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Geologic Publications for Mount Rainier

Soil survey of Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

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Author(s): Toby Rodgers, Philip Roberts

Document Type:
Publisher: United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Published Year: 2016
Pages: 853
DOI Identifier:
ISBN Identifier:

Mount Rainier national Park is centered around an active volcanic peak in the Cascade Mountain Range, in western Washington State. Mount Rainier was named in honor of Captain Peter Rainier. It is the second highest and most glaciated peak in the conterminous United States, rising to an elevation of 4392 meters above sea level. The park consists of 95,231 hectares, covering the eastern portions of Pierce and Lewis Counties. It is approximately 100 kilometers southeast of Seattle, Washington, and is bounded by Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to the west and north, Gifford Pinchot National Forest to the south, and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to the east. About 3 percent of the park is designated as a national historic landmark district and 97 percent is designated as wilderness. The park preserves a wild and rugged landscape in the Pacific Northwest.

Mount Rainier National Park receives approximately 2 million visitors per year. There are several readily accessible entrances to the park during the peak season in summer. The most widely used entrance is the Nisqually Entrance, along Washington State Route 706, at the southwest corner of the park. This is the only vehicle entrance that is open year round, and it is the main access to the Longmire and Paradise areas. Other entrances include the Mowich and Carbon River Entrances at the northwest corner of the park; the White River Entrance at the northeast corner and the Chinook Pass Entrance on the eastern boundary, both of which are along Washington State Route 410; and the Ohanapecosh Entrance, along Washington State Route 123, at the southeast corner.

A long and diverse geologic history has resulted in a variety of landforms, soils, and dramatic topography. Numerous waterways, including the Nisqually, Puyallup, Carbon, White, and Cowlitz Rivers, start their journey to the Pacific Ocean on the flanks of Mount Rainier. A complex mosaic of mountainous topography and varied climatic conditions produce a diverse regional ecology of temperate rainforests, mountain forests and meadows, and alpine parkland. The park also has a rich cultural history that spans thousands of years.

This soil survey is an initial soil resource inventory. No previous National Cooperative Soil Survey inventory of the soils in the park has been conducted.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Rodgers and Roberts (2016) or (Rodgers and Roberts, 2016)

References Citation:
Rodgers, T. and P. Roberts, 2016, Soil survey of Mount Rainier National Park, Washington: United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 853 p..