Sunday, August 2, 2015

Remembering Judy Scavone

Photo courtesy of Nisqually Land Trust
Judy Scavone, fee collector at the Nisqually Entrance Station booth and volunteer at JVC, died peacefully at home in Ashford on Tuesday, July 28. She was surrounded by love and cherished friends and family. Lucid to near the end, she wanted to pass on “thank you” to her many friends, volunteers and family.

Judy played a huge role in many peoples lives, especially through her interests in outdoor recreation and conservation. Involved not only with Mount Rainier National Park, she  worked fervently with the Mount Tahoma Trails association and served on the board of the Nisqually Land Trust as well.

A get-together honoring Judy is planned for next Saturday, August 8th, 7 P.M at Whittakers in Ashford.  There will be no formal program. It will be a pot-luck event hosted by MTTA. Park employees and volunteers will gather with others to remember Judy and share stories with each other.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

N2P Road Construction, July 31-Oct. 1

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"Shadows of the Past" in Need of Volunteers


For those of you that do not know, Shadows of the Past is a living history program where volunteers and staff portray important individuals from throughout the history of the park.  Through this program, the primary focus is centered on the early story of Mount Rainier and the National Park Service from 1883 through 1916.  Lead Rangers will be guiding groups along the Trail of the Shadows at Longmire, six miles past the Nisqually Entrance.  Historical figures emerge out of the darkness while illuminate the path with lanterns. 
 
 

That’s where you come in!  We are in need of volunteers to participate in this ever popular event by being a part of the lantern crew.  Make your own mark in history by helping to light the way for the hundreds of guests that are coming to see the program.  We are looking for an additional 15 volunteers, so invite your friends and family as well!

As always, volunteers who are working a specific event are eligible for free entry to the park for the length of their service and free camping at the Longmire Stewardship Campground.  For more information or if you are interested in volunteering for this event, please contact Curt Jacquot at curt_jacquot@nps.gov .

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Who You Gonna Call?


If there’s something strange, going on with your car,

Who you gonna call?

The RAVENS!

If you turn your key, and your battery doesn’t start,

Who you gonna call?

The RAVENS!

If you’ve got a flat, and you need some help,

Who you gonna call?

The RAVENS

 

If you are enjoying your day of hiking at Paradise and you are just about to leave, when you realize that there is something wrong with your car, such as a flat tire or a dead battery, the RAVENS are there to help!  You may have seen Gary or Les in the bright orange vests helping to direct traffic, but whenever something happens, they are the first on the scene to assist in any way they can.  Our RAVENS (Roadside Assistance Volunteers, but we think RAVEN sounds cooler) are volunteers that are here throughout the week to assist those in need around the Paradise area.  These trained professionals are here to help us when we are at our lowest point.  Locked your keys in your car?  Need a bandage?  Who you gonna call?  THE RAVENS!
 

Star Party

Late one night last week, it appeared that the stars had aligned, and hundreds of lucky visitors were treated to a view of the heavens above with all of our volunteer astronomers on hand to share their knowledge of the night sky. 
Over 300 night owls arrived at the Jackson Visitor’s Center in Paradise just after sunset to be greeted by Ranger Curt Jacquot as he introduced all of the astronomers.  From there, there was a brief introduction to the night sky to the entire group, followed by all of the Astro-Volunteers manning their telescopes, each showing different features above as the evening progressed.  We were all very fortunate for a perfectly clear sky well into the night.  For many people in attendance, this was their first clear view of a night sky, and what better backdrop for the event than Mount Rainier?
 
Weather permitting, every evening from now until Labor Day, there will be an Astro-Volunteer outside the JVC starting at 9:45pm and staying until at least 11:45pm, but often going deeper into the night.  All astronomy events in the park are free to the public.  For updates on sky viewing or to check for any cancellations, please call (360) 569 – 6230. 
 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

REI Sumner's Volunteer Day

The Logistics Team from the REI Distribution Center in Sumner, WA dropped in for a day of service and trail work in Mount Rainier National Park recently.  Normally having a narrow view of Salmon Creek off in the distance through an office window, this was a welcome change of scenery for everyone.  The crew was eleven strong and ready to get their hands dirty the moment they arrived.  After a short and scenic “mile long hike” along the Wonderland Trail leading up to Summerland just inside the White River Entrance, the group was met by their trail crew lead, Jen, from the Washington Trails Association.  She gave an introduction to the tools the group would be using for the project of drainage trench clearing and then everyone spread out over the trail to begin. 

WTA's Jen Haas giving the rundown of today's project.

After a few hours of work, the crew found a breathtaking spot to rest for lunch, and almost immediately was back to work, showing how much they really wanted to complete this project.   Covering approximately a mile of trail, clearing and creating any needed drainage trenches, the group worked determinedly throughout the afternoon.   

Following their work, they burned up more of their energy by going out on a hike, led by none other than the world renowned Ranger Kevin.  At the end of the day, their green REI Co-Op t-shirts were filthy, sweaty, and covered in dust, but the group couldn’t have been any happier.
 

REI is a Premier Partner of the National Park Foundation’s Find Your Park campaign.  For more information about REI and their continued efforts to improve Mount Rainier and other National Parks around the country, visit http://www.rei.com/h/national-parks .  For more information about the partnership between the National Park Foundation and REI, please visit http://findyourpark.com/partners#rei .

