Park, which included the development of a number of exhibits, publications and the park website. Taylor and her staff operated all the park visitor centers, developed and presented educational programs for park visitors, school groups and area communities, and managed a volunteer program comprised of 1,800 volunteers each year.
    In her previous position, Taylor served as District Interpreter at Mount Rainier, supervising visitor information and interpretive services in the park’s busy Paradise area. In addition, Taylor has provided visitor services in other national parks including Fort Vancouver National Historic Preserve, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area and Craters of the Moon National Monument, among others.
    “I am looking forward to working with the park staff and partners to maximize the value of the park to visitors and the community,” said Taylor upon hearing of her selection. “It is a fascinating park in a beautiful location and I am honored to serve as superintendent.”
    Taylor intends to explore her new home by riding her bike on the island’s scenic roads, walking the trails and learning to kayak. Taylor will assume her new duties April 22, 2012.
    San Juan Island National Historical Park is located off the northwest corner of Washington State, at the juncture of the straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca. The park was established by Congress in 1966 for the purpose of “…interpreting and preserving the sites of the American and English camps on the island, and of commemorating the historic events that occurred from 1853 to 1871 on the island in connection with the final settlement of the Oregon Territory boundary dispute, including the so-called Pig War of 1859.”
    In addition to the American and English camps, in 2010 the NPS acquired the Mitchell Hill unit from the Washington Department of Natural Resources which contains part of the original historic military road spur and potentially other artifacts dating to the encampment period.
 



Park Seeks Public Comments on White River Flood Planning
Comment Deadline May 18, 2012

       from Karen Thompson
      Environmental Protection Specialist
      April 22, 2012

     Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King has announced that the park is initiating the preparation of an
Environmental Assessment (EA) for the installation of flood mitigation structures within the White River corridor to protect State Route 410, also known as the Mather Memorial Parkway, a national scenic byway and contributing element to the park
National Historic Landmark District. It is also the primary eastern access to Mount Rainier National Park. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the EA will present alternatives for the work and analyze and disclose potential environmental impacts.
     Substantial portions of the highway are located within the river valley bottom, where it has been adversely affected by recurring floods and subsequent bank erosion along the White River. Flood and erosion damages have resulted in repeated highway closures and emergency maintenance actions by Mount Rainier National Park (MORA) and the Washington State
Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
     The project area includes the White River and SR 410 between milepost 57.9 and milepost 60.0. Proposed activities include the installation of structures, such as buried log and rock toes, log debris walls, headcut log fills, and engineered log jams at strategic locations in the White River floodplain to provide flood protection for the road. The structures are constructed of logs and ballast rock engineered to act as a single unit.
     The structures farther away from the road are designed to mimic the functions of woody material within the floodplain and would act to dissipate river energy and flows, encourage deposition of sediment and create fish refuge and habitat. The structures adjacent to the road would minimize side channel erosion close to the road.
     The installation of the structures would include excavation within the floodplain and along the river bank, installation of the structures and backfilling around the structure. Raising the road slightly in a strategic location (a road hump) has also been proposed to protect the road downstream.
    The park is inviting comments from individuals, organizations and other agencies to help identify the range of issues to be addressed in the EA, as well as potential alternatives for reducing impacts to park resources, visitor access and safety.
    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. Please provide comments no later than May 18, 2012. Additional opportunities for public review and comment on the EA will be announced in the fall of 2012.
    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 (name, address, telephone, e-mail address) be withheld from public review, we cannot guarantee that we
will be able to do so.
 



