NPSHistory.com

Copyright, Randall D. Payne
MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Washington




National Park Service History Electronic Library

The NPS History Electronic Library is a portal to electronic publications covering the history of the National Park Service (NPS) and the cultural and natural history of the national parks, monuments, and historic sites of the U.S. National Park System. The information contained in this Website is historical in scope and is not meant as an aid for travel planning; please refer to the official NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Website for current/additional information. While we are not affiliated with the National Park Service, we gratefully acknowledge the contributions by park employees and advocates, which has enabled us to create this free digital repository.

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New eLibrary Additions

Featured Publications

NPCA logo

Established in 1919, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is America's only private, nonprofit, advocacy organization dedicated solely to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System. Since its first issue in 1942, National Parks magazine remains the nation's only magazine focused solely on national parks and its aim remains to create an awareness of the need to protect and properly manage park resources, to encourage an appreciation for the natural and historic treasures found in the parks, and to inform and inspire individuals to help protect them.

We are pleased to announce that most back issues of National Parks magazine are now available for viewing. National Parks magazine is copyrighted by NPCA. NPCA owns the exclusive rights to these magazine issues and their contents including the trademarks and copyrights but has graciously granted us permission to post these back issues; please respect this copyright-holder by not re-posting this content. Use of these back issues is under license from NPCA — you may only view the National Parks magazine covers and contents for your personal use and at your own risk. While we are not an official partner of NPCA, we are greatly appreciative of their 100+ year efforts to protect our national parks and for allowing us to share their history.

Our operating agreement is to host all back issues excepting the most current issue (which we'll link to NPCA's online edition).


magazine covers


The National Parks Conservation Association logo and bear silhouettes depicted on this page are trademarks of the National Parks Conservation Association used under permission.


National Parks magazine 1942-2021, ©National Parks Conservation Association)

American Planning and Civic Annuals (Harlean James, ed., 1929-1955, ©American Planning and Civic Association)

Park Service Bulletin

1939 (Vol. IX): No 1 - January-FebruaryNo 2 - MarchNo 3 - AprilNo 4 - MayNo 5 - JuneNo 6 - JulyNo 7 - August-SeptemberNo 8 - October-NovemberNo 9 - December

1940 (Vol. X): No 1 - January-FebruaryNo 2 - March-AprilNo 3 - May-JuneNo 4 - July-AugustNo 5 - September-OctoberNo 6 - November-December

1941 (Vol. XI): No 1 - January-FebruaryNo 2 - March-AprilNo 3 - May-JuneNo 4 - July-AugustNo 5 - September-OctoberNo 6 - November-December

1942 (Vol. XII): No 1 - January-February

Our thanks to Nancy Russell and Eleanore Kohorn (Harpers Ferry Center) for these Park Service Bulletins!

1940 Yearbook: Park and Recreation Progress (Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1940)

1941 Yearbook: Park and Recreation Progress (Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1941)

Investigative Services Branch Annual Report: Highlights of 2020

Budget Justifications and Performance Information: National Park Service — Fiscal Year 2022 (aka NPS Greenbook)


Featured Publication

book cover
cover only

National Parks: The American Experience
(Alfred Runte, 2022)

Mount Rainier: A Record of Exploration (Edmond S. Meany, 1916)

The Forest Communities of Mount Rainier National Park Scientific Monograph Series No. 19 (Jerry F. Franklin, William H. Moir, Miles A. Hemstrom, Sarah E. Greene and Bradley G. Smith, 1988)

The Giant Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada (Richard J. Hartesveldt, H. Thomas Harvey, Howard S. Shellhammer and Ronald E. Stecker, 1975)

Biscayne National Park: The History of a Unique Park on the "Edge" — An Administrative History (Leslie Kemp Poole, 2019)

Administrative History Shenandoah National Park, 1924-1976 (Darwin Lambert, January 27, 1979, w/2021 reformatting revisions)

Historic Structure Report: Sugarlands Headquarters, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Quinn Evans, December 2019)

Crossroads of Change: An Environmental History of Pecos National Historical Park — Vols. I, II, Appendices and Bibliography Intermountain Cultural Resource Management Professional Paper No. 78 (Cori Knudten and Maren Bzdek, 2011

At the Foot of the Belton Hills: A Cultural Landscape History of the Headquarters Area, Glacier National Park (Ted Catton, January 2012)

A Symbol of Progress?: Memories of Bighorn Canyon and Yellowtail Dam (Shawn Bailey and Jonathan Hall, October 15, 2011)

National Park Service Campground Design Guidelines (May 2021)

Invasive Animals in U.S. National Parks: By a Science Panel NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/BRD/NRR-2017/1564 (Kent H. Redford, Karl Campbell, Ashley Dayer, Chris Dickman, Rebecca Epanchin-Niell, Ted Grosholz, Dave Hallac, Leslie Richardson and Mark Schwartz, December 2017)

Beringia: A Shared Heritage (Alaska Park Science, Vol. 20 No. 2, December 2021)

Women and the Transcontinental Railroad Through Utah, 1868-1869 (Wendy Simmons Johnson, extract from Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 88 No. 4, Fall 2020, ©Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois and Utah State Historical Society)

Murie Ranch Historic Furnishings Report (Diane M. Sanders, 2013)

Historic Context Report: Thomas Stuart Homestead, Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site (Avana Andrade, February 1, 2012)

Historical Trauma: A Case Study on the Phenomenon Within the Nez Perce (Sarah Nichole Parker, Master's Thesis University of Montana, Summer 2007)


Brochure: National Heritage Areas (2021)

From Skepticism to Support: National Heritage Areas in the West (Eleanor Mahoney, extract from Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 88 No. 2, Spring 2020, ©Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois and Utah State Historical Society)

Women Who Made History: Profiles from the Freedom's Way National Heritage Area (©Patrice Todisco/Freedom's Way National Heritage Area, 2020)

Racial Equity, Community Empowerment, and Social Cohesion: Sociocultural Impacts of National Heritage Areas Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Position Paper (Alliance of National Heritage Areas, October 2021)

Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area: African American Historic Resource Survey (Katie S. Randall, November 8, 2010)

Battle of Homestead and Carrie Furnaces 6 and 7 Special Resource Study/Environmental Assessment Draft (September 2002)


Specialized meltwater biodiversity persists despite widespread deglaciation (Clint C. Muhlfeld, Timothy J. Cline, J. Joseph Giersch, Erich Peitzch, Caitlyn Florentine, Dean Jacobsen and Scott Hotaling, PNAS, Vol. 117 No. 22, June 2, 2020)

A 2000-year Environmental History of Jackson Hole Wyoming Inferred from Lake-sediment Records (Karen Jacobs and Cathy Whitlock, 2008)

Historic Structures—Vegetation Control Management Plan, Fort Laramie National Historic Site (March 31, 2005)

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument Oral History Project, Phase One Report (Nichelle Frank and Ruth Alexander, December 2011)

National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers National Historic Landmark Context Study (Suzanne Julin, August 2009)

Geologic Resources Inventory Report: Lake Clark National Park and Preserve NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/GRD/NRR-2021/2331 (Amanda Lanik, Jason Rogers and Ronald D. Karpilo, Jr., November 2021)

Geologic Resources Inventory Report: John Muir National Historic Site NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/GRD/NRR-2021/2333 (Katie KellerLynn, November 2021)

The Petrified Forests of Arizona (Lester W. Ward, extract from Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1901)

Pecos National Monument New Mexico: Its Geologic Setting USGS Bulletin 1271-E (Ross B. Johnson, 1969)

Geology of Devils Tower National Monument USGS Bulletin 1021-I (Chris S. Robinson, 1956)

The Glacier National Park: A Popular Guide to its Geology and Scenery USGS Bulletin 600 (Marius R. Campbell, 1914)

National Park Service Geologic Type Section Inventory, Mojave Desert Inventory & Monitoring Network NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/MOJN/NRR-2021/2340 (Tim C. Henderson, Vincent L. Santucci, Tim Connors and Justin S. Tweet, December 2021)

A Geologic Field Guide to S P Mountain and its Lava Flow, San Francisco Volcanic Field, Arizona U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021-1072 (Amber L. Gullikson, M. Elise Rumpf, Lauren A. Edgar, Laszlo P. Keszthelyi, James A. Skinner, Jr. and Lisa Thompson, 2021)

Paleontological Resource Inventory (Public Version), Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/PARA/NRR-2021/2338 (Justin S. Tweet, Holley Flora, Sumner Rose Weeks, Eathan McIntyre and Vincent L. Santucci, December 2021)


Canyonlands Archeological Project Reports

1. Cultural Resource Inventory and Testing in the Salt Creek Pocket and Devils Lane Areas, Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah Selections from the Division of Cultural Resources, Rocky Mountain Region No. 1 (Betsy L. Tipps and Nancy J. Hewitt, 1989)

2. Holocene Archaeology near Squaw Butte, Canyonlands National Park, Utah Selections from the Division of Cultural Resources, Rocky Mountain Region No. 7 (Betsy L. Tipps, 1995)

3. Cultural Resource Inventory in Butler Flat, Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah (Betsy T. Tipps, ed., 1996)

4. Cultural Resource Investigations Near White Crack, Island-in-the Sky District, Canyonlands National Park, UtahCultural Resources Selections, Intermountain Region No. 11 (Betsy L. Tipps, Andre D. La Fond, and Robert I Birnie, 1996)

5. Archaic Foragers and Ancestral Puebloans of Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands Archeological Project Report No. 5 (Alan R. Schroedl and Nancy J. Coulam, P-III Associates, Inc., November 2021; completed as a volunteer contribution)

Our thanks to Alan Schroedl for these Canyonlands Archeological Project Reports!

Archeological Investigation of Rooms 15 and 16 at the Upper Cliff Dwelling (AZ U:8:48 [ASM]), Tonto National Monument Western Archeological and Conservation Center Publications in Anthropology No. 73 (Gregory L. Fox, et al., 2000)

The Archeology of Beaver Creek Shelter (39CU779): A Preliminary Statement Selections from the Division of Cultural Resources, Rocky Mountain Region No. 3 (Lynn Marie Alex, June 1991)

Aztec Ruins National Monument Trail Guide (Southwestern Monuments Association, 1957)

Perry Cabin: Historic American Building Survey State Level III Documentation, Rocky Mountain National Park Building 0573 (5LR.1859) (Tyler Welch, 2010)

History of pronghorn population monitoring, research, and management in Yellowstone National Park (Kim A. Keating, March 26, 2002)

Greater Yellowstone's Mountain Ungulates: A contract in management histories and chalenges (P.J. White, Robert A. Garrott and Douglas E. McWhirter, eds., 2021)

Vegetation and Snow Phenology Monitoring in the Arctic Network through 2020: Results from Satellites and Land-based Cameras NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/ARCN/NRR-2021/2337 (David K. Swanson, December 2021)

Review of the Sea Turtle Science and Recovery Program, Padre Island National Seashore (2021)


Featured Publication

Celebrating Our Past: The First Fifty Years of Denver Service Center's Service and Stewardship (Edie Ramey, November 2021)

This Land is Our Land — Restoring the National Park Service and Our National Parks: Recommendations from the Coalition to Protect America's National Parks (Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, 2020)

The Grand Dream of an International Park With Mexico Meets a Complicated Reality (Francisco Cantú, extract from Audubon Magazine, Winter 2021)

Management Plan Environmental Assessment, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (November 2021)

Park Suitability Study, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (February 1976)

Capacity Analysis/Water Management Alternatives, South Rim Developed Area, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (April 1978)

Capacity Analysis/Water Management Alternatives: Summary, South Rim Developed Area, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (April 1978)

Preliminary Wilderness Proposal, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (July 1976)

Feral Burro Management Plan and Environmental Assessment, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (November 1976)

Natural Resource Survey and Analysis of Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments Final Report (Gary C. Bateman, December 1976; incomplete)

Natural Resource Survey and Analysis of Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments Final Report (Phase III) (Gary C. Bateman, January 1980; incomplete)

Natural Resource Survey and Analysis of Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments Final Report (Phase IV) (Gary C. Bateman, January 1981; incomplete)

The Wupatki Archeological Inventory Survey Project: Final Report Southwest Cultural Resources Center (SCRC) Professional Papers No. 35 (Bruce A. Anderson, 1990)

Final Environmental Impact Statement/General Management Plan, Wupatki National Monument, Arizona (November 2002)

Backcountry Management Plan / GMP Amendment / Environmental Assessment, Wupatki National Monument (December 2021)


Report of the General Superintendent and Landscape Engineer of National Parks to the Secretary of the Interior (Mark Daniels, 1915)

Report on Sullys Hill Park, Casa Grande Ruin, Muir Woods, Petrified Forest, and Other National Monuments Together with List of Bird Reserves — 1914 (1915)

Report of the Superintendent of Crater Lake National Park to the Secretary of the Interior: 1910 (A.F. Arant, 1911)

Report of the Superintendent of Crater Lake National Park to the Secretary of the Interior: 1913 (Will G. Steel, 1914)

Report of the Superintendent of Crater Lake National Park to the Secretary of the Interior: 1914 (1Will G. Steel, 915)

Report of the Superintendent of Crater Lake National Park to the Secretary of the Interior: 1915 (Will G. Steel, 1916)

Report to the Secretary of the Interior by the Supervisor of the Glacier National Park: 1915 (S.F. Ralston, 1915)

Report of the Acting Superintendent of the Mesa Verde National Park to the Secretary of the Interior: 1911 (Richard Wright, 1911)

Report to the Secretary of the Interior by the Superintendent of the Mesa Verde National Park: 1915 (Thomas Rickner, 1915)

Reports of the Superintendent of the Mesa Verde National Park and J. Walter Fewkes, in Charge of Excavation and Repair of Ruins to the Secretary of the Interior: 1909 (Hans M. Randolph and J. Walter Fewkes, 1909)

Report to the Secretary of the Interior by the Supervisor of the Mount Rainier National Park: 1915 (D.L. Reaburn, 1915)

Report of the Superintendent of the Platt National Park: 1913 (Will J. French, 1913)

Report of the Superintendent of the Platt National Park: 1914 (R.A. Sneed, 1914)

Report of the Superintendent of the Platt National Park: 1915 (R.A. Sneed, 1915)

Report of the Acting Supervisor of the Rocky Mountain National Park: 1915 (C.R. Trowbridge, 1915)

Report of the Acting Superintendent of the Wind Cave National Park: 1914 (Frederick N. Dille, 1914)

Report of the Supervisor of the Wind Cave National Park: 1915 (T.W. Brazell, 1915)


Possibilities of Shelterbelt Planting in the Plains Region (1935)

Looking at History: Indiana's Hoosier National Forest Region, 1600 to 1950 (Ellen Sieber and Cheryl Ann Munson, 1992)

Looking at Prehistory: Indiana's Hoosier National Forest Region, 12,000 B.C. to 1650 (Noel D. Justice, November 2006)

