April 16, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Sue Jennings, 360-569-2211, x3376
Mount Rainier Seeks Public Comments on
Wonderland Trail Repair
Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga has announced a planning effort to address needed repairs to a damaged section of the historic Wonderland Trail in the Carbon River Valley. The damaged section is currently being bypassed via an existing spur trail to the Northern Loop Trail. The spur trail includes a foot log crossing over the Carbon River which is prone to washing out during the spring and fall.
Mount Rainier National Park was established to protect and preserve its natural and cultural resources and to provide opportunities for visitors to safely experience and understand the park environment in a manner that does not impair park resources and values. The park’s approved General Management Plan (2002) allows for trail maintenance and minor modifications to trails in order to minimize visitor impacts in subalpine and alpine meadows, and other sensitive areas.
Approximately 0.5 mile of the Wonderland Trail was destroyed by the Carbon River during flooding events in November 2006. The entire Wonderland Trail is a contributing element of the Mount Rainier National Historic Landmark District. The damaged trail section is located in Wilderness, two miles east of the Ipsut Creek Campground. The missing trail tread, glacier river crossings, and lack of a defined route through the forest is creating conditions that are unsafe for hikers. Preliminary options the park is considering include allowing trail use to continue as is; repairing the damaged section of trail in the existing alignment along the Carbon River; formalizing the bypass via the Northern Loop Trail and closing the damaged section of trail; or relocating the damaged Wonderland section to higher ground above Carbon River flood zone. The latter option would require establishing new trail in bedrock, which could require intermittent blasting during trail construction.
An early step in the NPS planning process is to involve the public. The park is inviting public comments to help identify natural and cultural resource impacts and other viable alternatives that should be considered during the planning process. Those wishing to provide comments should submit them in writing to: Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Ave. E., Ashford, Washington 98304; or electronically at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ and choosing Mount Rainier National Park from the drop down menu. Your comments should be post marked or electronically date stamped no later than May 15, 2008. Additional opportunities for public review and comment will be announced in the summer of 2008.
Your comments, including your personal identifying information (name, address, telephone, e-mail address) – may be made publicly available at any time, if requested under the Freedom of Information Act. While you can request your personal identifying information (name, address, telephone, e-mail address) be withheld from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.