Celebrate National Park Week
Free Admission to all U. S. National Parks

      Press Release
     April 19, 2012

     Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King advises that April 21 – 29 is designated as National Park Week across the nation. In celebration of this week, the Secretary of the Interior has announced that admission to all National Parks will be free during that time.
    The theme for the week is “Picture Yourself in a National Park,” so bring your cameras and make photo memories of your visit to Mount Rainier with over 17 feet of snow on the ground at Paradise. About 10 inches is on the ground at Longmire. The snow play (sledding) area at Paradise has closed for the season and the ranger-led snow shoe walks have concluded.
    Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are still very popular activities during the Spring season. Check with Rangers for current weather and avalanche conditions before heading out on your trip.
    While many of the areas and roads at Mount Rainier still remain under winter snows, the southwest area of the park (State Route 706), including Longmire and Paradise is open.
     The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise will be open daily during this period, offering visitor information, food
service and gift shop.
     The National Park Inn at Longmire is open year round providing overnight accommodations, dining and a gift shop – a great place for a getaway in early Spring. The Carbon River area is currently snow free and provides a great opportunity for hikers and bicyclists.
     The road from Longmire to Paradise is closed nightly at Longmire and reopens each day after the roads have been plowed and maintained. If unusually heavy snowfall occurs or other conditions are present making the road unsafe, it may be closed to the public at any time. Through April 30 park visitors must carry tire chains in their vehicles when traveling on park roads as Spring weather in the mountains is very unpredictable and sudden snow storms may necessitate chains for safe travel.
     Local businesses in the gateway communities surrounding the park are also open and ready for the beginning of the 2012 visitor season. For more information visit these websites: www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com
, www.staycrystal.com, www.destinationpackwood.com, www.minerallake.com,
or www.mtrainierguestservices.com
    The Skate Creek Road (Forest Service Road 52) which travels along the park’s southeastern boundary east of Ashford to Packwood is expected to open to the public on Friday, April 27.
    "You can connect to Mount Rainier National Park through our social media pages. Join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share you own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group."
     Links used: http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS - http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS -http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS
     For recorded park information on roads and current conditions call 360.569.2211 and follow the menu. Road and weather
conditions are updated as conditions change. Information is also available on the Mount Rainier web page – www.nps.gov/mora. Web cams showing current conditions at Paradise can be accessed from the web page – scroll down to Paradise web
cameras.
 



More Valor Awards for Park Rangers...

     Left to right: Park Ranger Paul Charlton, DOI Deputy Secretary Hayes, Secretary of the Interior Salazar, and Park Ranger Glenn Kessler.

Mount Rainier Rangers Receive Interior Valor Award...

     from Chuck Young, Chief Ranger
     March 15, 2012


     Mount Rainier Superintendent Randy King is pleased to announce that Supervisory Climbing Ranger Glenn Kessler and former Mount Rainier Seasonal Climbing Ranger Paul Charlton have been honored as recipients of the Department of Interior’s Valor Award. The awards were presented by Secretary of the Interior Salazar this week at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. This award is in recognition of the actions that Kessler and Charlton took in rescues on Ingraham Glacier on June 6, 2002.

    Here is the narrative of the award nomination:

    On June 6, 2002, three individuals climbing the Ingraham Glacier on Mount Rainier were seriously injured after a wind gust blew them off their feet, and they slid uncontrolled on hard icy snow for 150 feet before falling another 60 feet into a crevasse. National Park Service Rangers Paul Charlton and Glenn Kessler led a rescue team to the accident site, at an elevation of 11,800 feet, where they directed and managed the extraction of the injured climbers.
   This involved the technical act of lowering personnel down a 60-foot narrow chasm of vertical ice onto a snow shelf where the climbers landed. The injured were then triaged and prepared for a rope lift out of the crevasse. After the crevasse extraction, they devised another rope system to lower the injured climbers hundreds of feet to a location where a helicopter could safely extract them.
   Due to their exceptional mountaineering abilities and skill, Rangers Charlton and Kessler safely managed this arduous and technically challenging rescue in subfreezing temperatures, at high altitude, and on treacherous and unforgiving terrain of ice and snow, saving the lives of three individuals.
   While managing this rescue, Rangers Charlton and Kessler noticed that two climbers they encountered the previous day were missing from their camp tent, where they should have been, given their plan of summiting and returning to their tent the day
before. Rangers Charlton and Kessler organized a search team and began a second ascent of the Ingraham Glacier to check the likely fall lines and crevasses in hopes of finding the climbers alive.
    They called another helicopter to assist in the search. Subsequently, the helicopter spotted two individuals, down on the slopes below a 100-foot ice cliff near an elevation of 12,400 feet on the Ingraham Glacier. With the helicopter unable to get a closer look at the climbers or the location, Rangers Charlton and Kessler navigated uncharted and broken glacial terrain of steep ice and crevasses in windy and subfreezing temperatures to get there.
    Unfortunately, when they finally arrived at the base of the 100-foot ice cliff, they found the two climbers entangled in rope and deceased after an obvious fall. For their extraordinary courage and heroic efforts, under extreme environmental and physically challenging conditions, to rescue and save the lives of the three injured climbers, and to attempt to find and rescue the two missing climbers on Mount Rainier on June 6, 2002, Paul Charlton and Glenn Kessler are awarded the Valor Award for the Department of the Interior.
    Chief Ranger Chuck Young stated “The work that park staff does day-to-day is outstanding. Their many accomplishments show great dedication, which frequently go beyond the call of duty. Every so often, the work they do is truly extraordinary--this is one of those times. We are proud to have had both Glenn and Paul recognized for their work at the national level.”

