News Release

Historic Paradise Inn Reopening at Mount Rainier: Mount Rainier project highlights efforts to restore America's national parks

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Date: May 17, 2019
Contact: Mount Rainier Media Line, 360-569-6510

The National Park Service is celebrating the grand reopening of the Paradise Inn and Annex, a National Historic Landmark located in Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park. The Inn, which originally opened in 1917, was expanded in 1920 to include an additional 80+ rooms. Since then, the Inn has welcomed nearly 2 million guests during its century-long service. The recently completed renovation project will ensure that the Inn can continue to provide high quality experiences for visitors for generations to come.

“This is a local story with national significance,” said Chip Jenkins, the park’s superintendent. “Mount Rainier is an icon on the horizon of the Pacific Northwest, and Paradise is the top destination of most of the park’s 1.5 million annual visitors. Over a million people will take photos of the Inn, enjoy a meal in the dining room, or just relax and enjoy the stately lobby."

This restoration project exemplifies how the National Park Service is working around the nation to address its maintenance backlog, and in the process is preserving important elements of the nation’s heritage: its historic structures, roads, and trails. The Paradise Inn project entailed preserving the historic features of the inn while modernizing the structural integrity for seismic stability, electrical systems, plumbing, and improving the aesthetics of the rooms and public spaces. Investing in these kinds of projects in our national parks helps ensure a continuation of visitor experiences for future generations.   

“The protection and preservation of our public lands, and associated historic structures, is critical for maintaining access to these world famous landscapes. Focusing on the rehabilitation and maintenance of our historic structures, such as Paradise Inn, not only provides improved access to our national parks but maintains the historic visitor experience of connecting with the great American landscape,” said Dr. Allyson Brooks, Washington State Historic Preservation Officer. “The rehabilitation of the Paradise Inn, an icon of the Pacific Northwest, is special to all Washington citizens, and its preservation and protection reflects the importance of honoring our shared memories and history.”

Each year, more than 300 million visitors visit America’s national parks, and expect an exceptional experience. Maintaining and restoring the parks’ roads, bridges, historic buildings, trails, and campgrounds is an investment in that iconic experience. Less obvious, but no less important, are other investments in water systems, wastewater plants, electrical distribution networks, and other behind-the-scenes infrastructure. These important projects, along with essential natural and cultural resource protection work, make our parks incredible places to visit. Over the years, aging facilities and growing visitation have challenged parks’ abilities to maintain the infrastructure in an acceptable condition, and in a timely manner, which has resulted in a backlog of maintenance work. At Mount Rainier National Park alone, the maintenance backlog exceeds $185 million.

The next step in the restoration of the Paradise area is the revegetation of the 20,000 square feet of the project construction footprint. A total of 70,000 plants will be replanted to restore the site to its pre-construction condition. In 2018, native seeds were collected from the surrounding area in preparation for being cultivated in the park’s greenhouse. Park staff, along with volunteers, and interns will work to replant the area starting later this year.

The Paradise Inn restoration project exemplifies the important work of the National Park Service in protecting the spectacular places, important stories, and iconic experiences that are essential pieces of the American story. National Park Service staff serve as stewards of these places, ensuring their protection and availability to generations of visitors from around the world. Sometimes referred to as America’s greatest idea, the National Park Service welcomes you to get out and enjoy your National Parks in 2019.

Learn more about the Paradise Inn renovation, download before and after pictures of the project, and view additional information about the park’s deferred maintenance at:

Last updated: May 20, 2019

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