[pct-l] Washinton trail damage

Andrea Dinsmore zaqueltooocool at gmail.com
Mon May 21 01:20:28 CDT 2007

Here's some info found on the internet..........


Trails Ravaged*

Trail News*

by Andrew Engelson*

Apocalyptic. Biblical. The Perfect Storm. No matter what term you find to
describe the rainstorms that hit the Pacific Northwest in late October,
everyone agrees they were severe. Beginning on the weekend of October 17 and
continuing for about a week, record 24-hour rainfalls combined with warm
temperatures to devastate trails, footlogs, forest roads and bridges
throughout the Cascades and Olympics. "Some folks are saying it's a 500-
year storm," said Gary Paull, Trails and Wilderness Coordinator for the
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. "Considering we had three 100-year
storms in the 1990s, I think that's quite possible." Paull said he couldn't
remember a late fall storm as warm as this one. Media reports indicated that
six inches of rain fell on Darrington in a 24-hour period. And as if that
wasn't enough, a powerful windstorm on December 4 wreaked its own brand of
destruction on the foothill trails just east of the Puget Sound region.
Trails on Tiger Mountain, Squak Mountain, and Rattlesnake Ledge were all hit
hard with hundreds of blowdowns. WTA and the Issaquah Alps Trail Club worked
together to triage and get as much of the blowdowns cleared as quickly as
possible. *

Heavy damage with major stretches of trail missing at the Suiattle River,
Sitkum Creek, and Mill Creek. No footbridges survive on the PCT from Red
Pass to Miners Creek. The Skyline bridge, a major crossing over the Suittle
River on the PCT, is completely lost. Next season, through- hikers may have
to divert to the east side of Glacier Peak. The Whitechuck and Suiattle
River Roads, which lead to many popular trailheads, sustained heavy damage,
as did the Mountain Loop Highway, which is closed from Barlow Pass to Bedal
Campground. In the North Cascades, the Cascade River Road and Upper Stehekin
Valley sustained considerable damage. The North Cascades Highway had its
earliest seasonal closure ever because of numerous slides, including one
just east of the town of Diablo.

At Mount Rainier National Park, Sunshine Point Campground was closed because
of flooding, while all the footbridges on the Wonderland Trail between
Cougar Rock and Narada Falls were washed out. Damage was also sustained in
the Carbon River, Comet Falls, and Carter Falls areas. In the high country,
the extent of the damage won't be known until the spring melt-out. Judging
by the early reports, it's bound to be a busy year for trail repair. The
Forest Service has conservatively estimated damage to trails and roads might
top $10 million across the state. The Forest Service, National Park Service,
and Washington State Department of Natural Resources are all making
presentations to the to press closures were still in effect at Adventure
Trail, Section Line Trail, Poo Poo Point Trail, Kees Big Tree Trail, and
Swamp Trail. The October storm and floods hammered the Cascades.
Particularly hard hit was the Darrington Ranger District on the Mount Baker-
Snoqualmie National Forest. Accord- ing to Gary Paull, "a lot of bridges are
gone, many of which we replaced in the last ten to fifteen years." Among the
victims: Kennedy Hot Springs near Glacier Peak is now completely buried
under mud and rocks. The Pacific Crest Trail sus- *Floodwaters rage in the
Sauk River. At the flood's peak, flows topped* *100,000 cubic feet per
minute. Usual flow is around 3,250 cfpm.*

One of the most impressive facts in a recent PowerPoint presentation given
by Gary Paull concerned the Sauk River. The river, which in fall normally
runs at 3,250 cubic feet per second, peaked at over 100,000 cfps on the
night of October 22. "I've heard mention that some of these floods may be
the result be what geologists call a 'jokulhlaup,'" said Paull. Pronounced
"yokolowp," that's a geological term for a glacial outburst flood. The word
has its origins in Iceland, and describes conditions when a substantial
quantity of glacial meltwater is suddenly released. Jokulhlaup. Deluge.
Torrential downpour. Call it what you want, October's floods and December's
winds will have a profound impact on trails throughout the state next
season.  *Closures on the Pacific Crest Trail could* *divert hikers around
the east flank of* *Glacier Peak next season.*


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