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Author Topic: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds  (Read 278288 times)
Randy
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Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« on: 11/16/12, 04:43 PM »

Quote from: Superintendent Randy King
New this winter and starting November 27, the road between Longmire and Paradise will be closed to public travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Longmire and the park will remain open seven days a week, barring major storm events.

http://www.nps.gov/mora/parknews/winter-access-changes.htm


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trees4me
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #1 on: 11/16/12, 05:10 PM »

your government, not at work


it's the same thing with hurricane ridge.  how hard is it to just leave the gate open all winter?  why does the park feel like they need to protect the park from the public every night during the winter? 

Also, that statement if taken literally (which leo's occassionally do) says it's ok to climb and ski in the park, but not walk on a concrete road on a Tuesday....  brilliant.
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chill people, skiing is fun
silaswild
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #2 on: 11/16/12, 05:20 PM »

The good news from this announcement:  "Highways 123 and 410, and the Stevens Canyon Road east of Paradise, and the White River, Sunrise, and Mowich Lake Roads are now closed to vehicle access for the winter, but remain open to winter recreation."   Do you have to walk in from Crystal to Sunrise or may you sled?
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Jonn-E
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #3 on: 11/16/12, 05:20 PM »

Just read this, and was going to rage post, but found I was beaten to it.  Now all I got left is:

THANKS OBAMA


With that out of the way a possible upshot is they mention they are going to "try" to have the road open by 7:00am this year.  Also, it appears they will "close" (whatever that means) camping above Paradise on Tuesday and Wednesday, so there's a disincentive to longer camping stays.  I understand where they're coming from, but I don't have to like it.
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Randy
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #4 on: 11/16/12, 05:40 PM »

The only way this going to change is with pressure from the congress -- write your rep

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=WA
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Boot
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #5 on: 11/16/12, 05:42 PM »

Fu** this Gov't Sh**!!!!!!!  Just perfect that I have Tuesday's off and just changed that a few months ago from Mondays.  Saw this coming like a freight train and frankly if no one responds they will just shut 'er down for the winter; gaurantee it.  Oh, man I am sooooo MAD.
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Randy
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #6 on: 11/16/12, 05:57 PM »

The good news from this announcement:  "Highways 123 and 410, and the Stevens Canyon Road east of Paradise, and the White River, Sunrise, and Mowich Lake Roads are now closed to vehicle access for the winter, but remain open to winter recreation."   Do you have to walk in from Crystal to Sunrise or may you sled?

Snowmachine usage has been allowed on the White River road -- up to the White River campground turn off.    Continuing to Sunrise on a snowmachine would be against the NPS rules -- not sure what the penalty would be if you went past that point.
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Randy
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #7 on: 11/16/12, 06:07 PM »

How hard is it to just leave the gate open all winter?  why does the park feel like they need to protect the park from the public every night during the winter?  ...

Within the park the NPS rangers are the law -- so if the road is open they have a responsibilty to patrol it, enforce speed limits, arrest DUI drivers, render assistance in the event of accidents, etc, etc. 

If the road was left open -- but the law enforcement officers were off duty -- I would expect that the park would soon become a magnet for all sorts of mayhem -- I'm sure there would be attempts to snow machine to Camp Muir for example and that might be the least of it -- e.g. the tragic event on 1/1/2012



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Boot
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #8 on: 11/16/12, 06:56 PM »

"not sure what the penalty would be if you went past that point."

DEATH!
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Andrew Carey
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #9 on: 11/16/12, 07:45 PM »

Many of us who know the Park have been waiting for something like this.  They cite low visitation on Tuesday and Wednesday; I'm sure it is low--almost all the people I used to ski with in the park stopped coming because of unreliable gate opening times.  Who wants to take off work only to wait for a very late, or no, gate opening.  Last year, of course, they seemed to implement a new policy of immediate closure when someone is lost, one that continues till searches are suspended.  They also implemented more frequent closures for avalanche danger and bad weather than I've ever seen before.

What is surprising is that they still have to plow the road (or they would lose access to Paradise and lose the Nisqually Bridge),  they still have to have employees at the Park entrance, and they still have to have LEOs on duty.  So what is the big savings?  What is the intended purpose: further reduce winter visitation?  Will they indeed have more dependable gate openings or just further days lost to weather or avalanche danger or searches for lost people?  So, opportunities for winter recreation will be curtailed about 30% by the two day closure, and what another 30% by other contingencies?  And, of course, we have the upcoming much-needed repairs to the road to Paradise--when? I don't know, but I expect a full closure sometime in the fall like they closed Stevens Canyon Road.

