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PARKS: Support decision on Carbon River Road

Letter by David G. Graves, Seattle on Feb. 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm with 3 Comments »
February 15, 2011 1:59 pm

I was pleased to read Craig Hill’s article, “Carbon River trail coming” (TNT, 2-11). The decision to convert most of the Carbon River Road to a trail is the correct decision.

As quoted in the article, Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga made this very difficult decision after careful consideration of the options before him and what makes the most sense for the Park Service, the public and the park itself.

Since 1977, damage to the Carbon River Road from flooding has occurred an average of every 2.4 years; a road here is no longer feasible due to continual flooding. The Park Service’s decision to convert the road to a trail provides appropriate public access while also protecting endangered species such as bull trout and essential habitat for Chinook and coho salmon, by preventing sections of the road eroding and disturbing their spawning grounds during floods. The installation of engineered log jams will prevent further erosion of the road.

This decision is financially responsible because it does not use limited park financial resources to construct a road that would likely wash out again in the future.

The National Parks Conservation Association applauds the superintendent and the National Park Service for making a difficult decision that is forward-looking and will be best for Mount Rainier National Park and its visitors in the long term.

(Graves is the Northwest program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.)

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. bobcat1a says:

    The only problem is that this makes the northwest corner of the park essentially inaccessible for a large percentage of the public. The Carbon Glacier becomes a Park feature mostly for backpackers.

  2. denismenis says:

    As much as I miss the road, I think it’s a good thing. Three other corners of the park are road accessible (Ohanapecosh, Sunrise and Paradise/Longmire). Hiking is streamside and relatively easy (unless, of course, you head up to the meadows)

  3. alindasue says:

    Nature plays by its own rules. Even at the best of times, the road leading to the Ipsut Creek campground was a lane and a half at most due to all the erosion around the road. It seemed like it needed major repairs nearly every year, so it’s no surprise that they’ve decided it can’t be repaired any more. Nature just does not want a road there.

    We would camp at Ipsut Creek to get away from the crowds at Sunrise or on the Longmire/Paradise side of the park. Now with the hike into it, it should be even less crowded, eh. I look forward to trying the hike.

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