Dec 21, 2014

Losing Paradise: Climate change is changing Mount Rainier

Mt. Rainier, Washington
Rob Carson
The News Tribune & The Olympian

If the scientists are right, the end is near for a Northwest treasure — at least as we know it.

Global warming is melting Mount Rainier’s glaciers at six times the historic rate.

For years now, the melting has sent floods of water and rock pounding down the mountain, filling up rivers, killing old-growth forests and endangering historic national park buildings.

The glacial outbursts also are tearing up the roads that provide access to the park’s wonders, testing the National Park Service mission to keep the great outdoors open to all.

Researchers are flocking to Mount Rainier to study the effects of climate change that they predict will destroy habitat for plant and animal species up and down the mountain.