Washington is full of spectacular parks, but none are quite as iconic as Mount Rainier National Park. Our local mountain is one of the tallest in the nation with 14,417 ft of elevation. It’s beauty and abundance of space for hiking, climbing and more draw people from far and wide. For that reason, the park is now considering requiring visitors to have reservations.

If you’ve driven to Mount Rainier during peak season you know just how hectic it can be. Between 2008 and 2021 annual visitation rose from 1.1 million visits per year to above 1.7 million visits. The park experiences extremely concentrated use, with 70 percent of the more than one million visits occurring between July and September. That means roads, parking lots and public spaces are oftentimes full or congested.

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For now, the National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public feedback on a plan to implement a timed-entry reservation system at three park entrances during peak visitation hours during the summer months. The three entrances are the Nisqually, Stevens Canyon, and White River entrance stations.

The idea came after reviewing public feedback that repeatedly mentioned traffic congestion, parking shortages, and crowding over the last several years.

The hope is that a timed entry system will create less crowding, a safer park and a more enjoyable experience for visitors and nature alike. If you’d like to give feed back on the proposed plan you have until June 11th and can do so at the NPS website.