Thursday, June 19, 2008

Newsletter 3.3

Hello again, Mount Rainier volunteers! It's been a busy two weeks since our last newsletter, and I have much to bring you up to date about.
The calendar is slowly starting to fill with projects! Here's a summary of what you'll find on our calendar so far:

Lots of training opportunities are coming up, too--both in Wilderness Medicine and Meadow Roving:

There is a fee for the wilderness medicine courses, but it has been drastically reduced with the help of a grant from Boeing Corporation. Thanks, Boeing!

Also in development: Soundscape Monitoring
How many jet planes pass over the mountain? Learn about the soundscape at Mount Rainier and how to use a Palm Pilot to periodically monitor the acoustics at specific sites throughout the park. Join us for a couple hours of training on either July 11 or July 19 for this important new citizen science project, which is taking place at selected parks throughout the country. Trained volunteers are needed to travel throughout Rainier and sit quietly to gather an hour's worth of ambient sounds. Project logistics are highly flexible. Some sites involve independant, off-trail hiking and/or backcountry overnights; others may require additional sherpa support. Come learn more so that you can sign up to be involved!

Rainier Roving Opportunities on the horizon
We're pleased to welcome Kirsten Ronholt and Madison Jones to our interpretive staff this year. Kirsten and Madison will be working with our interpreters at Paradise, Sunrise, and Ohanapecosh to provide additional opportunities for our Meadow Rover teams, including snow trail marking, forest trail roving, mentoring opportunities, and advanced training in subalpine ecosystems and geology. Watch our blog for details about these future opportunities, or come to our Meadow Rover training on June 28 for more information!

The cost of commuting to the Mountain is one of the biggest challenges for our volunteers. We've started a discussion group topic for people to request or offer rides when they come to the park to volunteer. Other options are available through local websites and park-and-ride services. Please contribute your own ideas as well. It shouldn't be too expensive to volunteer!

Several of you have written to us to inquire about camping during volunteer projects. Like last year, we've set aside a group site in the Cougar Rock campground for use by volunteers throughout the season. Now it just needs to melt out... If you're volunteering on the east side of the park, we can set aside camping for you at Ohanapecosh or White River Campgrounds, but need at least a week's notice. Contact your project supervisor, or send me a note at this e-mail address, to request a site. Free camping is available to volunteers on the nights before and/or after a project.

Meanwhile, we're making progress on shower facilities in the old historic Longmire Campground. Starting next year, this campground should be available for use by volunteers. We just need to finish restoring it. You can help make it happen by joining us for our Longmire Campground Restoration project on July 3rd.

National Trails Day
Our biggest event in the past two weeks was National Trails Day, which brought out seventy volunteers on the Longmire side of the Mountain and more working with the Washington Trails Association out of Carbon River. Volunteers from the Washington Geocachers shoveled snow in the Longmire Campground. Boy Scouts spruced up the Trail of the Shadows after winter storms. SCA volunteers maintained the Eagle Peak Trail, snow trails at Paradise, and the snowy pathway leading to the viewpoint at Christine Falls. Check out our event photos and a video clip on YouTube!

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