Friday, December 5, 2008

Low Snow May Impact Winter Activities at Mount Rainier

December 5, 2008
Contact: Curt Jacquot, West District Interpreter, (360) 569-2211 ext. 3312

Visitors eager to enjoy winter activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding are finding Paradise a little too warm. “We usually have about 50 inches of snow on the ground at Paradise by December 1,” said Ranger Julia Pinnix. “Right now we only have an inch or two.” The park requires visitors to stay on trails to avoid damaging fragile alpine plants. The snowplay area at Paradise will not be opened until enough snow has accumulated to protect the plants beneath.

Snowshoe Walks
Join a Park Ranger to learn the art of snowshoeing and discover how the plants and animals of Mount Rainier adapt to world record snowfalls. If there is not enough snow for snowshoeing, interpretive programs will still be offered at the scheduled times and dates. During the Christmas-New Year’s break, the guided walks will be offered daily beginning December 20 through January 4. From January 10 through March 29 the walks will be conducted on weekends and holidays. The walks are offered at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise beginning one hour before the start time.

Organized groups of 13-25 people may reserve a snowshoe walk in advance. Group snowshoe walks begin at 10:30 a.m. For more information or to make a reservation, call (360) 569-2211, ext. 3314.

Snowshoe walks cover approximately 1.5 miles and last up to 2 hours. Snowshoes are provided, or visitors may use their own. A donation of $1 per person is asked to help defray the cost of snowshoe maintenance. Snowshoeing is a moderately strenuous activity, and participants must be at least 8 years old. Remember to wear sturdy boots and dress in layers.

“These walks are a fun way to try out a new skill while enjoying the beautiful landscape of Mount Rainier,” said park superintendent Dave Uberuaga.

Curriculum-based snowshoe education walks are available at no charge to school groups on weekdays through the park’s Education Program. These programs are tailored to meet the teacher’s identified learning objectives. Contact Fawn Bauer at (360) 569-6037 for more information or to schedule your field trip. The park is also offering a Winter Workshop for teachers on January 16-18.

Please check the Mount Rainier National Park website at for more information about field trips and teacher workshops.

Please remember that roads in the park may be closed at any time due to hazardous conditions. General park information is available at or by calling 360-569-2211.


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