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Mike_Gauthier

Public Comment Sought re: commercial businesses on Mt Rainier

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w, i think you are right on the money. i have spent a considerable amount of time on teh west side road, and nearly every occassion has brought me the delight of seeing bears, deer, evidence of cats, etc. this road has become a wildlife mecca. i cringe to think of the road reopening, and the wildlife displaced. the west side road, as stands, provides a wonderful way of getting away from the crowds for the people who WANT IT ENOUGH TO EARN IT.

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quote:

Originally posted by Duchess:
w, i think you are right on the money. i have spent a considerable amount of time on teh west side road, and nearly every occassion has brought me the delight of seeing bears, deer, evidence of cats, etc. this road has become a wildlife mecca. i cringe to think of the road reopening, and the wildlife displaced. the west side road, as stands, provides a wonderful way of getting away from the crowds for the people who WANT IT ENOUGH TO EARN IT.

What about people who are quite capable of "earning it" but just want to take their young children, or aging grandparent on a day hike or short overnighter? Many trips on the west side are now "mini-expeditions". The Tahoma Glacier was once a reasonable 2 day climb, but is now a four day trip. Opening this side back to those who work 5+ days per week is only reasonable. The old fire-ring at Aurora Lake or occasional social trail can't be considered true "resource" damage. ( I think there are bigger fish to fry. Don't you?)

If you want to lock the public out of a once-popular area because you just don't like to meet other hikers/climbers along the way ("social concerns"), maybe North Cascades NP or Pasayten Wilderness are more your cup of tea.

Regardless; I'm kind of tired of hearing about the plans for a "shuttle service" on Westside Road by the park service. They keep dangling this carrot and using the proposal to leverage less popular ideas and proposed closures.

[ 03-06-2002: Message edited by: Fairweather ]

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I will add some comments here in regards to the Westside Road- I feel very strongly about this:

The Westside Road has been closed to public vehicle traffic for many years due to the frequent washouts and danger from outburst floods from Tahoma Glacier (there were huge ones in 1967 and 1987).

Like it or not, the closure of the Westside Road has resulted in a dramatic and noticeable recovery of human-caused resource damage in places such as Klapatche Park, due to the lower volume of visitor usage. 30 years ago, there were often dozens of people camping there, having illegal fires, and generally stomping the fragile meadow into submission. Huge scars still remain, but are beginning to show signs of recovery.

The Westside Road should never have been built, in my opinion. It travels up a dangerous river bed, and keeping it driveable to even NPS traffic has been an ongoing and costly effort.

Personally, I like the idea that one quadrant of Mt. Rainier is a little more inaccessible than the rest of the park. It makes backpacking on that side of the mountain much more an experience of solitude, and additionally adds a demanding element onto climbing the already challenging west side climbing routes. Some of my most memorable climbs of Rainier are the ones I've done on the west side, primarily because of the adventure had from a long and arduous approach, and at the same time, from seeing almost no one for the entire trip. Compared to hiking trails and climbing routes elsewhere in the park, it is almost magical that such a place exists at Rainier, but it does!

The Mountaineers, surprisingly or not, have been among the most vocal proponents of opening the Westside road, citing among other reasons, in emails and phone calls to the park, that it is "our park and we have a right to access!" Well it may be everyone's park but the second half of that statement, in my opinion, walks the line of a self-serving attitude and risks contradicting the very concept for the formation and existence of wilderness as we know it, and for the establishment of parks and roadless areas.

One possible merit I can see to opening this road is that it might encourage the spreading out of visitor use and impacts, and thus take some pressure and usage away from overused areas like Paradise and Sunrise. On the other hand, I feel that these "showcase" areas are in some ways sacrificed already to mainstream visitor use. The majority of people who would use the Westside Road, which has no facilities, and, being in heavy forest, few views of the mountain which is what the average park visitor really wants to see, are hikers, climbers, and physically active people. Therefore, I would think that this group of users would be willing to suck it up and either ride their mountain bikes or hike an extra ten miles to enjoy the solitude and pristine landscape of the park's west side that I described above. To me, it is worth the extra effort to have such a place in existence, set aside for the future. To provide easy access would transform it into something altogether different.

Places like Klapatche, St. Andrews, Aurora Lake, Indian Henry's, Golden Lakes, have had years to recover from overuse, and need more. I'm sorry, but it is not a god-given right to have drive-up access to everything. If you disagree, then we may as well start tourist helicopter landings on the summit. Or, start logging the park as well, for by that logic, those trees are for everybody and if I want to cut them down for my use then it's my right. The concept of wilderness evidently has subjective definitions by different users.

But, if people can at least agree at some level upon the need and importance for remote (hard to access) wilderness and unspoiled mountain land, then I urge you to urge MORA to keep the road shut to vehicles and shuttles.

This is not, in my opinion, asking for much in a place that gets over 2 million visitors each year.

I fail to see how outdoor-oriented groups can feel "denied" by the park service for having to hike further to experience the park's most remote backcountry.

That's the whole point of wilderness, isn't it?

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w- one thing to remember is that most of the national parks have been set aside for the enjoyment of people.....and in this world it means access, access, access..... not that i disagree with you one bit, but that has to be taken in account.....unfortunatly....but it does....

i am one for less services and more wilderness, but that will not happen, atlest mora has a reasonable superintendent, whom is active in getting the publics view....if that were the case in other n.p. there might be less user conflict/eco-damage......and more enjoyment of the enviroment for all....

the mtneers attpemt to get the w side road open just re=proves the self serving nature of their organization, just like their complience to the barely legal demo-fee program....bend over or we might not get it all attitude is sicking......

we as humans do not have the right to tread everywhere, if that were the case i think we would be much harrier and all have big feet......

after this passes, focusing on keep commericilaztion out of known and listed wilderness areas should be the priority.....that will be the next eco-war......freddy needs to relize that the world doe snot always need to be packaged and sold....hard worl get better personally efforts but bring less money to the table for many groups whom avoid it.....money is and will be the key to securing wilderness or even un-touched(is there any left) open areas......

i always thought that solitude came from two words.....solid and attitude.......well if it comes down to it, lets give em both...

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quote:

Originally posted by Fairweather:

What about people who are quite capable of "earning it" but just want to take their young children, or aging grandparent on a day hike or short overnighter? Many trips on the west side are now "mini-expeditions". The Tahoma Glacier was once a reasonable 2 day climb, but is now a four day trip. Opening this side back to those who work 5+ days per week is only reasonable. The old fire-ring at Aurora Lake or occasional social trail can't be considered true "resource" damage. ( I think there are bigger fish to fry. Don't you?)

If you want to lock the public out of a once-popular area because you just don't like to meet other hikers/climbers along the way ("social concerns"), maybe North Cascades NP or Pasayten Wilderness are more your cup of tea.

Regardless; I'm kind of tired of hearing about the plans for a "shuttle service" on Westside Road by the park service. They keep dangling this carrot and using the proposal to leverage less popular ideas and proposed closures.

[ 03-06-2002: Message edited by: Fairweather ]

FW,Who is talking about "locking anyone out"? The WS road is open to the public for walking and mountain bike riding, which in turn access the trails. There are dozens of trails in Mt. Rainier National Park that serve the purpose you need and describe. You ridicule my value (and others) of uncrowded areas on the basis that you can't get to them under your own personal circumstances. Did you listen to what I said earlier? There are many different user needs, Fairweather. Yours might be a trail that you can take your five year old son up- as I stated, there are dozens at Mt. Rainier- try the Carbon River trail. Or Owyhigh Lakes. Or Nickel Creek. Or Snow Lakes. Comet Falls. etc. On and on. These are often relatively uncrowded,(compared to Paradise Meadows) and very scenic hikes. And I have different needs- which is remote, isolated backcountry that takes a few days to reach. That's my need, Fairweather. Are you saying it is unreasonable and invalid?? I recognize your needs, and by and large, the park accomodates them; Paradise and Sunrise are two of the park's most spectacular places, and they have roads, easy trails, big visitor centers, and parking lots; but one little iota of Mt. Rainier doesn't fit into your structure and you consider that unfair somehow, that you are "locked out"? Do you propose to "lock me out" of my (and others) needs by providing easy access and greatly increasing usage? Saying, "go to North Cascades or the Pasayton" is totally unreasonable and selfish, Fairweather. That is like Israel telling the Palestinians to "go find another holy land because this land is holy to us and its ours, and your Gods are fake anyway". Mt. Rainier is special to me as well as to you, so as I stated, FW, we have to SHARE, COMPROMISE, and ACCOMODATE ONE ANOTHER. I am accepting that many places in the park are crowded, easily accessible, have plenty of visitor amenities, and at the same time I think having one portion of the park land that accomodates the needs of people who prefer more remote backcountry and requiring time and work to access it is not asking much if it fulfills a genuine need. I am far from being the only person who needs this. And I will not just "go somewhere else". Sooner or later, someone like you eventually comes along to my new place and says, "gee, I should have the right to go anywhere easily here too, so run along now, Greenie, and head up to the arctic circle, there's plenty of wilderness up there for you, this is my land". Fairweather, I've read your politics earlier, so can you put that stuff away for a minute and look directly at this problem? No one is trying to deny you anything, so quit the anti-government crusade. I don't care how you use the land, whether it is an RV or on foot, but you have to respect the needs of others as well.Duchess is right on the money- wildlife has congregated all over the west side, due to the lack of people. I think it is great that such a place exists so close to a huge metropolis! Shall we throw that away on the basis of "my right to access"? Have we lost our connection to the environment so totally that unspoiled and untouched land in its original state always takes a back seat to "my right to access"? Fairweather, I'm not suggesting we put a fence around anything, but this mentality that humans (read: ME) always come first is what is leading to the depletion and destruction of our resources, and to the utter lack of connection with the environment that sustains us. You and I, Fairweather, are not the norm. Most people live their whole lives in paved worlds and it's gotten to the point we have raised 1 1/2 generations of individuals many of whom have no idea what untouched land looks like. No conception at all. It is not all that is important in life, but it is a huge mistake we are making to have gotten to this point.You don't have to agree with my values, FW, but you should learn to live with them. The facts are that people with my values of wilderness are far closer to losing the ability to experience them than you are. The world is 90% paved over and accessible by the noise and machines of man; don't try to tell me that that isn't good enough for you.

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W-

Your earlier comments now strike me as a veneer of civility betrayed by your attack on FW. An attack extended to the point of goofiness that you brought in the West Bank conflict. So much for mutual respect. I say just come out and attack; the pretense of civility is wearing poorly. Honestly I think that a west side isn’t such a bad idea but I am willing to say “hey why not leave one sector of the park relatively undeveloped.” The fact that you value such a outcome is important to me only in so far as you hold it. I completely disagree with much of your thought process yet the fact of my disagreement does not enter into my calculation with regard to west side road. The fact that I believe you honestly highly value the effects of “no road” is enough. Whether you value it because of some sense of spirituality or because of some malignant misanthropy matters not. I say if you want to ruminate over a fuzzy subject think about what number of people must hold an opinion before those holding a different one must compromise. For example let say there were two groups one development the other antidevelopment. If the ratio between the two was 50-50 we’d all agree compromise was fair what if the relative positions change At what point do compromise not have to be made. I say providing heartfelt guidance on this question rather than making references to a spiritual plane will prove far more helpful in the long run.

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W- Take another Bong hit and go back to bed. It's not like Fairweather is speaking for Gail Norton and advocating an 8 lane, raised drivearound highway to be built around the park or anything. P Puget is right in that this irrational spew only divides the environmental community when united, we would probably get most of what we want. Big $ developers are hoping that your incoherent ass shows up at public meetings because it makes the whole environmental community look like a bunch of dreadlocked hippies. Save your hatred for someone who deserves it

[ 03-07-2002: Message edited by: payaso ]

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quote:

Originally posted by Peter Puget:
W-

Your earlier comments now strike me as a veneer of civility betrayed by your attack on FW. An attack extended to the point of goofiness that you brought in the West Bank conflict. So much for mutual respect. I say just come out and attack; the pretense of civility is wearing poorly. Honestly I think that a west side isn’t such a bad idea but I am willing to say “hey why not leave one sector of the park relatively undeveloped.” The fact that you value such a outcome is important to me only in so far as you hold it. I completely disagree with much of your thought process yet the fact of my disagreement does not enter into my calculation with regard to west side road. The fact that I believe you honestly highly value the effects of “no road” is enough. Whether you value it because of some sense of spirituality or because of some malignant misanthropy matters not. I say if you want to ruminate over a fuzzy subject think about what number of people must hold an opinion before those holding a different one must compromise. For example let say there were two groups one development the other antidevelopment. If the ratio between the two was 50-50 we’d all agree compromise was fair what if the relative positions change At what point do compromise not have to be made. I say providing heartfelt guidance on this question rather than making references to a spiritual plane will prove far more helpful in the long run.

First of all Peter, my last post was not intended as a personal attack on Fairweather- apologies to all if it comes off that way. And I didn't mean to drag an element of "spirituality" into it, yet I think that is an unfair and inaccurate characterization of my intent. Fairweather seems to have made the assumption in his post that the desire to keep the road closed and have uncrowded wilderness areas has something to do with "social issues"- by that I assume he means that it is a matter of one being anti-social towards others. For me it is something altogether different. I was trying to illustrate my values beyond merely declaring my position, as a means to provide a clearer understanding of it's importance; perhaps as you state that is unnecessary and off base and misses the point? After all, one's values are also reflective of one's spirituality so to speak? I agree that introducing this into a discussion can be decreasingly useful especially if not worded correctly, yet some part of expressing one's truth, for both sides, does carry some weight- if at base there is mutual regard for one another and hence a willingness to understand. Maybe I missed the mark, but I was attempting to bridge the gap between our different needs and to insist upon the mutual importance of BOTH person's needs.My attempts at "civility", Peter, are not fake. But conflicts are inevitable, and they must be addressed. I sincerely wish to share the land with Fairweather, you, and everyone else, but when someone like FW reduces the issue to stating in essence that one should "go elsewhere", I think that deserves an aggressive response-you can call it a personal attack, but that was not my intent. yes, my analogy to the West Bank was goofy and not exactly parallel, but elements of that extreme are similar in the way many problems- small or large- are addressed and approached by people. I think making light of it allows- if taken in the proper context for what it is- one to step back from the "go elsewhere" response and see the unreasonable-ness and silliness of that response. Maybe we can calm down now a little and stop telling each other to just "go away". And Peter, while I can agree that analyzing the numbers has some merit, I don't think a decision made on percentages is to be so cut and dried in regards to developing land. These are largely irreversible decisions when we choose to cut down trees and pave over land. Additionally, the very premise of the creation of the National Parks was to "preserve the land in its original state". People go to such places in order to see natural scenery, it is just that people use this land in different ways. There already have been compromises, Peter. Having roads in the park, even trails if taken to the extreme, are compromises in some respect. So the question is really- how much access is "enough"? In order to answer that, both sides need to express their needs and values, and both sides must listen to each other- as the WORD section in Cc.com says- not to respond, but to understand.

Sorry that you feel my good intentions are just a facade, Peter, but I assure you that it ain't so. I think there is room for all, but both sides have to validate each other's values before any progress can be made. thanks.

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quote:

Originally posted by payaso:
W- Take another Bong hit and go back to bed. It's not like Fairweather is speaking for Gail Norton and advocating an 8 lane, raised drivearound highway to be built around the park or anything. P Puget is right in that this irrational spew only divides the environmental community when united, we would probably get most of what we want. Big $ developers are hoping that your incoherent ass shows up at public meetings because it makes the whole environmental community look like a bunch of dreadlocked hippies. Save your hatred for someone who deserves it

[ 03-07-2002: Message edited by: payaso ]

payso, i think you might want to go back and work on your mountaineer orienteerin skillz cause i think you are off route.....

thought both fw and w has selfish posts, we have to look beyond what is good for us, and see what is good for the mountain......

and in 'w' case i believe he even outlined what is good fo us too.....mudslides, cost overruns and repeated repair to single road.....sounds like ole boy hit all the points...

fw on the other hand is starting to sound redundent on all his posts....now he is using emotion in an attepmt to get fellow people to hear and abade his cry for unjust for the 9-5er....fw shame on you....that liberal tactic of not useing the facts and replacing them with emotion is quite sicking to the a member of the wa state repub party.....blahhhh.....bllaaaahhhhh.....

compromise is the answer to all debates, we have to always find middle ground...in this case i think we should banish all conseconaires from the park and close most of the roads....that way we will keep the rv's and the mtneers out of the park.....with a little more approach/less people maybe then mother nature can voice her opinion on the subject without having to wisper of the noise....

and payso again, i love mopney, trees, mtns and my suv so plz plz plz keep your company rhetoric to your company cause i aint intrested in buying any more wilderness ot parking fee or paying a membership fee to the world........

and pp you always try to use too many big words and i think your point is usually lost, cause ytou are trying to overpower the conversation....