What surprises me is that there was no call for public comment.  Every major decision in other federal agencies that affects the public is subject to public review.  This would seem to be a major amendment to their General Management Plan and should be subject to NEPA review procedures. Unlike the the National Forests, the parks don't seem to have to have public advisory committees.  Mt. Rainier NP has been in sore need of a citizen-recreationist advisory committee for quite some time.  For example: unpredictable gate openings; premature plowing of the Westside Road and Paradise Valley Road; plowing then closing the Paradise Valley Road in the spring when bc skiing used to be greatest; closing the snowplay area the week before school breaks; etc.

I suspect they did consult with the Inn and Restaurant owners and the Concessionaires; their slowest days must be Tuesday and Wednesday also (but OMG! keep Monday for our weekend renters!); of course the Longmire Inn will stay open.  Will the climbing concessionaires be given access during the closures as they were when the entire road to Paradise was closed for months awaiting culverts from Arizona?

The big question is: Are enough people interested in this and willing to take the time to write their Congresspersons and Senators?  I doubt it.  But that is the only hope--and with a national political climate of reduce the deficit and the looming sequestration, the Park couldn't have chosen a better time to pull this off.
« Last Edit: 11/16/12, 08:01 PM by Andrew Carey » Logged

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
Andrew Carey
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #10 on: 11/16/12, 07:55 PM »

Just read this, and was going to rage post, but found I was beaten to it.  Now all I got left is:

THANKS OBAMA


With that out of the way a possible upshot is they mention they are going to "try" to have the road open by 7:00am this year.  Also, it appears they will "close" (whatever that means) camping above Paradise on Tuesday and Wednesday, so there's a disincentive to longer camping stays.  I understand where they're coming from, but I don't have to like it.

FWIW, I doubt that Obama, Biden, or Ken Salazar (USDI Sec) even know about it.  What I do know, is that the Republican Congress has been calling for budget reductions for years, has not been passing full budgets at all (continuing resolutions, etc., that don't account for increasing costs, like fuel), has been making noises about privatization of public lands since Reagan was President, and engineered this upcoming sequestration, which if it occurs, would make a significant cut in the Park's budget. I suspect it won't occur, but there will be significant budget cuts to all non-military-industrial-complex budgets except for maybe one or two of the earned-benefit programs (SS & Medicare); the federal employees have been taking it in the shorts for years, including no pay raises in the last few years and less-than-promised before that; I suspect you will begin to see substantial non-military lay offs (although, one major employer, the Forest Service was decimated under Bush with 30+% of employees gone).

That said, I would like to see Mt. Rainier NP run by a private, non-profit, public-service group, rather than the Park Service; they never wanted it anyway :-)
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Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
Pete A
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #11 on: 11/17/12, 06:55 AM »

i've largely given up on Rainier as a day-trip destination in the winter....echoing what Andrew Carey said, taking the time to drive to Rainier only to roll the dice on whether half (or all) your day will be spent waiting for a gate to open at Longmire is a pretty big deterrent for folks that have other options within a couple hour's drive.   

Really sucks for people wanting to knock out a winter/spring climb though....decent weather windows are already tough enough to take advantage of.

"The area above Longmire will be closed to overnight camping on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because safe road access won't be available."

So, my take on the above is that camping up high will be against the rules anywhere accessed from above Longmire Monday, Tues, and Wed nights?    There isn't road access to the White River or Mowich Lakes sides in the winter, but folks can (at least I hope they can) still head in there and camp.  Thats some pretty serious bullshit....if folks want to camp above Paradise during the days the road is closed, just put in an additional gate on the road at Paradise so they can't drive their car down.  Isn't there a pay phone in the restroom alcove at Paradise?   if there's an emergency, people could still access 911 or call a ranger without having to wait two-three days.
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nemolonsdale
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #12 on: 11/17/12, 07:33 AM »

This is a real bummer. tues are my play day. lazy goverment tools....
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rippy
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #13 on: 11/17/12, 08:54 AM »

Familiar sounding theme, just like my shrinking candy bar that got smaller but costs the same. The matter is complicated and surely the budgets have been challenged so do the best with what ya got is probably the long and short of it. I agree the lack of earlier disclosure, no public input, and certainly the parks wording in the bulletin seem to reflect indifference and  they didn't just figure this out.  I don't want to be overly negative as I recognize the hard work many NPS folks put in to give Park visitors a quality experience. Do think there's better ways to administrate / communicate things and that's in the upper tier managers wheelhouse.
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Jonn-E
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #14 on: 11/17/12, 09:19 AM »

FWIW, I doubt that Obama, Biden, or Ken Salazar (USDI Sec) even know about it. 

