Mount Rainier National Park has asked visitors to respect the landscape after the Perseid meteor shower lead to mass trampling of subalpine wildflowers. Subalpine wildflowers only grow and reproduce for a few weeks out of the year, and off-trail travel can lead to scars that last for decades.
“The plants’ roots, leaves and flowers can be destroyed by off-trail travel, and trampled plants may never return. Scars on the landscape can take decades to regrow due to the short growing season and harsh alpine climate.” – Mount Rainier National Park
Photographer Austin James Jackson, who was at the park during the astronomical event, shared photos of the incident to his Instagram. According to his post, thousands of people had flocked to Mount Rainier’s Sunrise lodge, with the parking lot well over capacity and at least 50 cars parked illegally.
“We talked to one woman who had been trapped for three hours as she had been triple parked (person who blocked her in got blocked in by someone else). Then, we talked to the ranger who mentioned that he had ran out of warning stickers to put on cars, and that it takes too long to write a ticket so he wasn’t.” – Austin James Jackson
Jackson reported seeing hundreds of people setting up chairs and blankets along the delicate wildflower meadows, calling out those who had no regard for the National Park or its visitors.
Mount Rainier National Park asks that you abide by the following rules to respect the Park and its resources:
– “Stay on trails, in parking lots, and on sidewalks. Do not trample the meadows.
– Please do not picnic, or set up blankets, chairs, or lay in the meadows to view stars.
– Park only in designated spots. Never park on vegetation.
– Pack it in, pack it out. If a trash receptacle is full, please take your trash with you.
– Overnight camping is not permitted in parking lots or pullouts. There is no lodging available in the Sunrise area. Please plan where you will be staying after you finish star gazing. Wilderness permits are required for backcountry sites or the nearest vehicle campground at Sunrise is at White River Campground.“
Image Credit: Austin James Jackson via Instagram