The Chinook Scenic Byway was recently awarded a $59,495 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. The grant is one of five awarded in 2012 to byway organizations in Washington through the National Scenic Byways Program.
The grant will fund an update to the existing Chinook Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan to incorporate the byway’s entire 86 miles. The byway was designated an All American Road in 1998.
The byway follows state Route 410 from Enumclaw through Greenwater and Cliffdell, along the Mather Memorial Parkway through the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie Forest, Mount Rainier National Park and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to the eastern portal in Naches.
The plan will focus on improved way-finding signs, traveler information, visitor services and targeted capital improvements that will make the Chinook Scenic Byway a “must see” destination for travelers.
The planning process will also further define the existing partnership between the Chinook Scenic Byway and the White Pass National Scenic Byway, looking specifically at the connecting road, state Route 123 through Mount Rainier National Park, to increase the overall visitor experience.
An immediate project will be to improve signage along the byway.
More can be learned about the byway at chinookscenicbyway.com.
The first crew to pick up trash along a two-mile stretch of state Route 706 wound up gathering 17 bags of litter on Sept. 29, National Public Lands Day.
This was the first cleanup effort along the roadway, which encompasses the park’s Tahoma Woods property, as part of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Adopt a Highway program.
The first group included one professor and nine Evergreen State College students and two local residents.
Similar patrols will take place in April in conjunction with Earth Day and again in June just prior to the Fourth of July when park visitation is at its peak. Participation is limited to 12 people under department of transportation rules. If you are interested in taking part, contact Crow Vecchio or Kevin Bacher at 360-569- 6567.
A total of 97 people participated in National Public Lands Day projects at Mount Rainier. Most of them, 85, worked at Sunrise. Half of them spent the day improving the Wonderland Trail between Frozen Lake and Sunrise Camp and the other half worked to put native plants into a restoration site near Sunrise Camp.
While many operations at Mount Rainier National Park have shut down for the season, visitors still can travel around much of the park.
The road between White River Campground and state Route 410 will be open through Oct. 28 as long as the weather permits. Hikers and bicyclists are reminded that they will still have access to the Sunrise Road after its closes to vehicles on Oct. 8.
Elsewhere in the park’s northeast corner, Chinook Pass is scheduled to close Nov. 13 and Cayuse Pass on Nov. 26, unless snowfall closes them earlier.
The Mowich Lake Road closes Oct. 29 or with the first snowfall.