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Mike_Gauthier

Public Comment Sought re: commercial businesses on Mt Rainier

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FYI to everyone... This just came out today...

Release Date: 03/04/2002Contact Name: Jon Jarvis, Superintendent 360-569-2211, x2300 Commercial Services Plan Public Input Sought A Commercial Services Plan is underway at Mount Rainier National Park, Superintendent Jon Jarvis announced today. “Park visitors rely on a variety of services provided by our commercial partners, and we want the public’s help in determining how to manage these services in the national park,” Superintendent Jarvis said. Public scoping meetings will be held in Ashford, Tacoma, Seattle, and Yakima in the coming month.

Guided climbs and wilderness trips, lodging and food services, gift shops, firewood sales, and shuttle services are among the potential services to be considered in the plan, expected to be completed this year. Mount Rainier’s recently released General Management Plan provides guidance on the public’s desired visitor experiences, and new laws and policies governing commercial services in national parks will be incorporated. Jarvis says, “Mount Rainier contains exceptional resources and opportunities for the public to enjoy, and we look forward to hearing ideas for making sure that appropriate commercial services are available.”

If you are interested in commenting, please join the Superintendent and Park Service staff at one of four public scoping meetings this spring. Public comment can also be submitted directly to the park at: Superintendent Jon Jarvis, Mount Rainier National Park, Commercial Services Plan, Tahoma Woods, Star Route, Ashford, WA 98304-9751. Comments are also accepted via e-mail at: Mora_Commercial_Services@nps.gov.

All written public comments must be post marked by March 29, 2002. The public will also have an opportunity to comment on the draft plan during the environmental assessment process later this summer.

Public comments will be received in person by park officials at the following locations, dates, and times:

Tacoma, WA March 14 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Washington State History Museum 1911 Pacific Avenue 253-272-3500

Seattle, WA March 19 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mountaineers Clubhouse 300 3rd West 206-284-6310

Yakima, WA March 28 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Double Tree Inn 1507 North 1st St 509-576-4915

Ashford, WA March 25 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Columbia Crest Elementary School 24503 State Route 706 E 360-569-2567

-NPS- http://www.nps.gov/mora/pphtml/newseventsdetail3329.html

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I've been up Rainier quite a few times since '97 and met you on several occasions. I'm very concerned over the increase in guided services on the mountain. Personally I'd like to see them all disappear from the mountain.

They are not much different then prostitutes and John's. The guide (the prostitute) just wants the money from the client (the John) and will do

whatever to get their clients rocks off. The client just wants to bag the peak, isn't willing to do anything more then what the paid guide tells him to. Some guides admite to this relationship, it's just business.

If people were really interested in climbing they should learn to climb, and after gaining confidence and experience summit Rainier themselves. I've guided several novices friends to the top only for the shear joy to share my

love with the mountain and watch someone else fall in love with it too. I've only taken them after training at least half a year on other peaks.

But my biggest complaint is that the Park Service gives preferential treatment to certain guiding outfits. RMI thinks it owns the Disappointment

Clever route and all the Park Service buildings it occupies. Aren't these tax payer (public) buildings? Why does the Park service give the Whitaker's special treatment? I know they hung out with the Kennedy's but that was years ago. If we have guides on the mountain, why not open all the routes to guided parties? How about allowing other guided companies to use the facilities at Muir? Why not allow competitive biding on the facilities? Or is this already done?

I guess I'd like some more information on the current system the guides operate under before I go and make an ass of myself at the meeting on the

19th.

Looking forward to more info Mike. I'll be there.

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radon, i made a comperision once similar to your and was enlightend by a fellow cc'er to how ignorant that statement is.....

so anytime you are recieving a service you are doing something bad??? most guides do guiding cause they enjoy it...do you know if hookers enjoy their job???

i have never been guided and most likely never will, but you state that these people are not learning how to climb....i beg to differ....experiences and challenges are met differently by every person...

and the consessionaires are all the services at mt rainier not just the guide service.....think about that $3 hot chocolate, or your fluffed pillows...not just one buyt many things are stealing from rainier and non of them are illegal like the prostitution thing

glad to see you are interested in the mtn, but i dont think your tact is that good....

take some advice from a non-tactful person....think before we speak!!!

peace out anf have fun

give a no vote for all services from me!!!!

