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Ski
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PostThu May 21, 2020 1:05 pm 
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slasbbyd wrote:
Pandemic or not it's way past time for a policy like this to be implemented at MRNP as well.   Cars back up for miles (and hours) at the Nisqually entrance every weekend. The current situation seemed untenable.

^ This is way off topic, but:

In 1997, Mt. Rainier National Park (former) Superintendent William J. Briggle tried to ramrod through a plan whereby all vehicle traffic would stop at Ashford, park in a gigantic parking lot outside the Park, and be hauled into the Park via a shuttle service, ostensibly to reduce the parking and traffic congestion problems that were seen (at that time) on what averaged five sunny summer weekend days.
On an "off" day, the traffic counts are significantly reduced, and the parking generally isn't an issue either at the upper or lower Paradise parking lots.
On a cool, overcast, mid-week day (in mid-September, 1997), with a notepad and a stopwatch, I clocked visitors at the upper Paradise parking lot. The average length of stay in the parking lot that day (over the course of about five hours) was 20 minutes.
The shuttle proposal, which was then included as part of the MRNP General Management Plan, was resoundingly defeated by overwhelming public objection.

Mt. Rainier National Park is not Glacier, or Yellowstone, or Zion, or Yosemite. What works in one National Park may not necessarily work in another National Park.

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dixon
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PostThu May 21, 2020 2:21 pm 
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Ski wrote:
On a cool, overcast, mid-week day (in mid-September, 1997)

A lot has happened in ~23 years and many more people have moved to the Seattle area. Outdoor recreation is more popular than at any time in history. If you look over the MRNP Twitter feed for 2019 they report "parking lot full" around 10am for Paradise/Sunrise lots with one in/one out for the rest of the day which results in several mile lineups since the road system doesnt have enough space for vehicles to turn around. Perhaps the shuttle proposal wouldn't be defeated now.
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altasnob
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PostThu May 21, 2020 2:47 pm 
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If MRNP requires day users to pre-register at recreation.gov so that they can open during the pandemic, that is one thing. But I wouldn't support this being a permanent thing. Currently, if you get to the gate before 9 am, you are fine, regardless of the day. If there is a fixed number of day use spots that you must reserve in advance, there would be no advantage to those willing to get up early or go in off hours, which spreads use throughout the day. I could also see people reserving a spot in advance, and then deciding they don't want to go and forfeit whatever fee they paid (so their spot would go unused). Programed bots could snag up all the day use spots the second they go online (this seems like the case with campsite reservations done through recreation.gov). I assume at Yosemite, there is now a service fee day use users must pay to the private contractor recreation.gov.
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Malachai Constant
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PostThu May 21, 2020 2:55 pm 
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I liked the idea of a shuttle because it could make thru hikes easier. Many cannot do the whole wonderland.

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Carbonj
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PostThu May 21, 2020 4:37 pm 
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Have heard  no climbing above 10,000 this year.
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Hutch
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PostThu May 21, 2020 5:01 pm 
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Carbonj wrote:
Have heard  no climbing above 10,000 this year.

Makes sense to limit it in a lot of ways - the shelters that the guiding services use at Camp Muir seem like they'd be a high risk area for infection to spread, with people packed together like sardines and breathing heavy every night. Not to mention those toilets. That said it feels like if people can use their own tents climbing the mountain is fairly low risk.
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Ski
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PostThu May 21, 2020 5:23 pm 
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dixon wrote:
Perhaps the shuttle proposal wouldn't be defeated now.

That is a big "perhaps".
A more viable "perhaps" would be that perhaps those people thinking that Mt. Rainier National Park would be a great destination on a sunny Summer weekend afternoon could perhaps avail themselves to any number of recreational opportunities, many of them in the very same neighborhood.
It's not like we've got a shortage of places to go here.
More importantly, you're talking about putting into place an entirely new piece of infrastructure, the cost of which would far exceed the Park's budgetary constraints just for the initial cost of the vehicles. The Park doesn't own any real estate near Ashford suitable for storing and maintaining a fleet of vehicles, so the real estate would have to be purchased, and maintenance facilities constructed (which would require approval through NEPA, and that won't fly because you simply cannot flush that many toilets that close to the Nisqually River.)(Remember that you have to also have a full-time, 24/7, 365-day-a-year qualified repair and maintenance crew on site, in addition to vehicles capable of towing downed shuttle busses down off the mountain in inclement weather.)
It was a hare-brained scheme in 1997. With the increases in costs and tighter environmental regulations, it's now delusional pipe-dream stuff.
IF the idea were feasible, the guy that owns all that real estate on the north side of 706 just past Ashford would have already built his 18-hole golf course, resort, casino, and kiddie-land miniature railroad. It hasn't happened, and it ain't gonna.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Riverside Laker
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PostThu May 21, 2020 7:59 pm 
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Ski wrote:
The average length of stay in the parking lot that day (over the course of about five hours) was 20 minutes.