Thirty-two Years in the Mule Business: The USDA/Forest Service Remount Depot and Winter Range, Lolo National Forest (Jane Reed Benson, 1980, reprinted 08/1987)

A History of the United States Forest Service in Alaska (©Lawrence W. Rakestraw, 1981)

National Forests of Wyoming USDA Miscellaneous Circular No. 82 (February 1927)

Iconic Places of the USDA Forest Service (Ecosystem Workforce Program, Fall 2019)

Iconic Places of the U.S. Forest Service: Values, Conditions, Challenges, and Opportunities Ecosystem Workforce Program Working Paper No. 85 (Autumn Ellison, Eric M. White and Matthew Arnn, Summer 2018)

Comprehensive Plan: Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail (September 2021)


Foundation Documents

African Burial Ground National Monument, New York (August 2018)

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska (September 2012)

Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Pennsylvania (October 2013)

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Tennessee (July 2015)

Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland (September 2013)

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Virginia (November 2015)

Arches National Park, Utah (August 2013)

Arkansas Post National Memorial, Arkansas, Draft (December 2016)

Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland-Virginia (March 2018)

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico (August 2015)

Badlands National Park, South Dakota (September 2017)

Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida (December 2016)

Big Thicket National Preserve, Texas (May 2014)

Biscayne National Park, Florida (August 2018)

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado (December 2013)

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina-Virginia (October 2016)

Bluestone National Scenic River, West Virginia (March 2016)

Booker T. Washington National Monument, Virginia (February 2018)

Boston National Historical Park, Massachusetts (December 2015)

Boston African American National Historic Site, Massachusetts (November 2015)

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Kansas (August 2017)

Buck Island Reef National Monument, U.S. Virgin Islands (August 2017)

Buffalo National River, Arkansas (October 2018)

Cabrillo National Monument, California (February 2017)

Canaveral National Seashore, Florida (July 2015)

Camp Nelson National Monument, Kentucky (April 2020)

Cane River Creole National Historical Park, Louisiana (September 2015)

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona (December 2016)

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (January 2018)

Capulin Volcano National Monument, New Mexico (May 2014)

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, North Carolina (July 2014)

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico (February 2017)

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Florida (June 2016)

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah (November 2015)

César E. Chávez National Monument, California (September 2015)

Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico (August 2015)

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Ohio (June 2014)

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Georgia (May 2017)

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, District of Columbia-Maryland-West Virginia (July 2013)

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Tennessee/Georgia (August 2016)

Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Oklahoma (March 2017)

Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona (January 2016)

City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho (February 2018)

Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia (May 2018)

Colorado National Monument, Colorado (March 2015)

Coronado National Memorial, Arizona (January 2016)

Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia (February 2014)

Curecanti National Recreation Area, Colorado (December 2013)

Devils Postpile National Monument, California (January 2017)

El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico (September 2014)

El Morro National Monument, New Mexico (September 2014)

Fire Island National Seashore, New York (November 2018)

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Colorado (January 2016)

Flight 93 National Memorial, Pennsylvania (June 2018)

Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Arizona (January 2016)

Fort Davis National Historic Site, Texas (June 2016)

Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Kentucky-Tennessee (October 2020)

Fort Larned National Historic Site, Kansas (July 2017)

Fort Matanzas National Monument, Florida (June 2016)

Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Pennsylvania (October 2013)

Fort Pulaski National Monument, Georgia (August 2016)

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, North Carolina (July 2017)

Fort Smith National Historic Site, Arkansas-Oklahoma (January 2017)

Fort Sumter National Monument, South Carolina (January 2016)

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Montana-North Dakota (June 2013)

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Washington-Oregon (March 2017)

Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming (March 2017)

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, Massachusetts (November 2016)

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Virginia (November 2015)

Freedom Riders National Monument, Alabama (October 2018)

Friendship Hill National Historic Site, Pennsylvania (October 2013)

Gateway National Recreation Area, New Jersey-New York (May 2017)

Gauley River National Recreation Area, West Virginia (June 2016)

General Grant National Memorial, New York (July 2018)

George Washinton Birthplace National Monument, Virginia (October 2018)

George Washington Memorial Parkway, District of Columbia-Maryland-Virginia (December 2014)

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Arizona-Utah (September 2014)

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California (May 2017)

Golden Spike National Historic Site, Utah (November 2017)

Governors Island National Monument, New York (November 2018)

Great Basin National Park, Nevada (August 2015)

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado (January 2017)

Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida-Mississippi (June 2016)

Haleakala National Park, Hawai'i (September 2015)

Hamilton Grange National Memorial, New York (August 2018)

Hampton National Historic Site, Maryland (May 2016)

Homestead National Monument of America, Nebraska (August 2015)

Honouliuli National Historic Site, Hawai'i (August 2019)

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania (July 2017)

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, Alabama (September 2014)

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas (June 2012)

Hovenweep National Monument, Colorado/Utah (August 2013)

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana (July 2016)

James A. Garfield National Historic Site, Ohio (July 2014)

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Louisiana (April 2015)

Jewel Cave National Monument, South Dakota (February 2016)

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon (March 2017)

John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site, Massachusetts (December 2015)

Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Pennsylvania (October 2013)

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Georgia (July 2013)

Keweenaw National Historical Park, Michigan (March 2017)

Kings Mountain National Military Park, South Carolina (July 2017)

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, North Dakota (June 2013)

Lava Beds National Monument, California (February 2017)

Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona-Nevada (September 2015)

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Texas (April 2014)

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California (December 2016)

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Oregon (April 2015)

Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois (November 2017)

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, Arkansas (December 2017)

Lowell National Historical Park, Massachusetts (September 2017)

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, Texas (February 2014)

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, Virginia (June 2017)

Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia (October 2014)

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Vermont (August 2017)

Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site, Georgi (August 2017)

Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, New York (October 2016)

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado (October 2015)

Minidoka National Historic Site, Idaho-Washington (May 2016)

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, South Dakota (June 2017)

Missouri National Recreational River, Nebraska-South Dakota (August 2017)

Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona (March 2016)

Moores Creek National Battlefield, North Carolina (December 2012)

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota (September 2015)

Natchez National Historical Park, Mississippi (November 2013)

Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi-Alabama-Tennessee (October 2014)

Navajo National Monument, Arizona (August 2017)

New Orleans Jaze National Historical Park, Louisiana (April 2015)

New River Gorge National River, West Virginia (2011)

Ninety Six National Historic Site, South Carolina (October 2014)

Niobrara National Scenic River, Nebraska (October 2016)

Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia (October 2014)

Olympic National Park, Washington (September 2017)

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, Oregon (August 2015)

Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Missouri (September 2016)

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site, Texas (June 2013)

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, New Jersey (April 2018)

Pea Ridge National Military Park, Arkansas (November 2016)

Pecos National Historical Park, New Mexico (December 2015)

Petersburg National Battlefield, Virginia (October 2016)

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona (December 2015)

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan (July 2016)

Pinnacles National Park, California (January 2015)

Pipe Spring National Monument, Arizona (November 2015)

President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site, Arkansas (March 2013)

Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, South Carolina (September 2019)

Richmond National Battlefield Park, Virginia (April 2017)

Rock Creek Park, District of Columbia (September 2015)

Roger Williams National Memorial, Rhode Island (February 2017)

Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, California (February 2017)

Russell Cave National Monument, Alabama (September 2014)

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, New York (May 2018)

St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, Minnesota and Wisconsin (September 2017)