[ 03-07-2002: Message edited by: erik ]

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quote:

Originally posted by payaso:
W- Take another Bong hit and go back to bed. It's not like Fairweather is speaking for Gail Norton and advocating an 8 lane, raised drivearound highway to be built around the park or anything. P Puget is right in that this irrational spew only divides the environmental community when united, we would probably get most of what we want. Big $ developers are hoping that your incoherent ass shows up at public meetings because it makes the whole environmental community look like a bunch of dreadlocked hippies. Save your hatred for someone who deserves it

[ 03-07-2002: Message edited by: payaso ]

Constructive post. Thanks for clearing things up.

"...get what we want". Who is this "we"?

Does there need to be a united "environmental community" who all thinks alike and fights others who think differently, or does there need to be an integration of all people, who have regard for each other as well as the environment? I suggest compromise and communication, and you accuse me of hatred? Please explain. Fairweather suggests that perhaps if one wants remote wilderness one should go somewhere else- I call him on this and say that is absurd, and you accuse me of dividing the environmental community? Nice insults. This isn't a Yahoo chat room so mellow out.

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Given: Mt Rainier is a unique and fragile environment. That is to say there are no substitute goods available.Given: Constant funding crisis in NP system Given: Several “developed” options for exploring Mt. Rainier exist.Given: A significant group of people enjoy exploring/experiencing undeveloped areas.

By not developing the westside road people who wish can experience a semi wild area that otherwise would not be available to anyone. (at least a s asemi wild area) While this undeveloped status would in fact make it unlikely to impossible for many to enjoy the area, they have several other options for exploring the Park. Many of these options may be enhanced due to resources previously spent on the West Side access being redirected to the remaining developed areas. Additionally, the undeveloped westside will serve as a wildlife “incubator” whose spillover effect will enhance visitor’s experience throughout the park.

For climbing, Mt Rainier will still offer weekend climbs but also offer the exclusive (at least in the contiguous states) opportunity of mini-expeditions where climbers can have week long trip in relative solitude in a heavily glaciated eniviroment. Try doing that in CA or Colorado!

I should say that climbing Rainier is of almost zero interest to me.

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Thanks, Peter, for illuminating the issue in a non-personal-agenda light.

As Erik pointed out, Fairweather and I both failed to do this despite us both making some credible points. Well done.

I might also add that opening the west side road and thereby increasing visitor use and impact to these areas will without question bring into being a problem that typical access advocates will abhor: More rangers, more restrictions, more quotas, more patrols, more maintenance===> all of which means more government regulations,more fees, more control. There will be a price to pay in many ways. Not to mention the cost and risk associated with the road washing out every year and the danger to visitors being trapped behind washouts and/or caught in them. MORA doesn't have the budget to cover backcountry patrols as it stands right now. With the added stress in this area, you can bet that they will find the money somehow- because "protecting the resource" is the Park's number one stated priority. which means the money will be siphoned away from visitor services that benefit a greater majority of park visitors- in the purpose of policing the wilderness.

My father is THE backcountry on the west side of the park, by the way. The area is uncrowded enough now that they only employ one person to cover the whole place. And he spends most of his energy helping improve existing campsites, trails, and utilities, instead of having to play tree cop, which he tries to avoid anyway.

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Back to the original subject matter. If the west side access is not replaced/repaired, I think that in the spirit of its undeveloped status that all guiding should be prohibited as well in that area.

[ 03-07-2002: Message edited by: Peter Puget ]

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blow up the mountain and move muir hut to jamaica... legalize it...

whatever happened to smoky mcpot anyways, Z?

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though the westside road makes for an interesting debate, its worth noting that the westside road and it's development are NOT up for discussion at these public meetings...

