Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Update.-- The latest reports are that the Spray Park and Sunrise areas are considered the best for early August in the face of the late snowmelt. The Sunrise area may last longer as the higher elevation meadows become snow free. The rest of the NP should still have some wildflower into early and maybe mid-August at higher elevations.

Previous post.-- Well, the wildflowers are here, in the NP. To that end, the 15th of this month Jeff Mayor of the Tacoma News Tribune posted this story. You can get additional information about wildflowers, with a map of areas.

Stay on the trail and protect fragile wildflowers


With the snowpack at Paradise quickly melting, folks are going to want to head there to see the wildflowers.

But as the snow melts, it tends to run down the trails, creating a muddy track. That combined with spots where snow still covers the trails is creates a problem because some hikers opt to walk alongside the trail on the fragile vegetation.

This already is a problem at Sunrise, said Julia Pinnix, the lead ranger for that part of Mount Rainier National Park.

The area already has fields of glacier lily and pasqueflower blooms, with other flowers on the way.

Pinnix said the combination of mud and snow on the trail makes visitors choose to walk on the vegetation.

"At high elevation, plants are exceedingly fragile. It takes only a single season of careless feet to cause damage that lasts for many years," she wrote me in an e-mail.

"In particular, Burroughs Trail at Sunrise is being extraordinarily impacted. For some reason, there has been a large amount of traffic directed at that trail the past couple of years, and people are just determined to hike it even if they can't see it. People are trampling all over the exposed vegetation in that area and causing a great deal of damage. Our small staff, and even our dedicated volunteers, are just overwhelmed. We cannot protect this exceptionally fragile area."

If you are traveling to either Sunrise or Paradise, please be careful where you step.

This applies now and through this summer and wildflower season throughout the NP. All I can add for meadows and open and alpine area is the following, except where noted in the NP rules and guides.

Stay on the designated trails, especially on snow.

No comments: