Land Deal Preserves Entrance Corridor to Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier. Repanshek photo.

Mount Rainier National Park. Kurt Repanshek photo.

If you've ever entered Mount Rainier National Park's Nisqually Entrance via Ashford, Washington, you're well aware of the long corridor of trees you pass through. Now, thanks to the Nisqually Land Trust, you don't have to worry about those trees being reduced to stumps.

Until the land trust came to the rescue, the previous owners of 142 acres along that entrance corridor had agreed to allow the property to be logged. But local opposition and a federal grant helped the land trust swing the $780,000 deal to preserve the land.

The latest purchase is just part of the Nisqually Land Trust's "Mount Rainier Gateway Initiative," which is a five-phase, $18 million campaign to "permanently protect 4,500 acres of threatened forests in the upper Nisqually watershed" outside the park's Nisqually entrance. According to the trust, this acreage provides key habitat for spotted owls, marbled murrelets, bald eagles, elk, cougar, and other species.

The land trust's Mount Rainier initiative envisions the creation of sustainable, family-wage forestry and tourism jobs.