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quote:

Originally posted by W:

This isn't a Yahoo chat room so mellow out.

OK [laf] Just stirrin the pot.

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W, My post was intended to remind both you and Duchess (both of whom work/have worked (?) in, or for MRNP) that the park is not a personal playground for its employees. A certain employee "pride of ownership" is quite understandable but the general public, like it or not, expects a certain level of access. Deciding on "what level" is the trick.

The Westside Road exists. There is not a proposal on the table to plow a new road into the park. With Carbon River access looking grim (next big flood and it is "no more") and pressure increasing on Mowich Lake Road I believe it is important to re-open this road.

Where real, physical environmental damage is occurring I support closures/quotas/limits on human activity. But I don't support government enforced solitude. The Wilderness act states, "....where opportunities for solitude exist." Indeed, they would still abound in MRNP even with the re-opening of WSR. Re-opening Westside Road would INCREASE opportunities for solitude in other areas of the park.

As I've said before; throw a dart at a map of the park and go there...chances are about 99% you'll find the solitude you seek. Sure, you might have to say "hi" to a couple "yahoos" along the trail, but when you arrive at Vernal Park, Elysian Fields, Cowlitz Divide, Sunset Park, Paul Peak, etc, etc, etc, etc, you'll probably have the place all to yourself....even on a weekend!

Perhaps compromise could include an odd/even calendar day access for the road? Perhaps limiting auto traffic to parking space available....yes, a quota.? "Compromise" means just that, W. Any suggestions?

[ 03-07-2002: Message edited by: Fairweather ]

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Fairweather,The facts are that there are significant numbers of people on both sides of the issue, and neither side realistically can or should, entirely, get their way. There must be something else that offers a better solution. I would be more open to the idea of the shuttle system if I knew that existing overnight quotas were to remain in place, and additionally, a daily quota were implemented. I am surprised to hear you express support for quotas, but that's a good step; actually I loathe the idea of quotas but in terms of preserving both the resource and the visitor experience in this heavily populated world of ours, quotas may be a necessary evil. As an aside, I remember one July evening about six years ago at Camp Schurman when we had- no lie- 227 people camped there.It was hell for everyone, particularly climbing the next day. It was before there was a quota, and I must have had at least 30 or 40 people demand to know why there wasn't a limit. My response was- 1) write to the park, and 2)if a quota gets implemented, and it will- don't complain if/when you get denied a permit and have to go somewhere else.I am curious as to what you define as "real, physical, environmental damage"? We need not split hairs on this, but I will say that in my view, sub-alpine meadows criss-crossed by social trails, fire rings burned into the ground and on the rocks, trees and the ground stripped of branches and deadfall for firewood, erosion, polluted water, and garbage are at the very least "impacts". I am not suggesting that overnighters do less damage than day users, but rather that the law of percentages allows for more such impacts with the introduction of higher numbers of people. Compare Paradise to Indian Henry's and you see what I'm talking about.This is straying into a debatable area- but I also feel that the wildlife issue should not be ignored or dismissed. There is a reason that the westside is teeming with wildlife- they have fled from the more crowded areas. I think that a careful balance of visitor use and the wildlife population should at least be considered, would you agree? I like your suggestion about odd/even shuttle days, etc., but there are other problems with the shuttle idea in general, in that people coming out of the backcountry at days/hours when the shuttle isn't operating are stranded- in an emergency this creates greater problems if they are relying on a ride out that they used to get in there. Another legitimate problem I pointed out before, that has nothing to do with wilderness aesthetics, is that the road is in a hazardous place. Go check out the Tahoma Creek picnic area...or what remains of it, to see what happens every couple of years in there. I agree, FW, that the Carbon/Mowich situation is going to make things worse. I am surprised that they have decided to kill the Carbon Road next time it floods. If anything, I would advocate that money be spent to improve the existing road into Carbon- the washouts there occur from a different type of situation than the west side-Falls Creek- a much smaller stream perpendicular to the road, and not from the main drain in the valley going on a rampaging death flood. A bridge/culvert/channel combination would be costly but might be able to preserve this crucial park access. The westside road does exist, yes, but the Carbon also exists and has been open much of the last 15 years- unlike the westside road. I would say keep it open, AND improve access and capacity at Mowich Lake and in other areas in the park that already have well-established visitor use. I think the precedent counts. And I honestly feel the benefits of spreading the impacts out to the west side and taking heat off other areas, while well-intentioned, will be more than offset by the negatives. Keep in mind, as I stated above, that opening the westside road will bring with it additional bureaucratic control and overseeing, which is something I imagine you would oppose. Just to make something clear-I did formerly work for the NPS, but ask anyone- I am far from a spokesperson for the NPS line, or that of any bureaucratic group. I have a great deal of gripes with the system, but I also believe in the basic principles of the foundation of the park system, given the unrestricted development and resource consumption and destruction that occurs almost everywhere else.Finally, I might add that I don't have a stigma about having to talk to or see people in the mountains. Quite the opposite, actually. But when I worked at Camp Muir I used to comfort myself as I waded through throngs of people trampling the fragile vegetation around Alta Vista, trying to put on my blinders, with the thought that places like Paradise exist so that the mainstream can have a beautiful place to hike and congregate, and so that places like the westside can simultaneously be there for those seeking something off the beaten path, something away from the crowds. And it allows Rainier to offer something for everyone. Is this unrealistic? If the road wasn't there, I assume that you wouldn't advocate building one. The road exists, but is unsafe, and given the controversy over crowds and wilderness aesthetics, would our energies be better served to improve facilities and access elsewhere, thus providing and preserving the right to a good experience for all users?