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so if guides are prostitutes who are the pimps?

but seriously..... if you ever go to the Harrison Hut near Overseer read the 10-page rant some guy wrote in the hut logbook there entitled "Mountain Pimps and Heli-Fools" for the same idea expanded on far far past the point at which you wish he would stop...

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how many guided parties attempt the mountain on the weekend? that number divided by two should be the limit of guided parties up the mountain. services would be nice, but are they really necessary? maybe the huts should be put on a lottery system. rmi shouldnt be allowed to own any route. owning includes clogging a route or camping area. guiding is a good business, but it seems to be getting out of control. also remember that there are other routes up the mountain.

and for Dru: the mountain is the pimp

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forget the prostitue analogies guys... they wont serve your concerns very well... and it may alienate others who have similar opinions.

this "public scoping meeting" is an opportunity for the NPS management to hear YOUR thoughts! FYI, there isn't a plan in place!! this meeting is designed to take your comments and design a NEW commercial services plan. we could debate the pros and cons of guiding, but more than likely, guiding wont go away... the question is, how do YOU think guiding (or other services, hot cocao, post cards, food service, etc) should happen on rainier? and for that mater, what else should the park be considering (how about some mountain schools or insititutes?).

the awarding of concession contracts is VERY complicated. (i gave a thorouguh slide/lecture covering the topic for the AAC this fall at the museum of history and industry.) there a number of laws and regulations that guide the nps on the mater.

to say the least, the issue of guiding rainier has been hot in MANY climbers minds. i've probably heard more comments from the public about the guiding on rainier than ANY OTHER SINGLE TOPIC (more than rescues, user fees, regs, etc)! granted, i work mostly with climbers, but I KNOW there are strong opinions/feelings out there. i hope they all show up at the meeting, ask tough questions, and voice there feelings.

touché erik, you are VERY RIGHT to state, "take some advice from a non-tactful person....think before we speak!!!" blasting away will do your cause no good.

mr. random, your sentiments and questions are great. i look forward to seeing you at the public meeting, i will be attending all of them, but as a representative of the park. everyone’s ears, i.e. the park superintendent's, will WIDE OPEN...

i'm glad to see that a few of you have caught on the IMPORTANCE of this public meeting.

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Mike -

How can we get a copy of "Mount Rainier’s recently released General Management Plan" Why don't you ask Jon or Tim to post a copy here on this site? Without it, it seems, our opinions will be simply chatter.

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The concessionaires are a major problem in our National Parks in the States. I have a great deal of experience from years running tours that went through the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Yosemite etc and have seen all of these places taken over by one or another monopoly concessionaire (like Fred Harvey). Their contracts with the park service are untouchable once allowed in the park. I think RMI is comparable to these other concessionaires in this respect. I remember I was not even legally allowed to escort my clients on a hike in Zion and many other National Parks because the concessionaire had secured the rights to lead guided hiking trips in the park. Never mind the fact that no one in the concessionaire actually offered a "paid for guided hike" of the area we wanted to go, they had the monopoly in the park and could keep anyone out that they wanted.

Our company took groups of 13 people to these places in one vehicle, thereby reducing the number of vehicles in the park. That should be a good thing from anybody's perspective, but the fact that monopoly contracts are given out for these things is absurd.

There is nothing wrong with hiring a guide if you lack experience. I never really tried climbing (alpine) until I went to South America and used guides down there. As a result of these experiences I decided to learn how to climb. Maybe some people want to try it once and never do it again, what's wrong with that? Certainly anyone doing the DC route doesn't really consider that to be an elite route and shouldn't expect to be alone when you go there.

Either allow anyone to guide anyone, or do not allow any guided services at all. The private market and an organization's reputation will likely be the best self regulatory mechanism for potential guiding companies. As far as food and postcards go, I guess you can't get around offering something but these contracts should be for short periods of time to prevent the Fred Harvey's, Walt Disney's, and Whittaker's from taking over OUR National Parks!

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Any of you who have been to Yosemite, Yellowstone or various other national parks should be aware that MRNP is about the most uncommercial national park possible. How many businesses even exist within park boundaries? As for guiding, any of you who complain about monopolies should think about what the mountain would look like with an unlimited number of guide services competing for space up the DC, Emmons, etc... If the DC route is too crowded for you, take another one. It's not like the number of routes is so limited.A wilderness mountaineering experience is readily available to you on Rainier on the west side, thanks to the road remaining washed out. You will have to commit more time, which is pretty reasonable if it's a wilderness experience you're looking for. There's always Glacier Peak if you want a volcano that's further from the trailhead.

