Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MRNPA Aug. 2 Project Update

The August Mount Rainier National Park Associates trails work party will be on Saturday, August 2nd.  The project will be at Narada Falls.  The crew will be replacing two culverts just below the Narada Falls overview area.  To accomplish this, there will be 30-40 feet of turnpike which will be constructed and filled with tread material.

The Narada Falls parking lot is a busy place this time of year.  Volunteers who have spent Friday night at the Longmire VIP campground are asked to car-pool to Narada Falls.  If possible, volunteers who arrive early on Saturday morning should go to the Longmire VIP campground and join the car pools forming there.  As always, on Saturday, arrive at the Narada Falls parking lot between 8:30 and 9:00 and be ready to go to work at 9:00.

The work site is not far from parking lot so there will not be much hiking involved to get there, but bring your lunch and a raincoat anyway.

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.  Plans are still forming for this event, so please stay tuned. Additionally free camping is available the Friday night before the work party and the Saturday of the work party.

If you plan to attend the August work party, and if you plan to camp one or both nights, please respond to volunteer(at)mrnpa.org. The trail crew leader needs an estimate of the number of volunteers to expect and the number of campsites required.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pierce County News, Starring Maureen McLean

Meadow Rover Manager Maureen McLean takes Pierce County News on a tour of Paradise!



Friday, July 18, 2014

Road Construction - July 18 through July 25


Road work is scheduled for Monday to Friday, from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM. Plan for a maximum 30-minute delay which could include up to a 20-minute stop in one place. There is no construction on Saturday and Sunday.

Culverts are being replaced along some streams. In these locations, expect the maximum delay as described above.

Drive cautiously. There are numerous bumps, abrupt edges and rough patches.

Kautz Creek area is open this weekend. However, the picnic area surface is still hardening. Picnic tables have been moved to a designated section of the parking lot. A temporary ramp leading from the parking lot to the sidewalk provides accessibility to the restrooms. Kautz Creek parking lot and other services are closed Monday to Friday.

SAFETY MESSAGE: Speeding, stopping in the road and passing other vehicles are dangerous choices especially around blind curves. The bright sunshine streaming through the forest may also temporarily decrease visibility. Be safe.

Did you know? The Nisqually to Paradise Road winds through the Kautz Creek area. The road is the only access to Longmire and Paradise from the west. In 1947 a major mudflow event occurred along Kautz Creek. This photo was taken in a later year (exact year unknown). Recently, the flood of 2006 changed the course of the creek and damaged the road. Look closely at the photo for the road, the bridge and parking area that are currently being rehabilitated.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

MRNPA Work Party August 2nd

The August Mount Rainier National Park Associates trails work party will be on Saturday, August 2nd, two weeks away. The location has not yet been announced, so please watch this blog for updates.

 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.  Plans are still forming for this event, based on the location of the work. Additionally, free camping is available both Friday and Saturday nights.

If you plan to attend the August work party, and if you plan to camp one or both nights, please contact John Titland at volunteer(at)mrnpa.org. Let him know the number of volunteers you are bringing with you, and if you plan to camp one or both nights.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Road Construction - July 11-18


This week, construction will focus on beginning creation a third lane at the Nisqually Entrance Station (the photo above is what it currently looks like).

Additionally, ditch cleaning will continue along both sides of the road.

Drive cautiously. There are numerous bumps, abrupt edges and rough patches.

Kautz Creek is open but work is not yet complete. The entry and exit are graded, but not paved. Picnic tables are in place for you to use and the restrooms are available.

Around Kautz Creek and Longmire, visitors often cross the road - via crosswalks - to access viewpoints and trailheads. Sometimes deer and other animals cross here, too. In these areas, the speed limit slows down to 20 miles per hour.

There is no construction on Saturday or Sunday. Road work is scheduled for Monday to Friday from 7 am to 7:15 pm. Plan for a maximum delay of 30 minutes.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mount Rainier National Park Receives 2014 America’s Best Idea Grant from the National Park Foundation to Support Student Conservation Association Youth Crews

For Immediate Release

Alanna Sobel, National Park Foundation, asobel@nationalparks.org, 202-354-6486
Kevin Bacher, Mount Rainier National Park, kevin_bacher@nps.gov, 360-569-6567
Jay Satz, Student Conservation Association, jsatz@thesca.org, 206-324-4649
Laurie Ward, Washington’s National Park Fund, laurie@wnpf.org, 206-623-2063 
 
Mount Rainier National Park is one of 39 national parks selected to receive a 2014 America’s Best Idea grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. Inspired by Ken Burns’ critically acclaimed documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” this program builds partnerships between national parks and community, state, and other public organizations, and engages diverse audiences in meaningful and relevant ways with national parks and inspires participants to become stewards of our National Park System.
2013's SCA Community Crews were also funded,
in part, by the National Park Foundation
 
“The America’s Best Idea program connects people – particularly youth – to America’s national parks, often for the first time,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Through meaningful and memorable in-park experiences that highlight the natural, cultural, and historical treasures in our National Park System, we are able to inspire the next generation of park-goers.”

