Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Interp Training Schedules (Draft)

Upon announcement of the upcoming Interpretive Training dates, spots available for volunteers quickly filled up. That said, cancellations are possible, so if you would like to be included on the waiting list, please contact Marc_Blackburn (at) nps.gov

Please note that these are DRAFT schedules. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

N2P Road Work Update, May 21

Work is scheduled Monday-Friday, approx. 7am-5:30pm
Expect 30 Minute Delays

Paradise area:
No work this Friday 5/22
Trench in Paradise parking lot will not be paved this weekend, just compacted.
Trenching crews will continue to work downhill starting again on Tuesday.

Other work:
Tucci starts work in Kautz Creek area on Tuesday 5/26.
Tucci will mobilize equipment and materials into the Park this week.
Next week Tucci will install logs at the Nisqually Entrance.
Next week Tucci will do some spot milling between Nisqually Entrance and Longmire.
The week of June 1, Tucci will begin paving between Nisqually Entrance and Longmire.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thank you Cascade Designs, Boy Scouts, Mount Rainier National Park Associates, and Spring Opening volunteers!

MRNPA hard at work at Narada Falls
At least four major volunteer projects have gone on in the park over the past several days, so I think we can safely say that the summer volunteer season has begun!

On Saturday, the Mount Rainier National Park Associates were here working on the trail at Narada Falls. The weather was cool and cloudy, but that's perfect weather for the kind of hard work they do, and the trail looks fantastic. Mark your calendars now--the next MRNPA project will be June 13. The location is yet to be determined, but you can learn more and contact the group to sign on through their website, MRNPA.org.

A few volunteers also showed up to help us with spring trail opening at Paradise. This is a critical job, as already there is bare ground melting out around the Jackson Visitor Center! Volunteers help mark trails and make them safe. We have two people on the calendar for next weekend already, with room for several more, so if you're interested in joining us, send a note to MORA_Meadow_Rovers (at) nps.gov.

A group of about a dozen Boy Scouts from the Lakewood area joined us on Saturday and spent seven hours working with Trails Supervisor James Montgomery to rebuild foot bridge abutments on the Wonderland Trail near Cougar Rock. Troop leader Bret Buck reports that "the project was challenging physically and mentally for our young leaders... All in all it was an inspiring weekend!"

Cascade Designs in the Longmire Volunteer Campground
Yesterday, a group of employees from Cascade Designs (the parent company of MSR and Thermarest, among others) showed up to camp in the drizzle at the Longmire Volunteer Campground. Forty-one people from all over the country and all over the world (I talked with people from New Hampshire, Maine, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, and Thailand) put in a couple of hours work cleaning up storm debris from the winter, including trees that had fallen through campsites; filling in potholes with gravel; and restoring areas disturbed during the removal of old concrete picnic table frames. The campground is now in ship-shape form for summer!

We're grateful for all of our volunteers, and look forward to more success stories like these as the summer progresses!

Interpretive Training June 1-5 - DRAFT

Interpretive training begins on June 1, and volunteers are welcome to attend (space permitting) A draft schedule has been drawn up and is posted here. Please note that this is a DRAFT and is subject to change (any inconsistencies will be remedied).

If you wish to attend any of these sessions, please RSVP to Marc_Blackburn (at) nps.gov
If you need to camp, contact Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov

Monday, June 1
Facilitators: Curt Jacquot, Casey Overturf

8:30 - Welcome Chief of Interpretation
9:00 - Intros & activities
10:00 - Park Tour & discussion
(----) - Lunch
5:00 - End of day

Tuesday, June 2
Facilitators - Curt Jacquot and others

8:30 - Welcome & announcements
8:40 - Interludes intro (Curt Jacquot, Casey Overturf)
8:50 - Team mission & vision statement (Curt Jacquot, Scott Coombs)
10:15 - Break
10:30 - History of Interpretation (Curt)
12:30 - Lunch & paperwork (Barry Fraissinet)
1:30 - Intro to final assignment & District program schedules (Marc Blackburn & Curt)
1:45 - Intro to Interpretive models/program outlines (Curt & coaches)
2:00 - Demo talk (Marc)
2:30 - Significance statements & Park themes (Casey)
2:50 - Break
3:00 - Tangibles, Intangibles, Universals (Dave Oleson)
3:45 - Break
3:50 - Emotional & intellectual connections demo (Greg Reed)
4:40 - Coaching/prep/Q&A
5:00 - End of day

