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Putting Darrington "Back on the Map"

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MAP: The free map created by 10 outdoor recreation and conservation groups is credited with giving a much needed push to the local economy of Darrington, Wash., after the Oso mudslide cut access to the town for two months this spring. Image courtesy DestinationDarringtonMap.com.
MAP: The free map created by 10 outdoor recreation and conservation groups is credited with giving a much needed push to the local economy of Darrington, Wash., after the Oso mudslide cut access to the town for two months this spring. Image courtesy DestinationDarringtonMap.com.
August 7, 2014

DARRINGTON, Wash. – A visit from a U.S. senator and a newly launched science and technology program for school children are just two of the most recent developments in Darrington.

The town of about 1,400 gained worldwide attention in March for its proximity to the deadly Oso mudslide, which cut access to the main highway for two months.

State and federal leaders and recreation and conservation groups have pitched in since then to help boost the town's economy, and Mayor Dan Rankin says it's working.

"I've become more and more optimistic about Darrington's future,” he says. “It's a beautiful place, and the opportunities and the assistance that we're getting – not what they can do for us, but how can they help us move ourselves forward – is wonderfully positive."

On Wednesday, local business leaders met with Sen. Patty Murray. She also looked in on activities of Darrington's new STEM program, which uses science, technology, engineering and math to teach children about the environment.

At the outdoor guide company Adventure Cascades, Brian Pernick says he's seen business double this summer over last.

He credits the coalition of conservation and recreation groups that released a map in May highlighting the recreation possibilities in the area, and says he's seeing more vehicles full of more people.

"Being that we run river trips almost daily, we drive past the trailheads and many of the sites that are listed on the Destination Darrington map,” Pernick says. “And we do notice an increase over last year."

Darrington is 90 minutes from Seattle. It's near three wilderness areas and two wild and scenic rivers, the Sauk and the Suiattle, known for rafting and fishing.

The Destination Darrington map is still available free of charge, online and at REI and Outdoor Research stores.


Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA