Friday, August 31, 2012

Volunteers Needed at Ira Spring Memorial Trail

Post by Andre, Public Lands Policy Intern

Ira Spring Memorial Trail and culvert damage

September 29th is National Public Lands Day (NPLD), and is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands! What better time of year to roll up those sleeves and spend a day or two doing some hands-on volunteer work with the Mountaineers!

The Foothills Branch is rallying folks for volunteer work parties on September 8th & September 29th to repair and restore sections of the Ira Spring Memorial Trail to Mason Lake.

The trail is near North Bend, and takes hikers high above the Snoqualmie Valley. Volunteers will receive a United States Forest Service day pass that can be redeemed for a full year permit.
Registration and details online.

Ira Spring

The trail was named for the late Ira Spring, a tireless advocate for Washington trails for over fifty years. He lobbied for trail funding, wrote hundreds of letters to the state and federal government, served on planning committees, and gave numerous speeches in an attempt to raise awareness of the need for trails and problems associated with their maintenance and funding.

In 2000, with the support of his wife and children, Ira established the Spring Trust for Trails. From that time on, he donated his book royalties and monthly Social Security checks to fund grants for the maintenance and repair of the Pacific Northwest's hiking trails. In 1997, Ira became the 33rd person to be named an Honorary Member of The Mountaineers.

You can help honor Ira Spring's dedication to our state's trails by helping out during one of the work parties on September 8th or September 29th. Many hands make light work!

Questions? Contact Annik: or 206-368-2688.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mt. Rainier National Park Considers Improvements to Camp Muir

Post by Andre, Public Lands Policy Intern

Camp Muir, looking west from the helipad. The historic Guide Shelter is on the right;
the Client Shelter is on the left.

The National Park Service (“NPS”) has proposed several site rehabilitation plans at the Camp Muir Historic District, located in Mount Rainier National Park.

Camp Muir is the primary base camp for west-side ascents to the summit of Mount Rainier and is a common destination for day hikers. Up to 500 climbers and hikers visit Camp Muir per day during peak use months. The popularity of Camp Muir as a climbing base camp and destination day hike strains existing toilet and overnight facilities, and has contributed to erosion of the pumice soils on the ridge. Extreme environmental conditions also contribute to the deterioration of structures and challenge Park managers in their efforts to maintain the site and its public facilities.
Structures at Camp Muir like the “big black box” sleeping shelter would be modified, replaced or removed, and the purposes of structures would be optimized to improve visitor and employee safety while protecting natural resources, adjacent Wilderness, and the National Historic Landmark District. The NPS has prepared an Environmental Assessment to analyze four potential rehabilitation plan Alternatives. Alternative 1 (No Action), which would result in no change in the facilities available at Camp Muir; Alternative 2, representing minimum development, in which structures that are not historic would be removed; Alternative 3 (preferred), in which non-historic structures would be replaced with new structures compatible with the Historic District near their current locations; and Alternative 4, which would also replace non-historic structures with new structures, but with a modified spatial arrangement.  

Alternative 3 is the NPS preferred course of action. The preferred plan calls for the replacement of non-historic shelters with new structures that are more compatible with existing Historic District structures and landscape.  The new shelters would be designed to consider enclosures for utilities to minimize visual impact to the Historic District, provide increased safety to users (i.e. a new cooking area partitioned within the building to provide separation between sleeping and cooking functions), and the replacement of existing toilets. Utilities and support infrastructure would be similar to present conditions, but new technology may be used to decrease the size of equipment and reduce energy consumption.