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, New Hampshire (June 2015)

Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site, New York (August 2018)

Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Massachusetts (September 2019)

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, New Mexico (September 2014)

Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Reserve, U.S. Virgin Islands (February 2015)

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Texas (March 2016)

San Juan National Historic Site, Puerto Rico (September 2013)

San Juan Island National Historical Park, Washington (February 2017)

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, Colorado (December 2017)

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, California (May 2015)

Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, Massachusetts (September 2019)

Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska (August 2015)

Shiloh National Military Park, Tennessee-Mississippi (April 2016)

Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska (June 2012)

Steamtown National Historic Site, Pennsylvania (August 2018)

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Kansas (June 2017)

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota (April 2014)

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, New York (August 2018)

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, New York (October 2017)

Thomas Stone National Historic Site, Maryland (June 2017)

Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Utah (October 2016)

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Florida (December 2012)

Tonto National Monument, Arizona (October 2017)

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, Nevada (June 2019)

Tumacácori National Historic Park, Arizona (September 2014)

Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Alabama (April 2017)

Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, Alabama (April 2017)

Tuzigoot National Monument, Arizona (February 2016)

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, Missouri (June 2016)

Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico (March 2018)

Valley Forge National Historical Park, Pennsylvania (December 2018)

Waco Mammoth National Monument, Texas (September 2016)

Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, Oklahoma (October 2016)

Weir Farm National Historic Site, Connecticut (October 2017)

Whitman Mission National Historic Site, Washington (July 2017)

William Howard Taft National Historic Site, Ohio (December 2014)

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, Missouri (January 2017)

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Virginia (May 2013)

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Pearl Harbor, Hawai'i (September 2015)

Wright Brothers National Memorial, North Carolina (July 2017)

Yucca House National Monument, Colorado (October 2015)

Our thanks to Thomas Bohannan for supplying us with this extensive collection of Foundation Documents!


Mount Rainier National Park
(Harpers Ferry Center)


       NPS REFLECTIONS

Mt. Rainier and the Nisqually Glacier from the summit of Pinnacle Peak (NPS)
Glacier Recession in Mount Rainier National Park

     Introduction

While attention was called to the value of a study of the recession of the glaciers of Mount Rainier by I. C. Russell, of the U. S. Geological Survey (1), in 1897, and Professor J. N. LeConte, of the University of California, in 1907 (2), annual recession tabulations were not undertaken until 1918. In that year F. W. Schmoe, the first park naturalist of Mount Rainier National Park, and Professor Henry C. Landes, of the University of Washington, collaborated in the initiation of such a study on the Nisqually Glacier (3).

That the Nisqually Glacier was receding was noticed by members of the Longmire family (4) about 1885. Accustomed to obtaining ice from the glacier for use in preserving perishable foods, they noticed that they were required to walk farther, each year, to reach the terminus of the Nisqually where the ice was procured. In consequence the position of the Nisqually's terminus became identified with nearby topographical features so that it was possible to locate the place, fairly accurately, in later years.

When recession measurements were begun in 1918, this and other historical records, which were considered authentic, were included in the annual tabulation. Lieut. A. V. Kautz' notations in connection with the snout of the Nisqually in 1857, on the occasion, of the first attempted ascent, aided in the determination of the position of the ice for that year. Consequently recession data, in this instance, go back to the time when the ice of the Nisqually Glacier occupied a position some distance below the present bridge which now spans the Nisqually River.

Glaciers of Mount Rainier for which annual recession records are maintained.

In addition to the Nisqually, recession data are also being recorded annually upon the Emmons, South Tahoma, Carbon, Paradise and Stevens glaciers (5). These six glaciers of varying size and type, which are located upon different sides of Mount Rainier, give a representative picture of the present state of the glaciers of Mount Rainier in general.

The Emmons Glacier (largest in the United States exclusive of Alaska) and the Nisqually are born in the neve field at the summit of Mount Rainier. The Emmons flows in a general northeasterly direction while the Nisqually takes a southern course from the summit. The South Tahoma and Carbon glaciers are both cirque-born, having their origin in glacially carved amphitheaters at about the 10,00 foot elevation. The terminus of the Carbon Glacier is generally recognized as the lowest perpetual ice in the United States (exclusive of Alaska), the present elevation of the terminus of the Carbon Glacier being approximately 3600 feet above sea level. From the base of Willis Wall the Carbon Glacier flows in a general northwesterly direction and, as its lower portion is flanked by high cliffs that prevent ready access of sunlight during the greater part of the day, the recession in this case is generally less than that of the other glaciers. The South Tahoma Glacier flows in a south-westerly direction.

All of the above glaciers, which are of the alpine or valley type, have a definite downward movement. Because of this they are popularly known as "living" glaciers. The Stevens Glacier, a glacieret or cliff glacier, is almost stagnant. It is therefore known locally as a "dead" glacier. The Paradise Glacier is, in reality, a lobe of the Stevens, and old photos indicate that it has receded considerably since 1912. Like the Stevens, the Paradise is a glacieret or cliff glacier that is largely stagnant.

The results of the recession measurements of all these glaciers are annually transmitted to the Committee on Glaciers of the American Geophysical Union (branch of the National Research Council). That Committee has organized systematic measurements on many other glaciers in the United States and Alaska, and constitutes the central clearing house for information on glaciers in this country. Its reports are published annually in the Transactions of the American Geophysical Union.

Methods used in measuring the recession of glaciers in Mount Rainier National Park.

The determination of the actual end of the ice in the case of practically all of the glaciers on Mount Rainier is a difficult matter. The inclination of the ice at the termini, the presence of ice caves or ice "lips", the varying widths of the termini and their irregular shapes, the character and depth of the morainal material and numerous other factors all contribute to the confusion in determining the actual end of the glaciers in question. In the case of the Emmons and South Tahoma glaciers, the abundance of morainal material makes it particularly difficult to determine the exact extent of the ice.

Because of the difficulties noted above, it was decided that the point in the ice from which the main stream emerged would be arbitrarily considered as the true terminus of each glacier and that this would be adhered to, irrespective of other factors involved, in the recession measurements (6). This method undoubtedly will cause inconsistencies in recession tabulations from time to time, as it has in the case of the Emmons Glacier. It is felt, however that over a period of years the average annual recession figure will be more nearly accurate than if miscellaneous and poorly defined points were selected.

The method by which recession is measured differs with the glacier in question. In the case of the Emmons measurements are made from points on a base line located by instrumental survey. Whenever possible rocks, which have the appearance of permanency, are also marked and check measurements are made from these when possible. Large rocks below the Nisqually, South Tahoma, and Stevens glaciers are marked annually and the recession is tabulated from measurements made from these. In the case of the Carbon Glacier a large rock outcrop, over 700 feet from the terminus, was, after several unsuccessful attempts to locate a permanent marker, selected. This was the nearest permanent point that could be found, but in the fall of 1936 a rock on the moraine below the ice was marked for use in future check data. Three points along the broad front of the Paradise Glacier have been marked and measurements have been made from these each year.


Map of the Glacier System, Mount Rainier National Park, 1896 (U.S. Geological Survey)

The glacier system of Mount Rainier

This subject is treated in detail in the pamphlet, "Mount Rainier and Its Glaciers", by Dr. F. E. Matthes. However a brief paragraph in this connection will aid the reader of this issue of "Nature Notes" to gain an understanding of the size and scope of this great glacier system.

