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kiliki
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PostTue Aug 11, 2020 9:35 am 
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The NPS is beginning the planning process to help manage the very crowded Longmire to Paradise corridor. They want opinions.

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/3cc27951027345bcb51779d6a7888d42
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Cyclopath
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PostTue Aug 11, 2020 12:13 pm 
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seattlenativemike
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PostTue Aug 11, 2020 3:17 pm 
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This is great....though I never use that approach for ...well reasons that make a study like this necessary
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altasnob
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 7:53 pm 
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The topics MRNP is looking for comments on are:

1. What experiences in the area between Nisqually Entrance (Ashford) and Paradise do you find most important? How are these experiences unique from other experiences you have in the rest of the park and/or in Washington state? What kind of experiences do you want future visitors/generations to have when they come to Paradise, Longmire, and other destinations along this corridor?
2. What issues most interfere with your desired park experience within the Nisqually to Paradise corridor?
3. What strategies would you like the planning team to consider, when brainstorming transportation and visitor experience solutions for the Nisqually Corridor?
4. What is the park doing well to manage these issues that you would like to see continue?
5. Other thoughts you'd like to share with the project team?
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altasnob
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 7:56 pm 
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I want to comment, but I don't want to complain about crowds without offering meaningful solutions. Anyone have any ideas? I really don't like the idea of limiting the amount of people who can access each day because it just pushes the crowds to other areas. A shuttle service would be great but not sure where all the people using the shuttle service could park. Longmire parking lot is past the gate and at capacity. The park would need to acquire land in Ashford to build a parking lot for the shuttle service.
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Randito
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 9:30 pm 
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Large (1000 car) subterranean parking garage at the west end of the Nisqually bridge.  Tram from there to Paradise.  Tram ride is free.  Road in summer has a substantial toll and road is closed in winter.
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 9:34 pm 
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altasnob wrote:
A shuttle service would be great but not sure where all the people using the shuttle service could park. Longmire parking lot is past the gate and at capacity. The park would need to acquire land in Ashford to build a parking lot for the shuttle service.

This idea was proposed in 1997 as part of the Mt. Rainier National Park General Management Plan.

The owner of the real estate immediately outside the Nisqually entrance is still pushing for permits from the County to develop the site into a hotel/restaurant/shopping mall/golf course/amusement park.
The same owner also owns the Chevron station in Elbe.

You are correct: the Park would need to acquire the real estate, something for which no funding exists.

While the idea on the surface might sound appealing, nobody has yet penciled out the numbers for:

- Acquisition of real estate
- Cost of developing parcel into a parking facility large enough to accommodate peak traffic loads.
- On-going costs of repairs and maintenance to parking facility.
- Cost of fleet of shuttle vehicles capable of navigating Nisqually to Paradise road during inclement weather.
- Cost of construction of maintenance facilities for shuttle vehicles. (Garage / repair shop / fuel station )
- Cost of on-going maintenance for maintenance facilities for shuttle vehicles.
- Cost of qualified, licensed, bonded, insured drivers for shuttle vehicles.
- Cost of construction of housing for shuttle vehicle drivers.
- Cost of employing full-time maintenance crew for shuttle vehicles.
- Cost of equipment and tools for maintenance facilities.
- On-going costs for repairs and maintenance of shuttle vehicle maintenance facilities.
- On-going costs of liability insurance for all drivers, vehicles, and infrastructure.
- Cost of tow vehicles capable of towing downed vehicles down from Paradise to maintenance facility during inclement weather.
- Cost of employing qualified, licensed, bonded, insured full-time tow-truck driver.

..... that's just a start.

Construction in the Longmire area is a non-starter - that's all a designated National Historical site (which is why they built the huge berms behind the buildings to protect them from flooding.)

More later... have to cook dinner....

--------------
"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Cyclopath
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 9:43 pm 
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They already have to acquire shuttles, land too for a project like that shouldn't be a deal breaker.

