Tell Our Story, Pt. 9: Mount Rainier National Park offers uniquely PNW recreation opportunities

The Nisqually Watershed Stewardship Plan (NWSP) is the guiding document of the Nisqually River Council. It has 11 indicators, each of which promotes social, economic, and ecological integrity – the 3 branches of a sustainable community. As a part of our monthly blog, we highlight actions, projects and stories from the Nisqually Watershed and surrounding region that contribute to a sustainable watershed and further the goals of the NWSP. This month, we focus on recreation opportunities, and the important role that recreation plays in promoting healthy communities.

Mount Rainier National Park is one of the members of the Nisqually River Council. Randy King, Park Superintendent, has been a part of the NRC since he arrived at the Park in 2003. This week, Randy is featured in our guest blog post. He explains why Mount Rainier National Park is such an important part of the Pacific Northwest landscape, and what it offers to those who enjoy visiting it. Enjoy!

What is your title? How long have you been involved with the Nisqually River Council?
My title is superintendent and I’ve been in the position for five years.  Previously, I served as the park’s deputy superintendent.  My history with the NRC dates back to my arrival at Mount Rainier in June 2003.
One of the Nisqually Watershed Stewardship Plan’s indicators is recreation. What does your organization do to promote recreation opportunities?
The NPS mission, from the Service’s 2016 enabling act, speaks to peoples’ right to enjoy their parks:…to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.   For most visitors to Mount Rainier, the opportunity to recreate in a spectacular setting is why they come.
Recreation opportunities are promoted through information and education.  This occurs through the web page, social media, publications, phone calls and personal contacts. The park’s concessionaires, partners and gateway communities also promote recreation in the park.  Mount Rainier also promotes recreation by providing year-round access to Paradise, plowing the east side roads in spring to provide earlier access, and by maintaining and staffing the facilities – the roads, trails, water and utility systems, buildings, and bathrooms – that enabled 1,356,914 visitors to recreate in the park in 2016.
What is the value you see in the NRC, and how does it help your organization fulfill your biodiversity goals?
The NRC has been an effective forum for watershed agencies, the Nisqually Indian Tribe, local governments, non-profit organizations and citizens to work together towards shared conservation goals. A healthy watershed diversifies and compliments the recreation opportunities available in the park,  enriches the lives of local residents and visitors.
Stay tuned next month to hear from another Nisqually River Council member, and how they work to create a sustainable place for us to live. The indicator next month is community wellness. Questions? Contact Morgan at or call 360.438.8715.