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cascadeclimber
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cascadeclimber
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PostTue Nov 22, 2022 6:11 pm 
20 years ago the park staff took pride in getting the road open in the winter, safely. Now they seem to take any excuse to not open it. While the murder of a ranger is an awful thing, I also think it's awful to require that an armed ranger (LEO) be on duty at all times when the upper road is open. It was a once in over one hundred year act of violence and the LEO requirement has made a significant difference in accessibility. Same thing with the ambulance that now seems to be required, but wasn't 20 years ago. As far as staff shortages go, that's been a pet excuse for years now. Not enough plow drivers, not enough rangers, not enough gate staff, yadda. The frequency of this in winter months is, IMO, inexcusable. Staff and open the park, that's a primary role of the superintendent and other high-level employees (assistant super, chief of staff, whatever they have now). And, going back further, they used to keep Chinook and Cayuse passes open in winter, too. Wouldn't it be nice to have better access to the east side of the park in winter??

If not now, when?

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Snowshovel
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PostTue Nov 22, 2022 6:59 pm 
I don’t think Chinook was ever open in winter

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Bruce Albert
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Bruce Albert
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PostTue Nov 22, 2022 7:18 pm 
Snowshovel wrote:
I don’t think Chinook was ever open in winter
Correct AFAIK. Chinook has significant slide hazard, and I don’t they ever fought the battle. The original winter Cayuse closed, around 1970, was because the banks grew high enough that the blowers had a hard time throwing the snow past them. Once that cat was out of the bag it never opened in the winter again. Too bad that, Naches Peak above Chinook Pass was a great day tour.

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Randito
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Randito
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PostTue Nov 22, 2022 7:47 pm 
cascadeclimber wrote:
20 years ago the park staff took pride in getting the road open in the winter, safely.
Do you honestly think it is an issue of pride and work ethic or that adjusted for inflation the NPS budget for winter operations is a fraction of its winter budget in the '70s? I mean the old JVC was originally slated for Hawaii, but "The Senator from Boeing" , "Scoop Jackson" reallocate the appropriation for Washington/ Mt Rainier. So if you are going to whine piss and moan , direct your anger at Patty Murry and Maria Cantwell for not being as effective at "Scooping" up more congressional largress.

kiliki
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Carbonj
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PostTue Nov 22, 2022 8:49 pm 
^Agree the road crew want to do their job, The head ranger is were you want to direct your anger, but your energy should be towards senators and reps, the park supt doesn't care , they only care about the next move up . I'm MORA employee retired.

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altasnob
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PostWed Nov 23, 2022 6:57 am 
I'd like to see a non profit created where I can donate money and labor and the organization will buy a snow plow and hire a snow plow driver, as well as an EMT. Use volunteers to go around the parking lot at the end of the day saying the road is closed and everyone needs to go down. It's clear that for whatever reason, our government is no longer able to provide these services to us. So we should take matters into our own hands and just do it ourselves. We have a large, affluent population of skiers, hikers, snowshoers, and people who just want to drive up and look at snow for the first time in their life. Paradise is a world class winter destination and it is a shame to see access slowly erode despite the wealth of this region explode. Maybe we can get Melinda Gates or MacKenzie Scott to get things going with this.

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kiliki
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kiliki
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PostWed Nov 23, 2022 10:18 am 
Washington National Park Fund functions like that. Here are the projects they are working to fund. https://wnpf.org/our-priorities/projects-we-fund/ As a former NPS person myself I have my thoughts on where money goes and what I'd prefer to see it go to--there's a lot of spending related to Congressional mandates/laws/compliance, and it seems to me that it's the interp programs and ranger presence that have suffered most--but agree with Randito that the declining budget relative to inflation and use is the crux of the problem. I also am 100% behind wanting LEO presence. Don't forget how litigious people are as well. People can and do sue over perceived safety issues.

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JimmyBob
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PostWed Nov 23, 2022 12:08 pm 
They need get rid of the park/federal fee for all people, not just military, all people, make it equal and fair to all. Then people won't expect as much.

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philfort
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PostTue Nov 29, 2022 11:02 am 
At least it's official now, Saturdays and Sundays only until further notice: https://www.nps.gov/mora/learn/news/mount-rainier-national-park-announces-winter-2022-23-recreational-access-changes.htm Of course, no mention of what they're doing to address staffing issues... the mysterious veil of secrecy continues.

silence
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Ski
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PostTue Nov 29, 2022 11:50 am 
^ That's really kind of nuts, because they have to keep the road between Longmire and Paradise open for staff. The lodge at Paradise is open 365 days a year. Meaning: they still have to plow the road to keep it open irrespective of whether the Nisqually Gate is open or not.

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."

Opus
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philfort
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PostTue Nov 29, 2022 12:33 pm 
This is pretty funny... (from https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/paradise-winter-access-faq.htm)
Quote:
What efforts are being made with recruitment and hiring enough staff to maintain access to Paradise? Mount Rainier National Park is currently experiencing staffing shortages. Because of these staffing limitations, the park cannot provide access seven days a week to Paradise for the 2022-23 winter season. Park staff will continue to revisit the Paradise access schedule should staffing levels change during the winter season. Mount Rainier’s winding, narrow road that leads to Paradise was completed in 1915, and was designed at the time to showcase the breathtaking scenery. This road is correspondingly difficult to maintain in the winter months, and specialized training is required to operate the modern, heavy equipment that is specially modified for the park’s 107-year-old road.
Is there any accountability for superintendents? Like, can they get fired if they're doing a bad job? (I wonder the same for whomever is running MBSNF right now)

silence
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Ski
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PostTue Nov 29, 2022 3:02 pm 
It is a hierarchy all unto itself which answers only to the Regional Deputy Directors (I believe the closest one to MRNP is based out of Portland? San Francisco?) and the Director in Washington DC. I believe there are one or two levels between Superintendent and Director. I don't imagine it's easy to get people who want to work up there all winter.

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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thuja
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thuja
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PostTue Nov 29, 2022 3:16 pm 
The hotel/lodge at Paradise is not open in the winter. It usually closes sometime in October. The Nisqually Inn at Longmire is open almost all year (except for the very occasional snow-related closure). The staffing issue has to do with a management level decision sent to the parks telling them they cannot hire seasonal employees in more than one season. So if you hire a summer seasonals you can't then also hire winter seasonals. I believe the logic is that they should be hiring full time staff if they need people both seasons. Not too bad logic, but the timeline for budgeting and hiring a full-time employee is extremely long, well beyond this winter season. That's assuming budget changes that allow a park to hire a full-time employee(s). Full time employees have to be paid federal benefits, seasonal employees do not.

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Ski
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PostTue Nov 29, 2022 3:28 pm 
^ ahhh thanks... I thought the lodge was open year-round! Sounds like maybe they need to re-examine their hiring practices. Particularly if there is always a problem of being "short-staffed" - that's simply the end result of not hiring enough people to get the job done. Not rocket science.

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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treeswarper
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PostTue Nov 29, 2022 3:56 pm 
There may also be a hiring freeze. That happens once in a while when budgets are unknown or the eternal downsizing is in progress.

What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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