Park adopts stretch of highway Deadline nears to comment on Camp Muir plan

Along sr 7: Volunteers will clean up litter, debris

jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.comSeptember 9, 2012 

Recognizing the need to keep its “front door” clean, Mount Rainier National Park’s volunteer program has adopted two miles of state Route 706.

The highway runs from Elbe to the Nisqually entrance of the park and serves as the primary gateway to the park. It is an area that gives visitors their first introduction to the scenery they will soon experience inside the park, said Kevin Bacher, the park’s volunteer program coordinator.

“To say that the highway looked untidy would be to put it mildly,” Bacher said. “We believe that as the pathway leading to our ‘front door,’ state Route 706 should make a good impression on incoming visitors.”

So he Volunteer Program has worked with the Washington State Department of Transportation to take park in the “Adopt-a-Highway” program.

Late last month the Volunteer Program became responsible for the two-mile section from Milepost 2 to Milepost 4, a stretch that includes the park’s Tahoma Woods area.

Now, Bacher said, the park needs volunteers to help pick up litter along the road. Under the agreement, volunteers will make three litter patrols per year. The first will occur on National Public Lands Day, Sept. 29, while the others will occur in April and late June.

Crews will consist of no more than 12 people. Participants should be physically able to walk from two to four miles, and be able to bend or stoop repeatedly throughout the day. Work will take place rain or shine.

For further information or to reserve a spot on the crew, contact Crow Vecchio at 360-569-6567 or crow_vecchio@nps.gov.

ATTEND A THRESHING BEE

The 30th annual Threshing Bee and Antique Equipment Show will be held Saturday and Sunday at Olmstead Place State Park in Kittitas County.

Visitors will have the chance to explore the history of the restored 1800s pioneer farm through displays and activities featuring antique farming equipment. The event includes a threshing bee using antique farm equipment, an antique tractor parade, wagon rides, antique vendors, an antique equipment show and displays and homemade ice cream.

The event runs 7 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. Threshing begins at 10 a.m. and the tractor parade starts at 1 p.m.

The park is at 921 N. Ferguson Road, between Ellensburg and Kittitas. The Discover Pass is not required for vehicle access to the event. The Kittitas Valley Early Iron Club has covered the access fee for attendees.

For more information, visit kveic.org.

STATE ROUTE 7 DETOUR

Crews continue to work on a section of state Route 7 just east of LaGrande, but the repairs are not expected to be complete until November, said Kelly Stowe, spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Transportation.

That stretch of road, the main route leading to Mount Rainier National Park, has been closed since June when a rock slide dumped debris on the road. Repairs have been slowed by the steep terrain in the area.

A signed detour goes through Eatonville and uses the Alder Cutoff Road to reconnect to the state route. It adds 15-20 minutes to the drive to the mountain. On busy days, evening traffic backs up in Eatonville.

Monday is the deadline to file comments on the environmental assessment that outlines four options for improving the safety and aesthetics of structures at Camp Muir.

The park’s preferred alternative would replace existing nonhistoric structures with news ones that match the style of the historic buildings.

Park managers estimate replacing the structures will cost about $700,000 and would be funded primarily by franchise fees paid by concession companies, including the guide services.

The assessment can be found online at parkplanning.nps.gov/muirea, where you also may post comments.

Comments also can be mailed to: Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Ave. E., Ashford, WA 98304.

jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.com 253-597-8640 blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure

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