Having said this much, I will add that I vote for MRNP remaining less commercial than other parks...though an espresso and cocoa stand in the Paradise parking lot in the winter would be mighty nice, for when I take my kids sledding up there.

Spray away, anyone who wants to. I can send you a copy of the full email I sent to the park. Thanks again, Mr. Gauthier, for keeping us involved in the process.

[ 03-05-2002: Message edited by: Norman Clyde ]

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I agree Norman, It's refreshing that Rainier is WAY less commercialized than the other biggies in this country. But having seen these disasters, now is the time to make sure it stays that way. The proposed golf course / country club or whatever they are planning on building outside the park is scary and I worry that the big commercial interests will work their way into the as-of-yet unspoiled Rainier National Park. As for guiding, I was exaggerating when I said that anyone should be able to guide anyone, but monopolies aren't the way to go. Maybe guiding companies that meet certain qualifications could be the solution. Any ideas? [Wazzup]

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Trust me I don't climb the guided routes. The one time I descended the DC after three days on Success Cleaver I was horrified. At the top RMI guides wouldn't allow any clients to head over to Columbia Crest??? Rope team after rope team, and then all the people who were backed up behind them. All the poo on the DC trail, granted anyone could have done this. But best of all was the lady who the guides stuffed into a sleeping bag on top of DC; bagged and tagged. Who would do that if you were climbing with a group of friends?

BTW SC, no people seen after Indian Henry's Hunting Ground cabin. Best bivy site ever at 12,800', watched a meteor shower that night WOW.

One year on the Finger we watched the RMI boot camp brigade come up. "All the guys over here, all the girls over there if you got to pee.", the guide yelled at a rest break. The best one was when I drove to Paradise with my parents. A perfect September day when a bus disgorges RMI clients. A guide picks one client’s pack up and starts ripping into it; "You don't need one of these." Then throws the item to the ground. "You need one of these." Then throws the item to the ground and grabs the next item. I happen to get ask one of the clients why he came out in September to climb Rainier? He said he had hoped all the snow would be melted off for an easier climb. He was shocked to see how much snow was still up there. I mentioned that was the definition of a glacier. The look on his face was unforgettable. Guides do have a place, I'm not all against it. You get the bad with the good like in any profession. In Peru, there were these two guides with three clients; very patient and very easy going, awesome group.

I'd like to say that lets have a good meeting with the NPS. I'd still like to know more about the current set up, contracts, long term agreements. Can I get a link to the GMP? Can’t find it. (I think I need a guide smile.gif" border="0 )

Remember it's America's National Park.

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quote:

Originally posted by mr.radon:
I happen to get ask one of the clients why he came out in September to climb Rainier? He said he had hoped all the snow would be melted off for an easier climb. He was shocked to see how much snow was still up there. I mentioned that was the definition of a glacier. The look on his face was unforgettable.

[laf][laf] I like that one! [laf][laf]

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I agree...guiding services on Rainier has reached critical mass, but Eric is right - there is much more at stake here than RMI, Mountain Madness, etc. etc. If you start allowing more private businesses at Paradise, Longmire and Sunrise those two lane roads may become four and parking lots increase in size (there is an overcrowding problem already).

RMI guides get a bad rap, but realize they have a tough job to do. They aren't allowed the comfort of weeding clients out prior to the trip. One of my bud's put it this way, "Every morning I wake up knowing six people will try to kill me today." I have issues with RMI as well, but it's misdirected blame if you're pointing fingers at guides for policy issues.

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...I think some of the current administration's appointees in the Department in the Interior would love to see private enterprise takeover more operations in the parks service, maybe let Aramark Services and the like just start runnin all the parks! I know these scoping meetings are focused on the guiding services at Rainier, I just see a deeper anti environmental conspiracy amongst the DOI that is currently working to weaken environmental protections of public lands and degrage the quality of our nations wilderness resources- Yellowstone brought to you by, Disney.