Wednesday, June 3
Facilitators - Various

8:30 - Welcome & announcements
8:40 - Themes (Curt & Casey)
10:30 - Break
10:20 (sic) - Goals/objectives (Scott Coombs)
11:00 - Demo program (video or live talk and discussion - Marc)
11:30 - Lunch
12:00 - Coaching/prep session
12:30 - Interpretive techniques (Benjamin, Anne, Curt, Casey)
2:00 - Break
2:15 - Questioning techniques (Casey)
2:45 - Introduction & conclusions (Marc)
3:30 - Coaching/prep session
4:10 - Knowledge of the Audience (Marc Blackburn)
5:00 - End of day

Thursday, June 4
Facilitators - Various

8:30 - Welcome & announcements
8:40 - Public speaking (Marc Blackburn)
9:10 - Junior Ranger programs & involving children (Fawn Bauer & staff)
11:10 - Break
11:15 - Putting It All Together, part 1 (Dave Oleson)
12:00 - Lunch
12:30 - Putting It All Together, part 2 (demo - Dave Oleson)
1:15 - Coaching/peer coaching (Curt)
2:15 - Citizen Ranger Program & activity (Curt)
3:30 - Coaching/prep session
4:00 - Interpreting Controversial Issues (Marc & Greg)
4:40 - Coaching/prep/Q&A
5:00 - End of day

Friday, June 5
Facilitators - Various

8:30 - Returnees - Quicktime or paperwork (Field office); New people - Demo (Gas station)
9:45 - Welcome & announcements
9:55 - Sample Evening Program & discussion (Casey)
10:55 - Break
11:05 - Informal Interpretation, part 1 (demos, Casey & Marc)
12:00 - Lunch
12:30 - Informal Interpretation, part  (staff demos, Casey & Marc)
12:15 (sic) - Topic speaker - Climbing or Wilderness or Operations
1:00 - Working the information desk professionally (Casey)
1:45 - Performance Evaluations (Marc)
2:15 - Break
2:30 - Safety for interpreters (Curt, Marc, Casey)
3:15 - Uniforms (Greg Reed)
3:40 - Coaching/prep
4:00 - End of week - Group activity - Field trip proposals (Curt)
5:00 - End of day

Friday, May 15, 2015

May Newsletter

Volunteer Brunch Tomorrow!
Volunteers and potential volunteers! We would like to remind you to join us for the annual Volunteer Brunch this Saturday, May 16th! It will be held at the Mountaineers Clubhouse in Tacoma, 2302 N 30th St. Kevin Bacher and Crow Vecchio will be on hand to answer all those burning questions you've been wanting to ask, and will update you on all the things happening in the park this summer. If you can, please bring a breakfast/brunch dish to share.

Meadow Rover and MeadoWatch Training now June 13-14
Meadow Rover/Meadow Watch training dates and locations have been finalized, and are different than the tentative dates advertised last month. On Saturday, June 13th, MeadoWatch training will start at 10:30 AM to be followed by Meadow Rover training at 12:30 PM. Advanced Meadow Rover training will be held on Sunday June 14th from 9 AM - 3:30 PM. These trainings will all be conducted in the Longmire Community Building. Please join us there!

Welcome Back, Maureen McLean! Meadow Roving has already begun
The inimitable Maureen McLean rejoins us this season as Meadow Rover Manager. Ah, yes... those of you who have worked with her know exactly what I mean! And Rovers, she wants you to know that your services will be much in demand almost immediately. The number of visitors to our fragile meadows will be increasing rapidly as the little lingering snow disappears. Maureen has quite a summer ahead of her, so please join me in welcoming her back! Contact Maureen_McLean (at) nps.gov.

