Researchers are painting a dire picture for many of the existing ecosystems on Mt. Rainier. Glaciers are retreating at unprecedented rates and niche habitats are being wiped out by an onslaught of warmer temperatures, floods, and increased erosion. It is a volatile mix that defies making easy predictions of what is to come. In all likelihood, the expense will be measured in large amounts of species, environment and dollars.
Mt. Rainier is seen as a microcosm that is a harbinger for other ecosystems. The lessons being learned from it have ramifications far beyond one peak, one mountain range, or even one continent. The News Tribune and The Olympian have strikingly illustrated coverage, here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/static/pages/rainier/#section-rainier1_main