Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mount Rainier National Park
|Nearest major City||Tacoma, Washington|
|Date of Establishment||March 2, 1899|
|Governing Body||National Park Service|
|IUCN category||Ib (Wilderness)|
II (National Park)
Mount Rainier National Park is a United States National Park located in southeast Pierce County, Washington. It was established on March 2, 1899, the fifth national park in the United States. The park contains 368 square miles (953.5 km²) including all of Mount Rainier, a 14410-foot (4392 m) volcano. The mountain rises abruptly from the surrounding land with elevations in the park ranging from 1600 feet (488 m) to over 14000 feet. 95 percent of the park is preserved as wilderness, a designation it received in 1988. The highest point in the Cascade Range, around it are valleys, waterfalls, ice caves and more than 25 glaciers. The dormant volcano is often shrouded in clouds that dump enormous amounts of rain and snow on the peak every year and hide it from the crowds that head to the park on weekends.
Mount Rainier is circled by the Wonderland Trail and is covered by several glaciers and snowfields totaling some 35 square miles (91 km²). Carbon Glacier is the largest glacier by volume in the continental United States, while Emmons Glacier is the largest glacier by area. About 1.3 million people visit Mount Rainier National Park each year. Mount Rainier is a popular peak for mountain climbing with some 10,000 attempts per year.
Paradise Visitor Center recorded a world record 1122 inches (2850 cm) of snowfall in 1972.
The park was designated a National Historic Landmark on February 18, 1997 as a showcase for the "NPS Rustic" style architecture of the 1920s and 1930s. Being designated as a National Historic Landmark meant protection for the wildlife and plants that live there.
The park contains outstanding examples of old growth forests and subalpine meadows. It is a natural setting of the Pacific Northwest region.
- Official site: Mount Rainier National Park
- Photographic virtual tour of Mount Rainier National Park.
- Mount Rainier National Park Pictures - NationalParksGallery.com
- Park map (PDF, 2MB), provided by the National Park Service
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