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Contact: Donna Rahier, 360-569-6501
With the continuing days of warm sunshine, the snow on the meadows at Mount Rainier is rapidly receding and the wildflowers are making their appearance for the season.Visitors can see many wildflowers along park roadsides, tucked into the rock crevices and hillside cliffs, especially along Stevens Canyon and at Sunrise.In the Sunrise area the snow has melted more rapidly than at Paradise, and the meadows are a lush green and wildflowers are abundant.Other specific areas where wildflowers are prevalent are on the Snow Lake Trail, Crystal Lake Trail and Shriner Peak Trail.
Trail conditions in the subalpine zone have improved notably with the warmer weather.Hikers are accessing the Wonderland Trail and most park trails are completely snow free. Updated trail conditions are posted on the Mount Rainier webpage. Some snow patches still exist, however, and visitors should use caution where trails are still snow covered.Park visitors are reminded to avoid walking or sliding on the thin snow patches in the meadows, as it can cause irreparable damage to the fragile flowers and meadows, who struggle to survive in this harsh environment.
"Conditions for hiking and viewing wildflowers are excellent and now is the time to visit Mount Rainier to enjoy the best of the rest of the summer," said Randy King, Mount Rainier's Acting Superintendent."Come when you can and consider riding the free shuttle into the park from Ashford on Saturday or Sunday, and from Longmire on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and leave the driving to us."
All park roads are open and visitor operations are in full swing inside the park.
Construction/repair work is occurring on the Stevens Canyon Road, with minor delays through Labor Day.On September 6, the Stevens Canyon Road will be closed entirely just west of the Grove of the Patriarchs to just east of the popular Backbone Ridge viewpoint and will remain closed through October 30, the contract ending date.Visitors will be able to access the Reflection Lakes, Box Canyon and Backbone Ridge areas and adjacent trailheads from the west during the 2011 closure.
Guided interpretive walks and programs as well as Junior Ranger programs are being conducted daily at Longmire, Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise/White River and Paradise.Check the Mount Rainier web page or at a visitor center for current schedules and program topics.
Webcams showing current views of park areas can also be found on the Mount Rainier web page.
At Paradise, the historic Paradise Inn and Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center offer lodging, dining, gift shops, exhibits, and visitor information.On the mountain's north side, the Sunrise Visitor Center and Sunrise Day Lodge are also open providing visitor information, new exhibits, a snack bar and gift shop.At Longmire, the National Park Inn is open for dining, lodging and also has a gift shop.The Longmire Museum is also open daily providing visitor information.
Information on gateway communities surrounding the park can be found on the following web sites:www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com, www.staycrystal.com,www.destinationpackwood.com, www.minerallake.com, or www.mtrainierguestservices.com