Mount Rainier is credited with twenty-eight named glaciers aggregating a total ice area of somewhat less than 48 square miles. It is obvious that this ice area is not constant, that it varies slightly from year to year and, as recession data on six of these glaciers indicate, is becoming less in extent each year in common with other glacier systems throughout the world. These recession measurements indicate that the glaciers here are rapidly receding, and there is abundant evidence, in the form of glacially carved U-shaped canyons, moraines, hanging valleys, cirques and glacial tarns, to indicate that the glacier system here was much more extensive than it is today.

Geographic location and climatic factors.

While the existing glacier system on Mount Rainier is but one small remnant of the former extent of the ice in the northwest during that geological period popularly known as the "ice age", it is relatively interesting and important because of the fact that it is the largest of those remnants. In accounting for the present existence of this large glacier system here many factors enter into consideration. Chief among these is the geographic location of Mount Rainier and the climatic factors of the Pacific Northwest.

Mount Rainier National Park lies west of the crest line of the Cascade Range, a portion of which forms a part of the eastern boundary of the park, and which is a north-south climatic boundary in the State of Washington. Thus the geographic position of this area is largely responsible for its climate. The prevailing winds are from the west and are heavily laden with moisture from the Pacific Ocean. As these winds rise in passing over the Cascades. rapid condensation of this moisture is brought about with consequent heavy precipitation, since air cools upon rising and loses its capacity for holding moisture. Topographic features account for local variations in precipitation and, in general, windward slopes receive a greater amount of moisture than do leeward exposures. This accounts for the fact that, although 900 feet higher, the Yakima Park (Sunrise) section of Mount Rainier National Park receives considerably less snowfall than does the Paradise area, for the former is on the leeward side of Mount Rainier.

In general, however, Mount Rainier National Park is characterized by heavy precipitation in common with other areas of like altitude west of the crest of the Cascades. About 75% of the total precipitation each year falls in the period from October to May. Based upon records of the U.S. Weather Bureau the average annual precipitation for Paradise Park (5557') is roughly 100 inches (7). This may be contrasted with the record for Longmire (2760') where the average annual rate is about 78 inches.

Average monthly and annual precipitation (8).


Jan.Feb. Mar.Apr.May Jun.Jul. Aug.Sept. Oct.Nov.Dec. Annual
Longmire12.577.97 8.065.074.01 2.731.12 1.733.79 7.8910.1913.05 78.25
Paradise15.939.28 10.676.314.97 3.591.28 2.977.18 9.7911.5815.41 100.14


Average monthly and annual snowfall (8).


Jan.Feb. Mar.Apr.May Jun.Jul. Aug.Sept. Oct.Nov.Dec. Annual
Longmire44.630.1 33.813.82.5 .0.0 .0Trace 1.115.228.8 178.9
Paradise120.864.5 96.751.723.3 6.3.4 Trace7.5 21.464.8101.6 578.5

This great amount of precipitation, the bulk of which falls as snow at the higher elevations (between 9000 and 12000 feet) where most of the glaciers originate, accounts for the existence of the glacier system upon the broad flanks of Mount Rainier. The annual snowfall, transformed into ice by pressure and other means, thus partly offsets the annual melting and, while the glaciers here are receding, this remnant of the "ice age" manages to exist in spite of the inroads of a more temperate climate. The upper slopes of Mount Rainier may be regarded as an artic "island" in a temperate "sea", a fact that accounts for many of the features of interest in this area.

In spite of its latitude, which is comparable to northern Maine, and its excessive snowfall, Mount Rainier National Park is characterized by comparatively mild winters. This is largely due to the proximity of the Pacific Ocean and the prevailing westerly winds. The summers in this region are, in turn, rarely possessed of extended hot periods. The equable climate of Mount Rainier National Park is best demonstrated by temperature records, prepared by the United States Weather Bureau, as follows.

Average Temperature (9).


Jan.Feb. Mar.Apr.May Jun.Jul. Aug.Sept. Oct.Nov.Dec. Annual
Longmire30.332.0 35.240.947.7 54.759.8 60.652.5 46.437.831.6 44.1
Paradise26.327.2 27.934.240.8 46.151.6 50.744.9 40.633.627.4 38.0


Highest Temperature (9).


Jan.Feb. Mar.Apr.May Jun.Jul.Aug. Sept.Oct.Nov. Dec.
Long.585973 859598105 99958876 60
Par.625866 70888686 100837969 60


Lowest Temperature (9).


Jan.Feb. Mar.Apr.May Jun.Jul.Aug. Sept.Oct.Nov. Dec.
Long.-9-89 12212833 3524178 -7
Par.-14-120 2142320 241822 -20


Areas covered by glaciers in the United States
(exclusive of Alaska)

There are nine major areas of glacier ice in the United States (exclusive of Alaska) and a comparison of their relative sizes indicates that the greater percentage exists in the Pacific Northwest. Such a condition is, of course, due to climatic factors of this section that have already been pointed out. These major areas of glacial ice are listed below in their order of importance. (10)

1. Mount Rainier, Washington . . .48- square miles.
2. Mount Baker, Washington . . .24- square miles.
3. Glacier National Park Montana . . .21- square miles.
4. Wind River Mountains, Wyoming . . .15- square miles.
5. Cascade Crest, Skagit County, Wash. . .14- square miles.
6. Glacier Peak, Washington . . .12- square miles.
7. Mt. Shuksan, Washington . . .7- square miles.
8. Mount Hood, Oregon . . .6- square miles.
9. Mount Shasta, California . . .3- square miles.

There are, of course, several other areas possessing glaciers, such as the Olympic Mountains of Washington, certain parts of the Cascades not mentioned in the above tabulation, parts of the Sierras in California and parts of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.


Footnotes

(1) Russell, I. C. Glaciers of Mount Rainier. 18th Annual Report of the U. S. G. S., Part 2; pp. 349-415. 1897.

(2) LeConte, J. N. The Motion of the Nisqually Glacier. Sierra Club Bulletin; Vol. VI, No. 2; pp 108-114. January, 1907.

(3) Two investigations of the movement of the Nisqually Glacier have also been conducted. In July, 1905, Professor J. N. LeConte made such a study and the results were published in the Sierra Club Bulletin as noted above. In 1930-32, the City of Tacoma (Dept. of Public Utilities), U. S. Geological Survey (Water Resources Division), U. S. National Park Service, and U. S. Bureau of Public Roads cooperated in a similar study. While the results of this last study were not published, several typewritten reports, relative to this investigation, were prepared by Mr. Llewellyn Evans. Copies of these reports are included in the library of the park museum, Mount Rainier National Park, Longmire, Washington.

(4) James Longmire discovered the mineral springs near the present village of Longmire, local National Park Service headquarters, in 1883 and took out a mineral claim on the area in that year. For many years the Longmire family operated a small hotel here. (See Brockman, C.F. A History of Mount Rainier National Park. Mt. Rainier National Park "Nature Notes", Vol. XV, No. 2; June 1937. pp 66-67).

(5) Recession measurements were made annually on the Nisqually Glacier from 1918-1928 by F. W. Schmoe, thereafter by the writer. Annual measurements on the ether glaciers noted were initiated by the writer.

(6) The Paradise Glacier, because of individual conditions, is an exception to this rule.

(7) This includes the average annual snowfall for this region which is from 50-60 feet, the maximum depth at any one time varying from 15 to 25 feet. On April 2, 1917, a maximum depth of 27 feet and 2 inches was noted, this being the greatest so far recorded. While no official records are available for Yakima Park, casual observations over a period of the past five or six years indicate that the snowfall is considerably less than at Paradise Valley - 10 to 15 feet being the usual maximum depth.

