Friday, August 28, 2009

J-VIPA Arrives at Mount Rainier

Here at Mount Rainier National Park, we are pleased to welcome back for several weeks the Japanese Volunteers-in-Parks Associates from Waseda University in Tokyo. This is the 16th year of partnership between the J-VIPA program and Mount Rainier National Park and every year we mark our calender in anticipation.

As some of you may already know, Mount Rainier National Park has a special relationship with Japan. We are the sister mountain to Mount Fuji, and every year we play host this remarkable program, bridging both geographical and cultural divides.

Every year, the J-VIPA participants work on a particular project around the park, last year it was a bio-toilet for backcountry use. This year the J-VIP's are helping to build an accessible trailhead at Paradise. A sorely needed amenity.

They arrived at Sea-Tac on Saturday the 22nd, but I only managed to make it up to Paradise to see their work on Thursday. Working with maintenance,the progress they've made is amazing. For these volunteers to come thousands of miles and create something that will last far longer than their stay is really quite a cool way of experiencing the place you travel. We all like to leave little reminders that we came.

This Sunday, I'm joining the J-VIP's and their host families as we head out to Safeco Field for day at an Mariners Game. This is something that speaks across culture, baseball is as big in Japan as it is here in the U.S. Plenty of pictures will be forthcoming. And encourage anyone planning to visit Paradise soon to go and admire the J-VIP's (and Maintenance's) handiwork. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated.

Well, that's about it, so I'll simply say ではまたあとで.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mount Rainier National Park Associates plans final projects of 2009

On Saturday, September 12th MRNPA will conduct our last trails work party for this year. We will again be working on the reroute section of the Glacier Basin Trail. The building of this new section of trail still a priority. The work that has been done looks great. But, there is still plenty to be done and this new section of the trail probably will not be completed until the summer of 2011.

We will meet at the White River Campground parking lot at 8:30 AM on Saturday morning, and be ready to move out at 9:00 AM.

Bring work gloves, safety glasses, full rain gear (you never know if you will need it), your lunch, and plenty of fluids to drink. Also bring a hard hat if you have one.

On Saturday, September 26th MRNPA will be assisting Will Arneson and his Restoration Crew in planting of alpine meadow plants at the site where the old Jackson Visitors Center once stood at Paradise. Will Arneson and his crews will be working at this site on September 19th, 20th, 26th, 27th, and August 3rd and 4th. They would appreciate volunteers coming to assist them on any of these days, but MRNPA will be conducting our scheduled work party only on September 26th. [Editor's note: this is also National Public Lands Day.]

On Saturday, September 26th , the MRNPA volunteers will meet in the Paradise upper parking lot, near the new Jackson Visitors Center, at between 8:30 and 9:00 AM. We will work until at least 3:00 PM. Please find Rose or Allan Evans and sign in. The NPS needs to know the names and hours worked of all volunteers who participate - so please sign out with Allan or Rose when you leave too.

Bring your lunch, plenty of fluids to drink, and your favorite gardening gloves. Heavy leather work gloves are too clumsy. The thin gloves with rubber palms and fingers work great. We will be planting seedlings that are at times tiny, so clumsy gloves are not good.

Also consider bringing your favorite garden trowel or small digging tool and a knee pad. You will be on your hands and knees all day, so protecting your knees and keeping them dry really helps you enjoy the day. The NPS does have trowels you can use if you don't bring your own.

And of course, bring your sun hat, sun screen lotion, and a full set of rain gear. The weather at Paradise in September can be anything from a glorious autumn day to a cold and wet preliminary to winter.

Volunteers are welcome to camp in the Longmire Campground for free either the night before or the night after their volunteer service, or both. Please contact, or Nick at, or call them at 360-569-2211 ext. 3385, if you'd like to reserve a site. Sites will also be available on a first-come, first-served basis, but you'll get the best selection if you call ahead.

If you plan on attending either the Saturday, September 12th, MRNPA trails work party at White River or the Saturday, September 26th planting work party at Paradise please write to the Mount Rainier National Park Associates at indicating that you are coming and the number of volunteers you are bringing with you.

John Titland
Volunteer Coordinator
Mount Rainier National Park Associates

Shadows of the Past a HUGE Success

Hey everyone, long time no see. It's been awhile since I last wrote. I took some time off to visit my friends as school starts up, a sorely needed trip, but now I'm back and rearing to go. Hear's to the end of the season, lets let it go out with a bang!

Now for some late breaking announcements:

First off, I want to say "Thanks You!" to all the volunteers who participated in Shadows of the Past.

The Shadows of the Past program on Saturday, August 15th was a smashing success, not in small part due to the huge volunteer response we got. Whether you were a Lantern Bearer, helping to light the way and set the ambiance of the walk, or an actor, dressed up and playing the part, it was the volunteers who allowed this program to go on. It's you guys and gals who really make this program. So give yourself a pat on the back, because you deserve it.

