Stevens Canyon Road reopens after $43 million project in Mount Rainier National Park 


One of Mount Rainier National Park’s most scenic roads has reopened after an extensive $43-million, two-year rehabilitation project funded by the Great American Outdoors Act Legacy Restoration Fund.

The project repaired and restored 9 miles of the iconic Stevens Canyon Road, which travels through the heart of the park and offers visitors views of the rugged alpine landscape. 

As the only road in the park connecting the popular Paradise and Sunrise areas, Stevens Canyon Road is traveled by many of the park’s 1.6 million annual visitors. The corridor also provides access to additional scenic attractions, recreational opportunities and gateway communities along the park’s eastern border.

Decades of harsh winters, avalanches, rock fall and heavy traffic had impacted the road infrastructure, drainage systems, retaining walls and the road surface itself. 

“The project's completion enables continued visitor enjoyment of the park’s natural, cultural and inspirational features and reinforces infrastructure integrity through the repair of critical water drainage features that support proper runoff and minimize erosion,” park staff stated in a news release.  

Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) funding enabled the National Park Service to make this investment, which included repairing and repointing historic Civilian Conservation Corps-era stone masonry guard walls, retaining walls, culvert headwalls, tunnel portals, stone curbs, bridges and viaduct parapet walls that contribute to the park's National Historic Landmark District status. 

“We are thrilled to reopen this spectacular route linking the west and east sides of the park in time for the busy summer season,” Park Superintendent Greg Dudgeon stated in the news release. “As a result of all this work, visitors will have a smooth, scenic ride through the park and easier access to recreational opportunities.”

Stevens Canyon Road is buried under snow from approximately October through May every year, which limits construction work to the short, snow-free summer season. The roadway reopened to the public on May 24.

Th Great American Outdoors Act is part of a concerted effort to address the extensive deferred maintenance and repair backlog in national parks. Supported by revenue from energy development, the Great American Outdoors Act Legacy Restoration Fund provides up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education and enjoyment for current and future visitors, according to the park service.  

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