Treehuggers International

Assessing Winter Storm Damage

May 6th, 2007

Sustained winds of over 100 mph blew the roof off the Mt. Fremont lookout.

Washington state’s parks, forests, and wilderness areas took a severe beating in this winter’s storms, particularly during November 2006 in which a Pineapple Express delivered nearly a month’s worth of rain in a matter of days, destroying portions of the road to Paradise at Mt. Rainier National Park, including the Sunrise Campground and Kautz Creek trailhead, as well as the hiking bridge to the Grove of the Patriarchs over Ohanepecosh Creek.

Unfortunately, all signs seem to indicate this is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only was the park hit by significant flooding, it was also battered by incredibly high winds, damaging several of the park’s famous fire lookouts, including the Mt. Fremont and Gobbler’s Knob lookouts, as winds reached an average speed of 121 miles per hour at Camp Muir between November 5th and 7th.

As snow continues to melt in the high country, we’re beginning to see the extent of the damage to infrastructure and trail systems, not just at Mt. Rainier National Park and surrounding wilderness areas, but also at Olympic and North Cascade national parks, and elsewhere.

To help connect the dots on trails and parks in need of help this spring and volunteer opportunities for trail restoration, Lauren Braden and Jonathon Guzzo from the Washington Trails Association, the one organization which speaks specifically for Washington state hikers and backpackers, stopped by The End’s studios on Olive Way for a chat about restoration priorities and volunteer needs.

Re-opened only six months earlier, State Route 123 on Mt. Rainier's east side was hard hit.

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South Fork of the Stillaguamish River at the Granite Falls fish ladder, nine feet above flood stage.

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