Mount Rainier National Park   3 comments

Mt Rainier NP 00Where Is It: 90 miles south of Seattle.

The Birth: From Wikipedia:

On March 2, 1899, President William McKinley signed a bill passed by Congress authorizing the creation of Mount Rainier National Park, the nation’s fifth national park. It was the first national park created from a national forest. The Pacific Forest Reserve had been created in 1893 and included Mount Rainier. It was enlarged in 1897 and renamed Mount Rainier Forest Reserve. John Muir had visited Mount Rainier in 1888. Muir and nine others … climbed to the summit in what became the fifth recorded ascent. The trip to Mount Rainier had played a role in reinvigorating Muir and convincing him to rededicate his life to the preservation of nature as national parks. At the time national forests, called forest reserves at first, were being created throughout the American West, under the utilitarian “conservation-through-use” view of Gifford Pinchot. Muir was what came to be known as a “preservationist”. He wanted nature preserved under the more protected status of national parks. But during the 1890s there was more public support for creating national forests than national parks. During that decade, Muir and his supporters were only able to protect one national forest as a national park. When the Pacific Forest Reserve was created in 1893, Muir quickly persuaded the newly formed Sierra Club to support a movement to protect Rainier as a national park. Other groups soon joined, such as the National Geographic Society and scientific associations wanting Mount Rainier preserved as a place to study volcanism and glaciology. Commercial leaders in Tacoma and Seattle were also in support, as was the Northern Pacific Railway. The effort lasted over five years and involved six different attempts to push a bill through Congress. Congress eventually agreed, but only after acquiring assurances that none of the new park was suitable for farming or mining and that no federal appropriations would be necessary for its management.

It Happened Here: Read the story of the disappearing airplane, here.

Size: 236,381 acres

# Visitors: 1,145,552 in 2013. Attendance peaked in July/August, and was at its lowest in February.

Plants: From the Park’s website:

Though the park is world-renowned for its elaborate wildflower displays, the vegetation of Mount Rainier National Park is remarkably diverse. Climate and elevation vary greatly in the park, creating a wide range of habitats supporting an extensive number of plant species. There are over 890 vascular species and more than 260 non-vascular plant species and fungi in the park. There are more than 100 exotic plant species, especially along transportation corridors, near trails, and in riparian areas.

Animals: From the Park’s website:

The highly visible Columbian black-tailed deer, Douglas squirrels, noisy Stellar’s jays and common ravens are animals that many people remember. The most diverse and abundant animals in the park, however, are the invertebrates – the insects, worms, crustaceans, spiders- to name a few – that occupy all environments to the top of Columbia Crest itself.

At Mount Rainier you can find 65 mammal species, 14 species of amphibians, 5 species of reptiles, 182 species of birds, and 14 species of native fish. Invertebrates probably represent 85% of the animal biomass in the park.

Fees: $15 for a 7-day vehicle permit.

Staying There: Mount Rainier National Park has six developed campgrounds with almost 600 sites. Campgrounds open June through mid September. Only one campground, Sunshine Point, is open for auto camping all year round.

Contact Info:

Mount Rainier National Park
55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304
Park Headquarters, 360-569-2211



National Park Service: Mount Rainier National Park

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