Thursday, December 4, 2008

Meadow Rovers urgently needed at Paradise

Mount Rainier Meadow Rovers,

I've been out of the office today with a doctor's appointment. I checked my park e-mail this afternoon and learned of an urgent need for Meadow Rovers at Paradise. I'll follow up with an e-mail to everyone on the Meadow Rover mailing list tomorrow when I return to the office, but for now, I want to get this word out as quickly as possible.

The plant beds at Paradise, next to the new Jackson Visitor Center, are being severely trampled by visitors, who apparently do not realize that they are an area that should be off-limits. Reports started coming in of trampling more than a week ago, but there were questions of whether it was appropriate to create the visual impact of fencing, plus we hoped that snow would soon cover and protect the plants. Any fencing we put up would have to be out of the way of snow plows that could push it over.

But the problems has become urgent. This from Chief of Natural and Cultural Resources Rodger Andrascik:

Based on the morning report there is no snow at Paradise currently. Saturday - Based on my observation and amount of post holing that had already occurred - it looked like a herd of elk had already gone through there. I just hate to see all our efforts and money go to waste. Has anyone from NCR gone up to check out the current plant conditions to see if there is any evidence of damage? I understand Curt has taken some signing measures and maybe things did improve but it seems we need to be prepared to deal with snow fluctuations and expect the worst in order to protect the area... We could always set a rope line or cross stakes inside the planting beds a set distance to avoid the plowing efforts or snow removal zone.
So today the decision was made to install rope/fencing immediately, and the request was made to call out the Meadow Rovers to appear in force on the weekends to educate people about the importance of staying out of the area. We've had a few Meadow Rovers out on the weekends already, many of them roaming the areas around the old JVC and talking to people about the demolition. If you've been part of that effort, thank you! Now we need the rest of you, if you're available. It's not a typical time of year for Meadow Roving, but the need is great!

The latest from Greenhouse Manager Libby Roberts:

Damage has been occurring since the beds were planted. Josh [Drown] went up yesterday, Dec. 3, to document additional damage and to get linear measurements of the areas that we will need to fence. He picked up fence posts and rope from Ohana so that we can start installing the rope and post fencing. Josh also talked with the Roads crew to discuss placement of the fence so as to have the least impact on the snow removal operations. Once snow removal operations begin in earnest, there will need to be daily monitoring of the fence to ensure that the fence posts haven not fallen into the road/walkways, hampering snow removal operations or causing damage to equipment, etc. The posts will need to be reset periodically to ensure visibility until the snow is deep enough to protect the vegetation. Josh may start the installation today, and then finish up with the help of Curt and Lou on Friday starting at 1:00pm.
So here's what we need:
  • If you're available, feel free to come up and help set fencing tomorrow (Friday) at 1:00.
  • If your schedule permits, come up and rove the areas around the visitor center, and the nearby trails, on the weekends until we get enough snow to protect the plantings (and the rest of the meadows).

For those of you who aren't yet Meadow Rovers, check out our Meadow Rover page, and send me a note to get on our mailing list for next spring's Meadow Rover training. Mount Rainier's subalpine meadows are second to none, and their protection is one of our key missions! Thanks, everyone!

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