Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New visitors information map

I have updated the visitor information Web page with a Google earth map. Along with the waterfall map there is a quirk that the map may only display a blank gray window with the markers. This quirk seems to be intermittent and browser dependent. You can click on the map type you want in the upper right corner to display the map. Everything else seems to work so far.

I plan to keep the visitors location map and news current twice a month, more often when the situation changes, such as roads and passes open, visitors centers change rules and/or hours, and campground hours or rules change. This is usually during the late spring (May through June) and late fall (October through Novemer). Otherwise, the winter (November through April) and summer (June through September) seem to be consistent with access and information.

At this time, I'm not sure what significant enhancements will help this Web page - I'm always tweaking it, but you're welcome to send me e-mail.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Map Overview

Click here or on the map to locate and download DRG files.

Above is a section of the USGS map index for the 1:24,000 topographic maps for Mt. Rainier National Park. You can use the links below to get more information about these maps and other map resources on the Park. The problem is that individual topographic quadrant maps are named for local topographic feature, and as such, don't necessarily follow an easy naming convention to locate individual maps.

You can get maps from the following sources.

National Park Service Maps
NPS Mt. Rainier Maps
USGS Store - Follow Store Links
USGS Map resellers in Washington
100K Map Index - click on map for 24K maps index
Commercial On-line Map Services
USGS Map Viewer - Graphic Intensive
Mt. Rainier Place Names
NG Trails Illustrated Map
Green Trails Maps
Mt Rainier Maps

If you are in Seattle or plan to shop in Seattle, places to get maps and other supplies are Metskers Maps and REI's Flagship store along with any REI store around the Puget Sound. Some other outdoors and recreation stores also have maps. Maps are extremely helpful for adding to your knowledge and understanding of Mt. Rainier National Park to locate good photography locations, which are described in tourist guides, hiking and trails books, and on this Web site.

Go to DRG download map page.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring update

Well, spring just hasn't arrived yet here in paradise. And so I've been working on the Website for the Mt Rainier NP photo guide, by adding two sets of updated Web pages. The first are better waterfalls Web pages, found at the Introduction, map and list. I still have the other 160 known waterfalls to review and add to the map and list. And I want to learn better script programming to streamline the list to use a shared xml file with the map. It's the same information and would make updating the pages easier.

The second set is the maps. I updated the overview of maps for Mt. Rainier, adding three excellent sources, Trails Illustrated, Green Trails and Mt. Rainier Maps, along with adding a new Web page to download USGS Topo DRG files provided by the Geomorphological Research Group at the University of Washington. The USGS upgraded their DRG files after finishing the initial project in 2001.

I've updated the table of contents to the photo guide. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful.

On other issues, the NP is still under winter rules. As you can see from the image off the Webcam at Paradise, there's still a lot of snow, about 18+ feet, and the weather is quirky this year. We've still getting snow when we normall level out and get ready for the start of snowmelt in 2-3 weeks. Even if the snowmelt is normal, it will likely last into June at the mid-elevations.

You can get the latest road report and trail conditions This will likely last into mid-May, so if you plan a trip before Memorial Day, you should check the NPS Website for the latest information.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

NPCA Report on NPS land

The National Parks Conservation Association has issued a report, America's Heritage Land for Sale, (PDF), describing the current status of the possible loss of land within or adjacent to National Parks which should be incorporated into the National Park(s). This is not a thing that would be nice, it is a thing that embodies America, it's past, present and future.

The report only focuses on ten examples, one of which is land adjacent to Mt. Rainier NP along the Carbon River in the northwest corner of the Park. The inclusion of this land protects the upper Carbon River corridor into the National Park, preserve the forest and riverine environment and wildlife, and help ensure the fisheries and water quality of the Carbon River.

The report makes it clear this is only the start of a longer plan to acquire as much as possible of the enclaved land in National Parks and all appropriate lands adjacent to the Parks which helps preserve America's heritage for future generations. And sadly in these time of fiscal restraint by the Bush administration with federal agency budgets and unrestrained spending, adding to the national debt, for war, this isn't about land versus national security, it's about who we are as a nation and the value we have for our land.

We need these new and additional lands for the protection and preservation of our National Parks. Most American believe it, NPCA Press Release, and American's should let their elected representatives and especially the President know our views. This isn't something we want to look back on and think of what we could or should have done then, when we had the chance. We have the chance now.

So let's exercise our freedom of speech and raise our voice for America.

Monday, April 7, 2008

No Guns please

There is a recent movement by the National Rifle Association (NRA) through some Senators in Congress to subject the National Parks to local and state gun laws, meaning each National Park would have to abide by the local and state laws granting permission to openly carry loaded firearms in the Park. Currently all firearms can only be transported in or through a Park if stored in a secure and unloaded manner. Only Park law enforcement rangers can carry and use firearms in a Park.