[ 03-07-2002: Message edited by: W ]

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Not to drag out this beaten topic, but in regards to

quote:

Originally posted by Fairweather:
What about people who are quite capable of "earning it" but just want to take their young children, or aging grandparent on a day hike or short overnighter? Many trips on the west side are now "mini-expeditions". The Tahoma Glacier was once a reasonable 2 day climb, but is now a four day trip. Opening this side back to those who work 5+ days per week is only reasonable.[ 03-06-2002: Message edited by: Fairweather ]

People who just want to take their young children and aging grandparents already have TONS of opportunity and places to go. Hikers and climbers who love the deep wilderness have increasingly fewer. And, fairweather, i have climbed the tahoma glacier in two days, with the westside road closed, and it was one of the more beautiful climbing experiences i have ever had.

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I beg to differ re: "Hikers and climbers who love the deep wilderness have fewer."

With more and more roads and trails falling into disrepair each year, and only limited repairs and maintainence, might I suggest you are GAINING opportunities for solitude while the short-hoppers are losing ground.

Damn....The Tahoma in two days? Nice job!

[ 03-07-2002: Message edited by: Fairweather ]

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debate away folks, but i don't think the westside is up for debate any longer... the park intends to reopen it... and there will be a shuttle. i'm not totally up on the topic, but i think the park service is struggling to find a "shuttle provider" that will make a "reasonable profit..." as you can imagine, a shuttle up the road probably isn't that lucrative...

some services in the park, however, make a VERY REASONABLE profit...

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Erik -

I am not trying to use "big" words. I think biggest enemy is my lack of typing skills. Rereading my big word post is see that I left out some important ones by mistake!

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...I only intended to bring up that the focus of our national parks are to preserve the land and wildlife for future generations, not unlimited access for current generations, even if that's what the public wants.

I'm totally AGAINST a monopoly in concessionaires (whether climbing related or not) in the Parks system, and I firmly believe the current DOI wants to wrest more of the services parks provide out of their direct control and let outside contractors run in the park operations- Look at the influence the ARC and Disney has had on the Recreation Pass program.

I'm aware the scoping process currently under discussion for MORA involves regulating and bringing more or less competition into the consessionaire bidding and that it's been in the works since before the current administration. I just wanted to bring these two points into the discussion.

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http://www.nps.gov/legacy/mission.html

beck looks like we are both right....though i am sure that it is all open for interpatation.....

cause last time i was in the valley all those roads and 1 dollars cans of coke didnt seem to fit with the mission statemetn....

i wish i could have a set of rules that allowed me to do one thing and say another and then reverse that exact actions once i was proven wrong, but without any ramifications......

"to preserve the economy of our consessaionaries, while still providing a view of nature for the little guy".... is what it should say

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