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Mount Rainier seeks public comment on trail reroute

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on June 18, 2008 at 9:33 am |
June 18, 2008 9:33 am

From Mount Rainier National Park:


Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga has announced that an Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared for a proposal to repair or reroute one mile of the flood-damaged Glacier Basin Trail in the White River Valley. The public is invited to review the EA and provide their comments.


The Glacier Basin Trail (GBT) serves as the main access to Glacier Basin, Camp Schurman, Camp Curtis, Emmons Flats, the Inter Glacier, and the Emmons Glacier climbing route. A mile-long section of the GBT was destroyed by flooding in November 2006. The damaged trail section is located in Wilderness, west of the White River Campground. The Inter Fork of the White River cut a channel through the area where the trail was, and currently only about 1,000 feet of intact trail tread remains.



In addition, the foot log connecting the GBT with the Emmons Moraine

Trail was washed away, and as a result, the Emmons Moraine Trail is

inaccessible. The missing trail tread, glacier river crossings, lack of

a defined route, and continued exposure to flooding are creating

conditions that are unsafe for hikers and damaging to park resources.


Three alternatives are presented in the EA, including the park’s

preferred alternative to reroute the trail above the floodplain. These

alternatives present a range of ways to provide access to the Glacier

Basin area. The alternatives the park is considering include allowing

trail use to continue as is, which includes the use of informal bypass

trails; repairing the damaged section of trail in the existing

alignment along the Inter Fork of the White River; or relocating the

damaged GBT section to higher ground above the flood zone. The latter

alternative would require establishing new trail in bedrock, which

would require intermittent blasting during trail construction. The

alternatives for the GBT proposal were developed in consultation with

park staff, other federal resource agencies, and input received from an

early public scoping effort on a similar proposal along the Wonderland

Trail. (The Wonderland Trail EA is expected to be released for public

review in early July.)


Mount Rainier National Park was established to protect and preserve its

natural and cultural resources and to provide opportunities for

visitors to safely experience and understand the park environment in a

manner that does not impair park resources and values. The park’s

approved General Management Plan (2002) allows for trail maintenance

and minor modifications to trails in order to minimize visitor impacts

in subalpine and alpine meadows and other sensitive areas.


The EA is available on the park website http://parkplanning.nps.gov/.

From the drop-down menu choose Mount Rainier National Park. It is also

available in local public libraries. To receive more information or to

request a CD copy of the EA, please call (360) 569-2211, ext. 2301


Those wishing to provide comments should submit them in writing to:

Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Ave. E.,

Ashford, Washington 98304; or electronically at

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ and choosing Mount Rainier National Park

from the drop down menu. Your comments should be postmarked or

electronically date stamped no later than July 18, 2008.


Your comments, including your personal identifying information (name,

address, telephone, e-mail address) may be made publicly available at

any time, if requested under the Freedom of Information Act. While you

can request your personal identifying information (name, address,

telephone, e-mail address) be withheld from public review, we cannot

guarantee that we will be able to do so.

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