Changes are Coming to Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park wants to hear from visitors about the most popular access point to the park. The park is focusing on Paradise Road, and the facilities along it, from the Nisqually entrance near Ashford, all the way up to Paradise. The public has until Oct. 5 to comment on the plan.
Update: As of October 5, the comment period has closed. Make sure to join our Trail Action Network to get updates in this project.
Mount Rainier National Park wants to hear from visitors about the most popular access point to the park: Paradise Road, and the facilities along it, from the Nisqually entrance near Ashford, all the way up to Paradise. The public has until Oct. 5 to comment on the visitor use management plan for the area. This comment period is the first phase of an effort to engage the public and explore potential improvements to the area.
You may be most familiar with Paradise Road (or Highway 706) as the congested road on the way up to Paradise during peak hiking season. However, the National Park Service is hoping to get public input to help shape their effort to reduce congestion and improve visitor experiences.
Mount Rainier has steadily grown in popularity for residents and visitors to the state — visitation increased 30% between 2008 and 2018. As hikers have needed trails more than ever during the pandemic, managing high levels of visitation has become even more important to those caring for the state’s most popular destinations.
The park has listed three goals for this project as it moves forward:
- Examine current and potential visitor opportunities and developing long-term strategies for safe access.
- Incorporate best practices for managing visitor use to protect resources and promote high-quality visitor experiences.
- Continue to protect the unique resources in Paradise Meadows.
The work on this project is still in the early stages. This first opportunity for feedback will help the park develop workable plans and then give the public and stakeholders another chance to weigh in before finalizing a plan.
More details and background on the issue for this plan can be found on the project’s story map, which offers details and visuals on the congestion and overuse issues that facilities in the Nisqually to Paradise Road corridor are facing.
CONGESTION AND ACCESS
Mount Rainier is an iconic feature of Washington’s landscape and is deservedly popular for its beautiful views and high-quality recreation. Addressing the congestion that comes with the park’s 2 million annual visitors is a priority for the park.
Working to address the challenges the park is facing will take a combined effort — and WTA is helping with that effort. One way we’re doing that is by working to create high-quality recreation opportunities near, but not in, the park. WTA has been working to shape the future of recreation in Snoquera, the landscape northeast of Mount Rainier, as part of our Trails Rebooted campaign.
You can provide comments on the plan here until October 5th. To stay updated with how WTA is engaging on this plan and to hear more about our Trails Rebooted campaign, be sure to join our Trail Action Network.