Mount Rainier National Park was ready for 800 bicyclists last Thursday, which is how park officials like it.
Careful planning and coordination of RAMROD has become a hallmark of the annual 152-mile recreational ride that cuts through the park on its way from the start in Enumclaw to the finish, also in Enumclaw.
The number of entrants is limited to 800 to make it manageable and safe for the park and communities along the way that must deal with the convergence of mass numbers of cyclists and motorized traffic.For that reason, allowing more events like it in the park seems unlikely, despite the appreciation that officials have for RAMROD.
“It’s one day a year, and it’s the only one like it that we do,” said Chuck Young, chief ranger at the park. “If another group asked, we’d assess it. We’d have to look real critically at whether we could handle it” without creating a negative impact.
In its 30th year, RAMROD ((Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day) is sponsored by Redmond Cycling Club. In weather that organizers described as “terrific,” riders had 33 miles under their belts when they passed through Eatonville, where water, snacks and bathrooms were available. Other communities along the way include Graham and Ashford.
The ride started at 5 a.m. Participants were required to finish no later than 8 p.m.
To get ready for the influx of bicycles, the park required organizers to obtain a special-use permit, which has a $100 administrative fee. As part of their entry fee, every rider was charged the same $5 fee that any other bicycle riders pay to enter the park. In addition, the club paid a fee for traffic management by park staff and hired an ambulance to be on hand for any serious medical emergencies.
(Read more in the July 31 print edition of The Dispatch)