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Public comment sought for proposal to expand volcano detection system around Mount Rainier

The U.S. Geological Survey is proposing more than a dozen new site locations for the volcano monitoring system inside Mount Rainier National Park.

Editor's Note: The above video concerning scientists adding more lahar sensors at Mount Rainier was published in October 2020. 

ASHFORD, Wash. -- The Cascades Volcano Observatory branch of the U.S. Geological Survey is hoping to get public feedback on a proposal to expand the current volcano monitoring system in the Mount Rainier National Park.

The National Park Service announced that the organization had requested a permit for the expansion on Monday, June 7. The proposed expansion includes 17 new site locations in the park that would help detect lahars, or volcanic mudflows.

There are currently 15 sites in the park.

The system proposal aims to lessen human risk by diminishing the amount of time it takes for an alert to be sent to those who would be potentially affected by a volcanic outflow.

Now, the National Park Service is asking for feedback on the proposal, inviting members of the public to provide their thoughts on the proposal before June 25.

So far, five of the 17 proposed new sites have been approved. These were installed in 2020 within developed areas of the park.

Several of the remaining twelve looking for approval are within the Mount Rainier Wilderness, lands managed according to the 1964 Wilderness Act that prohibits permanent installations.

The other proposed sites are in areas next to the Mount Rainier National Historic Landmark District.

There will also be a virtual informational session held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9, for those looking to learn more and have any of their questions answered. 

The National Parks Service encourages public comment as it plays a key role in the planning and decision-making process.