 



Mini-grants Available for School Field Trips to the Park...

       from Fawn Bauer
       February 24, 2012

     Mount Rainier National Park is now accepting applications for transportation mini-grants to help subsidize bus transportation for school field trips to the park.
      Through a “Connecting Kids to Parks” grant from Washington’s National Park Fund, Mount Rainier National Park will be offering several mini-grants to help subsidize transportation costs for school groups bringing students to the park during this 2011-2012 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, depending on how many requests we receive relative to our available funding; with most grants being in the $150-$250 range. In order to qualify for the grant and to support our climate friendly park initiative; students must be transported by bus, with one additional support vehicle for the group. School groups may not receive more than one grant per school year.
     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. In order to be considered for a field trip bus subsidy during the 2011-2012 school year, teachers can request a transportation grant application by contacting Fawn_Bauer@nps.gov. If you need information about the types of programs that are offered, please contact the Mount Rainier National Park Education Center at 360.569.6590 or at the email above.



Washington National Parks Report
Visitors, Money and Jobs....

       February 28,2012:

     SAN FRANCISCO – – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that national park visitors in Washington in 2010 spent more than $264 million in communities near national parks and supported 3,902 jobs in the state.
     “The people and the business owners in communities near national parks have always known their economic value,” said NPS Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. “In Washington communities, national parks are clean, green fuel for the engine that drives the economy.”
     Most of the spending/jobs are related to lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent), entertainment/amusements (10 percent), gas and local transportation (7 percent) and groceries (2 percent).
     The figures are based on $12 billion of direct spending by 281 million visitors in 394 national parks and nearby communities and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University for the National Park Service.
     The national parks in Washington included in this study are: Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park – Seattle Unit, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, San Juan Island National Historical Park, and Whitman Mission National Historic Site.
     Across the U.S., local visitor spending added a total of $31 billion to the national economy and supported more than 258,000 jobs, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009.
    To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM  and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010.
    The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks
 



Core Drilling to Begin in Park


                                                                                                                                                             (photo by Bob Walter)

Asphalt Core Drilling Scheduled to Begin February 13 on Nisqually Road in Mount Rainier National Park.
 

     from Eric Walkinshaw
     Park Civil Engineer
    February 11, 2012

   Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King and Western Federal Lands Highway Division officials announce that asphalt core drilling is scheduled to take place from Monday February 13 and estimated to be completed by Wednesday February 29 on the Nisqually Road from the park’s southwest entrance to Longmire. This effort is to obtain existing condition information in preparation for rehabilitation of the 17.6 mile long Nisqually Road to the popular Paradise area, which is scheduled to begin in Spring 2013 and completed by Fall 2016.
   Public scoping for the Nisqually Road rehabilitation was released in late October, 2009 and park staff is currently working on a draft Environmental Assessment that is estimated to be released to the public in early Spring 2012 for review and comment.
   The asphalt core drilling effort will take place Monday through Friday and the traveling  public should  anticipate minimum delays as traffic control personnel direct vehicles around the drilling operation.



No Success in Monday's Search for Two Overdue Mountain Parties
(February 22, 2012: The People in this Story Have not been Found Yet) 
 

      from Patti Wold
     January 23, 2012
     7:30 p.m.

