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Contact: Mount Rainier Press Information Line, 360-569-6510
The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public feedback on a plan to implement a timed-entry reservation system at three park entrances during peak visitation hours during the summer months.
The popularity of Mount Rainier National Park is growing. From 2008 to 2021 annual visitation rose from 1.1 million visits per year to above 1.7 million visits. The park experiences extremely concentrated use, with 70 percent of the more than one million visits occurring between July and September. Visitors currently experience wait times of more than an hour to enter the park through the Nisqually and White River Entrance Stations on busy days, causing congestion both inside and outside of the park. Roadway congestion also occurs within the park at popular trailheads, which leads to parking in undesignated areas and pedestrian safety concerns due to limited roadway visibility. Reducing congestion will enhance visitor experience of this historic roadway and improve visitor access to recreation opportunities.
Much of the use is concentrated in a relatively small number of popular destinations, including Paradise. The draft plan and environmental assessment (EA) include three alternatives that would proactively manage and pace the entry of vehicles into key areas of the park, including but not limited to Paradise and Sunrise. The park’s preferred alternative would implement a timed-entry reservation system during peak times at the park’s Nisqually, Stevens Canyon, and White River entrance stations.
“After carefully considering the public feedback we received in 2020 and 2021 during this planning effort, we’ve identified a range of strategies to help our visitors have high-quality experiences while protecting park resources,” said Superintendent Greg Dudgeon. “The majority of comments that we received were related to traffic congestion, parking shortages, and crowding and that is exactly what we are hoping to address with a timed-entry reservation system.”
The Draft Nisqually to Paradise Corridor Management Plan and Environmental Assessment was prepared to provide analysis and an opportunity for public comment in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act to support informed decision-making. The Draft Plan/EA is available on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/NisquallyCorridorPlanEA.
Comments may be submitted online at the project website by clicking on “Open for Comment.” Comments will be accepted through June 11, 2023. A final decision will be made in 2023 with potential implementation proposed in summer 2024.
The public is invited to attend a virtual public meeting to learn about the proposed action. NPS staff will answer questions about the plan and share information about how to provide comments. The virtual public meeting will be held Wednesday, May 3, from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm on Microsoft Teams. To register for this meeting, please visit: https://forms.office.com/g/8zkB138MNf.
Please be aware that all comments, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. Although respondents may request that their comments and personal information are withheld from public review, the park cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.
For more information on Mount Rainier National Park, please visit the park’s website.
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 424 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Last updated: April 26, 2023