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REPORT OF THE SUPERVISOR OF THE MOUNT RAINIER
OFFICE OF THE SUPERVISOR,
Ashford, Wash., September 30, 1915. Sir: I have the honor of submitting the following report of operations in Mount Rainier National Park for the season of 1915:
Mount Rainier National Park was created by act of Congress approved March 2, 1899, and exclusive jurisdiction of the territory so set aside for national park purposes was ceded to the United States Government by act of the Legislature of the State of Washington approved March 16, 1901. The United States has not complied with the provision of said act of the Legislature of the State of Washington which reads:
Provided, however, That jurisdiction shall not vest until the United States, through the proper officer, notifies the governor of this State that they assume police or military jurisdiction over said park.
The park is located in the western part of the State of Washington immediately 'west of the summit of the Cascade Range of mountains and about 40 miles southeasterly from the southern end of Puget Sound.
It is situated largely in Pierce County, but a portion lies in Lewis County.
The administrative office is located at the main entrance to the park, near the southwest corner, which is distant by automobile road 93 miles from Seattle, 56 miles from Tacoma, and 61 miles from Ashford, on the Tacoma Eastern Railroad, a branch line of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway.
It is connected by telephone to Seattle, Tacoma, and the principal camps and ranger stations within the park.
The department is represented in the administration and management of the park by Mr. Stephen T. Mather, assistant to the secretary, Mr. Mark Daniels, general superintendent and landscape engineer of national parks, Monadnock Building, San Francisco, Cal., and by a local supervisor who is assisted throughout the year by a clerkstenographer, a chief park ranger, and two permanent park rangers. During the summer months additional assistance is rendered by six temporary park rangers, a general foreman of construction, and from 50 to 150 men.
TOPOGRAPHY. The northwest corner of the park, by road and trail travel, is about 45 miles southeast from the tidewaters of Puget Sound, an arm of the Pacific Ocean, from which waters and the country surrounding the 8161°- -INT 1915-VOL 1--61
main object of interest in the park, Mount Rainier, appears during the prevalence of ordinary clear weather as a most imposing spectacle an ice and snow clad dome 14,408 feet high.
The park reserve is a nearly perfect square, the sides of which are 18 miles in length, and contains, therefore, 324 square miles, or sections of 640 acres each (207,360 acres), and is completely surrounded by lands embraced within the Rainier National Forest.
Near the center of the park is the summit of Mount Rainier, from which radiates a system of glaciers, ranking in importance with any similar system or group of glaciers in the world. There are more than a score of these glaciers, from which originate four important riversthe Nisqually, the Puyallup, the White, and the Cowlitz—the three first named having large electric-power generating plants located on them at points outside the park, but all dependent upon this glacial system and the waters originating therein. The Cowlitz is as important as the others in this respect, but as yet completed development of power-generating plants has not been accomplished.
The general elevation at the boundary lines of the park of the glacial valleys is 2,000 feet above sea level. From the boundary lines these valleys afford a comparatively easy grade to the lower ends or "snouts” of the various glaciers, approximately an average additional elevation of 2,000 feet. At these glacial snouts the real Alpine nature of Mount Rainier National Park territory is thrust upon the traveler, and from, over, around, and alongside the glaciers trails have been constructed with a view to making the wonders of nature within the park easily accessible as well as to provide patrol routes for the protection of the forests and game. These trails lead to the camps or parks known as Paradise Valley (Camp of the Clouds), Indian Henry's Hunting Ground (Wigwam Hotel), Van Trump Park, Cowlitz Park, Ohanapecosh Valley, and Silver Spray Falls, Moraine Park, Grand Park, Elysian Fields, Spray Park, Natural Bridge Cataract Basin, St. Andrews Park, Glacier Basin, etc.
There is at present but one wagon-road entrance to this vast wonderland. This road leads out from Tacoma and Seattle and is a highly improved thoroughfare for a greater part of the distance from these cities to the park entrance, near the southwest corner of the park, a distance of 56 miles from Tacoma and 93 miles from Seattle. At the park gate this road is met by the road built and maintained by the Government within the park. The Government end of this road is 20.4 miles in length, leading from the entrance gate (elevation, 2,003 feet) to Longmire Springs (6.6 miles; elevation, 2,750 feet); thence to foot of Nisqually Glacier (5.3 miles; elevation, 3,909 feet); thence to Narada Falls (4.1 miles; elevation, 4,572 feet); thence to the Camp of the Clouds in Paradise Valley (4.4 miles; elevation, 5,557 feet). To this point the road is open to automobiles during the summer months. The road above Nisqually Glacier was opened to automobiles for the first time on June 20, 1915.
More than 200 square miles of the park lands are densely timbered. Douglas fir, white cedar, Alaska cedar, and hemlock are the predominating varieties. In addition to those named, the following varieties are found at various points within the park: Lovely fir,
Noble fir, Alpine fir, Silver fir, Alpine hemlock, spruce, white pine, black (or lodge pole) pine, alder cottonwood, quaking aspen, broadleaf maple, vine maple, and smooth-leaf maple.
At an approximate general elevation of 4,500 feet the density of timber growth gradually diminishes until the extreme timber line is reached. The intervening areas, which are usually benches or plateaus on the long, sloping ridges separating the various glacial basins, form beautiful natural parks, in some of which tent camps or hotels are established and to which tourists resort in large numbers for rest and recreation. These natural parks and tent camps serve as bases for the arduous task of ascending to the summit of Mount Rainier, and for exploring the lesser mountain peaks, the glaciers, snow fields, and canyons so numerous within the park areas and in the areas surrounding:
These upland meadows, benches, plateaus, or natural parks are beautifully adorned by nature with flowers and shrubs of infinite variety and color and furnish to the most skilled botanist, not to speak of the amateur and the mere lover of the beautiful, problems in nature study never ending. Nearly 400 varieties of plant life are known to grow within the park.
ROADS AND TRAILS.
The Government road from the southwest corner of the park to the Camp of the Clouds in Paradise Valley was constructed under direction of the War Department. The road was opened for travel during 1910. The original cost of construction was $240,000. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1915, $32,364.19 was expended in repairing and improving this road. During the season just ending this road has been improved at various points by widening, constructing rock and timber crib retaining walls, guardrails, and by surfacing with 6 inches of cement gravel.
Between Longmire Springs and Narada Falls the road stands up fairly well under the heavy rains, but on the reaches below Longmire Springs and above Narada Falls considerable improvement work must yet be done to put the road in passable condition during wet weather. The section above Narada Falls was closed to traffic after each heavy rain during the present season.
The road above Nisqually Glacier was opened to automobiles on June 20, 1915, and was operated throughout the season on a one-way schedule, by which automobiles left the Glacier ascending and Paradise Valley descending on each hour from 7 a. m. to 7 p. m., passing at Naradă Falls on the half hour. This traffic was controlled by three traffic officers, in telephone communication, stationed at Nisqually Glacier, Narada Falls, and Paradise Valley. The system met with universal satisfaction from the public, and it is believed that the necessary expenditure to improve this road for two-way traffic is not justified.
During the season of 1915 over 5,000 automobiles and 30,000 people passed over this road without an accident of
kind. The original wooden bridge over Tahoma Creek, 1.2 miles from the park entrance, was replaced by a reinforced concrete structure of two 30-foot spans by McHugh & Creelman, Tacoma, Wash., contract price, $2,365.
The park trail system now has a total length of 150 miles. During the months of May, June, and July of this season three trail construction crews of 15 men each were engaged in trail buildingcompleting about August 1 the east and west side connections of the trail encircling system. This work was done at an average cost of about $300 per mile.
The Mountaineers, about 90 in number, with a pack train of 50 horses, made the circuit of the mountain in August. The trip around the mountain can be made in about seven days, with an average march of 20 miles over the trail
. This trip with proper advertising should become a very popular feature of the park. By making camp each night at certain designated points in the natural parks and upland meadows, the tourist can travel on foot by the shortest route, between camps, keeping above timber line, and obtain a magnificent view of the mountain and surrounding country from all angles, affording one of the most interesting scenic trips in all the world.
BUILDINGS. There are eight ranger cabins in the park. The cabin at the main park entrance on the Government road, near the southwest corner of the park, is used as a general office for the park service and as living quarters for the clerk-stenographer and temporary ranger at that station. The main building (two rooms) is constructed of cedar logs. Frame additions for office purposes and kitchen have been added. The supervisor also uses this building as living quarters during the winter months.
At Longmire Springs the four-room pine-log cabin with frame addition for kitchen has been taken as a residence for the supervisor, and an old building near by, formerly used as an office by the Engineer Corps of the United States Army, has been cleaned and repaired to serve as quarters for the permanent ranger at Longmire station.
The Paradise Valley, Carbon River, and Ohanapecosh ranger stations are provided with one-room log buildings, and two more, located at Indian Henry's and White River stations, are being constructed this season.
Two small frame buildings, 10 by 12, have been constructed this season at Nisqually Glacier and Náradá Falls for use by the traffic officers.
A frame warehouse is located at Longmire station, and parkservice tools, equipment, and supplies are assembled therein at such times as service conditions will allow.
During the present season 40 miles of single-wire telephone line has been constructed over the west side trail from a point on South Fork of the Puyallup River via Sunset Park, Mountain Meadows, Crater Lake, Spray Park, Carbon River Valley to the Carbon River ranger station and the northwest corner of the park, from which point the Forest Service has extended the line to à connection with the commercial line at Fairfax, Wash.
An additional 20 miles is now under construction from Glacier Cabin at the snout of the Carbon Glacier via Mystic Lake, Glacier
Basin, and the White River Valley to the ranger station on White River at boundary post No. 62. When completed these extensions will bring the total mileage of single-wire Government line within the park up to 90 miles.
In addition there is 6.6 miles of telephone, belonging to the Tacoma Eastern Railroad Co., which terminates at Longmire Springs.
Mining operations are confined to claims located prior to the act of Congress of May 27, 1908, prohibiting the location of mineral claims within the park.
Active claim is asserted to nine locations by the Mount Rainier Mining Co. in the Glacier Basin district (north central section of the park), while in the vicinity of Longmire Springs (south central section) the Eagle Peak Copper Mining Co. is working toward the development of two claims, and Sherman Evans and Ike Evans two claims. Improvements on all of these claims consist
largely of tunnels. No ore shipments have ever been made except for test purposes, from any mine within the park, though operations of various kinds have been in progress for nearly 20 years.
No fires occurred within the park during the season of 1915. During the month there were numerous fires outside the park and for about one week in the latter part of the month the smoke drifted into the park to such an extent that sight-seeing was impossible except in the early morning hours.
During the season there were employed in the park service nine park rangers: Thomas E. O'Farrell, chief park ranger, stationed on the Carbon River at the northwest corner of the park, from which point he directed the patrol, trail, and telephone construction work on the north side; Prof. J. B. Flett, park ranger, stationed at Longmire Springs in charge of traffic, camp grounds, and the distribution of park literature, general information concerning the flora, trees, shrubbery, etc.; Rudolph L. Rosso, park ranger, stationed at Paradise Valley, in charge of Paradise Valley and Indian Henry's Camps; Arthur White, temporary park ranger, stationed on White River in the northeast corner of the park; Herman B. Burnett, temporary park ranger, stationed at the Ohanapecosh Hot Springs in the southeast corner of the park; Earl V. Clifford, temporary park ranger, stationed at the park entrance, in charge of the registration of visitors and issuing automobile permits; Archibald Duncan, L. D. Boyle, and M. D. Gunston, temporary park rangers, stationed at Nisqually Glacier, Narada Falls, and Paradise Valley, respectively, as traffic officers, under the supervision of Chas. A. Clark, general foreman of road improvement work.