Flooding in November 2006 washed out two different sections of the Carbon River Road and caused a portion of the Carbon River to join Ipsut Creek, creating an island at Ipsut Creek Campground. Gullies amounting to approximately 0.95 mile, or 17 percent of the road’s length (5.5 miles) were formed in two different locations, at Falls Creek and beyond Chenuis Falls Picnic Area. Another approximately 600 feet (0.11 mile) (in three different areas) was damaged by removal of part or all of one lane. In addition, other portions of the road, amounting to approximately another mile were damaged such that grading would be needed and culverts would need to be added and/or replaced if the road was stabilized or fixed. The Federal Highway Administration Damage Survey Report also notes the need for additional bank stabilization measures in numerous areas.
Although the General Management Plan (GMP) (NPS 2002) for Mount Rainier National Park calls for the eventual closure of the Carbon River Road, as a programmatic document, the GMP did not establish guidelines for the closure. As a result, additional environmental analysis to implement the GMP decision is needed. Therefore, the park is currently pursuing the development of an environmental assessment to analyze several alternatives for the Carbon River Road, including closure of all or part of the road and to have additional public participation in the decision-making process.
The Carbon River Road is an historic road listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Mount Rainier National Historic Landmark District (NHLD). It is also adjacent to designated wilderness. The Carbon River area is also home to several threatened species, including northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets and bull trout.
Because of its construction, partially within the floodplain of the Carbon River, the road has repeatedly flooded since its construction in the mid-1920s. Numerous stabilization measures alongside the edge of the road have failed to provide adequate protection during floods of increasing magnitude over the last few decades.
As stated in the GMP, the “historic Carbon River Road corridor would be maintained in a manner consistent with the NHLD designation” and “the road would be dedicated to non-motorized uses (hiking and biking).”
Those wishing to provide comments may submit them in writing to:
Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park
55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, Washington 98304-9751
Comments may also be submitted via electronic mail to MORA_Carbon_River_Comments@nps.gov or electronically via the PEPC website https://parkplanning.nps.gov/mora.
Public Comment period open through July 31, 2008.
From the PEPC website, click on Documents List and then open Preliminary Conceptual Alternatives Summary and Related Maps.
Please contact the park if you wish to be added to the mailing list for more information about this project.
The NPS practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address from the record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which we would withhold from the record a respondent’s identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. We will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.