     Major Search Efforts Aided by Good Weather. A break between storms provided a weather window for significant ground and air operations in the search for two missing parties on Mount Rainier.
     Three aircraft conducted a major air search of the upper mountain including Ingraham, Cowlitz, and Paradise glaciers, the Muir Snowfield, and the summit today. Air resources include an Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter, a contract Bell 206 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters, and a Washington State Patrol Cessna fixed wing with forward looking infrared.
     Today seven ground teams searched the Sluiskin Falls area, Lower Paradise Glacier, Upper Stevens Canyon above Lake Louise, and Mazama Ridge. Denali and Mount Rainier climbing rangers and staff, guides from Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated and International Mountain Guides, and Olympic, Tacoma, Snohomish, Yakima, Everett and Seattle Mountain Rescue are contributing to search operations.
    No sign of the two parties has been found over the seven day search period. The park will begin to scale down the operation into an extended limited continuous search. In hopes that the parties were able to walk out, searches of remote areas of the park will be conducted when weather conditions permit.
    Search operations will not be conducted tomorrow due to expected winter storm conditions on the mountain.
   The subjects of the search are four people in two parties that are overdue since early last week. A party of two, Mark
Vucich, 37 of San Diego, CA and Michelle Trojanowski, 30, of Atlanta, GA, planning to winter camp on the Muir Snowfield and were due out on Sunday, January 15. A second party of two climbers, Sork (Erik) Yang, 52, of Springfield, OR, and Seol Hee Jin, 52, from Korea, on a summit attempt via the Disappointment Cleaver route was due back Monday, January 16.



Temporary Flight Restriction around Mount Rainier...

        from Patti Wold
        January 23, 2012


    There is a one mile temporary flight restriction currently in place around Mount Rainier. The search for four  people in two parties, overdue since early last week, continues today. A break between storms is providing a weather window for an air search of the upper mountain by helicopters from Joint Base Lewis McChord and Northwest Helicopters, and a fixed-wing from Washington State patrol. The ground search continues today with 40 people in the field.
     Yesterday a small improvement in the week’s severe weather allowed ground teams to conduct  visual searches of terrain previously obscured by weather. No sign of the missing parties has been detected to date.
     Over the last week ground teams have encountered 30 – 60+ mph winds, white out conditions, ice crusted snow, and snow depths 10 to 15’ with drifts up to 50’. Searchers are highly skilled mountaineers who are familiar with the party’s intended route and in mitigating avalanche danger in the area.



Mount Rainier News - Sunday Update:

 Search Continues for Overdue Parties on Mount Rainier

        from Patti Wold
       January 21, 2012

     This morning teams searched areas of the Paradise Glacier, Alta Vista, Upper Stevens Canyon and Muir Snowfield for the two overdue parties. Searchers encountered 60+ mph winds, heavy snow, and minimal visibility; conditions too severe for search operations at higher elevations.
     The afternoon search focused on areas in question at lower elevations, where they encountered ground blizzard conditions with 40+ mph winds, an ice crust and heavy snow making travel difficult. Searchers detected no sign of the overdue parties.
     A US Army Reserve Chinook with a full crew is on standby at Joint Base Lewis McChord awaiting favorable flight conditions.
    The plan for Sunday includes a possible air search and continued ground search. All operations are weather dependent and based on conservative risk assessments for searcher safety.



Poor Weather Hinders Search for Overdue Parties...

       from Patti Wold
      January 20, 2012
      5:00 p.m.