You can get the complete background and details on this issue from the National Park Conservation Association (NPCA) Keep Parks Safe Web page with a recent update. In addition seven past National Park Service (NPS) Directors have sent a letter (PDF) to current Director Kempthorne urging the continuation of the existing policy of a national gun ban in Parks.

I wrote my opinion on this matter, which is that I don't want to have to worry when I'm travelling, hiking and photographing in Mt. Rainier NP if someone else I meet on the road or trail is carrying a weapon. And in the backcountry someone with a firearm is more than likely not carrying the weapon for personal protection but to get in there to practice or something worse.

With the millions of people who visit Mt. Rainier, it's unreasonable to allow a few people who want to carrry, and maybe use, a firearm in Mt. Rainier NP and subject all the rest of us to the possibility of being fearful in a safe place. This claim for the freedom to carry a firearm isn't worth it, and if anyone wants the freedom, it's fair to demand them leave it at home so everyone can enjoy Mt. Rainier NP in safety.

Even the current Directors of the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service agrees with the current policy, which they jointly sent in a letter (PDF) to the respective Congressional committee heads. So it is clearly political pressure by the NRA to subject the public at large to their narrow view of the world where firearms are permissible despite the risks to everyone else.

I hope members of Congress wise up and see this as what it is and deny the change to protect our National Parks and the public. We don't need guns in National Parks and I don't want to see them in Mt. Rainer NP.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Website update

I updated the Web pages for Mt. Rainier National Park where you can find the table of contents with the latest news, information on the latest roads and trails access, and a new blog list, a listing of the essays on my Mt. Rainier blog.

I haven't updated the the five areas to visit and photograph since last fall due to a variety of reasons, besides life and other events, but mostly due to my problems in cold weather with Raynaud's Syndrome. It's getting worse each winter and the reality of hikng and photographing in cold weather isn't fun. I apologize for this situation, and hopefully I can find ways to add new information and resources during the late fall to early spring months.

You can always use the contact link to send e-mail with questions, suggestions, problems with the Website or your experience and reports in the National Park.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Call to action

Action Alert from Cascade Land Conservancy
Please help protect Mt Rainier National Park

Congress is currently deciding what land protection projects to fund. This year, we have the opportunity to protect over 540 acres of riverfront land to be added to Mt Rainier National Park. If funds are secured in time, several privately held parcels along the Carbon River can be purchased by the National Park Service for permanent protection. However, we need your support!!

Please fax or e-mail your Senators and Representative to let them know that you support further protection and expansion of Mt Rainier National Park. Tell them that $2.5 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund is needed to protect these important recreational lands.

Additional information is available from the National Park Conservation Association (PDF).

A sample letter is included.

Please note: Due to mail security procedures, standard letters sent via the US Postal Service often take weeks to reach Congress. The best way to contact your elected officials is via e-mail or fax. Fax numbers and websites are listed below—to e-mail, go to the websites and there will be a “contact” page that will let you e-mail the Members of Congress:

The Honorable Patty Murray US Senate Fax: 202-224-0238
The Honorable Maria Cantwell US Senate Fax: 202-228-0514
The Honorable David Reichert US House of Representatives Fax: 202-225-4282
The Honorable Norm Dicks US House of Representatives Fax: 202-226-1176
The Honorable Adam Smith US House of Representatives Fax: 202-225-5893

If you choose to e-mail, please do NOT simply forward this request on.

It is important that this message to your representative in Congress come from individuals in the community, so please send your message or "cut and paste" this message directly from your own e-mail account.

Please forward a copy of any faxes or e-mails you send to
Liz Johnson, for our files.

Thank you very much for your assistance in this important conservation effort.
Sample Letter
The Honorable (Full Name)
United States Senate/House of Representatives

Via E-mail

Dear Senator/Representative (Last Name):

I am writing to ask you to support the expansion of Mt Rainier National Park. An FY 2009 appropriation of $2.5 million is needed to acquire 540 along the Carbon River to be added to the Park. This appropriation will allow the National Park Service to establish a new campground with associated roads and parking, new hiking trails, and riverfront fishing areas.

The expansion will also afford much needed protection to the beautiful Carbon River Valley, conserving habitat for endangered and threatened species such as Chinook salmon and the northern spotted owl. Conservation of these properties will also help link the surrounding wildlife corridors -- the Fairfax Forest to the north, the National Park to the east, and the proposed Foothills Rails-to-Trails corridor.

(Please write a few sentences in your own words of why this project is important to you and/or your organization)

An appropriation of $2.5 million in FY 2009 will allow the National Park Service to complete the acquisition of the Carbon River Ranch (the Thompson property) and to acquire the Carbon River Gateway parcel. Carbon River Ranch will be the site for a new northwest entrance to the park, replacing an existing road frequently washed out by floodwaters from the Carbon River. These acquisitions will be a critical step towards attaining the recreational, management, and environmental goals of the boundary expansion.

Thank you for your continued support for the protection of Cascades forestlands.

Your name AND/ OR Organization