Mount Rainier will soon require reservations at peak times
Driving the news: The park is testing a new reservation system to reduce crowding and hopefully "spread visitation throughout the day," park superintendent Greg Dudgeon said in a news release.
Details: From May 24 to Sept. 2, reservations will be required to reach the Paradise Corridor through the park's Nisqually or Stevens Canyon entrances from 7am–3pm.
- Similarly, from July 3 to Sept. 2, visitors will need a reservation to enter the Sunrise Corridor at the White River Entrance via State Route 410, also from 7am–3pm.
The big picture: Park officials say the number of visitors to Mount Rainier has increased about 40% over the past 10 years.
- That leads to traffic jams and long wait times, and can also damage plant ecosystems and trails, the park service says on its website.
What they're saying: "In recent years, it's been too common for visitors to sit in idling cars for a couple of hours at the entrance stations and then make laps through the parking lots hoping for an empty parking space," Dudgeon said in a press release.
How it works: Reservations can be made at Recreation.gov for $2 per vehicle, which gives you a two-hour entry window.
- Reservations for July visits can be booked online starting Feb. 21 for the Paradise Corridor and April 1 for the Sunrise Corridor.
- Starting May 1, visitors can book reservations for August through Labor Day.
Plus: If you're not much of a planner, a block of reservations will be released daily at 7pm throughout the summer for visits the next day.
Of note: You'll still need to pay the standard entry fee to visit the park ($30 per vehicle).
- There's no specified time to leave once you enter the park during your reservation window.
- If you've booked overnight lodging or camping, you don't need to make an additional timed-entry reservation; you can enter anytime after 1pm on the first day of your stay.
What we're watching: The park hasn't committed yet to using the timed entry system in future years, spokesperson Terry Wildy told Axios.
- Park officials will look at the results of this year's pilot program before making that decision, Wildy said.
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