"THANKS OBAMA" is a joke, not a statement of my political views.  Since I'm sure you're generally out skiing or waiting to ski at Longmire Roll Eyes rather than sitting at a cubicle staying up to date on the latest internet memes I'll provide some reference.

Penny Arcade - THANKS OBAMA
another example

I've been waiting for the day I could link to Penny Arcade on TAY, and that day has finally come!
Also FWIW the NEPA process for the NPS is kinda different from all the other agencies.
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Jason_H.
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #15 on: 11/17/12, 09:33 AM »

It is somewhat disappointing to see the park further close access. Eventually it is easy to imagine the park closing for the winter or staying open just for the weekend. As a kid in the 80's I remember many people up at the park and lots of winter activities. I know long before then that was the case as well. There was a huge play area for people to sled, but that stopped to be as big or as common as before. At some point the park began to take longer and longer to plow the roads. In the 2000's that has gotten to the point of absurdity. What has changed in the last 30 years to cause this, I don't know?

I certainly don't understand the financial issues behind the decision to close access to Paradise, but with similar sudden decisions that other National Parks have made recently (even if potentially justified), I wonder about the lack of user input on these decisions as well as whether they will continue that way?

Access has been continually frustrating in Rainier National Park. But while the road closure bothers me some, what really chaffs me is not having access to the upper mountain during monday, tuesday and wednesday nights. Even if that doesn't concern me too much if it is only to march, I still worry 'safety' will mandate that it be done until may, june or even later. Take the Mowich or other entrances to the park as examples. How many of us have hiked up a bare road to access the N. Side of Rainier until july?

There are millions of people and billions of dollars spent on unhealthy americans every year. It frustrates me that 'safety' is mentioned in the post by the super. 15 percent of american's have diabetes for instance. Maybe for their 'safety' we should take them to the mountains and use the saved money from their cheaper medical costs to keep the park open in the winter ;-) Hell, we'd even save a few million lives a year. But hey, it'd probably be looked at as losing a few...cause by God the mountains are dangerous! Canned-pop-is-dangerous and has killed more people than any war and certainly any mountain.


« Last Edit: 11/17/12, 09:36 AM by Jason_H. » Logged

Andrew Carey
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #16 on: 11/17/12, 10:07 AM »

"THANKS OBAMA" is a joke, not a statement of my political views.  Since I'm sure you're generally out skiing or waiting to ski at Longmire Roll Eyes rather than sitting at a cubicle staying up to date on the latest internet memes I'll provide some reference.

Penny Arcade - THANKS OBAMA
another example

I've been waiting for the day I could link to Penny Arcade on TAY, and that day has finally come!
Also FWIW the NEPA process for the NPS is kinda different from all the other agencies.

 Smiley Grin Cool
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Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
Randy
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #17 on: 11/17/12, 10:18 AM »

I think the problem is largely due to the fact that Mt Rainier and other parks in WA no longer have people in congress championing for the parks.

Scoop Jackson did quite a bit to secure extra funding for the park -- but since he has left, I don't think anyone from the WA delegation has put in the same kind of effort in supporting the parks.

But if everyone on TAY -- could take the time to send an email to Murray and Cantwell and whomever their congressional rep is -- we might at least forestall the day when the gate at Longmire closes mid November and doesn't open until Memorial Day.

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=WA
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Andrew Carey
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #18 on: 11/17/12, 11:01 AM »

I think the problem is largely due to the fact that Mt Rainier and other parks in WA no longer have people in congress championing for the parks.

Scoop Jackson did quite a bit to secure extra funding for the park -- but since he has left, I don't think anyone from the WA delegation has put in the same kind of effort in supporting the parks.

But if everyone on TAY -- could take the time to send an email to Murray and Cantwell and whomever their congressional rep is -- we might at least forestall the day when the gate at Longmire closes mid November and doesn't open until Memorial Day.

