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Geologic Publications for Mount Rainier

Short history of Mount Rainier National Park

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Author(s): Robert N. McIntyre

Document Type: File No. 101
Publisher: United States Department of The Interior, National Park Service
Published Year: 1952
Pages: 375
DOI Identifier:
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Mount Rainier National Park, containing 377.78 square miles (241,782 acres), is one of the twenty-eight national parks of our system, owned by the people of the United States and administered for them by the National Park Service of the Department of Interior.

Near the geographical center of Mount Rainier National Park in the state of Washington is the towering summit of the ice-clad volcano named for Admiral Peter Rainier of the British Navy by Captain George Vancouver in 1792, from which the park takes its name. Located a distance of twelve miles west of the Cascade Mountain crestline, the Mountain, 14,408 feet high, is the most superb landmark of the Pacific Northwest. It is made doubly impressive by the mantle of glacial ice that conceals all by the most rugged crags and ridges. This phenomenon is due to the extreme height of the mountain and its close proximity to the warm moisture laded winds of the Pacific Ocean. In delightful contrast to this bold and forceful landscape are the flower-covered mountain meadows and deep forests encircling it. The Mountain covers approximately one-fourth of the park area.

Mount Rainier, with the greatest single-peak glacial system in the United States, was set aside as a part of the national park by an Act of Congress, March 2, 1899. When viewed from Tacoma or Seattle, approximately forty and sixty miles away to the Southeast respectively, from those cities its ice and snow-clad dome appears to rise abruptly from sea level, although the crests of the nearby ridges rise 6,000 to 7,000 feet in altitude. Thus, the flanks of this sleeping giant, which lost a portion of its dome in past explosive activity, according to some geologists, now dominates the southeastern skyline of the Cascade Range, as viewed from the cities and towns of the Puget Sound.

Park entrances to this mountain playground, set aside for the continued use of this and future generates of visitors, are located near each of the four corners of the park, served by modern highways leading from the most important centers of population such as the cities of Yakima, Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland. Longmire, located six miles beyond the Nisqually River or southwestern entrance to the park, sixty-two miles from Tacoma, is the park headquarters and offices of the park superintendent and his staff. Here is the post office, the National Park Inn, and a park museum. From this point, to which the highway gives access the entire year, the visitor can in the summertime visit the famous Paradise Valley area by automobile or hike to such magnificent areas as Indian Henry's Hunting Ground, Van Trump Park, or Stevens Canyon over portions of a wall developed trail system. The Nisqually Glacier, one of twenty-six glaciers on the mountain proper, is only a short hike from the road in this section of the park. At this time the National Park Service is building a modern and highly scenic mountain highway that will be open to the public for the summer crossing of the southeastern part of the park through Stevens Canyon from the paradise area. This road will not only open up new vistas to the public, but will channel traffic through the northeastern part of the park, west of Chinook Pass, where incomparable views of Mount Rainier may be had from Yakima Park, and provide a short route to Paradise Valley from the eastern section of the area.

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In Text Citation:
McIntyre (1952) or (McIntyre, 1952)

References Citation:
McIntyre, R.N., 1952, Short history of Mount Rainier National Park: File No. 101, United States Department of The Interior, National Park Service, 375 p..