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quote:

Originally posted by Figger Eight:

RMI guides get a bad rap, but realize they have a tough job to do. They aren't allowed the comfort of weeding clients out prior to the trip. One of my bud's put it this way, "Every morning I wake up knowing six people will try to kill me today."

See right there, that is why I decided 1) never to try and become a guide and 2) the difference between guiding and normal climbing. I like to be able to trust my partners eh... not hate/fear/be wary of them.

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I just started reading some of the GMP that "Peter Puget" provided the link to above.

Usually, a glance at the "preferred alternative" gives you an idea what they are hoping to be able to do. There are some things in here that I bet most climbers would find of interest.

Among them:* Allowing the Carbon River Road to be closed after the next erosion event with non-motorized uses remaining (hiking and biking).

* Implementing a policy requiring overnight climbers to take a shuttle to Paradise under peak congestion periods (this shows up on the "Preferred" use map)

* Discussion about access for the Westside Road. Plans other than the "Preferred" option actually talk about shuttles and opening it back up to private high clearance vehicles.

* A $5 million "Welcome Center" along State Highway 706. Not so much that it detracts from the climber/outdoor experience, but it sure siphons away money. If you weren't paying for things like this, maybe there would be enough money so that "summit fees" wouldn't be asked.

* Messing around with the parking at Mowich Lake. Closing the existing lot, establishing more spaces, but 1/2 mile back from the lake and alongside the road.

Just a few observations. Read it for yourself

http://www.nps.gov/planning/mora/finalgmp/home.htm

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A nice hot hazelnut latte available at the summit would be nice though, t- shirts and helicopter ride back down?? Just some thoughts

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Good points, Erik.

To that end, I think we need to look critically at the situation in regards to the Westside Road- it is not, beyond a barely driveable, dangerous gravel road, developed. Additionally, there is already a great deal of access provided, "for all", at Rainier. Precedents are what count. I am in full support of the current mobilized plans to tear down the ugly visitor center at Paradise and replace it with a better constructed and more logistically placed one in the upper lot. Upgrade existing visitor services, yes! But tear open remaining lands and develop the little that remains? No way!

This is really critical that we speak our minds on this! The park service DOES listen to every voice, but we have to give ourselves one. Show up at these meetings, and let them hear us!

True accomodation of all visitors will include accomodating lovers of wilderness solitude, not just RV-drivin', bumper sticker collecting tourists. Everyone's interpretation of wilderness, as I stated, differs; for some, merely driving to Paradise is a wilderness experience, while for you and I, Paradise on a saturday is often far from real "Paradise".

I don't suggest that anyone be excluded from using our lands- but with so many views and user types, we have to find compromise! That is impossible if those of us who need and cherish faraway and remote wilderness areas do not stand up to be counted. I'll be at the Seattle meeting.

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BTW, most of the managers at MORA are very much opposed to opening the Westside road. However, they are getting intense pressure from various groups like the Mountaineers (again, unbelievable) to open it. The outburst flood danger is a big reason the road stays closed. Another is the resource recovery issue. Still another, in conjunction with the first issue, is last years Kautz Glacier outburst, which brings to the top another reminder of how potentially dangerous these streambeds on Rainier can be. That event in itself may be a positive aspect in terms of justifying continued closure of the road.

In short, we have to equal or better the pressure put upon on those making these decisions, to that of the groups in favor of development and unrestrained access. And, increase our communication and therefore our ability to compromise with such groups- we all have to share. If regard for all is shown, mutual regard will be returned to us.

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W said: “In short, we have to equal or better the pressure put upon on those making these decisions, to that of the groups in favor of development and unrestrained access. And, increase our communication and therefore our ability to compromise with such groups- we all have to share. If regard for all is shown, mutual regard will be returned to us.”

Truer words have hardly been spoken. This is true regardless of the specific issue at hand. Constructive engagement and the rare and difficult ability to see that in what ultimately becomes a set of competing arbitrary values everybody can be a good guy (or gal) despite what values they champion are what make the common wealth work.

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Erik, I think the NPS mission statement starts with the preservation of national lands and preservation of the wildlife, not people recreating...

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Anyone interested in this subject should follow what's happening to the proposal to ban snowmobiles from Yellowstone, passed by the Clinton administration in its last days and just officially reversed by George W. There was a good article about it in today's NY Times. If you think the Mountaineers are yahoos about access, listen to the snowmobilers!

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