Friday, December 19, 2008

No Mountain Bikes

While you can ride bikes on the roads and trails in Mt. Rainier NP, see my guide and map, you can't ride bikes on the trails. This may change with a proposed rule change by the Department of Interior, see Washington Post article. As a longtime hiker and part-time moutain biker I am against this rule change.

Yes, it restricts the trails to hikers only and mountain bikers deserve access to the trails. But I've seen the damage done by bikers and the zealousness some conduct their activity, and it's simply too miuch to tolerate on trails, many of which in Mt. Rainier NP would experience additional and worsening damage and risks to hikers, and eventually addtional resources to fix and maintain.

This rule needs to be reversed, or simply returned to the current practice. What's interesting is that this rule change came after the 60-day cutoff for new rules imposed by the White House to the Departments. A White House spokesperson said it wasn't a significant rule and therefore allowed past the cutoff date.

It seems there are no real rules in the White House and it seems all bets with the Obama transistion team - being cooperative and not implementing changes - are off. So much for trusting our President and staff, political appointments and their hacks, and everyone else associated with him.

The new rule is under a 60 day review and public comment period, so it's likely will come under the new Secretary to decide if it should go forward or be withdrawn. I hope the latter.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Road Closures

The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a winter storm warning for the Cascade Mountains in Washington and lowland areas of the Puget Sound beginning later today (Friday 12/12/08) and through the weekend. In anticipation of this the State Department of Transportation is closing highway 123 and 410 through Mt. Rainier NP from near the entrances to and over Cayuse and Chinook Passes. In addition, other roads in the NP will be closed accordingly as necessary.

The NWS is predicted this winter storm will bring snow accumulations of a few feet in the mountains and inches in the lowlands away from the water, and will persist into late next week with subfreeziing temperatures throughout the Puget Sound. All appropriate precautions should be taken by travellers as recommended by the Washington DOT, meaning taking clothes, blankets, food and water on any extended trip as a precaution.

In short, it's one of the few storms we get this severe, last noted in 1990, but not an uncommon winter storm (averaging 3 every winter in the Puget Sound). So, be a good northwesterner and Puget Sounder and be prepared. We been here and we'll be ok. And if you're visiting us sometime in the next week or so, we hope you love cold, snow and good hospitality. We understand if you're not from here and will help you while you're here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Taking a Season Break

I realize I haven't posted for awhile, and while I've been working on the photography guide and the projects around the photography guide (expedtion, maps, history, etc.), I've been doing other work, such as the day after Thanksgiving Day Parade photos and Christmas cards (you know some of us still do them).

What does this mean? Well, I will be doing a quick review of the todo list for the photography guide and Mt. Rainier NP projects to see what needs to be done this month, what can be done as part of the on-going work, and what I can postpone to 2009. This means just the minimum will done, such as the access and road status information, monthly report, etc. In short, just enough to keep you up to date. The rest will be the bow on the package, extra as time permits.

As for where I'm at? Well, the expedition guide is still on-going. The timeline of the two week expedition has been determined for dates and approximate locations, better locations will be necessary for the map Web page. I found two letters written by one of the geologist during and after the expedition and need to be transcribed and translated to the narrative and maps. An unpublished manuscript written in 1880 has also been found that needs to be transcribed.

The map project is on waiting Web pages. I have prepared report and map files for the first USGS topographic (1915) map, but the Web pages with maps are still awaiting work. The NPS maps and later USGS topographic maps are still awaiting work for Web pages. I need to summarize the history and changes in the NP boundary and land acreage and proposed and build development. Most of it is there, just finding time is the issue.

The other maps Web pages for the latest USGS 7.5 minute (1:24,000) topographic maps is still awaiting work. I'm looking for a file server to make the map files available. They're currently available on the USGS Website but not without some work to locate and download and I can simplify the process by doing all that work to just download them. That's the goal and the plan is there, time, again, is the issue.

I'm still researching early photographers working in Mt. Rainier NP, 1890-1900. I still have to visit some photo archives to see what was done, or still exists in film, and which are in the 1898 report about the expedition along with determining locations for the photos. On the agenda is still visits to other archives for historic information, files and photos. Most of these are 1-2 day trips, so schedule is key.

And there are the "forthcoming" projects listed in the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide. I want to finish up the history projects first before focusing on the other topics and updating the quadrant Web pages. These are scheduled for 2008 winter-spring work.

So, after that? Well, continued large format photography, Mt. Rainier winter trips, and the always present on-going work with my Website about photography and post-retirement life building a new personal business. And learning the image production (computer system) side of photography is the on-going learning curve. There's always something new along with the current state of producing better images and prints.

And there's always the camera bags who seem sneak to the front door when I'm not looking, sit there quietly until I pass by when the suddenly they begin to sing, "A travelin' we will go...", and when the backpack and hiking boots chime in, it's a lost cause except get the winter gear and go. On that, I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday.