|Record Rain Forces Closure of Mt. Rainier National Park, WA|
Mount Rainier is a restless mountain. The roads, bridges, trails, and campgrounds we build are secondary to the elemental forces that created-and continue to transform-this landscape we love. Our great works of human enterprise will fade away with time. The mountain will endure.
For the first time since Mt. St. Helens blew its top, Mt. Rainier National Park closed its gates to the public due to a torrential November 5-6 storm that also caused extensive damage to other regional national parks and forests in the Pacific Northwest.
After nearly 18 inches of rain fell in 36 hours, massive flood damage forced the closure of Mount Rainier National Park when high water damaged a variety of park roads, trails, campgrounds, buildings and facilities. Many power, water and sewer lines were also demolished. The first big snowfall of the season hit a few days after the rain, and so a final damage assessment will have to wait until spring. Photographs of the flood damage can be viewed at www.nps.gov/mora/parknews/upload/floodPP.pdf (5MB).
Park officials closed the main park road from the Nisqually Entrance to Paradise (the center for winter mountaineering) and Highway 123 is also closed due to a rockslide. State Routes 410 & 123 and the Paul Peak/Mowich Lake areas are also closed at the park boundaries by winter conditions but remain open to normal, non-motorized winter activities such as hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Walk-in access is available to Carbon River area trailheads by parking at the entrance and hiking the designated rough route along the washed out road. For more information see www.nps.gov/mora/parknews/november-2006-flooding.htm#CP_JUMP_137497
The Park said repairs could cost an estimated $29.85 million, most of which will go towards road repairs. NPS staff will share information on decisions, timelines, and other factors affecting flood recovery. For information on these public meetings see www.nps.gov/mora/parknews/upload/CmmtyMeetings.doc. The park plans to expand its volunteer program next spring to assist with flood cleanup and trail reconstruction. Individuals who are interested in helping may contact Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher at 360-569-2211 ext. 3385 or Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov. The Access Fund will be offering our assistance to Mount Rainier National Park regarding how the climbing community can help with park reconstruction. Stay tuned to the Access Fund Enews for updates on Mt. Rainier NP recovery efforts and how you can help out.