The votes are in, and Mount Rainier National Park might well say “You like me, you really like me — but couldn’t you like me more?”
As a result of six weeks of a popularity contest involving online voting by the public, the park that’s home to Washington’s iconic mountain will get a piece of a $1.8 million grant going to parks across the nation — but not nearly as much as Mount Rainier officials requested.
Mount Rainier was one of nine national parks and monuments that topped voting in the Partners in Preservation: National Parks campaign sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express, and promoted by National Geographic.
Each park put forth a preservation project proposed for funding through the program. Then the proposals went to an online plebiscite. Park fans cast more than 1 million votes between May 25 and July 5. Mount Rainier received 61,734 votes.
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As a result, Mount Rainier will receive $42,412 to help in the restoration of a historic Civilian Conservation Corps cabin in the Longmire Historic District. It was the smallest grant in the program. Other parks will receive as much as $250,000 each.
The park plans to use the cabin as a bunkhouse for search-and-rescue volunteers who help park rangers find missing hikers, climbers and skiers, according to park Superintendent Randy King. The park had requested $218,000 for the project, to bring the 1936 house back to a standard of usability. The park has a $300 million maintenance backlog.
The winning parks’ local nonprofit partners — Washington’s National Park Fund, in Rainier’s case — will receive a total of $1.8 million to help fund their projects. The nonprofit partners for all 20 national parks that vied for the prize money received a $10,000 grant at the outset of the campaign to help raise awareness of their preservation needs.
Other entities chosen for funding included Yellowstone National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park, World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Everglades National Park and Denali National Park.