Friday, November 2, 2007

Flood Recovery Reaches One-Year Milestone

From the NPS Intranet site today:

R.E.I. store managers from the Northwest Region came to Mount Rainier
to help with recovery efforts along with hundreds of others. NPS photo.

On November 6-7, 2006, Mount Rainier National Park received 18 inches of rainfall in a 36 hour period. Flood waters devastated infrastructure throughout the park, resulting in an unprecedented six-month closure.

The damage was extensive and extraordinary:

  • Landslides and major washouts severed access to each major park road.

  • Old growth trees were uprooted.

  • Much of Sunshine Point campground washed away.

  • Rivers and creeks changed channels, cutting new paths and leaving old ones dry.

  • Trail damage occurred throughout the park, as raging water wiped out bridges, thousands of felled trees blocked access, and in some places trails were stripped to bedrock.

The landscape of the park would be forever changed.

A year later, the park has made tremendous progress in the recovery process. Throughout the winter and spring of 2007, park crews worked tirelessly to repair roads and restore all utilities in the park, and the park reopened its gates to visitors again on May 5th. Throughout the summer and fall, park staff continued to work diligently to restore dozens of damaged sites. The Wonderland Trail, a 93-mile trail circling the park, reopened in August, and, by mid-November, the major road repair projects in the park will be complete.

Recovery efforts at Mount Rainier have made tremendous headway thanks in large part to the support of Congress and the help of over 1,700 volunteers, a park record. Individuals, businesses and organizations united through the Northwest Storm Recovery Coalition and the Student Conservation Association to contribute 84,000 hours of volunteer labor to the park this year at a value of nearly $1.6 million.

Much work is still to be done. Superintendent Dave Uberuaga estimates that the majority of park recovery projects will be complete within the next year. Attention is now focused on shoring up flood protection for the rainy season to protect park infrastructure and the historic assets of the park. The trails system, however, may take years to fully rehabilitate. Decisions are still on the horizon as the park is developing alternatives for how to provide public access to the Carbon River Road area and to undertake major trail rerouting projects on the Carbon River and Glacier Basin Trails.

Additional images and details of the flood can be found at the Mount Rainier National Park website at .

For more information, please contact Alison Bullock, public information officer, Mount Rainier National Park, at 360-569-2211 x2336 .

No comments: