Seattle, WA — As the Department of the Interior prepares to set priorities for the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, Environment Washington urges Secretary Salazar to save the best of Washington and expand Mt. Rainier National Park to protect one of the nation’s last inland rainforests.
“National parks have been called America’s ‘best idea’ and Mt. Rainier National Park is living proof, providing families and friends with breathtaking vistas, quiet trails, and other unique opportunities to connect with the great outdoors,” said Kristina Dumas, Environment Washington Field Associate. Dumas noted that just beyond the park’s protective borders, however, one of the nation’s last rainforests is unprotected from logging and development.
"This land acquisition is critical habitat for threatened and endangered species and will protect over 3-miles along the Carbon River,” stated Mt. Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. “We appreciate the public support of land acquisition and support of the conservation community."
This past summer, the Department of Interior put out a request for citizen input on which of America’s most treasured landscapes deserve better protection. To respond to the request, Environment Washington went door-to-door and spoke with Washingtonians throughout the state about protecting and expanding Mt. Rainier.
“Secretary Salazar has asked the people of this country to speak from the heart, and Washingtonians have answered, “said Jared Phillips, Canvass Director at Environment Washington. “Throughout the summer, over 9,000 citizens took action to show their support by signing postcards, statements of support, writing letters to the editor, signing onto business letters, or submitting photo and written petitions."
Washington’s local businesses and communities also have a vital interest in keeping Mt. Rainier beautiful for generations to come. Every one-dollar invested in our national parks returns four dollars to local communities.
“Mt. Rainier is our best selling full day tour from Seattle,” said Jake Haupert, Founder of the P.U.R.E. Travel Collaborative. “It’s unparalleled beauty, majesty and close proximity makes it a must see for incoming tourists from around the globe. It would be unfortunate if Mt. Rainier and the surrounding communities suffered due to a less than committed conservation effort to protect our region’s renowned centerpiece.”
As the November 15th date for the Secretary’s priority announcement nears, Dumas advocates for action, “We have a window of opportunity to protect one of the nation’s last rainforests, if we don’t take action now, we may never have this chance again.”
Environment Washington is a state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open space.