Thursday, April 24, 2008

Loads of news from all over

Lots of cool things to catch you up on today. First, check out this awesome picture taken today by volunteer Eva Meassick, on patrol with Uwe Nehring at Chinook Pass. Yes, that's the entrance arch at the pass, completely buried by the snow!! Latest word is that DOT has plowed to about a mile and a half from Cayuse Pass.

Next, in the news: Here's the Department of the Interior's press release about our Cooperative Conservation Award; the Adventure Guys at The News Tribune report on "Another Award for Mount Rainier"; American Rivers borrows one of our flood damage photos for their advocacy efforts; and the Seattle Times had a great article recently about EarthCorps and their volunteer efforts, including work at Mount Rainier, titled "Local Agency, Global Reach".

Here's a memo from Mary Bomar, Director of the National Park Service, about National Park Week, April 19-27:

National Park Week is also a time to pause and thank all those who help protect our special places and provide outstanding visitor experiences to all. That certainly includes the men and women of the National Park Service; but it also includes the volunteers, concessioners, cooperating associations, friends groups and partners who work with us daily. Together, we can engage Americans with their parks—to visit them, to support them and to ensure they remained unimpaired for the future generations. Thank you for all you are doing for National Park Week and for what you do every day. You’re the best! Happy National Park Week!

Finally, a quick update on my adventures in Washington D.C. Superintendent Dave Uberuaga and I spent Tuesday and Wednesday participating in the Cooperative Conservation Workshop, sharing ideas with other winners of the Cooperative Conservation Award. There are a lot of good programs out there, and I think we learned a lot from each other. Today we both moved on to the Student Conservation Association's EarthVision Workshop, so I'm blogging from a dorm room at the 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, surrounded by literally hundreds of high school and college age kids (and some old guys like me too) who are fired up about service for public lands. I attended one session this evening, but the main events begin tomorrow, with a welcome from the Secretary of the Interior and a set of service projects around the Capitol.

In between, Dave and I attended the rollout of the Park Service's Centennial Initiative on the steps of the Capitol Building. The ubiquitous Secretary Kempthorne was there, along with Director Mary Bomar, several Congressmen including Norm Dicks, representatives of several major partnerships, lots of park rangers, a bunch of very hot kids representing the Class of 2016 (NPS's centennial year), and even Ben Franklin! We also walked around the Capitol dropping off framed copies of our Mount Rainier Recovery poster to both of our Senators, our to Congressman (Dave Reichert), and to Congressman Norm Dicks, who has been so vital a partner in his role on the Interior Appropriations Committee. We missed seeing Congressman Reichert and Senator Murray in person, but were welcomed by their staff. Congressman Dicks was on his way to a vote, but brought us into his office for five minutes to hear all the news from the park. We thought we'd missed Senator Cantwell, but she came in just as we were leaving and we were invited to join her and about ten other people for a coffee meeting! So we got to spend about half an hour with her and to present her with her poster in person. All of the elected representatives that we met today were very impressed by your accomplishments as volunteers, and all of our Washington delegation had very specific questions about the ongoing work in the park.

We're finalizing details for our return trip to D.C. for the Hartzog Award on May 8. We've tentatively confirmed two volunteers to travel to the Capitol to receive the award on behalf of the rest of you. I'll share the details with you when they are confirmed.

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