Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How will climate change affect our National Parks?

The topic of climate change took exceptional relevance here at Mount Rainier after the floods and wind in November of 2006 caused significant damage throughout the park(check out the Mt. Rainier N.P. report documenting the flood's damage), forcing our gates to close. This was not the first storm that hit this park hard, nor will it be the last. There is a high likelihood that future storms will cause similar damage (if not worse) and climate change will have as-of-yet even greater undetermined impacts on the park's resources. The result of this event and uncertainty brings into question the ability of the federal government to sustain long term access to places such as Mount Rainier from an economic and ecological standpoint. Obviously, this issue has implications for us all - recreationalists, admirers, climbers, skiiers, and just anyone living in a town near the park.

How will climate change affect Mount Rainier National Park? Well, this is the question that many are beginning to ask. You can be a part of this discussion on Wednesday, September 3, along with a panel of experts in climate change, outdoor recreation, economics, wildlife and roads and trail construction (among others). The evening's event, co-hosted by the Washington Parks and Forests Coalition, is titled, "The Way In: The Future of Access to Northwest National Parks". Panelists will focus on global climate change and how it will affect our national parks, especially Olympic, Mount Rainier, and North Cascades National Parks. This panel discussion is free and open to the public.

This event is co-hosted by the organizations from the Washington Parks and Forests Coalition, which include National Parks Conservation Association, Washington Trails Association, and the Student Conservation Association. For more information, contact David Graves at dgraves@npca.org or 206.903.1444 x25.