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crock
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PostWed Sep 22, 2004 1:58 pm 
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Anyone know anything about the very old road in Mt. Rainier's Berkeley Park west of Sunrise?  My guess is that it dates from the 1930s or before.
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kiliki
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PostFri Sep 24, 2004 9:56 am 
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I'll bet you can find the answer here, if no one else knows:

Rainier admin history
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crock
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PostFri Oct 01, 2004 10:53 am 
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Quote:
I'll bet you can find the answer here, if no one else knows:

Rainier admin history

Wow, that's a tome, but doesn't have specifics on road or trail building.

In the same (geographic) area, anyone know anything about the old, old trail up Shriner Pk on the north side?
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TokyoTessie
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PostFri Jan 28, 2005 12:40 am 
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Yes, it is a tome, but quite interesting to read. Here is an excerpt from the part about roads:

Westside and Mowich Lake Roads

Mission 66 for Mount Rainier provided the clearest statement of policy on road development for the west side in twenty years. It can be viewed as a turning point for that section of the park. The Westside and Mowich Lake roads would be improved, but they would not be extended or joined together as originally intended. The area in between the ends of these two roads would be retained in a wilderness condition. The Park Service' s emphasis on wilderness values on the west side was not seriously contested until many years later, when road and campground closures brought protests from some user groups.

It will be recalled that the original plan was for the Westside Road to connect with the Carbon River Road, forming a leg in the eventual around-the-mountain road. Later, the steep topography around Ipsut Pass convinced NPS officials to modify the plan such that the Westside Road would exit the park near Mowich Lake. Rather than forming a leg in an around-the-mountain road, the Westside Road would create a spectacular loop drive intersecting the west side of the park. To get this started, Pierce County was encouraged to build a road to the park boundary west of Mowich Lake, and the NPS would complete the Westside Road via the North Puyallup Canyon, Sunset Park, the Mowich River, and Mowich Lake. In 1931, road crews completed clearing work on the right-of-way approximately half the distance from the North Puyallup River to Sunset Park; in 1932, the road was opened to cars as far as the North Puyallup River. At the other end of the road, meanwhile, the county had a passable road completed to the park boundary by 1933, when the new park entrance was dedicated in honor of Dr. William Tolmie's visit to the area exactly one hundred years earlier. But then people began to express doubts about the project.

Landscape Architect Ernest A. Davidson offered the most forceful criticism of the Westside Road in 1934. He wrote,

Surely the most rabid road enthusiast will agree that highways enter a satisfactory number of spectacular canyons about Mt. Rainier when he finds that roads and highways enter Nisqually Canyon, Stevens Canyon, Cowlitz Canyon, Ohanapecosh Canyon, White River Canyon, Carbon River Canyon, Tahoma Creek Canyon, South Puyallup Canyon and North Puyallup Canyon... .This has carried highway development far enough for a small park. [72]

Others expressed similar concerns, and road development on the west side was all but suspended. On September 9, 1938, Secretary of the Interior Ickes advised that no further road construction would be authorized in Mount Rainier after the completion of the Stevens Canyon Road, and Director Cammerer had the master plan revised accordingly. [73]

Responding to public pressure after World War II, Superintendent Preston and Landscape Architect Vint proposed to complete the six miles of road from the park boundary to Mowich Lake so that Pierce County would have something to show for its investment. [74] Regional Director Tomlinson argued that this would only excite more demand--demand for completion of the Westside Road as envisioned earlier, demand for overnight accommodations at Mowich Lake, and possibly even demand for development of another ski area at Spray Park. In short, Tomlinson visualized all the difficulties of Paradise being duplicated on the northwest side of the mountain.

The surfacing of the road will head us squarely into all the difficulties of a dead-end road which would open one of the choice areas of the park nearer to centers of population than any of the other developed areas of the park. Not only will pressure develop for overnight accommodations, but there will be increasing demand for facilities for winter use of the area. [75]

Tomlinson won his point, and the road was not opened to Mowich Lake until 1955. By then, it was evident that there would be no serious pressure for overnight accommodations or ski facilities in that area.

Mission 66 provided funds for repairs and resurfacing of the whole length of the Westside Road.
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