Friday, August 29, 2008

The Way In: The Future of Access to Northwest National Parks

September 3rd, 2008 6-9PM

University of Washington
Kane Hall Room 110

Sponsored by Boeing and The Moraine Foundation

Powerful storms have struck Olympic, Mount Rainier, and North Cascades National Parks the last two years, inflicting record damage on three of the Pacific Northwest's most treasured landscapes. Campgrounds washed away, bridges were damaged, trees and buildings blown down and roads destroyed. The Park Service strongly believes climate change is intensifying these storms.

In response to this unprecedented damage, National Parks Conservation Association, the Student Conservation Association and Washington Trails Association formed Washington Parks and Forests Coalition (formerly the Northwest Storm Recovery Coalition) and facilitated record volunteer participation with more than 2,000 community members taking part in events that rebuilt, restored, and repaired roads, trails, and campgrounds at all three parks. This work saved the National Park Service approximately $2 million in expenses. Unfortunately, the impact of the storms is so severe that damage is still being uncovered and assessed, meaing park visitors and park resources continue to be negatively affected.

However, the floods and windstorms of 2006 were just the latest storm events to ravage Washington's public lands. Given the high likelihood that future storms will cause similar damage, the Washington Parks and Forests Coalition is facilitating this discussion on how the federal government can best sustain long term access to places such as Mount Rainier that make sense from an economic and ecological standpoint.

Panelists for this discussion, which is free and open to the public, include:
  • Rep. Jay Inslee, U.S. House of Representatives (WA-01)
  • Clara Conner, Division Engineer, Western Federal Lands Division, Federal Highway Administration
  • Michael Case, Research Scientist, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Adaptation Centre
  • Dr. David Louter, History Program Manager, Pacific West Region, National Park Service
  • Dr. Clifford F. Mass, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington
  • Dr. Paula Swedeen, Ecological Economist, Swedeen Consulting
  • Rory Westberg, Deputy Regional Director, Pacific West Region, National Park Service
  • Professor Michael Robinson-Dorn, Director Berman Environmental Law Clinic, University of Washington Law School

For more details, click on the image to the right, find details and a PDF version of the poster on the National Parks Conservation Association website, or read articles in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The News Tribune.

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