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Camp Muir Redevelopment comment period

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Now is your opportunity to participate in the Camp Muir redevelopment plan. Three meetings are scheduled:

 

Aug 1, Seattle REI

Aug 8, Tacoma Mountaineers Program Center

Aug 9, MORA/Rainier NPS HQ in Tahoma Woods

 

All three are 6-8PM.

 

Project home page:

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=25222

 

Project details (a lot of details):

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=323&projectID=25222&documentID=48847

 

This is our opportunity to participate in the direction of our resource, and I believe that public participation is far more important than the actual option (there are four) chosen.

 

(cross-posting to Rainier route reports as well)

 

Thanks-

 

L

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Thanks for posting up the link. I have been waiting to see this EA for some time. If folks have questions about the process and what the NPS is looking for please post them I will be happy to help out as I have responded to way more NEPA docs than I care to think about.

 

FWIW Alt 2 is my preferred because the area is wilderness (although Camp Muir is not), also IMHO one of the biggest problem with Muir has been concession and their mess around the "permanent" structures having them in seasonal tents would force them to clean up everything at least once a year. Also the clients tents would not detract from Muir any more than private tents.

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SS, mind sharing just what you think as far as what the NPS is looking for? I've only filled out a few and normally end up on some horrible rant that I have to edit/tone down.

 

While I know Loren is pretty much in favor of razing everything up there, including the remote telemetry, [incorrect generalization&assumption] though that is something I really love--and not for the sake because it helps me make a decision to run to the mountain (aint in my backyard), but to get an idea of whats going on up there or just enjoy the view whilst i'm doing my 9-5 thing. That said option 2 interests me most. I distinctly don't like the entire guide thing having their own buildings and such, its an odd setup in that regard compared to every other cascade volcano.

 

btw thanks for posting this CC

 

Edited by Water

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SS, mind sharing just what you think as far as what the NPS is looking for? I've only filled out a few and normally end up on some horrible rant that I have to edit/tone down. its an odd setup in that regard compared to every other cascade volcano.

 

At this point in the process the goal is to analyze the alternatives and express critical views regarding each one. For instance, the NPS has selected a preferred alternative which I disagree with for multiple reasons. For instance, Camp Muir (and Camp Sherman) is an administrative parcel within an area that is otherwise Congressionally Designated Wilderness. As such, I do not feel it is appropriate to develop the area further - especially for commercial services.

 

Maintain the current historical structures, rebuild the bathrooms which are necessary and have been there in past. And drudgingly I can accept the helicopter service. But there are reasonable alternatives to building new structures for commercial services that are used part time. Weather Port tents have been used for years in other parks (Teton & Denali) very successfully. They will not detract from the "historical" nature of Camp Muir given all of the other private tents near by.

 

Such critical comments are needed to convince the NPS, namely the Super who will make the decision that the best alternative is the one you want. Clear and convincing arguments no matter where your view may lay.

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While I know Loren is pretty much in favor of razing everything up there, including the remote telemetry...

 

That's not an accurate statement, actually.

 

For the record (all my opinion only):

 

- I prefer option 2. I think the "You have to cook in a different building" point in it is there to discourage people from it. Lame.

 

- The weather telemetry is okay by me. I think the webcam is a wasteful boondoggle and distraction from the mission of the climbing rangers.

 

- The semi-permanent and, I think, illegal giant guide service tents should not be allowed, as they appear to be erected in the wilderness zone.

 

- The eyesore guide hut should be removed. Clients can camp in tents, like the vast majority of non-guided climbers.

 

- I have no issue with the Butler Shelter remaining. The NPS says it's not architecturally aligned with other buildings there, but I don't agree.

 

- I strongly disagree with introducing foreign materials to the Camp Muir site, particularly crushed rock. Erosion is a natural process and trying to stop it creates an unnatural situation in several ways.

 

In general, the document introduces quite a few issues, then seems to pick and choose from those issues in a way that leads to preferring Option 3.

 

Bottom line though, *please participate*, regardless of your position.

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I'm sorry, really didn't intend to throw your views under the bus! my apologies.I was remembering the webcam discussion and made a monster assumption based off that. I'll edit my original comment.

 

ScaredSilly, thanks for the feedback.