     Two ground teams battled 40 mph winds and white out conditions this morning as they navigated the area between Paradise and Camp Muir in search of the two overdue parties. The severe conditions forced searchers to withdraw from the field. They remain on standby to return to the search upon the first sign of improved conditions.
     A helicopter and pilots from Joint Base Lewis McChord were not cleared to fly until later in the morning due to the ice storm that hit Western Washington. Once cleared of the icy condition, the limited visibility on the mountain was not favorable for a flight. They remain on standby to assist in the search.
    There are two teams of overdue parties currently on the mountain. A party of two, Mike Vucich, 37 of San Diego, CA and Michelle Trojanowski, 30, of Atlanta, GA, planning to winter camp on the Muir Snowfield over the weekend was due out on Sunday, January 15. A second party of two climbers, Sork (Erik) Yang, 52, of Springfield, OR, and Jin Seol Hee, from Korea, on a summit attempt via the Disappointment Cleaver route was due back Monday, January 16.
    Due to weather conditions it is expected that they are waiting out the weather before attempting to descend to Paradise. Visitors to the upper mountain are advised to stop moving, dig in and wait for better weather during severe weather and white out conditions.
     Park staff and searchers remain optimistic that both parties will be found alive. They are equipped for winter camping and carried extra food.
    The weather forecast calls for snow, temperatures in the teens and twenties, and high winds through at least Monday. For more information on weather conditions visit the park weather webpage http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/weather.htm. For a look at current
conditions at Paradise visit the Webcam webpage http://www.nps.gov/mora/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm. Note that the Camp Muir webcam is not maintained in winter.




Update to Yesterday's Search Efforts to Locate Two Parties  on Mountain...

     from Patti Wold
      January 20, 2012

     Today a team of ten searched from Paradise up the Muir Snowfield to Camp Muir without locating either of the parties. Eight of the team members skied back down to Paradise, searching along the way. Friday morning there may be a short weather window for the two searchers remaining at Camp Muir to search under better conditions before the next storm arrives midday.
     The search team is made up of highly skilled mountaineers who are familiar with the route and in mitigating associated avalanche exposure. They are at the highest level of fitness as required for this strenuous assignment. The team is composed of Mount Rainier climbing rangers and park staff, and members of Everett Mountain Rescue, Seattle Mountain Rescue, International Mountain Guides and Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated. A helicopter is on standby at Joint Base Lewis-McChord awaiting favorable flight conditions, although freezing rain precluded flight operations today.
     “The weather is the greatest challenge to search efforts at this time,” stated incident commander Kelly Bush. There is currently a winter storm watch and a moderate level avalanche warning for the area. The field team reported the snow has consolidated compared to conditions earlier in the week and conditions were adequate for continued travel.
     There are two teams of overdue parties currently on the mountain. A party of two planning to winter camp on the Muir Snowfield over the weekend was due out on Sunday, January 15. A second party of two climbers on a summit attempt via the Disappointment Cleaver route was due back Monday, January 16. Although both parties are equipped for winter camping, concern for their wellbeing grows each day due to their dwindling food and supplies.
     Due to weather conditions it is expected that they are waiting out the weather before attempting to descend to Paradise. Visitors to the upper mountain are advised to stop moving, dig in and wait for better weather during severe weather and white out conditions.
    The road to Paradise was closed at the entrance today and will remain closed through Friday due to all available personnel resources being utilized to mitigate storm effects and to assist with search and rescue operations.
    For more information on weather conditions visit the park weather webpaghttp://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/weather.htm. For a look at current conditions at Paradise visit the Webcam webpage http://www.nps.gov/mora/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm. Note that the Camp Muir webcam is not maintained in winter.
 



Mount Rainier Poised to Begin Search for Two Overdue Parties


                                                                                                                                            (photo by Bob Walter)


