Updated: Mount Rainier National Park Remains Closed Due to Flooding

Kautz Creek flood. NPS photo.

Heavy rains this week sent Kautz Creek out of its banks and across the Nisqually Road in Mount Rainier National Park. NPS photo.

Heavy rains and flooding that hit Mount Rainier National Park this week will keep much of the park closed to automobile traffic at least through November 21, park officials said Friday afternoon.

Superintendent Dave Uberuaga says that flood waters compromised the safety of the Nisqually Road in the Kautz Creek area and crews are working to repair damages to halt further destruction by the creek.

While the damage from this week's storms pales in comparison to that left behind two years ago, park officials had no choice but to close the park on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday while crews stayed busy sandbagging and cleaning up.

The primary area of concern in the park has been at Kautz Creek, where water covered the Nisqually Road road to a depth of 8 inches Wednesday. The creek diverted 600 feet above the road, leaving its channel and flowing along and over the road.

As of Friday afternoon the Kautz Creek channel had once again been diverted and was flowing through the woods approximately 100-150’ east of the channel created during the 2006 flood event. A portion of the water is flowing back into the culverts installed during the 2006 repair work and the remainder of the water is following the roadside ditch to the low point.

Sandbags have been placed to divert the water from flowing over the roadway; however the creek is flowing directly against and undermining the road edge. Park crews will work this weekend to attempt to get the water back into the 2006 channel and shore up the damaged areas.

The Pierce County road into the Carbon River Entrance is closed outside the park at milepost 6. Approximately 200’ feet of the road was completely washed away to a depth of 10’. Trail conditions and river crossings in this area are extremely hazardous. Many foot bridges and crossings do not exist. Hiking in the Carbon River area is not recommended.

On the east side of the park, State Route 410 is open with delays. State Route 123 is closed at the Stevens Canyon Road junction. Flood debris once again damaged the bridge to the Grove of the Patriarchs so it is closed while other trails in the area remain open.

Comments

Just as in 2006, when construction workers & climbing guide concessions had continuous access, this Park closure is mostly just another scam for the convenience of NPS management. The road is good enough for heavy equipment to go back & forth to the VC demolition. Good enough for news vehicles to cover that event. http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/541098.html

Good enough for several dozen NPS employees to stand around & watch the wrecking ball. Just not quite good enough for the pesky public to be in their way...