Friday, November 14, 2008

Flood response: the role of volunteers

I've had several inquiries about what role volunteers can play in response to the recent flooding. Several have also mentioned that this is job security for the volunteer program! Frankly, I'd rather do without it. Still, as I've said before, there's no doubt volunteers will be involved.

However, right now, the main thing that needs to be fixed is the main park road crossing Kautz Creek. That's major construction work and not something volunteers can really help with. The things volunteers can help with--trail work, etc.--won't really happen till next spring when the snow melts out.

So in the meantime, here are four things you can do to help:

  1. Watch this site for the latest information on plans for flood recovery and the role of volunteers.
  2. Find ways to help out through the winter preparing for the summer's work. I'll try to post something on the blog in the next week or so about what the options are, but they'll include things like helping in the greenhouse. There are also some mid-winter projects unrelated to flood recovery, of course, like ski patrol through the Washington Ski Touring Club. Unfortunately the options during the winter, when everything is buried by snow, are limited.
  3. Participate in campaigns to support Mount Rainier and other public lands through local non-profit organizations like the National Parks Conservation Association, Student Conservation Association, Washington's National Park Fund, Washington Trails Association, Mount Rainier National Park Associates, and others. A good starting point is the Washington Parks and Forest Coalition.
  4. Most important, put us on your calendar for next summer! These storms unfortunately hit us at a time when rapid response is not possible (rebuilding trails, etc.) because of winter weather and snowpack. By the time next summer comes around, people sometimes forgot how dire the need is. But in fact the need has not gone away at all, and is as dire once the snow finally melts as it is right now. That's when we need people to remember our needs and step forward to help.

Keep watching this space for more ideas, and of course, contact me at any time to be added to our mailing list for future updates. Thank you to all of you who want to help!