Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Flood of Volunteers

The Land Letter recently ran a story on the flood of volunteers expected this summer to help restore some of the damage to Mount Rainier National Park. Thanks to the NW Storm Coalition's outreach countless people are signing up for SCA and WTA Rainier work camps.

However, volunteers are also needed to repair damage at National Parks such as Olympic and the North Cascades, as well as National Forests such the Mount Baker Snoqualmie and Gifford Pinchot.

To learn more about how you can help, please visit the "Get Involved" sidebar on the right side of this page.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Public "Ownership" Key to Recovery

Recently, Joel Connelly of the Seattle PI wrote about the state of storm damage on Washington's national forest lands and the difficult task the forest service faces to repair and restore their lands. A critical component of long term recovery of these lands is the public's sense of ownership of our Forests and lands. As Joel correctly points out, volunteering to clear down trees from trails or rebuild washed out bridges helps establish a sense of ownership, which in turn may result in stronger congressional support for our public lands.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Storm Recovery: the Good and the Bad

Much is happening regarding storm recovery in our Northwest parks. Let's start with the good. It now looks like the official opening date for Mount Rainier is May 5th. Weather and other factors may push the date back, but for now the Park Service is planning on public access up to Paradise the first week of May. Longmire Museum and visitor center will also open that day. The Cougar Rock campground will open May 18th. While the Longmire Wilderness Information Center and the Ohanapecosh VC will welcome the public the following week. White River campground will open the end of June. Hooray!

The bad. State Route 123 which traverses the east of Mount Rainier will be closed all summer to the public from the Stevens Canyon road to Cayuse pass. An opening date for the the Stevens Canyon road remains up in the air due to landslides that cover and undercut the road.

As the winter snow melts it reveals previously unknown damage to park backcountry trails and facilities. Mount Rainier's wonderland trail is impassable in at least two areas. Other trails such as the Carbon Glacier and Emmons Glacier climbing route are also in bad shape. Meanwhile, Rangers at the North Cascades recently discovered additional damage to a bridge on the pacific crest trail, most likely caused by last fall's storms. See image.

However, WTA and SCA have begun efforts to repair some of the damage. WTA held its first work vacation in the Carbon river just this month. Meanwhile, SCA will soon bring on a Mount Rainier flood recovery coordinator to facilitate their efforts at the park.
For more information on the state of park roads or trails, please call Mount Rainier at 360-569-HIKE or North Cascades at 360-856-5700 x.515.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Under the Weather, Exhibit Opening!

Last night more than 50 people turned out to attend the official opening NPCA's exhibit National Parks Under the Weather: How to Help. Those in attendance saw beautiful and dramatic images about the floods and were provided tools for getting involved in the recovery.

The evening also saw presentations by local photographers Don Geyer and Lani Doely who's photographs are displayed at the show. The exhibit runs through June 6th.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Mount Rainier Update: Opening Day!

The Seattle PI and Yakima Herald recently ran stories on the Park Service's progress to repair damage at Mount Rainier caused by last fall's storms. The good news is the Park Service hopes to open to the Nisqually road May 1st. The Park Service also has set dates for the reopening of other park features and facilities such as Mowich Lake and Sunrise roads, as well as the White River campground.

On the other hand, roads such as Highway 123 and parts of the Stevens Canyon road may not be open this year, making access to the Mountain from the east side difficult.

The NPS has posted its latest update on road and trail repairs here.

For more information on road and trail openings, visit the Mount Rainier website or call 360-569-2211.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Urgent Action Needed! Storm Recovery Funds Added to Spending Bill

On March 29th thanks in large part to Senator Patty Murray, the Senate passed a supplemental spending bill which includes $35.9 million in federal funding to help repair damage to NW public lands caused by last fall's storms. Specifically, the bill which will now be reconciled with the House version, provides:
  • $11.9 million to repair washed out roads and bridges

  • $17 million to repair roads in National Parks

  • $7 million to repair roads in National Forests

The President is threatening to veto this funding, which is part of a larger spending bill. Please contact the White House at 202.456.1414 and urge him to sign the bill.

NW national parks and forests need these funds to restore basic services and public access.