The public can now offer input on the transportation and visitor use management planning process for the Nisqually to Paradise travel corridor in Mount Rainier National Park.
The National Park Service has generated draft ideas that improve access to public lands, while also ensuring the protection of significant natural and cultural resources, stated a news release.
The number of visitors at the park continues to increase each year, with a 30% increase reported from 2008 to 2018. About 70% of the park’s more than 1 million visitors arrive between July and September, with the busiest times on sunny weekend days.
“Most of that visitor use is concentrated in a relatively small number of popular destinations such as the Paradise area, and in overlooks and trails including Carter, Comet, Christine and Narada falls,” stated the release. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many issues surrounding access and demonstrates a need to provide expanded quality visitor services to a growing audience.”
Visitors and stakeholders will have several opportunities to provide feedback and share ideas on the potential management strategies for transportation and visitor use issues or opportunities within the park.
“We are deeply appreciative for the time and energy that the public put into sharing their thoughts and feedback with the park last summer,” said incoming Superintendent Greg Dudgeon. “Increasing visitation is a sign … of how much visitors love this park and want to return again and again. We are excited to once again invite past, present, and future visitors into our process as we start to shape the future of visitor use management at Mount Rainier National Park.”
The release notes public engagement is an essential component of the planning process.
Public comments will be accepted through Sept. 14 online at parkplanning.nps.gov/nisquallycorridor.
Question prompts will be used as the National Park Service comes up with ideas on how to address issues and opportunities in the park.
The park will also hold a virtual public meeting at 6 p.m. on Aug. 5 for those interested in learning more.