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    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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Work begins this week to implement the Carbon River Access Management Plan in Mount Rainier National Park

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Date: July 18, 2011
Contact: Eric Walkinshaw, 360-569-6713

In response to flood damage to the Carbon River Road and Ipsut Creek Campground following the major November 2006 flood event and subsequent flood events as recent as last winter, the Carbon River Access Management Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed by the Pacific West Regional Director on February 3, 2011.

The selected Preferred Alternative #2 states that the Carbon River Road would be reopened to private vehicles as far as a turnaround/drop-off at the Old Mine Trailhead, 1.2 miles from the park entrance. Between the Old Mine Trailhead and Ipsut Creek Campground, intact sections of the road would be used as an improved trail and new improved trail sections would be constructed through or around flood damaged sections.

Eventually the improved trail will provide sufficient width and sight distance to safely accommodate hikers and bicyclists, and meet Universal Access guidelines.Existing road culverts will eventually be removed and up to 9 wood trail bridges installed to improve fish passage. The Ipsut Creek Campground will be converted to a hike-in/bike-in backcountry camp with a minimum of 15 individual sites and 3 group sites.The existing vault toilets will be replaced with composting toilets and the former Ipsut trailhead parking area will be recontoured and the historic Ipsut Patrol Cabin will be reconstructed near the trailhead. At the Carbon River entrance area, an entrance archway will be constructed, the existing ranger station will be replaced with a new fee station/visitor contact office, and additional parking will eventually be provided at the entrance and in the former maintenance compound located 1/4-mile up the road.

This project will be multi-phased and time to complete is solely dependent upon funding.Work beginning this Summer/Fall will include:Construction of up to 5 log flood protection structures within the Carbon River floodplain adjacent to the Carbon River Entrance Area and the former maintenance compound; placement of log-span check dams in the damaged Falls Creek area to protect the adjacent unimproved trail and location for the future improved trail from future flooding; remove existing vault toilets and install new composting toilets (likely this Fall); general decommissioning of portions of the Ipsut Campground for downsizing (i.e. remove fire grates, parking barriers, etc.); install bike racks and bear-proof food boxes in the downsized campground; begin to clear/widen unimproved trail in the Falls Creek area; begin construction of new trail bridges; and remove dysfunctional culverts along the length of the old roadway.

Visitors will be able to access the Carbon River area, continuing to park in the limited parking area immediately inside the entrance and hike/bike to the Ipsut Creek Campground.Biking is only permitted on the unimproved trail up to the Ipsut Creek Campground.  Please be aware of the construction work going on in the area (during weekdays) and wait for permission from the workers when it is safe to pass through the construction zone.Bikers, please be particularly aware of other bikers and hikers using the unimproved and narrow trail, especially in areas of restricted sight distance.

-NPS-

Did You Know?

Artist rendering of the new Paradise Visitor Center.

The park recently completed building a new visitor center at Paradise & rehabilitating the historic Paradise Inn. The new visitor center is more sustainable and less expensive to operate than the existing visitor center. The Paradise Inn, after 90 years of use, was in need of rehabilitation.