I'll be off to San Diego next week to participate in the Pacific West and Alaska regional superinten-dent's conference. The conference runs Tuesday through Thursday, with discussions about issues facing superintendents throughout the region, including global climate change, volunteerism, public partnerships, outreach and recruitment, new technologies, and the Service's Centennial Initiative. I've been invited to participate in a panel discussion on Wednesday morning, talking about strategies for connecting members of the public with their national parks, especially youth. I'll be joined by Saul Weisburg of the North Cascades Institute, Mandy Vance from WildLink, near Yosemite, and Michael Richardson from the James P. Beckwourth Mountain Club in Denver. These people represent very successful partnership with other national parks, and even though our own partnership with SCA has been tremendously successful this past year, I still feel a bit like the new kid on the block! I'm very much looking forward to hearing what the others have to say, and learning from their experience, as well as attending some of the other conference sessions during the day: "The Special Meaning of National Parks," by Dayton Duncan; "Connecting People to Nature: The National Park Service Role," by Richard Louv; and, in the afternoon, three great options for what unfortunately are concurrent sessions: "Programs that Connect Youth and Communities to Parks," "Technology Tools for Connecting People to Parks and Parks to People," and "Cultivating Park Stewardship through Volunteerism."
Tuesday is a bonus day: since I'll already be there, I get to listen in on the discussions of climate change and the Centennial Initiative, and look forward to bringing insights on those topics back to the interpretive staff here at Rainier. With our glaciers melting at an accelerating rate, and our rivers filling up with glacial debris, changing course, and flooding their banks, that's an extremely relevant issue for us here.
Meanwhile, I've spent part of the past week preparing for the conference, including creating a poster about our flood recovery efforts to display. I've included a thumbnail version that you can click to see at larger size (not full-size--it's 36x48" at 300dpi!!). It's an interesting challenge, to boil down a full year of effort, involving permanent, seasonal, and volunteer staff and numerous partners, into a poster that isn't too complicated or wordy, and still has enough visual flair to catch people's interest. You can judge for yourself how successful I was.
In other news, check out Washington's National Park Fund's new website (see the previous blog entry for details), and don't miss their links to SCA's Final Report for 2007 and a Flickr website with tons of great pictures from around Mount Rainier. And finally, note that there is now 15" of snow on the ground at Longmire, and 34" at Paradise. The trees through my window here at Longmire are blanketed with snow and very beautiful. Dust off your skis and snowshoes, winter's a-comin'!
- Kevin Bacher, Volunteer Program Manager