Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mount Rainier in transit

TACOMA, Wash. -- The greatest threat to the busiest road in Mount Rainier National Park is the mountain itself.
Receding glaciers, loose rocks and boulders, glacial outbursts and debris flows could combine to cut off Nisqually-Paradise Road. Half the 1.2 million people who typically visit the park each year travel that roadway.
Yet the threat is not limited to the 18-mile road.
Nearly every major roadway in the park – including Westside Road, Stevens Canyon Road, state Route 123, state Route 410 and Carbon River Road – is threatened.
Portions of the Carbon River and Westside roads have been closed because of flooding. Stevens Canyon and state Route 123 are susceptible to landslides. State Route 410 could be flooded should the White River jump its banks.
“It’s almost historically unprecedented the conditions Mount Rainier (National Park) has to manage in terms of access,” said Paul Kennard, the park’s geomorphologist.

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Enjoy the mountain while you can
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