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Mount Rainier Repair Monies Found


    Good news for Mount Rainier: $36 million has been "found" to help the park repair damage done by early November's deluge.
    Half of the money will come from unspent highway and construction accounts within the Federal Highway Administration, with the other half coming from somewhere in the Park Service. While that's certainly good news. I'm wondering where, and why, during these supposedly cash-strapped times the Park Service has $18 million lying around?
    Shortly after the torrential storms struck Rainier, Olympic, and Glacier national parks David Barna, the Park Service's communications chief, told me the agency only had a few million dollars for help with these kind of emergencies. So where did the agency find $18 million in loose change?
    No doubt there's a logical explanation, and hopefully it will surface.
    But don't you wonder how, at a time when parks are cutting staff, programming and resource protection, the Park Service in the past six months has managed to scrounge up $28 million in unspent funds? First former Director Fran Mainella found $10 million for a visitor center at Mesa Verde, and now $18 million has surfaced for Rainier.
    And if this funding was taken from previously appropriated projects, it sure would be interesting to know which now are unfunded.


My, my how do we ever make you libbies happy...ya bi*ch when you don't have a good enuf meal at the gubmint trough, and ya bi*ch when ya do!! Always angry....

Trista, could it be that you missed the point, which was why has the NPS been forcing parks to cut back if they've got millions stashed away that they can pluck when the whim strikes? Now, as I said in the post, perhaps there's a very logical answer to that question. And once the feds return from Monday's holiday I hope to get that answer. In the meantime, I have it from someone with a very intimate knowledge of the NPS that the agency doesn't typically carry $28 million in walking around change. Some might wonder if the administration has in fact been trying to starve the beast -- it's doing a damn fine job of that with the Forest Service -- but realized that the local economies around Mount Rainier would suffer too greatly too swiftly if the park isn't back on its feet soon. Frankly, I'd much have preferred that the NPS had previously dedicated that walking around money to its enormous maintenance backlog or even staff positions and been forced to ask Congress for an emergency allocation to address Rainier's needs.

I'm curious to know whether part of the money will be used to fix the West Side Road in Rainier. The road has been closed to automobile traffic for a number of years because of rock slides and flooding damage, which has been too costly for the park to repair. It had remained open to mountain bikers, hikers, and I think *maybe* even horses. Having hiked it myself, I can tell you that it's a wonderful area, and if it were accessible to cars again, it would open up much of the park's West side for day hiking opportunities. I'll be curious to see what happens with the road repairs.

I don't know, Jeremy, it might be nice to restrict travel on that road to hikers, bikers and equestrian. While it might prevent some from reaching those trails, I don't know why we must provide combustion-powered-access everywhere in the park system.

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