Mount Rainier Roads and Bridges
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Mount Rainier National Park contrasts beautiful landscapes with harsh environmental conditions. Rain and snow, rock and ice, floods and avalanches are obstacles that may influence one's interaction with "The Mountain." Through out history, these obstacles have been overcome by the desire to gain access to the mountain domain.
The first route into the area was a rough trail constructed in 1884 by James Longmire to a series of mineral springs on the southwest flank of Mount Rainier. The first settler of the area, Longmire touted the springs for their alleged medicinal value and developed a primitive resort that evolved into the present park community of Longmire. Four years later, the Longmire family constructed a crude foot trail to the subalpine meadows they named "Paradise," and in 1890-91, aided by five Native Americans, opened the first road to Longmire Springs. This was a toll road, suitable only for wagons travelling in good weather.
Mount Rainier was designated as the nation's fifth national park on March 2, 1899. As the Department of the Interior had no budget or personnel to administer the new reserve, the administration was handled in its first five years by the supervisor of the adjacent Rainier National Forest Reserve. Visitation, however, was hampered by the lack of a good road to the park and congress soon acceded to requests to provide better access to the park.
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