Currently, the Park Service is proposing a massive fee increase for many parks, including Mount Rainier. Single-vehicle entrance fees would be $70 under this proposal, although only during 5 peak travel months starting June 1st, 2018. Obviously this is outside of peak skiing months, but certainly folks make it up to the park at all times of year to get their turns. We also don’t like the precedent it sets for extremely high user fees. You can read about the proposal on the NPS website here.
The CBA has submitted the following statement to the Park Service:
"In light of the repeated and continuing funding cuts to our National Parks, we as the Cascade Backcountry Alliance strongly oppose the proposed user fee increases at Mt. Rainier National Park. The CBA represents the interests of backcountry skiers and snow travelers in the Cascades. Washington has a strong, year-round ski community that uses MRNP during all months of the year. This valuable recreation destination suffers many access issues due to lack of funding. Simply pushing user fees higher does nothing to fix the rampant under-funding of the Park Service as a whole, and instead simply makes enjoying our National Parks even more difficult for many.
We feel that the government has an obligation to subsidize access to the park, and preserve access for those across the financial spectrum. A $70/day use fee is greatly out of reach for many populations that are already less likely to utilize outdoor recreation opportunities. In addition, continuing to starve our public agencies of funding will result in continued declines in access, leaving members of the public paying more and more for a diminished experience. We urge Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the members of Congress to seek sustainable and fair solutions to this problem."
Other issues surrounding winter access to MRNP is an ongoing struggle. As much as possible, we hope to:
Establish the importance of winter access to the park.
Ensure that conflict between rangers and backcountry users is minimized, and continue to advocate for the plowing and maintenance of the road to Paradise, despite its high cost.
Work to guarantee that gates are not kept locked for arbitrary reasons when access is reasonable, especially in shoulder seasons on highway 410.
Help the park communicate clearly about what roads and facilities are open.