DATE: 12/16/09


For Immediate Release

Contact: Lee Snook, West District Interpreter, (360) 569-2211 ext. 6043
< /p>

Mount Rainier National Park Acting Superintendent Randy King announces that
a snowplay area and guided snowshoe walks at the Paradise area in the park
will begin December 19.< /p>

Snowplay – Sledding and Sliding< /strong>

The snowplay area is immediately north of the upper parking lot at
Paradise. Sliding and sledding in the park is permitted ONLY in this
designated area. Snowplay runs are supervised daily by Park Rangers from
December 19 through January 3, and on weekends and holidays from January 9
through March 28. Visitors may use the runs when the area is not staffed,
but the runs are not groomed during the week. For current snowplay status,
contact the Longmire Museum at 360-569-2211 ext. 3314 (9:00 a.m. – 4:30
p.m. daily).< /p>

Because of the high potential for personal injury and frequency of
accidents, no other areas of the park 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. Skiing and snowboarding are permitted in other areas, outside of
the snowplay area.< /p>

For your enjoyment and safety, these few guidelines apply:< /p>

  • Use only inner tubes, plastic sleds, saucers, or other soft sliding devices. No wooden toboggans, runner sleds with metal edges, or other hard devices are permitted.< /li>
  • Compressed air is available at the rock restroom tunnel across the plaza from the new Jackson Visitor Center when snowplay rangers are present.< /li>
  • Be sure the run is clear before starting your slide. Collisions may cause serious injury.< /li>
  • Dress warmly and in layers with a wicking fabric such as wool or polypropylene next to the skin and a waterproof outer layer. Wear hat, 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 snowplay area is usually closed by 4:30 p.m. nightly.< /li>
    < /ul>

    Snowshoe Walks< /strong>

    Join a Park Ranger to learn the art of snowshoeing and discover the ecology
    of the Paradise area. During the holiday break, the guided walks will be
    offered daily December 19 through January 3. From January 9 through March
    28 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 at Paradise beginning one
    hour before the start time.< /p>

    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) 569-2211, ext. 3314.< /p>

    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 $1-$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.< /p>

    Educational Snowshoe Walks for School Groups

    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 Fawn Bauer at (360) 569-6037 for more information or to schedule
    your field trip.< /p>

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

    Facility Hours

    The Longmire Museum (360-569-2211, extension 3314) is open daily from 9:00
    a.m. through 4:30 p.m. The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center (360-569-2211,
    extension 6036) is open from 10:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. during holiday
    break (December 19 through January 3) and on weekends and holidays through
    March 28.< /p>

    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. General park information is available at
    www.nps.gov /mora or by calling 360-569-2211.< /p>

    -NPS-< /p>