Participate in Mount Rainier's Wilderness Stewardship Planning Process

Mount Rainier National Park is putting together an updated Wilderness Stewardship plan and wants to hear from YOU!
Katherine Hollis Katherine Hollis
November 06, 2015

 Perhaps you know that about 98% of Mt. Rainier National Park is designated wilderness: “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man.”  Away from roads and camps, many Mountaineers love to explore and have solitude without the presence of human development. Do you care deeply about how that outstanding wilderness area is managed?

The National Park Service plan for how to manage that wilderness has not been updated since 1992. In the decades since then, visitation has greatly increased, public expectations have been changing, and the wilderness itself has undergone change from both natural and human factors.The existing Wilderness Stewardship Plan needs to be updated, and to do so, the NPS is required to work through an extensive environmental analysis that includes several points of public engagement.

If you want a voice in how this area will be managed for decades to come, this is your chance to participate in the first step of that analysis through public scoping. The scoping process defines the key environmental issues that will later be addressed in detail and it sets some boundaries for the analysis. Issues that are not brought out during scoping do not get analyzed later in the process so public participation at this early stage is essential. Comments for this scoping period are due by January 15, 2016.

The Park communicated to us that their goal with this scoping period is to look at the entire way use and management is happening at the Park - and could happen in the future - with an open mind. Their goal is to not look at other Parks or past issues at Rainier, but to look at things from this point forward. This is why your input could have such an impact on this process.

Possible revisions and issues that could be included in the new plan include:

  • Creating new trails or loops for visitor use. 
  • Increasing recreational opportunities during winter months and early spring/late fall.
  • Implementing a Westside Road shuttle. 
  • Implementing a shuttle system in the Nisqually to Paradise road corridor. 
  • Implementing a visitor experience and resource protection framework for visitor capacity.
  • Removing non-native fish from lakes and streams.
  • Planning and implementing ecological restoration projects.
  • Implementing a requirement for bear canisters and removing bear poles.
  • Relocating current campsites that are within 200 feet of streams. 
  • Removing some existing facilities and structures from the wilderness. 
  • Limiting use and access to areas of resource degradation or concern.

Much more information including a short brochure that identifies possible preliminary alternatives can be found on the on the Mount Rainier National Park website . We recommend reading through this additional information prior to providing comments.

If any of these issues are important to you now is the time to make your voice heard!

Mail comments to: Randy King, Superintendent Attn: Wilderness Stewardship Plan Mount Rainier National Park 55210 238th Avenue East Ashford, Washington 98304-9751

Online: parkplanning.nps.gov/morawild

Click here for direct link to comment.

Thanks to conservation member Margot Tsakonas for her work on this issue!


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