(8) Prepared from U. S. Weather Bureau records. Precipitation data for Longmire from records taken over a 28 year period (1909-1936); for Paradise from records taken over a 19 year period (1918-1936). Snowfall data for Longmire prepared from records taken over a 25 year period (1912-1936); for Paradise from records taken over a 17 year period (1920-1936).

(9) Prepared from U.S. Weather Bureau records. Longmire data computed from records taken over a 24 year period (1913-1936). Paradise data computed from records taken over a 16 year period (1921-1936).

(10) This tabulation was prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey in answer to a request from this park in September, 1935. Concerning this tabulation Mr. G. F. Loughlin, Chief Geologist, U.S.G.S., states -

"Mr. W. C. Alden. . . .reports the following concerning the approximate areas of existing glaciers on Mt. Rainier and other peaks in Washington, Mt. Hood, Oregon, Mt. Shasta, Calif., the mountains of Glacier Nat'l Park, Mont., and the Wind River Mountains, Wyo., these being the largest areas of glacier ice in the United States, not including Alaska. These estimates were made by Mr. Alden by tracing and fitting together composites of the several individual glaciers in each of the mountain groups, as shown on the following topographic maps, and are, of course, only approximately correct."

Guide Map of Mount Rainier National Park, 1937 (NPS)

     Acknowledgments

The writer first wishes to, again, call attention to the fact that glacier recession studies in Mount Rainier National Park were initiated by F. W. Schmoe, the first park naturalist of this area, and Professor Henry C. Landes of the University of Washington. The tabulations in recent years were merely continuations of the original efforts of those men.

The interest and counsel of Dr. F. E. Matthes, Senior Geologist of the United States Geological Survey, who is Chairman of the Committee on Glaciers of the American Geophysical Union, is also gratefully acknowledged. Dr. Matthes' broad knowledge and great interest in this field has been of particular value.

Inasmuch as those annual tabulations of the recession of the glaciers are a part of the work of the naturalist department of this national park, these studies have been encouraged by the National Park Service and great interest in the results has been manifested by Dr. H. C. Bryant, Assistant Director of the National Park Service, Mr. E. A. Trager, Chief Naturalist of the National Park Service, Major O. A. Tomlinson, Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park, and many other administrative officials. This interest and encouragement has been of great value to all who had a part in this program.

In the actual performance of the field work in connection with the tabulation of recession data, acknowledgement must be made of the help of all who had a part in it. Particular mention should be made of the assistance of ranger-naturalists Natt Dodge (now junior park naturalist of the Southwest Monuments) and Dr. E. T. Bodenberg; of rangers Frank Greer and Charles Browne, of the members of the engineering party who laid out the base line in the case of the Emmons Glacier, and of the numerous C.C.C. men who also rendered valuable field assistance. It may also be appropriate for the writer to acknowledge the assistance of his wife who, on many occasions, aided in making the recession measurements and in tabulating the results. (C.F.B.)


Nisqually Glacier (U.S. Geological Survey)

     Nisqually Glacier

Recession measurements have been made on the Nisqually Glacier in every year since 1918 and, in addition, the position of its terminus has been located by authentic historical records for three periods, one as far back as 1857 when, in July of that year, Lieut. A. V. Kautz and four companions made the first known attempt to ascend Mount Rainier. This party reached the base of Mount Rainier via the Nisqually Valley. At its upper end they found a wall of ice which was the terminus of the Nisqually Glacier, source of the river of the same name. In his diary of the trip Kautz stated:

"where the glacier terminated, the immense vein of granite that was visible on both sides seemed to form a narrow throat to the great ravine, which is much wider both above and below." (1)

This place was identified about 760 feet below the present bridge across the Nisqually River when annual recession measurements were initiated in 1918. In 1835, according to Len Longmire, the ice terminated at a point about where the present bridge spans the Nisqually River. In 1892 the snout occupied a position about 140 feet above the bridge. Since 1918 measurements have been made annually from rocks, appropriately marked, in the river channel. In this manner, with the exception of two occasions hereinafter described, recession data have been computed without difficulty. On October 13, 1932, following a period of exceptionally heavy rainfall, a washout occurred which temporarily modified the appearance of the terminus of the Nisqually Glacier and removed a considerable number of the rocks from the river channel that had served as markers in previous years. However a sufficient number remained intact so that this did not interfere a great deal with the accuracy of annual recession tabulations. This washout was in the nature of a huge "surge" of impounded water which swept off the moraine-covered surface of the glacier, carrying all in its path before it. The concrete bridge, over one quarter of a mile below, was completely destroyed.

On October 23-26, 1934, a similar happening took place. In this case three "surges" materially damaged the new concrete bridge, which had just been completed, and the appearance of the terminus of the glacier was also greatly modified. The marker, which had just been painted on a large rock in the river channel, was destroyed. It was therefore necessary, on November 2, 1934, to establish a new point (310 feet from the ice) on a large granite block for future reference.

Tabulation of recession data.

1857-1885 .......760 feet.
1926-1927 .......43 feet.
1885-1892 .......140 feet.
1927-1928 .......89 feet.
1892-1918 .......1310 feet.
1928-1929 .......52 feet.
1918-1919 .......59 feet.
1929-1930 .......118 feet.
1919-1920 .......46 feet.
1930-1931 .......49 feet.
1920-1921 .......106 feet.
1931-1932 .......50 feet.
1921-1922 .......67 feet.
1932-1933 .......44 feet.
1922-1923 .......44 feet.
1933-1934 .......155 feet.
1923-1924 .......83 feet.
1934-1935 .......54 feet.
1924-1925 .......73 feet.
1935-1936 .......65 feet.
1925-1926 .......86 feet.
1936-1937 .......55 feet.

The average recession of the Nisqually Glacier, since 1857, is 44.35 feet per year. However, if one studies the above tabulation it will become apparent that this glacier, since 1918, has retreated much more rapidly than was the case during, any previous period of years since 1857. From 1857 to 1885 the average annual recession was 27.14 feet. From 1885 to 1892 the average annual recession was 20 feet. From 1892 to 1918 the average annual recession was 50.38 feet while since 1918 the average annual recession has been 70.42 feet.

(1) See Meany, E. S. Mt. Rainier - A Record of Exploration. 1916. pp. 72-93.



The source of Emmons Glacier showing the summit and eastern slope of Mount Rainier (U.S. Geological Survey)

     Emmons Glacier

Recession measurements on the Emmons Glacier, largest on Mount Rainier and largest in the United States (exclusive of Alaska), were initiated on September 22, 1930, when, with the cooperation of the engineering department, a metal NPS marker was cemented in a fissure on top of a large boulder. This boulder was on the south side of the White River and at the base of a cliff at that point. It can be readily recognized from a distance by a prominent zig-zag stripe of lighter colored material that runs through. its approximate center.

From this point a base line was surveyed, bearing N. 20 W. The line cut across the glacier above the point from which the main stream issued and consequently, in accordance with our original policy of considering the actual terminus of the ice as the point from which the main stream issued, the distance from the base line to the terminus was considered as nil.

The use of a base line was deemed advisable in this case inasmuch as it was apparent that the Emmons Glacier would be a difficult one upon which to measure the recession with any degree of accuracy by any other method. No definite point can really be taken to represent the actual terminus. The ice, at the end of the glacier, is wide and irregular in form. In addition it possesses a heavy covering of morainal material that promotes very uneven melting and further complicates matters pertaining to the determination of the end of the ice. However, in later years, when boulders of sufficient size and stability presented themselves, they were marked so that check data could be taken from them. Few of the boulders so marked were able to resist the flood periods of the White River until about 1936 and consequently most recession data were derived from measurements made from the ice face to points upon the base line.

