Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NP Boundary History

Mt. Rainier, 1896

I've finished the brief history of the boundary of Mt. Rainier NP, see descritption and map. As you can see from the map the original NP was considerably smaller in size, thought to have been square but wasn't due to kinks in the township and range land plat system in use. That was resolved with the 1931 law adding new lands to the NP.

Subsequent changes occurred in 1988 and 2003, but these were mostly smalll additions or inclusions of land for better management of the NP resources, and with one small removal for Crystal Mountain ski resort's ski operations. The 1988 was for inclusion of adjacent USFS land for the NP to completely encompass the Stevens Canyon Road (southeast) and Westside Road (west central) into the NP and NPS management.

The 2003 was the inclusion of land just outside the northwest corner, the Carbon River entrance, for space for visitor facilities (parking, camping, building, etc.) because the land inside the NP was susceptible to flooding, namely 2006 and 2008 which destroyed number NP facilities, and the NP has approved the new Carbon River plan to move all but essential services to this new land, to close the old road, which has been temporarily closed since 2006, and to reroute the trail.

This addition will probably be the last in some time since it took so long to negotiate swapping private timber lands, and expensive. There still is a need to add land to the NP, but much of the land is in the USFS lands and has been logged. But that said, there is land in the northwest and southwest corner, the river corridors, which would benefit the NP for better management.

Anyway, that's the latest update. More is on the way over the next few weeks.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Snowplay Area News

The snowplay area is still closed as there still is not 5 feet of snow over the meadows for the snowplay areas at Paradise. No date has been announced for the opening of the snowplay area but hopefully it will be soon, but that depends on the snowfall and snowpack, which presently is just over 4 feet at Paradise Visitors Center.

You can keep updated with the Mt. Rainier NPS Twitter Account. The road status (Longmire to Paradise) and snowplay area with other news, will be posted there. This is a great resource for NP visitors.

Update Topographic Maps

Paradise Park, 1915, click for larger view

I updated the USGS topographic map Web pages, description and map, for the USGS' work producing topographic maps of Mt. Rainier NP from the first in 1915 to the latest with the 1971 NP map and the 15 maps in the series of 7.5-minute maps which covers the NP and some of the topographic map software packages available for Apple computers, tablets and cellphones.

That's it for now. Have a good Christmas holiday.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Winter 2011-12 Update

I have updated, at last, the Mt Rainier NP photo guide for the winter, December 2011 through February 2012, news, conditions and prospects for visitors and photographers. Everything is now winter in the NP and the only part without significant snow is the northwest corners, namely the Carbon River entrance.

You can now get the latest news from the NPS' Mt. Rainier NP Twitter Page about the status of the weather at the Nisqually entrance and the road from Longmire to Paradise controlled at the gate just east of Longmire. Add this to your cellphone (Twitter app free) if you plan trips to Mt. Rainier NP.

The snowplay and winter camping areas aren't open yet but probably will be open mid-late December. You can get more information from the NP's winter recreation Web page. If you like to play in the snow, be patient, it's almost here.

In addition, you must carry chains for your vehicle if you go in the winter. They're rarely required but still necessary if you get to Paradise and the weather changes so the road down the hill to Glacier Bridge requires chains. Many tire stores sell them on a rebuy program if you don't use them through the winter you can sell them back in April.

Go and have fun.