Friday, July 24, 2015

Yet Another Beautiful Day in Paradise


Rising over 5,000 feet above sea level, Paradise is one of the most visited areas of Mount Rainier, with thousands of guests hiking the trails every day.  With such heavy traffic on the trails in this area, there is much work that needs to be done to keep the trails open to the public.  If you have explored the Paradise area, you know that many of the trails that spider-web out of from the Jackson Visitor’s Center are paved, though many haven’t been repaired in over 40 years.   
The section of trail the Volunteers called home
during their day of trail work.
That’s where a group of volunteers from the Washington’s National Park Fund comes into play.  This crew of nine eager individuals wanted to help this iconic location in any way they could.  Meeting their trail crew leader, Kevin, at the steps behind the visitor’s center at 9:00am, they were ready to get to work.  After an introduction to the project, a safety discussion, and a tutorial on how to use the tools provided, everyone was off to the races, ready to clear a section of trail that will be repaved later this year. 

The Washington’s National Park Fund, or “The Fund” for short, was formed in Seattle in the early 1990s by three individuals who understood the need for volunteer and financial support for the most iconic National Parks in the state: Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades.  To this day, they are the official nonprofit partner supporting Mount Rainier National Park, and the passion for the parks can be seen in the volunteers that joined us on Saturday, July 18th. 

The Fund crew posing with thier tools below
the magnificent view of Mount Rainier.
After a morning spent under the hot sun, removing duff from the sides of the trail, and widening the path to the original size when it was first paved years ago, the volunteers from The Fund returned to their campgrounds to remove the freshest layer of dirt from their bodies and then explored some of what Mount Rainier has to offer. 

If you are interested in working with the Washington National Park Fund in continuing their mission of deepening the public’s love for, understanding of, and experiences in Mount Rainier or other iconic parks in the state, please visit their website at www.wnpf.org for more information on how you can get involved or make charitable donations today!

N2P Road Construction Update July 24-31

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Meadow Rovers Rock

Wow, what a weekend this past one has been.  Paradise and Sunrise were both swamped with visitors.  Paradise had 4 giant size tour buses, 4 full-sized school buses each full of eager trail hikers along with 6-10 smaller tour buses.  Add to this the continual parade of cars even past 5:00 p.m!  Sunrise may not have had all the buses, but it did have the busiest day yet this summer.  Fortunately, we had the largest group ever of rovers on the trails at Paradise talking with guests and maintaining the security of the Meadows.  Thank you to all who were there - it was a crazy day!  I know from an earlier blog, Sunrise did not have as many, but to those of you who braved the 500+ contacts, kudos - you are awesome.

The crowds will continue to grow as the weather stays hot and we will need all the help we can get.  While it helps both Lynn and I with planning when you let us know ahead of time, feel free to just come...you will be welcome. 

For the early birds, there is a radio in the Climbing Information Center at Paradise available from 7:00 a.m.  Let me know if you are going to be an early bird so I can reserve that radio for you.  Also, if you are late returning to the Visitor Center, you may leave your radio at the Paradise Inn registration desk. 

A big thanks to all the new rovers who are recruiting new rovers!  Orientations have been ongoing since the June training sessions and the newbies are hitting the trails daily.

Again, thanks for all the work you are doing.  The Mountain is grateful.

Maureen McLean
Coordinator MORA Meadow Rovers

Monday, July 20, 2015

MRNPA Work Party and Annual Gathering

From John Titland:

The August Mount Rainier National Park Associates trails work party will be on Saturday, August 15th.  That's a little over 4 weeks away.  Following every August work party MRNPA volunteers are invited to assemble in a nearby campground for some relaxed time together, a potluck dinner, and an evening spent sitting around the campfire. (This year we may need to forego the campfire because the forest fire danger is so high.)

The August trails work party will be somewhere in the Ohana/Paradise area.  I don't know the project or the location yet.  After work party we will retire to the VIP campground at Longmire (not the Cougar Rock campground). The Longmire VIP campground, as those of us that have been there will tell you, is a wonderful place.  It is not open to the public; only to park volunteers.  Thus it is quiet and without the constant activity of a public campground.  The restroom even has showers, with hot water, if you want to clean up after the work party.

For the late afternoon socializing there is also always a supply of soft drinks, wine, and beer.  Dinner usually takes place about 6 PM.  The potluck dinner selections are always great.  We make no attempt to organize the menu.  People contribute whatever they want.  Not yet has everyone brought only desserts, but I can still hope.  After dinner, it gets pretty mellow.

I think this August event always turns out to be a great day.  I am personally inviting you to come.  Spend part of the day volunteering and then join other MRNPA volunteers in a "non-work party" gathering.  This is the only event each year where we take off the blue helmets and the work gloves, and really get a chance to meet and talk with our fellow volunteers.  If you have other commitments and can't stay for the whole evening, then stay as long as you can.  It's up to you.  But if you don't need to leave, plan on camping overnight.  The group campsite at the Longmire VIP campground is reserved for MRNPA volunteers for both Friday night (dinner is up to you) and Saturday night.  So bring your tent and sleeping bag and spend the weekend.  On Sunday morning people tend to go in different directions, but we are usually able to organize a short group hike somewhere close by.  Everyone is invited to come along.

As I said, I invite you to come on August 15th, do some volunteer work, and then join the MRNPA volunteers at the Longmire VIP Campground to spend some time with a great group of folks who really care about Mount Rainier National Park.

If you plan to attend this August 15th trails work party, please reply to this email indicating that you are coming and give me the number of volunteers you expect to accompany you.  I need an estimate of the number of volunteers so that Park staff can be sure to have enough tools for us all.  If you plan to camp, I also need to know if you will be there for one night (Friday or Saturday) or both nights.

John Titland
Volunteer Coordinator
Mount Rainier National Park Associates