Because of the fact that the retreat of this glacier presents numerous problems, caused by the above mentioned features characteristic of the terminus, which are reflected in the results of the recession computations, a description of conditions encountered at the terminus of the Emmons Glacier each year, is necessary. In the fall of 1931 it was obvious that the recession for the year 1930-31, as well as the year following, would have little significance if considered individually. At this time the ice face presented a very uneven appearance. A deep and very narrow cleft had formed in the vicinity of the stream with lobes of ice extending downstream on both sides of the White River, almost to the base line. This was undoubtedly due to the protection offered by the covering of morainal debris which was quite heavy upon these lobes. The presence of the stream, with other associated factors, may account for the more rapid melting at that point. At any rate, in following the pre-determined decision to regard the point in the ice from which the main stream emerged as the true terminus, a recession of 142 feet was recorded. While this may appear as a discrepancy, a more exact understanding of the rate of retreat of this glacier in future years was obtained by adhering to our original definition of the true terminus. Irregularities such as this one were absorbed in the computation of the average annual recession - a figure which presents the retreat of the Emmons Glacier in its true light.

In the fall of 1932 it was found that extreme changes had taken place at the terminus of the Emmons Glacier since its recession was measured the year previous. The stream issued, not from a point in the ice identical to its position of the year previous, but from the side of the left lobe of ice. Measurements from this point to the base line indicated a recession of but 2-1/2 feet for the year 1931-32. Supplementary measurements from the base line to the point on the ice from which the stream issued in the previous fall indicated a retreat of 19 feet.

When recession was tabulated in 1933 we found that the stream had changed once more and was emerging from the ice at a position similar to that in 1931. Measurements made from this point to the base line indicated a recession of 48-1/2 feet for the year 1932-33. Supplementary measurements were taken also from the point on the left lobe of ice, relatively the position from which the stream emerged in the previous fall, and in this case a retreat of 32 feet was recorded.

Another change in the stream was noted in the fall of 1934. Again it emerged from the left lobe of the ice at a position relatively the same as that in 1932. Measurements made from this point on the glacier to the line of site indicated an apparent advance of 1-1/2 feet. However this apparent "advance" was due, not to the downward movement of the glacier but to the change in the position of the stream and factors related to it. Measurements made from the base line to a point on the ice face relatively the same as the position from which the stream emerged in the fall of 1933 indicated a retreat of 132 feet.

No change was observed in the position of the stream when recession was measured in 1935. Measurements from the base line to where the stream emerged indicated a recession, for the year 1934-35, of 67 feet. Supplementary measurements from the base line to a point on the ice face, similar to that which served in the 1934 supplementary measurements, indicated a retreat of 30 feet.

The recession of the Emmons Glacier for the year 1935-36 was very great. Although no change had occurred in the stream, the lobe from which it issued had lost considerable ground and a recession of 193 feet was recorded from measurements made from the point from which the stream emerged to the base line. Supplementary measurements, taken from a point similar to that of the year previous, also indicated a considerable retreat; a 100 foot recession being recorded in in that case.

Several large rocks were marked, for use in future recession measurements, in the fall of 1936. These were the first of the supplementary points established to be found intact the following year.

In 1937 measurements made from the base line to the point where the stream emerged indicated. a recession of but 10 feet for 1936-37. Supplementary measurements from a point on the ice face, similar to that used in 1936, to one of the rocks established in the previous year indicated a recession of 16 feet.

Tabulation of recession data.

Sept. 22, 1930 ...... base line surveyed from permanent marker.
1930-1931 ...... Recession of 142 feet.
1931-1932 ...... Recession of 2-1/2 feet. (Supplementary measurement indicated a recession of 19 feet.)
1932-1933 ...... Recession of 48-1/2 feet. (Supplementary measurement indicated a recession of 32 feet).
1933-1934 ...... "Advance" of 1-1/2 feet. (Supplementary measurement indicated a recession of 132 feet.)
1934-1935 ...... Recession of 67 feet. (Supplementary measurement indicated a recession of 30 feet.)
1935-1936 ...... Recession of 193 feet. (Supplementary measurement indicated a recession of 100 feet.)
1936-1937 ...... Recession of 10 feet. (Supplementary measurement indicated a recession of 16 feet.)

The above tabulation may be interpreted in four different ways. Computed on the basis of the recession figures which consider the point on the ice from which the stream emerges as the true terminus, the average recession of this glacier is 65.93 feet per year. On the basis of supplementary measurements, which were sometimes dependent upon poorly defined points on the glacier, the average recession is 54.83 feet per year, while if the recession indicated by each method is averaged for each year and the average annual recession computed from these average figures the average annual recession of the Emmons Glacier is 54.04 feet. Lastly, the average of the three results just noted indicates an average recession of 58.27 feet per year.



Carbon Glacier terminus. (NPS)

     Carbon Glacier

The initial attempt to establish a permanent point from which recession data might be taken annually on this glacier was made on September 22, 1930. This marker was lost during the following year. A second marker, established in October, 1931, was also lost.

The third attempt was made on October 1, 1932. A large rock outcrop on the southwest side of the Carbon River, 723 feet from the terminus of the glacier, was selected and appropriately marked. This marker has persisted since that time and the recession of the terminus of this glacier has been computed from this point annually. On September 18, 1936, however, it was deemed advisable to establish a second marker nearer the ice face for use in making check measurements on the recession as computed from the original point. A large rock, 327 feet from the point where the stream emerged, was selected and marked with a large "X".

Tabulation of recession data.

1930 ...... Original marker established.
1931 ...... Second marker established.
1932 ...... Third marker established on rock outcrop 723 feet from the point where the main stream emerged from the Carbon Glacier.
1932-1933 ...... Recession of 12 feet (Marker 735 feet from the terminus).
1933-1934 ...... Recession of 29 feet (Marker 764 feet from the terminus).
1934-1935 ...... Recession of 24 feet (Marker 788 feet from the terminus).
1935-1936 ...... Recession of 62 feet (Marker 850 feet from the terminus).
     ...... Second marker established, 327 feet from the terminus, for future measurements.
1936-1937 ...... Recession of 20 feet (Original marker was 870 feet from the terminus; second marker was 347 feet from the terminus).

From the above tabulation the average annual retreat of the Carbon Glacier is 29.4 feet.


     South Tahoma Glacier

Recession studies were initiated at the terminus of the South Tahoma Glacier on October 1, 1931, when a large rock, immediately in front of the ice face, was marked. This rock, at that time, was 140 feet from the ice at the point from which the main stream (Tahoma Creek) emerged.

The terminus in question is actually the combined mass of the lower part of the South Tahoma Glacier and a portion of the Tahoma Glacier, these two merging below Glacier Island. A glance at the map of the park will reveal the fact that the South Tahoma Glacier may be considered as the logical occupant of the canyon on the south and east sides of Glacier Island. The ice on the west side will be noted to be a connecting link uniting the Tahoma Glacier, from which the South Puyallup River arises, and the South Tahoma Glacier, which gives rise to Tahoma Creek. Eventually these two bodies of ice will separate and each will retreat up its own canyon. This may complicate recession measurements in the future by necessitating a decision as to which ice stream to follow. However, when this decision becomes necessary recession measurements will be continued on the more important of the two glaciers at that time, or, if desirable, the retreat of both may be noted annually.

As the terminus of this glacier shows considerable variation from year to year, it was deemed advisable, on September 7, 1934, to establish a second point at a different place for use in future measurements. This was done in anticipation of a change in the stream which would cause it to emerge from a different place in the ice face. The second point, termed Point B, was 142 feet from the ice in 1934. By 1935 the anticipated change in the stream course had taken place, and the point from which the stream emerged in former years was entirely covered with debris. In 1936 and 1937 a greater amount of debris had accumulated and this point on the ice has, since 1935, been very poorly defined. On the other hand the main stream has continued to emerge from the same place in the ice since 1935. In view of these facts the measurements made from Point A, in 1932, 1933, and 1934, may be considered as representative of the recession of this glacier, while, since 1934, the measurements made from Point B are more typical.

On September 25, 1936, a third point was established in order to determine the annual recession at another ice face that had developed some distance from Point A and Point B. This marker was washed out during the following year. However Point C, as it is known, was re-established in the fall of 1937.

Tabulation of recession data.

October 1, 1931 Original marker placed 140 feet from the terminus.
1931-1932(Point A) Recession of 37 feet (Marker 177 feet from the terminus).
1932-1933(Point A) Recession of 13 feet (Marker 190 feet from the terminus).
1933-1934(Point A) Recession of 73 feet (Marker 263 feet from the terminus).

(Point B) Marker established 142 feet from the ice.
1934-1935(Point A) Recession of 61 feet (Marker 324 feet from the terminus).

(Point B) Recession of 42 feet (Marker 184 feet from the terminus).
1935-1936(Point A) Recession of 66 feet (Marker 390 feet from the terminus).

(Point B) Recession of 37 feet (Marker 221 feet from the terminus).

(Point C) Marker established 107 feet from the ice.
1936-1937(Point A) Not computed.

(Point B) Recession of 13 feet (Marker 234 feet from the terminus).

(Point C) Marker established in 1936 had been washed out during the winter or spring. A new marker was established 77 feet from the ice.

The above tabulation indicates an average annual retreat of the South Tahoma Glacier of 50 feet (from Point A) and 30.67 feet (from Point B). However, if the point from which the main stream emerges is arbitrarily considered as the true terminus (see measurements made from Point A in 1932, 1933, and 1934, and, from Point B in 1935, 1936, and 1937), the average annual recession of the South Tahoma Glacier is 35.83 feet.



Exploring the Paradise Glacier. (NPS)

     Paradise Glacier

To augment recession studies secured from annual measurements of the four active valley glaciers (Nisqually, Emmons, Carbon, and South Tahoma) similar measurements have been initiated at the termini of two intermediate glacierets - the Paradise and Stevens.

The ice field known as the Paradise Glacier is the best known of the two mentioned and, on September 23, 1932, three prominent rocks in front of its broad face were selected and appropriately marked as points A, B, and C. Measurements have been made annually, whenever possible, from these points.

Actually the Paradise Glacier and the Stevens Glacier are combined in one ice field. That part denoted as the Paradise was formerly a large lobe of ice that extended down the extreme upper portion of the Paradise River valley and which gave rise to the Paradise River. Since that time this lobe has receded to a point where, today, it represents little more than a flank of the parent ice field which may be regarded as the Stevens Glacier. The amount of water that flows from the Paradise Glacier has been materially reduced and the justly famous ice caves of a few years ago are now non-existant.

Tabulation of recession data.

YearDistance from marker to the ice Tabulated recession
1932 A - 13 feet
B - 38 feet
C - 45 feet
Points established.
1932-33 A - covered with snow
B - 43 feet
C - 52 feet
Not determined
5 feet
7 feet
1933-34 A - 20 feet
B - 78.5 feet
C - 76 feet
7 feet (since 1932)
35.5 feet
24 feet
1934-35 A - covered with snow
B - 102 feet
C - covered with snow
Not determined.
23.5 feet
Not determined.
1935-36 A - 92 feet
B - 162 feet
C - 110 feet
72 feet (since 1934)
60 feet
34 feet (since 1934)
1936-37 A - edge of ice covered with snow
B - 190 feet
C - edge of ice covered with snow
Not determined
28 feet
Not determined.

The above figures indicate that, from Point A, the average recession of the Paradise Glacier is 19.75 feet per year; from Point B, 30.40 feet per year, and from Point C, 16.25 feet per year. The average recession for the ice front of the Paradise Glacier, as computed from the three averages obtained from measurements from Points A, B, and C is 22.13 feet per year.


Visitors in the Paradise Glacier Ice Caves. (NPS)

     Stevens Glacier

Recession measurements on this glacier were initiated on September 5, 1934, when a point was established upon a prominent rock 52 feet from the end of the ice and where Stevens Creek emerged from the glacier. In the fall of 1935 it was found that this rock had either been washed away or the markings obliterated by flood waters during the intervening period. A second point was then established upon a solid, stationary rock face that was just emerging from the ice at the terminus.

The extreme recession recorded in the following table, is due to the fact that the end of this glacier is characterized by a long, rather narrow tongue of ice. This is melting very rapidly at the present time and will continue to do so for at least two more years. Following the disintegration of the ice tongue a more normal recession will undoubtedly be recorded.

Tabulation of recession data.

September 1934 ... Point marked for future measurements.
September 1935 ... Point established in 1934 obliterated during previous year.
New point established.
1935-1936 Recession of 146 feat.
1936-1937 Recession of 187 feet.

     Bibliography

Bretz, J. H. Glaciation of the Puget Sound Region. Washington. Geological Survey Bulletin #8. 1913.
Evans, Llewellyn. 1931 Progress Report on Nisqually Glacier Study. March. 2, 1932. (Typed manuscript in the library of the park museum, Longmire, Wash.)
Evans, Llewellyn. Progress Report, Nisqually Glacier 1932, Including Notes on Flood of Oct. 13th. (Typewritten manuscript.)
LeConte, J. N. The Motion of the Nisqually Glacier. Sierra Club Bulletin, Vol. VI, No. 2; Jan. 1907.
Matthes, F. E. Mount Rainier and Its Glaciers. (National Park Service). 1922.
Meany, E. S. Mount Rainier - A Record of Exploration. 1916.
United States National Park Service, Mt. Rainier National Park. Record of Glacial Recession Measurements Made in Mount Rainier National Park, September, 1937, Together With a Summary Of Data Previously Taken. (Typed manuscript in the library of the park museum, Longmire, Washington. National Park Service, Mt. Rainier National Park.
United States National Park Service, Mt. Rainier National Park. Mount Rainier National Park Nature Notes. Vol. XV, No. 2; June 1937. A History of Mount Rainier National Park. C. Frank Brockman.
United States National Park Service, Mt. Rainier National Park. Mount Rainier National Park Nature Notes. Vol. XV, No. 3; September 1937. pp. 124-126, Bibliography of Mount Rainier National Park.
United States National Park Service. Circular of General Information, Mount Rainier National Park. 1937.
United States Geological Survey. Eighteenth Annual Report. 1897. Part 2, pp. 349-415. Glaciers of Mount Rainier. I. C. Russell.
United States Geological Survey. Topographic Map of Mount Rainier National Park. 1934.
United States Weather Bureau. Climatic Summary of the United States; Section I - Western Washington. 1936. L. C. Fisher.
United States Weather Bureau. Climatological Data, Washington Section. (Monthly climatological review, 1931-36 incl.) L. C. Fisher.

           Text from Mount Rainier National Park Nature Notes, Vol. XV No. 4, December 1937
C. Frank Brockman

Copyright Randall D. Payne
Mount Rainier from Yakima Park.


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