Note: the following is a press release issued by Mount Rainier National Park/National Park Service.
The public is invited to offer input to the transportation and visitor use management planning process for the Nisqually (Ashford area entrance) to Paradise travel corridor. There will be several opportunities for visitors and stakeholders to provide feedback, share ideas, and impressions regarding potential management strategies for transportation and visitor use issues/opportunities within the park. The Mount Rainier National Park Story Map provides a multimedia overview of important locations and essential questions related to the plan.
The popularity of Mount Rainier National Park is growing as revealed by the regular increase in visitation from year to year. Visitation increased 30 percent from 2008 to 2018. The park experiences extremely concentrated use, with 70 percent of the more than one million visitors arriving between July and September with the busiest times occurring on sunny weekend days. Most of that visitor use is concentrated in a relatively small number of popular destinations such as the Paradise area, and in overlooks and trails including Carter, Comet, Christine, and Narada falls. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many issues surrounding access and demonstrates a need to provide expanded quality visitor services to a growing audience.
“We are deeply appreciative for the time and energy that the public put into sharing their thoughts and feedback with the park last summer” said incoming Superintendent Greg Dudgeon. “Increasing visitation is a sign to of how much visitors love this park and want to return again and again. We are excited to once again invite past, present, and future visitors into our process as we start to shape the future of visitor use management at Mount Rainier National Park.”
The National Park Service has generated draft ideas that improve access to public lands while ensuring the protection of significant natural and cultural resources. Public engagement is an essential component to this planning process and helps ensure the National Park Service is providing quality visitor experiences. This public engagement will continue throughout the duration of the planning effort. Mount Rainier National Park invites all interested individuals and groups to engage in this conversation about the future of the Nisqually to Paradise travel corridor.
Public comments will be accepted through Sept. 14. All interested individuals are invited to share their thoughts at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/nisquallycorridor. Question prompts will allow those interested to provide feedback, ask questions, comment on, and add to the preliminary ideas the National Park Service has come up with to address issues and opportunities in the park. The park will be holding a virtual public meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, for those who are interested in learning more about the project.
For additional information about the planning effort, virtual public meeting and next steps, visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/nisquallycorridor.