The Student Conservation Association released the following press release last week, which I've delayed reporting here in light of the recent renewed flooding in the park. We're now repairing the road damage at Kautz Creek, and still waiting on reports from the backcountry, so here's the press release, along with some well-deserved kudos to SCA:
An effort valued over $3 million, 3,254 volunteers contributed 154,168 hours to Mount Rainier National Park
SEATTLE, WA -- November 12 , 2008 – The Student Conservation Association’s (SCA) Mount Rainier Recovery Initiative has completed the second and final season of the award-winning program. SCA worked in collaboration with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Washington Trails Association (WTA) and Washington’s National Park Fund to form the Washington Parks and Forest Coalition. With financial support from REI, Boeing and hundreds of donors, SCA fielded an innovative new program at Mount Rainier to help with the recovery efforts following the devastating floods of 2006.
SCA played a pivotal role in the success and momentum of the Mount Rainier Recovery Initiative. Over the course of two years, 3,254 volunteers from around the country contributed a total of 154,168 hours to Mount Rainier National Park – an effort valued over $3 million, according to Park officials. Volunteers worked on rebuilding the Wonderland Trail, restoring habitats, campgrounds and historic structures, carrying supplies to backcountry project locations, patrolling trails and assisting park visitors. SCA also offered wilderness and project management training sessions to park staff and volunteers.
"I consider Mount Rainier like a second home. I decided that it was time for me to give back some of myself to the park which has given me so much joy, peace, and serenity over the years," said SCA volunteer Jean Millan.
The Mount Rainier Recovery Initiative received many accolades, among them the Cooperative Conservation Award, the George B. Hartzog Jr. Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service and the Take Pride in America award, a national award from the Department of the Interior for federal land managers, which was received by Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga.
"Congratulations to SCA for its long legacy of public land conservation," said Congressman Norm Dicks. "We commend them for their outstanding support in the recovery of Mount Rainier National Park."
For more information about the volunteer program at Mount Rainier National Park, visit www.nps.gov/mora or rainiervolunteers.blogspot.com.
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school volunteers who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, and other public lands. For more than 50 years, SCA’s active, hands-on approach to conservation has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save our planet. For more information, visit www.thesca.org.
From The News Tribune:
Volunteer brigade makes a difference at Mount Rainier
Nearly 1,840 volunteers gave 70,130 hours of their time at Mount Rainier National Park this last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That translates into $1.37 million worth of work, representing more than 10 percent of the park’s annual operating budget.... it is surprising, and pleasantly so, that the number of people who volunteered at the park went up 6.5 percent.... It’s great so many people turned out to help with flood recovery and other projects. There wasn’t nearly as much press coverage of the park’s need to drum up support, yet people still showed up.
From the Seattle Times:
Green Ethics: Values, hard work
Harnessing enthusiasm and channeling talent is an extraordinary skill of the Student Conservation Association, which was honored this past spring by the Department of the Interior for its epic storm-recovery work at Mount Rainier National Park.... A drum roll would be appropriate because the park enjoyed the hands-on labor of 3,254 volunteers contributing 154,168 hours of heavy lifting and hard work repairing storm damage. Park management values the donated labor at more than $3 million.