They should close the road to private automobiles once per month for cyclists (in season).  Shuttles would be still allowed.
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Brian R
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 9:53 pm 
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altasnob wrote:
The topics MRNP is looking for comments on are:

1. What experiences in the area between Nisqually Entrance (Ashford) and Paradise do you find most important? How are these experiences unique from other experiences you have in the rest of the park and/or in Washington state? What kind of experiences do you want future visitors/generations to have when they come to Paradise, Longmire, and other destinations along this corridor?
2. What issues most interfere with your desired park experience within the Nisqually to Paradise corridor?
3. What strategies would you like the planning team to consider, when brainstorming transportation and visitor experience solutions for the Nisqually Corridor?
4. What is the park doing well to manage these issues that you would like to see continue?
5. Other thoughts you'd like to share with the project team?



This reads like a push-poll. The questions are designed to elicit predictable responses that can be easily shaped into a pre-determined outcome. My suggestion would be for the park to first complete the three-years-overdue Wilderness Management Plan process they began and promptly abandoned when the public responses they received didn't match the outcome they desired. Karen Thompson and Randy King are now gone--which is a shame. I'm starting to think a new breed of authoritarian Bill Briggle types are taking over at MORA.

Ski, I can't believe that Chevron guy is still alive. Seems like he was in his 80s back in the 90s? I think he owns(ed) Scale Burgers too.
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slabbyd
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 9:56 pm 
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They clearly need to manage congestion, automobiles more so than people.  Only way to do that is the shuttle system if you’re not going to limit people.  Zion pulled it of.   But the distance from park entrance to Paradise is significantly longer requiring more shuttles for the same volume of people not to mention road grades and weather.

So how about a shuttle to Longmire with a really big tram to Paradise.  All for the cost of a single F-35 jet fighter.   Priorities, priorities
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altasnob
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 10:01 pm 
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Ski wrote:
The owner of the real estate immediately outside the Nisqually entrance is still pushing for permits from the County to develop the site into a hotel/restaurant/shopping mall/golf course/amusement park.
The same owner also owns the Chevron station in Elbe.

I've read about Park Junction Resort proposal, which is 11 miles outside the park. Is that what you are referring to? It's a 200 million dollar proposal and was first announced 25 years ago. I believe they have permits to start construction but permits expire if not acted upon in a timely manner. My guess is they are running into funding issues (and that was before the pandemic). The area does not seem conducive to a Suncadia type mega resort.

Dormant for years, plans for $200 million resort near Mount Rainier show signs of life

Stiff pushback against decision to allow Mount Rainier-area resort to keep moving
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Brian R
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 10:06 pm 
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slabbyd wrote:
They clearly need to manage congestion, automobiles more so than people.  Only way to do that is the shuttle system if you’re not going to limit people.

The locals (like me) won't stand for this. If "tourists" are the reason the corridor is congested, maybe consider restricting rental cars?
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altasnob
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 10:11 pm 
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MNRP says "70% of annual visitation occurs between July and September." As someone who often frequents this area in the winter, congestion is not an issue in the winter, so you would not need to run the shuttle in the winter. The road being closed for avalanche danger is an issue in winter, but that is something that I think everyone just needs to deal with and be glad we even have a road that is plowed to one of the snowiest places on planet earth.

Yes, I was going to mention Zion as precedent for the national park service implementing a shuttle service. Although Zion has a visitor center and a massive parking lot right on the edge of the park. So they didn't need to do much construction to introduce the shuttle program. Shuttle works great at Zion. Google tells me shuttle at Zion runs 7.9 miles (very flat). From Nisqually Gate to Paradise 17.7 miles.
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altasnob
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 10:13 pm 
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Cyclopath wrote:
They should close the road to private automobiles once per month for cyclists (in season).

This seems like a good idea and essentially zero cost. Maybe every fourth Sunday, just close the road to vehicles until noon. Bikes and foot traffic allowed in before noon. Point Defiance park in Tacoma does this.
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Brian R
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PostWed Aug 12, 2020 10:20 pm 
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Encouraging more tourists to see Mount Rainier via the Crystal Mountain gondola seems like a good idea too. CM has been MRNP's "escape valve" since 1962 after downhill skiing was deemed inappropriate in national parks. Still, I'm guessing that trams and shuttles will have less appeal in the post-Covid era. Not sure how that's working out up there this summer.
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