The News From Mount Rainier National Park

Mt Rainier and Fire Lookout : NPS PhotoI know I probably cover the news from Mt Rainier National Park more than a lot of other parks, but this has been some year for the mountain. The storms of November caused havoc with the man-made infrastructure including roads, campgrounds, bridges, trails, and buildings. The park has been mostly closed while repairs are going on, but as summer is approaching, news of its re-opening is hitting the street.

Seattle PI : When the gates open, visitors will find much that's changed on Mount Rainier
"Rangers and park officials also are excited about people getting back into the park. But after the deaths of two hikers last month in one of the few areas of the park still open, they're advising caution. Floods destroyed bridges in many places -- on roads and trails -- and more damage is expected to be found when the snow melts from the high country. Large landslides block roads and trails, and blown-down trees are scattered across many trails. Most hikers will take it in stride when they return to the park, and there will be plenty of trails open and great hiking. Most people love the park, after all, precisely because it is 378 square miles of rugged, uncontrollable wilderness: sheer cliffs and cleavers, glaciers, snowfields and icefalls, old forests and remote wildflower meadows, waterfalls and relentlessly crashing rivers and streams. But it isn't going to be the same old park. Many of those wide and well-groomed trails you've come to appreciate will look disheveled."

That P-I article also includes dates and maps of sections of the park that will open and which which will remain closed in the weeks to come. Have a look.

Rainier Rebuild News : SCA Recovery
You've heard me mention the NW Parks and Public Lands Storm Recovery blog before, and today I've got another blog/news page for you to check into for the Rainier stuff. The Student Conservation Association will be helping a lot with the volunteer effort for the recovery. There is some interesting detail on their web page about how they will be helping, and who will be leading the charge.

Ranier Climbing Ranger Blog : Mount Rainier Climbing
Mike Gauthier, Ranier's climbing ranger, has his own blog. I'm not a mountain climber, but I enjoyed reading his entries. It's an insider's perspective which is real interesting. It looks like Mike has set up a second blog which is solely dedicated to pictures of flooding at Mt Rainier. That site is really image heavy and took awhile to load even on my broadband connection, but it does give you a real good idea at the major damage that has been done inside the park. And, for even MORE photos of Rainier, check out Mike's Flickr page.
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