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=WA

Scoop did a huge amount, not only for parks, but for outdoor recreation.  Congressman Dicks also did a huge amount, for both National Parks and National Forests in WA, especially Mt. Rainier NP; he was the go to guy for public lands.  I agree with your email suggestion and would point out that Congressman Reichert is the Rep for the Congressional District and has been supportive of Mt. Rainier NP as well.

p.s.: did my duty and used your links to send msgs to Murray, Cantwell, and Reichert.
« Last Edit: 11/17/12, 11:16 AM by Andrew Carey » Logged

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
Jonn-E
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #19 on: 11/17/12, 12:07 PM »

I just wrote Senator Cantwell.  Here is the letter I sent her.  I am posting this so that you may get a feel for my approach and use it as a template for your own letter, but please don't cut and paste as I believe politicians avoid copied letters like we avoid spam.  Also given the details I put in it likely won't match up to your life.  I believe in personalized letters, both on the "from" and "to" side!

Dear Senator Cantwell,

This week Mt. Rainier National Park announced a two day per week closure during the winter of their primary winter recreation facility, Paradise.  As a longtime user of MRNP, from winter camping as a boyscout in my early years to my modern backcountry use; As a longtime financial supporter, from climbing fees to annual National Park permits; and as an occasional park volunteer, it saddens me to see this reduction in access.

In fact MRNP now has a demonstrable history of reducing access to the natural landscape who's core mission it is to share with the people.  While this has happened for management reasons (staffing) and natural reasons (road washouts) the root cause is the same: UNDERFUNDING.

We are letting our biggest icon (literally) in the state die on the vine.  How can we, with pride, stamp out license plates that bear the mountain's image when we don't support it?  Are we as a state that shallow?

I understand that I am glossing over many of the complexities here, but the budgets of our National Parks are woefully inadequate and it is starting to show in ugly ways here in Washington state (just ask the folks over in Port Angeles how they feel about ONP).  Since you are a Majority member on the Senate Finance Committee, and Washington state's single most powerful political asset in national politics, I urge you to use your position to regain lost ground and help restore the budgets of our ailing parks.

Sincerely,
<real name redacted on the internet because I'm actually super famous and worth billions>
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Jonathan_S.
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #20 on: 11/17/12, 04:04 PM »

One quick and easy way to complain is to comment on their FB post:
http://www.facebook.com/MountRainierNPS
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #21 on: 11/17/12, 06:22 PM »

Whoa. They will be prohibiting overnight camping "above Longmire" when the road's closed.  (Thanks, Pete A., for pointing it out on the FB page).

The only silver lining to a closed road is the prospect of camping at Paradise and not needing to race for powder.
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HillsHaveEyes
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #22 on: 11/17/12, 09:14 PM »

File this under "Top 1000 reasons to oppose North Cascades National Park expansion."

You couldn't pay me to drive all that way and wait for the Longmire gate to open.
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davidG
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #23 on: 11/18/12, 07:17 AM »

And, what are the economic consequences to the businesses on approach to Paradise, almost all of which are already struggling?

I'm so disappointed in this decision.  Where is the objective explanation to curtail access to our Land?  And with no public discussion.  This is not a safety issue.  The NPS is truly a messed up place when management performance (and advancement) is not measured by including the metric of maximizing access. 

Is there a published budgetary explanation?  Laying off (or reducing hours/salaries) of employees?  Is daily snowplowing too expensive (will they skip two days of plowing)?  I'd pay a higher daily use fee for winter access (although you'd think that the other 3 seasons of revenue could be managed - raised- to support the 30 days, or so, of partial shutdown envisioned under this decision).

Runningwithscissors - insight?

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powderfarmer
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Re: Changes at Mt Rainier -- road closed Tues, Weds
« Reply #24 on: 11/18/12, 08:07 AM »

Government spending is at an all time high and has been based on the last budget to come out of the Senate in 2010 when Democrats controlled the executive and legislative branches.  Perhaps if we could spin park access to fit the green energy, union labor or women's health narratives it would receive an adequate portion of the swollen expenditures.  With regard to privatization being a bad thing, look at Northern BC where snow removal has been contracted for years.  The Paradise Rd is essentially a toll road, so just make the price of the toll what it actually costs to keep the road open. 
« Last Edit: 11/18/12, 08:10 AM by powderfarmer » Logged
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