“We want everyone to find themselves in a national park,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. “These National Park Foundation grants will help people acquire a better understanding of their national parks and, hopefully, of themselves, through place-based learning and recreational activities. Native Americans who will visit traditional homelands, budding scientists who will study environmental impacts, and students from Gallaudet University who will examine aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act are among the many groups which will benefit from the grants.”

At Mount Rainier, National Park Foundation funding will support three teams of youth recruited by the Student Conservation Association (SCA) from communities in Seattle, and from Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) through SCA’s “Base to Base Camp” program. Eight high school students and two crew leaders in each Community Crew will spend fifteen days working on trail maintenance projects throughout the national park, repairing trail tread and building bridges at sites like Klapatche Park and the Wonderland Trail. This is SCA’s 20th year fielding Community Crews at Mount Rainier, and the third for its Base to Base Camp program. Eleven students from JBLM joined thirteen from Seattle on last year’s crews. This year’s crews will be in the park from July 6th through August 31st.

“We are pleased to have Community Crews back at Mount Rainier this year,” said Superintendent Randy King. “These young people play an important part in the protection and care of our national parks, and they also represent the next generation of park stewards.” Many graduates of past Community Crews have gone on to serve as seasonal or career rangers with the National Park Service or other agencies.

"SCA is honored to be the farm team for the National Park Service and other national resource agencies," says Jay A. Satz, SCA's regional Vice President. "SCA's success in engaging an ever more diverse young constituency with our national parks and public lands is essential for the future of American citizens’ support of the national park ideal." Satz expressed appreciation to The Norcliffe Foundation for their financial support.

Mount Rainier’s Community Crews are also funded by a grant from the Eleanor and Raymond Wilson Charitable Trust throughWashington’s National Park Fund, which supports projects at Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Parks. “Youth programs are one of our most important investments in the national parks,” said Laurie Ward, Executive Director of Washington’s National Park Fund.

The National Park Foundation wishes to thank The Ahmanson Foundation, Chapman Hanson Foundation, the Fernandez Pave the Way Foundation, and Subaru for their generous support of the America’s Best Idea program.

The 2014 America’s Best Idea grantees include:
Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (KY, TN)
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site (KS)
Bryce Canyon National Park (UT)
Canyon de Chelly National Monument (AZ)
Cape Cod National Seashore (MA)
Cape Lookout National Seashore (NC)
Congaree National Park (SC)
Denali National Park & Preserve (AK)
Everglades National Park (FL)
Flagstaff Area National Monuments (AZ)
George Washington Carver National Monument (MO)
Glacier National Park (MT)
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ, UT)
Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve (CO)
Independence National Historical Park (PA)
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (MO)
Jimmy Carter National Historic Site (GA)
Katmai National Park and Preserve (AK)
Kobuk Valley National Park (AK)
Lincoln Home National Historic Site (IL)
Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac (VA)
Mississippi National River & Recreation Area (MN)
Moores Creek National Battlefield (NC)
Mount Rainier National Park (WA)
National Capital Region (DC)
Olympic National Park (WA)
Point Reyes National Seashore (CA)
President’s Park (White House) (DC)
Prince William Forest Park (VA)
Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park (CA)
Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway (WI, MN)
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (CA)
Virgin Islands National Park (VI)
Weir Farm National Historic Site (CT)
Wilson's Creek National Battlefield (MO)
Yellowstone National Park (ID, MT, WY)
Yosemite National Park (CA)
Zion National Park (UT)

A listing of these parks and their America’s Best Idea project descriptions can be found on the National Park Foundation website.

For more information on the National Park Foundation and how you can support and protect America’s national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org. For more information on the National Park Service, please visit www.nps.gov.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at: www.nps.gov.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.
  
ABOUT THE STUDENT CONSERVATION ASSOCIATIONThe Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school volunteers who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, and other public lands. For more than 50 years, SCA’s active, hands-on approach to conservation has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save our planet. For more information, visit www.thesca.org.

