Friday, August 3, 2007

Field Notes

Lots of news to report! I’ve been out of the office most of the past week, and it’s nice to return to reports of positive things happening all over the park. Here are a few highlights from the e-mails and phone messages scattered across my desk:

The Wonderland Trail is open! Steve Klump, our Wilderness Supervisor, sent this e-mail to our park staff late yesterday afternoon: "Thanks to the great work by trail crew, the Wonderland Trail is essentially open. All the main creek crossings have bridges in place. There remains temporary reroutes in some sections, a road bypass in Stevens Canyon, and a few closed camps. However, permits can begin to be issued for the entire loop. We will start accepting reservations for complete Wonderland itineraries. The public website and trail conditions report will be updated shortly." Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen!

Statistics: Speaking of which, our total number of volunteers for the year has now exceeded 1,000! That includes almost 300 individual volunteers, 359 who’ve volunteered through work parties led by SCA’s Mount Rainier Recovery Corps, well over 200 who’ve participated in WTA projects by now, and more than 150 others who’ve joined other group efforts. We had 924 volunteers in all of last year, so with two months to go in the fiscal year reporting period, we are well positioned to shatter all previous records for volunteer participation!

That being said, there is still a lot of work to be done before the snow flies! Keep us on your calendar, and let’s get as much done as possible this year!

Coming up on NPR: Tune your radios to NPR on Monday morning, August 6th, for a special report by Tom Banse on the volunteer efforts to rebuild Mount Rainier’s trails. In addition, I’ll link to the report as soon as it appears on KPLU’s website. The live broadcast is tentatively scheduled to be part of Morning Edition throughout Washington State.

Former Volunteer Makes Good: Brian Landau was a Geoscientist-in-Parks volunteer at Sunrise last year, while on sabbatical from the King County Department of Natural Resources. He has had an abstract accepted for presentation by the Geologic Society of America based on his experience here, entitled "Sunrise, Sunsets, and Mudflows: Lessons Learned from a Summer Experience as a Geologic Interpreter at Mt. Rainier National Park." You can hear his report live at the GSA’s annual meeting in Denver, and in the meantime, read his interesting abstract online!

Coming Up: A new issue of our newsletter will be out shortly, probably early next week. Meanwhile, there are still lots of projects on our calendar for the coming months, including trail repairs, meadow roving, and backpacking trips. Further out, mark your calendars for September 29, when we will commemorate National Public Lands Day with a suite of projects and a major celebration of the role volunteers have played in Mount Rainier’s recovery efforts. Details will be announced soon! Even further out, we’re already planning for next year’s volunteer program. When did it become August already?!

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