        from Patti Wold
       January 18, 2012


     A search team of two traveled the route above Paradise to Panorama Point Tuesday afternoon to assess conditions in the area and look for signs of two overdue parties. Travel was extremely difficult with the team sinking two – three feet into the snow with each step. Visibility was limited,
winds were gusting up to 100 mph, and their tracks filled in behind them as they negotiated the deep snow.
    The incident command team, lead by Park Ranger Kelly Bush, is planning to send field teams out once conditions become favorable. Efforts are currently focused on organizing a team of skilled skiers and climbers who have experience in negotiating the terrain to Camp Muir in difficult travel conditions. The team will be prepared to launch an extensive search once weather conditions improve.
     Plans include an aerial search by helicopter once flight conditions are favorable. The weather forecast indicates poor conditions through the forecasted future. Although both parties are equipped for winter camping there is concern with the delay in getting searchers into the field due to the risk associated with difficult travel conditions, severe weather, and extreme avalanche conditions. Avalanche conditions have gone from high to extreme overnight.
    There are two teams of overdue parties currently on the mountain. A party of two planning to winter camp on the Muir Snowfield over the weekend was due out on Sunday, January 15, Mark Vucich, 37 from San Diego, California and Michelle Trojanowski, 30 year old female from Atlanta, Georgia.
    A second party of two climbers on a summit attempt via the Disappointment Cleaver route was due back Monday, January 16th. The names of the second party have not been released. Both parties are equipped for camping in winter weather. Due to weather conditions it is expected that they are waiting out the weather before attempting to descend to Paradise.
    With the severe weather conditions over the weekend it is expected that the parties would be overdue. Visitors to the upper mountain are advised to stop moving, dig in and wait for better weather during severe weather and white out conditions. There is a winter storm warning in effect through tonight. The storm is predicted to bring 24 – 42” of new snow to Paradise. The road to Paradise will remain closed to the public at Longmire today.
    For more information on weather conditions visit the park weather webpage
http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/weather.htm. For a look at current conditions at Paradise visit the Webcam webpage http://www.nps.gov/mora/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm. Note that the Camp Muir webcam is not maintained in winter.

 



Two Climbing Parties on Mountain Overdue
 
Search Limited Due to Severe Weather Conditions

     from Patti Wold
      January 17, 2012

     Two parties expected off the mountain over the last two days are overdue according to their original plans. A party of two planning to winter camp on the Muir Snowfield over the weekend was due out on Sunday, January 15. A second party of two climbers on a summit attempt was due back yesterday, January 16. Both parties are equipped for camping in winter weather. Due to weather conditions it is expected that they are waiting out the weather before attempting their descents to Paradise.
     A limited field search is underway, but putting searchers extensively on the mountain is not expected due to the risk involved including current severe weather, white out conditions and high avalanche danger.
    With the severe weather conditions over the weekend it is expected that the parties would be overdue. Visitors to the upper mountain are advised to stop moving, dig in and wait for better weather during severe weather and white out conditions.
    There is a winter storm warning in effect through Wednesday evening. The storm is predicted to bring 24 – 42” of new snow to Paradise. The road to Paradise will remain closed at Longmire today.
    Park Website http://www.nps.gov/mora/ Follow Mount Rainier on Twitter http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS



Yong Chun Kim - Survivor Lost on Mountain for Three Days Kim Well Enough to Go Home


                                                                                                                           (NPS photo)

     Yong Chun Kim smiles in an undated photo. He has more reasons to smile since his amazing rescue after three days missing on Mount Rainier in winter conditions. Kim, an experienced shoeshoer, became separated from the snowshoe party he was leading. Kim was equipped for daytime hiking on Rainier but did not have over night gear. After his rescue Kim was well enough to go home with his family.

Grateful Family of Rescued Snowshoer Issues Statement

       January 16, 2012

     January 16, 2012--On behalf of the Kim and An families, I would like to sincerely thank the entire collaborative team involved in the tremendous effort to save my father. Through selfless, extraordinary acts, the search and rescue teams beat incredible odds to successfully find my lost father.
    We were truly impressed with how well the project was organized and executed. It is clear that Search and Rescue has come a very long way, built upon a long history and utilizing the latest technologies today as well. Even before we had arrived, the team had developed a complex plan, and constantly adjusted with new information. The coordination between the people in the field, the operations center, and our family was flawless. We all recognize that this was a miracle from God, but clearly, a miracle assisted by his good people.
    With that being said, my family and I would like to convey our most sincere gratitude to the entire National Park Service staff at Mount Rainier for their leadership, resources, and excellent communication. Just a few names among many include Stefan Lofgren, and John Piastuck (NPS Search Team leaders), Chuck Young (Chief Park Ranger), Rebecca Roland and Mary Wysong (Family Liaison Rangers).
     Unfortunately, we were not able to thank and interface with the entire team in person, but we know that there were over 100 different people searching for my father each day and most of them were volunteers! We would like to send our deepest gratitude to all the Mountain Search and Rescue Teams including: Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Olympic, Volcano, Central Washington, and Portland, along with the three German Shepherd Search Dog Teams from around the state. We would also like to thank the Ski Patrols from Crystal Mt., NPS Nordic Patrol, and the Emergency Medical Teams from both Washington and Oregon.
    The response from around the area was amazing! Just knowing that these people cared, giving up so much for my father touched all of our family and friends throughout the entire ordeal. Lastly, sincere thanks to our family, friends, and church for their thoughts, prayers, and support from the beginning.
     A terrible situation that could have ended in tragedy, instead turned into another beautiful example of how Americans come together to help each other. Not for monetary gain or other selfish reasons, but because as a community, we care about each other. In the end, God works in mysterious ways and we would like to especially thank our Lord, God for good people, his grace, and the love that ended up saving my father today.