Spring Opening Starting now!
Spring Trail Opening is a huge task which involvs marking and maintaining trail locations by installing ropes and wands and shoveling steps to keep visitors on established routes and preventing meadow damage. Work parties will leave the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in May and June (and maybe longer). Note that this is different (and more strenuous) duty than Meadow Roving. Contact Maureen_McLean (at) nps.gov to sign up to help!

Part-time Campground Hosts Needed throughout the Summer
We're still looking for people to host volunteers at the Longmire Campground this summer. If you can help, even a few weekends, check out a calendar listing the dates we need help on our blog.

Interpretive Training June 1-12
If you regularly encounter visitors in your volunteer activities or even if you would just like to learn more about interpretation, volunteers will be welcomed at our annual Interpretive Training sessions during the first two weeks of June. A detailed schedule will be posted later, but we anticipate interpretive presentation training from June 1-5 and 12; history and cultural resource training on June 8; the ever-popular geologic history of Mount Rainier as presented by Tom Sisson on June 9; a geology field trip on June 10; and ecology training on June 11. Due to limited transportation resources, participants of the field trip may need to carpool among themselves. If you are interested in attending any of the sessions, please RSVP to Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov.

Washington Trails Association Work Begins June 5
Are you interested in trail maintenance? If so, you may want to sign up for one of the Washington Trails Association (WTA) work parties. WTA will be working in the Park every weekend (Friday-Sunday) starting June 5. Sign up as soon as projects are posted at http://www.wta.org/volunteer/trail-work-parties.

Mount Rainier National Park Associates: Next Project June 13
Mount Rainier National Park Associates (MRNPA) hosts monthly volunteer projects throughout the Park: trail maintenance on June 13 and August 15; invasive species removal on July 11; revegetation planting on September 12. Visit their website at mrnpa.org to learn more, or contact John Titland at volunteer (at) mrnpa.org.

Geocachers Kick Off the NPS Centennial June 13
Every year, local geocaching enthusiasts gather at the Longmire Campground for a "Cache In, Trash Out" volunteer event. Despite the name, the project usually involves setting up wall tents and helping with general maintenance in the campground and, occasionally, elsewhere in the park. This year's event will be followed by the kickoff of a two-year GeoTour sponsored by Visit Rainier in Ashford. Visit http://coord.info/GC5TFR7 and http://coord.info/GC5T8CD to learn more -- and note that you don't have to be a geocacher (yet) to participate in either event!

For a broader scope of volunteer activites for the summer months, please see our earlier blog post. There are dozens of ways you can take an active role in keeping Mount Rainier National Park the best place to visit in the Pacific Northwest!

Part-time hosts needed at Longmire Volunteer Campground

Longmire Campground Host
Calendar (click to enlarge)
With summer nearly upon us, we have still not been able to find a full-time host for the Longmire Volunteer Campground. We are pleased to have the help of Al Lynch, who hails from east of the mountains, and who will be joining us for up to seven weekends throughout the summer. That still leaves twelve weekends, plus some weekdays when large volunteer groups are scheduled.

If you're looking for a good volunteer project that can be done out of your RV or campsite, consider signing up as a campground host! Longmire Campground Host duties include:
  • Welcoming volunteers to the campground and directing them to their campsites;
  • Checking out keys to the bathroom/shower building;
  • Cleaning the showers once a week;
  • General maintenance around the campground;
  • Site security and emergency response; and
  • Helping with volunteer projects in the campground.
The linked calendar will show you the dates currently available. Dates marked in green are currently covered -- thank you, Al! The dates marked in yellow are weekends when hosts are needed, as well as week days when groups are schedule. Dates in white are less critical; however, volunteers come and go throughout the summer, so hosts are welcome any and all days of the week. The more dates we can fill in, the better our volunteers will be served!

Note: I am still also open to hiring a full-time campground host for all or part of the season! If you'd like to serve for an extended period, including dates currently marked in green on the calendar, let me know and let's discuss the options.

If you'd like to help out, please contact me ASAP by e-mail at Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov, or by telephone at 360-569-6567.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

N2P Road Construction Begins May 18

The next phase of construction on the Nisqually-to-Paradise Road is slated to begin on Monday, May 18. Per the preliminary outline:

     Work will begin at Paradise and head downhill.
     Work will take place between 7am and 5:30pm.
     Trucks will be hauling materials over Stevens Canyon Road.
     Ricksecker Point will be closed to the public except for a short section at the lower west end.

Please take extra precautions to ensure the safety of workers and other drivers.

This week, expect minor delays as surveyors and flaggers will be in the road collecting measurements. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Trail Help Needed Fri/Sat/Sun

Help is needed on short notice to place wrought iron candy canes and ropes to guide visitors along the trails---and keep them off the vegetation. We have been blessed with at least one trail crew member every day of the week. So far they have done an amazing job roping off the rapidly emerging meadows. They are also placing the railings on the Myrtle Falls bridge.

I will be coordinating the work party lists so if you are available, send your info to my NPS address...Maureen_McLean@nps.gov. Place "Trail Crew" in the subject line and give me the day you will work. Work parties will meet at the Muir Steps at 9 a.m. each day. Safety issues and work plans will be discussed then. This will be more strenuous work than Meadow Roving! 

I will be working Saturday at the JVC and Sunday roving at Paradise.  Come help with trail work or join me roving the meadows.

Maureen McLean
Coordinator MORA Meadow Rovers

Monday, May 11, 2015

Volunteers: Have You Seen a Fox?

Researchers monitoring the Cascade Red Fox den camera at Paradise report that it has shown no activity over the winter. In fact, fox activity is down from prior years. If you have seen a Cascade Fox at Paradise or any other location, please contact Roger_Andrascik(at)nps.gov. If possible, include location, date and time of day in your report.

Friday, May 8, 2015

It's Mad, It's May, The Mountain is Out...Ranger Maureen is Back (updated)

Rise and shine Meadow Rovers!  Summer is just around the corner though with the low snow pack on the mountain, it is already here!  I will be back in the office the week of May 17th organizing our training and summer program. 

Returning volunteers will be needed almost immediately. As the weekend weather improves, the number of visitors will be increasing. The lack of snow means the meadows are already in jeopardy with bare spots expanding daily.  Rovers are needed at the trailheads to advise hikers, stop sleds before they go up the hill, and encourage visitors to let the flowers grow. As in the past, let me know via the e-mail mora_meadow_rovers@nps.gov when you plan to come.

New Volunteer Position with Trail Crew

On a positive note, trails division has assigned crew members to Paradise. They have already placed rope trail guides along much of the lower trails and are GPSing the trails under snow. At least one crew member will be at Paradise on weekends to rope off the hot spots before they are damaged. They will be asking volunteers to help with placing the wrought iron candy canes and rope. This will be separate from meadow roving and require some muscle. A separate job description will be written for this work. Helpers are to meet any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday at 9:00 a.m. at the Muir Steps. A safety discussion and the days plan will be given before work will start. I know it is short notice, but they will be working this weekend Friday May 8th thru 10th. For now, just be there by 9. As I have more information, I will give you contact directions.

Meadow Rover Training Days – Changed

Due to a scheduling conflict, the training days for Meadow Watch, and new and returning Meadow Rovers has been changed.
June 13th – 10:30 to 12:00 Longmire Community Center - Meadow Watch
          Meadow Watch is a Citizen Scientist project sponsored by University of Washington. For more info, contact Anna Wilson at mwatch@uw.edu. (times and e-mail corrected)

June 13th – 12:30 to 5:30 Longmire Community – New Meadow Rovers

June 14th – 9 to 3:30 Longmire Community Center – Returning Meadow Rovers

As in the past, camping will be available in the Longmire campground. I will start taking reservations when I am on board the week of May 17th.

I am looking forward to seeing my old friends and meeting new ones.  See you soon on the mountain.

Maureen McLean
Coordinator Mount Rainier Meadow Rovers