DATE: 12/15/11

Contact: Lee Snook, 360-569-6576-_-_
Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King invites the public to join a Park Ranger to learn the art of snowshoeing in the winter wonderland of Paradise and learn about the ecology of the area. During the upcoming holiday break, the guided walks will be offered daily December 17 through January 2. From January 7 through March 25 the walks will be conducted on weekends and holidays only. The walks are offered at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center information desk at Paradise beginning one hour before the start time.

Organized groups of 13-25 people may reserve a snowshoe walk in advance. Group snowshoe walks begin at 10:30 a.m. For more information or to make a group reservation, call (360) 569-6575.

Snowshoe walks cover approximately 1.5 miles and last up to 2 hours. Snowshoes are provided, or visitors may use their own. A donation of $4 per person is asked to help defray the cost of snowshoe maintenance. Snowshoeing is a moderately strenuous activity, and participants must be at least 8 years old. Remember to wear sturdy boots and dress in layers.

< /a>Opening Delayed< /strong>

The Paradise area is a designated area for sliding using plastic sleds or inner tubes. Due to a lack of adequate snow depth, opening of the Paradise snowplay area will be delayed. Currently there is only 50 of snow on the ground in the area. A minimum of 60 is needed to allow snow grooming equipment to access the area to create the tubing runs, without causing considerable damage to vegetation. Sledding and sliding can be dangerous because of safety hazards beneath the snow if there is insufficient snow depth. In addition, with the recent low temperatures and no new snow, snow that is on the ground has consolidated and is hard and icy. Until additional snowfall occurs snowplay will be delayed.

Because of the high potential for personal injury and frequency of accidents, no other park areas are
open to sliding activities. Serious injuries have occurred when people mistakenly slid over waterfalls, into trees, down slopes that were too steep, broke through thin snow into stream gorges, or slammed into other people.

Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding are permitted in other areas, outside of the snowplay area. Visitors venturing into backcountry areas should be properly equipped and up-to-date on current weather and avalanche conditions and forecasts, and other potential hazards as conditions can change rapidly. Information can be obtained from the park (360-569-2211), the Northwest Avalanche Center or local news media.

Educational Snowshoe Walks for School Groups< /strong>

Curriculum-based snowshoe education walks are available at no charge to school groups on weekdays through the park’s Education Program. These programs are tailored to meet the teacher’s identified learning objectives. Contact the park’s Education Office at (360) 569-6591 for more information or to schedule your field trip.

Please check the Mount Rainier National Park website at http: / / /mora /forteachers /index.htm for more information about field trips and teacher workshops.

Facilities and Hours< /strong>

The Longmire Museum (360-569-6575) is open daily from 9:00 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center (360-569-6571) is open from 10:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. during holiday break (December 17 through January 2) and on weekends and holidays through March 25. The food service and gift shop at the Jackson Visitor Center will not be open on December 19, 20 or 21.

The National Park Inn at Longmire is open daily offering lodging, food, gifts, snowshoe and ski rentals. On Christmas Day (December 25) they will be offering a Christmas Buffet. For reservations call the National Park Inn at 360-569-2411. For more information call 360-569-2400 or visit their website at:

For your enjoyment and safety, these few guidelines apply:

  • Dress warmly and in layers with a wicking fabric such as wool or polypropylene next to the skin and a waterproof outer layer. Wear hats, gloves, and snow-sealed boots. Do not wear lightweight blue jeans and t-shirts. They get wet easily and will not keep you warm. < /li>
  • Rest, re-warm, and snack frequently to help keep you comfortable and alert. Take a warm-up break at the Jackson Visitor Center before feet, hands, noses, or ears feel numb. Food service is available from 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. when the visitor center is open.< /li>
  • The uphill gate at Longmire closes nightly at 5:00 p.m.< /li>
  • All vehicles must carry tire chains when traveling in the park.< /li>
  • Check 1610 on your car radio while in the park, for updates on current road conditions.< /li>
    < /ul>
    Visitors are reminded that roads in the park may be closed at any time due to hazardous conditions. When driving on park roads, please use caution as the roads are icy, narrow, and steep. Carry chains at all times and pay attention to changing conditions. Updates on chain requirements, Paradise gate opening /closing times, and snow pack are posted on the park Twitter newsfeed at /MountRainierNPS< /a> and is viewable without a twitter account. General park information is available at /mora or by calling 360-569-2211.For additional information on businesses inside and outside the park check the following websites:,,,,, or