Wow, that's an interesting measurement. Probably that number hasn't changed a lot.

Still, it seems like a shuttle would be a good thing, even if it only reduced traffic by, say, 20%. I wonder if a voluntary shuttle with reduced entry fees would work? Or more properly, an increased driving fee. And free for bikes, of course!
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Ski
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PostThu May 21, 2020 8:54 pm 
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^ I was quite surprised, but I sat there in my truck with a Thermos and some munchies the better part of an afternoon and watched it myself. People drive all the way up there, get out of the car, dance around in the parking lot for a few minutes, take a couple snapshots, and leave.
That's not unique to the parking lot at Paradise.
When I was working the beach trails at Kalaloch, I saw the same thing: couples in rental cars - or with plates from as far away as Florida - pull over at Beach #1, open the trunk and don windbreakers, walk down to the beach, take a few snapshots, climb back up the hill, and drive off.
Couldn't even begin to count the number of times I watched that happen out there at all of those beach access trails when I was out there doing trail work.

When you start penciling out the numbers on what would be required for a shuttle service, which (in reality) would only be needed less than maybe a dozen days out of the entire year, the overall costs - the initial monetary investment and the requisite on-going maintenance and payroll and insurance costs - the dollar amounts just get crazy.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Cyclopath
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PostThu May 21, 2020 9:47 pm 
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I don't think crazy dollar amounts is a reason it shouldn't happen.  I mean we've spent trillions this year, it's like monopoly money.  They don't even have to fire printing presses anymore, it's digital now.  We've been creating money out of thin air since before I've been alive and it works.

How much does it cost to run the ferries?  I've seen virtually empty ships running between Edmonds and Kingston.  I've seen people get off, then go right back on again and sail back where they just came from.  I assume most are tourists staying in hotels, eating at restaurants, helping our economy.  I'd expect that at Rainier too, and low stress (not personally fighting traffic) calls for more of it.

We're in a pandemic and it'll be years before the idea of non essential public transit is palatable again.
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Ski
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PostFri May 22, 2020 8:17 am 
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^ That's not really a good comparison.
The Washington State Ferries are operated by the Washington State Department of Transporation, the Black Hole of Budget Money.
The National Parks are operated on a shoestring and their congressional funding appropriations get clipped every time Congress gets a chance to do it.
Apples and oranges.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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joker
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PostFri May 22, 2020 9:38 am 
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Meanwhile, news from  MBSNF that's relevant to the supposed  point of this thread

Quote:
Everett, Wash.  – Starting May 22, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBS) will begin a phased reopening of trailheads, day-use areas, and other developed recreation sites.  “We are making every effort to expand access within the context of CDC guidelines and state and local government orders for residents,” said Nicole Branton, acting forest supervisor. “To align with our Washington State partners, we will be reopening sites where we can do so safely.”



Most trailheads and day use facilities will reopen on May 22. Campgrounds will remain closed during this first phase so forest staff and concessionaires can prepare them for operation. Additionally, some trailheads and day-use areas are still snow covered or inaccessible due to winter storm damage and may remain closed until access can be restored.



Restrooms will be closed; garbage service and water facilities will be unavailable. Visitors should plan to be as self-sufficient as possible, this includes bringing their own water, knowing how to properly dispose of human and dog waste, and packing out all garbage. “The level of service we can provide will depend on several factors, including workforce capacity, and the ability to provide services in a manner that is safe for our employees,” public services staff officer Mike Schlafmann said. “Many operational tasks we normally do to prepare for opening recreation sites have been delayed, we will be working to complete these tasks and prepare for sites to open while protecting the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, partners, recreation providers, and the public.



Forest visitors are encouraged to know before they go. Check ahead of time to find out what local conditions and closures may be.
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Ski
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PostFri May 22, 2020 9:47 am 
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YAY!

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Hesman
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PostFri May 22, 2020 12:00 pm 
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Olympic National Forest posted on their Twitter account that parking areas are open starting today.

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williswall
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PostFri May 22, 2020 11:11 pm 
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Carbonj wrote:
Have heard  no climbing above 10,000 this year.

from the website: Those wishing to climb above 10,000 feet or onto any glaciers must pay the climbing cost recovery fee AND get a climbing permit. This includes skiers or "single push climbers". Climbers who wish to camp overnight must also get a Wilderness Permit in order to acquire a camp site.

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