 

 

 

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- The eyesore guide hut should be removed. Clients can camp in tents, like the vast majority of non-guided climbers.

 

- I have no issue with the Butler Shelter remaining. The NPS says it's not architecturally aligned with other buildings there, but I don't agree.

 

- I strongly disagree with introducing foreign materials to the Camp Muir site, particularly crushed rock. Erosion is a natural process and trying to stop it creates an unnatural situation in several ways.

I agree. I'm new here and have only been on the mountain once but I was taken aback at the ugly guide hut when I got there.

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Thanks for the heads up! I also voiced my support for Alt. 2, via the online comment form. Of course, I suspect that we will see the preferred alternative. The commoners don't seem to effect much change in public policy these days....

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I dont like the idea of tent platforms for guided parties. Sleep in the snow like everyone else. Also, I'd like to see guided parties restricted from use of Ingram Flats. Their large, semi-permanent camp detracts from the wilderness aspect of that camp and sadly they need to be asked to be quiet while those who are real members of the climbing community sleep and prepare for an unguided ascent. The behavior of the guides and clients this Friday evening was disheartening.

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I dont like the idea of tent platforms for guided parties. Sleep in the snow like everyone else. Also, I'd like to see guided parties restricted from use of Ingram Flats. Their large, semi-permanent camp detracts from the wilderness aspect of that camp and sadly they need to be asked to be quiet while those who are real members of the climbing community sleep and prepare for an unguided ascent. The behavior of the guides and clients this Friday evening was disheartening.

 

You could have gone to the Turtle Snowfield instead. :-)

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Also, I'd like to see guided parties restricted from use of Ingram Flats. Their large, semi-permanent camp detracts from the wilderness aspect of that camp

 

I agree, but the quote is funny as Rainier is anything but a wilderness experience on the main routes.

IMHO this place is a carnival.

 

 

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IMHO this place is a carnival.

 

nah, carnival's have more free-float'n titties run'n about!

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Not that kind of carnival....maybe the word I was looking for was one of these others: Trainwreck,circus,shit-show.......you get the idea.

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I also urge people to comment on this issue. I guide for RMI and would like to offer my humble views on a few things.

1. Camp Muir is a very high use area, and will only become more high use in the future. We need to plan accordingly.

2. The guide hut/client shelter IS ugly. I sleep in it all summer and I'd love to see something else as well.

3. Guides and clients stay at Ingraham Flats in order to relieve congestion at Muir.

4. If you want to climb the DC I would think you understand that it is the most crowded route on the mountain. It can be a total circus. I've seen 20 unguided rope teams at a time on the cleaver in addition to the guided groups. Come with that expectation. There's a lot of wilderness routes on the mountain, the DC is just not one of them.

5. I'd love to see a new public shelter that accommodates enough people that sleeping on the Cowlitz is unnecessary. Let's centralize sleeping and cooking for everyone on to the ridge.

 

Honestly, I say let's get a gondola in there, put in a big Euro hut, with hot tubs, some draft beer, and massage therapists!

 

Hopefully this gets people thinking and participating in the process, whether you agree with me or not.

 

Cheers!

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did they replace the old one? is this one up or just in the planning stages? I really liked the old hut. pretty impressive.

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Last week I spent a fair amount of time reading through the EA and would like to give folks some talking points. Before doing so let me state for the record that I am in not favor of building any new structures for storage, cooking, sleeping, etc. and that the only permanent structures should be the three historical structures plus newly built toilets. As such, you will see some bias in what is highlighted below.

 

* Camp Muir is not wilderness but the area surrounding it is designated wilderness (basically if you are on snow you are in wilderness). Reason for non-wilderness is helicopter usage for administrative use, human waste removal (not rescue).

 

* Toilets - the assumption is that toilets must be replaced. No analysis was done on the implementation of a pack it in - pack it out. Such, was done on the Lower Saddle of Grand Teton (i.e. the toilets were replaced with a blue bag system). No toilets no helicopter.

 

* Public Shelter - two alternatives, remove a couple of bunks and build a dedicate cooking area (Alternative 3) or prohibiting cooking in the public shelter and convert the old comfort station now used for NPS storage into a cooking structure (Alternative 2). I believe it is preferable to have a dedicated cooking area in the public shelter as it would be move convenient and better serve climbers.

 

* NPS Storage - no analysis shown in the EA that the NPS needs additional storage at Camp Muir. Alternative 3 shows no new storage while Alternative 2 adds new storage for that lost from converting the comfort station into a cooking structure.

 

* Nothing would be needed if the public shelter had better cooking facilities.

 

* Guide operations - two alternatives, permanent (Alternative 3) or seasonal temporary structure (Alternative 2). This is really the meat of the EA.

 

Permanent structures - two are proposed. One for sleeping but partitioned into three sections. Second structure for joint cooking and storage (i.e. all guide ops would use the cooking and storage area collectively).

 

* No analysis of having one permanent structure partitioned into two sections, one for sleeping and for cooking. Seems that a single structure would be better and have less impact.

 

Temporary Structure - One tent (WeatherPORT) for each guide operation for cooking and storage while clients/guides would sleep in multiple tents on the Cowlitz Glacier.

 

* No analysis on having a single tent for each guide operation that is large enough to accommodate, cooking, storage, and sleeping for clients and guides (No sleeping on the Cowlitz Glacier).

 

* Tent space allocated was 360 sqft (120 sqft per tent) where as 815 sqft was allocated for the interior of the permanent structure. A huge disparity.

 

* A single 210 sq ft tent has been utilize successfully by Exum Guides for 16 clients as well as for storage and cooking. Similar footage is possible at Camp Muir.

 

* No analysis was done on the overall and cumulative affects on using three single tents.

 

* While large tents would not blend into rocky nature of Camp Muir their impact could be minimized via the material color (gray).

 

* There was no analysis of the cumulative impacts of the other man made objects that are within Camp Muir, solar panels, propane tanks, antenna, helicopter pad, etc..

 

* The overall impact of the "tent city" adjacent to Camp Muir was not taken into account (i.e. would guide tents have that much greater of a visual impact).

 

* No analysis into moving the guide operations on the Cowlitz Glacier to be part of the existing "tent city"

 

* No analysis on the benefits of removal of all guide operation materials at end of each season (i.e. no winter storage with full clean up of their camps).

 

* No analysis on the impact of additional helicopter flights required with no winter storage of guide operation materials.

 

* Current flights bring propane into the camps. What other materials would need to be flown in versus packed in/out?

 

* Note new toilets would require 0-4 additional helicopter flights per year which "would cause a long-term negligible to minor adverse effect on park operations." A similar number of flights for guide operation materials would have the same impact.

 

* Importation of crushed rock - no analysis was done on the chance of the importation of invasive organisms as well as using characteristically different material from the existing natural material.

 

 

 

 

My suggestion is to combine the "best " of Alternative 2 and 3 to create a no new structures Alternative. Combining Alternatives is often done as such it is never the case of one or the other.

 

* New toilets.

 

* Public structure is improved to have a dedicated cooking area.

 

* No dedicated cooking structure or new NPS storage structure.

 

* Guide operations utilized tents at Camp Muir for cooking, storage, and sleeping

 

* No winter storage for guide operations, all material is removed at the end of the season.

 

* No importation of crushed rock.

 

The above alternative would the least expensive option. Especially as it would shift the cost of the shelters to the guide service (i.e. I not believe the NPS has any business building and maintaining facilities for commercial operations especially when they are basically in wilderness, everything should be temporary). The only cost to the public would be the improvements to the public shelter and toilets.

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Cogent analysis, and I agree with your suggestions. The saddles on which the Muir and Schurman structures exist are inside small slivers excluded from the Wilderness designation, but that does not mean it shouldn't be managed to wilderness guidelines as much as possible. The large semi-permanent tents the guide services have been allowed to erect each summer are IN the wilderness area and are, I believe, illegal.

 

My fear is that this, like most of what is done at MORA, is just checking a box (public comment period) before they proceed to do whatever they want (again).

 

There is now talk of cell phone boosters and Internet access for park staff at Schurman. It seems that current management is all about more staff, more structure, more fees.

 

Despite my cynicism, I did submit feedback and urge others to do the same, regardless of your position. The direct link to the online comment form is:

 

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=48847

 

 

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