ABOUT WASHINGTON’S NATIONAL PARK FUND
Washington's National Park Fund raises private support to deepen the public's love for, understanding of, and experiences in Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic National Park. The Fund was founded in 1993 by a group of passionate parks people including Governor Dan Evans and Melinda Gates. Thanks to their vision, the Fund has been able to raise much needed funding for Washington’s national parks, including more than $2 million over the past six years. For more information, visitwww.wnpf.org.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Star-Gazing at JVC 2014


Join our stellar cast of volunteer astronomers outside the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center Thursday through Monday nights this summer. There will be telescopes available and knowledgeable guides to help you enjoy the wilderness of the night sky. Star-gazing will take place just after dark through at least midnight (weather permitting, subject to cancellation).
Our Astronomers this summer:

Tom and Gracie Pauly of the Starryhill planetarium (starryhill.org): Yes, they have their own planetarium and observatory!  These retired teachers are top notch at helping people connect to the wonder of the night sky (Thursdays only).

Don West-Wilke: Our returning Tacoma Astronomical Society Astronomer of the Year. He annually records more visitor contacts than anyone in the park. One of the most knowledgeable and colorful astronomers in Washington. Sometimes called "the Singing Astronomer" (Saturdays only).

Pat Beatie: This Bellevue college astronomy teacher will be helping people connect to the night sky five nights a week (Thursdays through Mondays). He often also sets up a solar viewing scope during the day next to the JVC .

Saturday, July 5, 2014

MRNPA - "Deveg" Work Party

The next Mount Rainier National Park Associates volunteer work party will be Saturday, July 12th. This will be the annual Mount Rainier National Park Associates Exotic Plant Removal work party. If  you plan to attend this work party and have not yet contacted John Titland, please reply to volunteer(at)mrnpa.org indicating that you are coming with the number of volunteers you expect to accompany you. The NPS Volunteer Coordinator needs to have an estimate of the number of volunteers who will attend.

The work party will be at the site of the new Carbon River Ranger Station, which is located a few miles west of the Carbon River Entrance of the park on the Carbon River Road. The ranger station occupies the building formerly known as the Carbon River Ranch.

To participate in the Exotic Plant Removal work party, there is no need to know all about native plants. NPS crew members will teach you which plants to remove, and they can help you identify the native plants of the area.

No heavy tools (like shovels and pulaskis) will be used, but you should bring work gloves, a small digging tool like a hand trowel (or your favorite weed-removal tool), your lunch, plenty of fluids to drink and a full set of rain gear.  A warm jacket would be good to include. You may bring a reflective safety vest if you have one. 

Meet at 8:30 AM in front of the ranger station.  Be ready to go to work by about 9:00 AM and expect to finish about 3:00 PM.

Volunteer Newsletter: July, 2014

Happy 4th of July weekend!

Summer has shifted into high gear at Mount Rainier National Park, with all park visitor centers, campgrounds, and roads open except for Mowich Lake, and snow melting rapidly. Volunteers are busy all over the park, and there are opportunities almost every day to get involved in projects lasting from a single day to the rest of the summer. Here’s a look at our summer calendar:

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: Join the Washington Trails Association for a day of trail maintenance! Visit www.wta.org and click the “Volunteer” tab to find out where WTA is working. Next weekend they’ll be working on the Wonderland Trail near Longmire, and they’ll move higher as the snow melts. For future reference (since this year’s groups are already full), WTA also leads multi-day “Backcountry Response Teams” that go farther out into the wilderness for the ultimate “Volunteer Vacation” experience. This year’s teams will be working in late July and early September on the Wonderland Trail between Klapatche Park and Golden Lakes, arguably one of the most beautiful areas of the park.

Every Monday through Thursday: Stop in at the park’s Greenhouse, located at Park Headquarters between Ashford and Elbe, to help with planting, weeding, repotting, and other green thumb activities that help with the park’s native plant restoration efforts.

Saturday, July 12: The Mount Rainier National Park Associates (MRNPA) welcomes volunteers to help with their annual Exotic Plant Removal project. They’ll be working in the Carbon River corner of the park. Visit www.mrnpa.org for details and information on how to sign up.

Saturday, August 2: MRNPA will return for a trail work party, followed by a potluck and campout. Visit www.mrnpa.org for details.

Friday, August 16: Our annual Volunteer Picnic at Longmire! Join us at the Longmire Community Building at 4:00 for a potluck picnic and a celebration of all things volunteer!