    Malcom An, son of Yong Chun Kim



Missing Snowshoer Found Alive and "Stable" on Mountain...

       from Lee Taylor
      3:50 p.m.

     January 16, 2012—A team of three searchers led by Park Ranger Jordan Mammel located missing snowshoer Yong Chun Kim at approximately 2:00 Monday afternoon. They located Kim in the Stevens Creek drainage just east of Mazama Ridge in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park. Mr. Kim was conscious and alert, able to walk, and appeared to be in stable condition.
      Searchers are now implementing a plan to evacuate Mr. Kim from the remote location where he was found. Rescuers will travel the closed Stevens Canyon road by Snowcat and then ascend the drainage to Mr. Kim on snowshoes. They will load him onto a litter and carry him back to the Snowcat. This process will take several hours and will not conclude until after dark.

    
Yong Chun Kim, 66, has been missing since Saturday afternoon and spent two nights out in severe winter conditions without overnight gear. Ninety people joined the search effort today, including various mountain rescue units, National Park Service staff, Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol members, and other volunteers.
       For information about the search please go
Here.



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.

 



Park Ranger Peter Maggio Earns Certificate of Valor
For Courage Above and Beyond the Call of Duty...

     
     Mount Rainier Protection Ranger Receives Certificate of Valor from U.S. Coast Guard for 2010. Left to Right: Mount
Rainier Chief Ranger Chuck Young, Lorna - Peter's wife; Peter Maggio and Uwe Nehring, Mount Rainier East District Ranger (and Coast Guard Officer). NPS courtesy photos.

      by Chuck Young, Chief Ranger
      December 21, 2011


      On behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard’s District 13, Chief Warrant Officer (W4) and East District Ranger at Mount Rainier,
Uwe Nehring, presented the U.S. Coast Guard’s Certificate of Valor to Mount Rainier National Park Ranger Peter Maggio on November 9, 2011 in Enumclaw, Washington. The presentation was attended by his wife, Lorna, Mount Rainier National Park Chief Ranger, Chuck Young, Washington State Patrol Troopers, US Forest Service personnel and many other park staff.
      The Certificate of Valor is awarded to both uniformed personnel and civilians who have exhibited courage above and beyond the call of duty in saving a life or attempting to save a life, and/or whose action put them at extreme personal risk.
      On June 5, 2010 a motorist fell asleep at the wheel and drove off the Nisqually Road, located in Mount Rainier, and landed upside down in the Nisqually River. The river was swollen with glacier run off and the driver was trapped in his inverted vehicle in the middle of the river. At this point the bank drops approximately 40 feet from the roadway to the river.
      Being one of the first Rangers on scene, Peter donned swift water gear and headed into the river. The front of the car was submerged and the back window was broken with water rushing into the vehicle making it dangerously unstable. He broke out the rest of the rear window, entered the vehicle and worked to cut away the seatbelt while struggling to keep the driver’s head
above water. After several tries, Peter was finally able to cut the seatbelts and extricate the driver from the vehicle where he was treated for hypothermia and transported to the hospital by helicopter.
      Peter began his career with the National Park Service as a seasonal ranger at Dinosaur National Park in 2003 then worked seasonally at several other parks including Mount Rainier. Since 2008, he has been a permanent ranger at Mount Rainier in the summer and at Big Bend National Park in the winter.
 

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Tragedy on the Mountain

Ranger Margaret Anderson

Climbing Ranger Nick Hall

 

 
   

 

 
 
 
 
 
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