PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Toward the end of every summer, thousands gather at Washington’s Mt. Rainier National Park to view the Perseid meteor shower. During this year’s peak weekend, park officials said visitors damaged the area by trampling wildflowers and over-filling trash cans.
The annual meteor shower is active between July 17 and August 24, but the peak evening for viewing typically falls on August 12.
According to an Instagram post from Mt. Rainier National Park, most guests adhered to the signs around the park advising guests to walk along the trail. However, officials said other guests ignored the posted signs and treaded on the meadows in the Sunrise and Paradise visitor areas.
The National Park Service is now reviewing damage reports from last weekend.
“Subalpine wildflowers have just a few weeks to grow and produce seeds, while also serving as food to pollinators and other animals,” park officials wrote. “The plants’ roots, leaves and flowers can be destroyed by off-trail travel, and trampled plants may never return. Scars on the landscape can take decades to regrow due to the short growing season and harsh alpine climate.”
The NPS asked future guests to protect the park during their visits by staying on trails, parking lots and sidewalks to avoid crushing the wildflowers. Officials also advised against sitting or lying in the meadows — with or without chairs and blankets — while stargazing.
Additionally, the Park Service said guests should take their trash with them when garbage bins are full. Officials also recommend planning lodging in advance, as overnight camping isn’t allowed in parking lots or pullouts.
Mt. Rainier visitors can join the Night Skies stargazing program, led by an official park ranger, as well.
The program runs every weekend through Sunday, Sept. 3 from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.