Saturday, August 17: Our annual East Side Volunteer Picnic will be held at the Sunrise Picnic Area at 4:00. Bring your own grillables and drinks, and a side dish or dessert to share!

Saturday, September 6: Revegetation day! Join us to plant native plants in a restoration area near Sunrise. All are welcome! Visit www.mrnpa.org for details, or read our blog entry about last year’s project.

Friday, September 5 to Sunday, September 21: Help represent Mount Rainier National Park at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup! Staff our booth for a four-hour block of time, and receive free entrance and parking. Contact Jim_Ross(at)nps.gov to express your interest.

Saturday, September 27: National Public Lands Day is our biggest volunteer day of the year. Details are still being worked out, but volunteer options will probably include trail maintenance and planting in the White River and Sunrise corner of the park. Make sure you’re on our mailing list to receive details.

Every Day: You can contribute to research just by snapping photos! If you have a camera with a built-in GPS unit (including almost all modern smart phones), upload your pictures of flowering plants to help build a database of what’s blooming and when. Visit the MeadoWatch website to find out how!



Also Going On

As you explore Mount Rainier National Park, look for volunteer uniforms. You’ll see them almost everywhere you go! Here are some of the things currently going on in the park:

Student Conservation Association (SCA) Community Crews will be working on trails all over the park. Our first crew of high school students arrives July 6, and the last crew leaves August 31st. Crews are made up of students from Seattle and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and are funded by grants from the National Park Foundation and Washington’s National Park Fund.

Washington Conservation Corps teams will also be working on trails from July 23 through August 31.

ArrowCorps, a project of the Seattle Boy Scouts of America, will be working on a variety of projects from August 5 to 7.

Volunteer Groups like Starbucks, the Sierra Club, Girl Scout Troops, and local High Schools can be seen working on trails and revegetation projects almost every weekend.

Interns from SCA, the Geologic Society of America, and local colleges will be joining seasonal park rangers and unaffiliated volunteers in the park’s visitor centers, and helping to conduct research in the field. The Visitor Center at Ohanapecosh is back open this summer thanks in part to these volunteers! Other volunteers offer night time astronomy programs at Paradise. In addition, “Teacher-Ranger-Teacher” volunteers will be here for several weeks, helping with educational programs, curricula, and our annual teacher workshop.

Emergency Roadside Assistance volunteers, nicknamed “Ravens,” patrol the Paradise area, helping visitors who need jump starts, air in their tires, or help retrieving locked keys. Look for the pickup with the volunteer program logo on the door. This year’s program is made possible by your donations through Washington’s National Park Fund!

Meadow Rovers form the park’s largest team of active volunteers, and patrol the trails above Paradise and Sunrise, assisting visitors and educating them about the importance of staying on trails and not feeding wildlife.

Backcountry Patrol volunteers are similar to Meadow Rovers, except that they venture farther into the wilderness areas of the park, and assist with backcountry trails and campsites.

Campground Hosts will welcome you if you stay at Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, or the Longmire Stewardship Campground.

Visitor Survey Volunteers will be seen handing out survey forms at several locations throughout the month of July. Thank you to everyone who signed up for this special project!

Citizen Scientists can be found all over the park, and are trained to perform very specific jobs that contribute to our understanding of Mount Rainier’s plants, animals, ecosystems, and climate. Amphibian Survey volunteers venture out to backcountry lakes and ponds... MeadoWatch volunteers inventory flowering plants... and Cascades Butterfly Survey volunteers tally butterflies on transects set up around the park. In addition, several people have signed up for a brand new Citizen Science project called the “Cascade Carnivore Project,” collecting wild animal scat on park trails.

Search and Rescue volunteers help out almost every time there’s a lost or injured hiker or climber in the park, and converge on the mountain from communities all over the state. We are extremely grateful for our Mountain Rescue partners and the many other volunteers who support them!

These are just a few of the many, many ways that volunteers serve at Mount Rainier National Park. If you cross paths with someone wearing the volunteer patch, say hello and thank them for their service—and ask how you can help too!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Construction Suspended Through July 13

No construction will occur on the Nisqually to Paradise Road from July 3 to July 13. It will resume on Monday July 14.

However:


Drive cautiously. There are numerous humps, changes in the road level, and rough patches.

Kautz Creek area is open. The entry and exit are graded, but not paved. Picnic tables are in place for you to use and the restrooms are open.

Lines will be painted along Stevens Canyon Road (not the Nisqually to Paradise Road) weather permitting on Monday and Tuesday July 7 and 8.