The Lantern Bearers especially deserve our thanks and congratulation. Without them, the walk would not be nearly as successful, or even possible. We had 27! volunteers of all ages helping carry the lanterns, both first timers and old hands. They came early and stayed late, signed forms and waited patiently, and all did an excellent job. They have our recognition, because without the volunteers, there are no Lantern Bearers, and without the Lantern Bearers, there is no Shadows of the Past.

I also want to thank everyone who came to the Volunteer Picnic. It was great fun seeing everyone coming together and discusses the season. That picnic was for you, the volunteer, and it's our little way of saying thanks for helping out and making Mount Rainier National Park all the better for it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Let's Do the Puyallup!

Hello! We it's time again to look for volunteers to help with our National Park Service exhibit at the Puyallup Fair. We had great success last year talking to over 8600 people and this year should be even better.

The park will have a prominent place in the Northwest Outdoors Building at the Puyallup Fair. Our 10’ x 20’ space will have two exhibits, our tabletop exhibit on the animals of the park and our efforts to keep them wild, and another one featuring the National Park Service sites in Washington. In recognition of the Ken Burns PBS series on the National Parks we will also have a station for fairgoers to make entries in a journal. But the most important part is a real live person representing the park service, talking with all those enthusiastic fairgoers.

This is where you come in. The fair runs from September 11th through September 27th. We would like to have at least one park person for each of the three 3 1/2-hour shifts a day (10:00 AM – 1:30 PM, 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM). You will receive a ticket for admission to the fair and a parking pass (together worth $20-22). You can experience the fair before and/or after your shift. As I make the shift assignments, I will mail you instructions, maps, and tickets.

This will be the second year for trading cards. Each organization in the Northwest Outdoors Building will have cards to give to the kids and the building will have posters highlighting this activity. Our cards feature park animals and a message about keeping them wild. This should open up many more positive contacts with fair goers, especially kids. You will have a great time at the fair and I look forward to hearing from you.

I hope you can help out. An email response is best, since at this time of the year I work out of two locations.

Thanks and we will see you at the fair!
Jim Ross (
Outreach Specialist
Mount Rainier National Park

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sunrise Volunteer Brunch

Julia Pinnix, our delightful East District Interpreter, just let me know about this little end-of-season potluck taking place at Sunrise. Come and join fellow staff and volunteers on August 22 at 10:00 AM in the Sunrise VC, and celebrate this successful Summer Season, and a job well done (of course, it's not over yet).

When: Saturday, August 22 at 10:00 AM
Where: The Rover Room in the Sunrise Visitor Center
Why: Why not?

Hope you can all make it!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Groups needed for native planting in September and October

One of our best opportunities for group volunteering at Mount Rainier National Park is now on the calendar!

This fall, construction crews will finish preparing the site of the former Jackson Visitor Center for restoration. Between mid-September and mid-October, we will be working on putting as many as possible of 140,000 plants into the ground to revegetate the former visitor center site before winter sets in. Volunteer assistance is essential!

The leader for this project is Will Arnesen, Mount Rainier's Restoration Ecologist, who can be contacted at 360-569-2211 ext. 3374 or Or, write to the Volunteer Program Manager at, or call the volunteer office at 360-569-2211 ext. 3385, to express your interest.

Available dates currently include three Saturdays and Sundays in September and October. Saturdays are best for our crews but if Sundays are better for you, we'll be here to help:

September 19
September 20
September 26
September 27
October 3
October 4

Will says "I can use all and any help. We have around 140,000 plants to put in the ground and the more hands the better. The site will be at the lower parking lot and will have easy access and lots of room for people."

For any date when a group has signed up, individual "drop-in" volunteers will be welcome to come and help as well. So far, REI Adventures has signed up for October 3rd, and September 26 is National Public Lands Day, so even if you're not part of an organized group yourself, put those dates on your calendar and plan to come up with your gloves, knee pads, sunscreen, and green thumb! We hope to see you there!

Seattle volunteer needed to help with digital video

Mount Rainier National Park's Urban Outreach program is looking for someone in the Seattle area who can help manage digital video files collected during the recent Camping Adventure with My Parents (CAMP) program.

During each of three weekend programs, up to eight families each collected video using digital "Flip Cameras." The video files have been downloaded onto a computer at the Discover Your Northwest offices at Klondike Goldrush National Historical Park in Seattle. A volunteer is needed to help with several tasks:
  1. Moving the video files onto an external hard drive;
  2. Creating backup copies on DVD discs; and
  3. Copying the video from each camera and each weekend onto separate DVDs for distribution to the families who captured the video.

Because the computer at Klondike does not have the ability to burn DVD discs, we are looking for someone who would have that capability on their own computer. Moving the files to the external hard drive will need to be done at the Klondike office, but the other tasks could be done in the volunteer's own home.

The teenage members of our CAMP program are eligible to participate in a video competition sponsored by KCTS public television, for which the deadline is September 1st, so we're looking for someone who can complete this project as soon as possible.

In addition, optionally, we would be interested in creating several short (3-minute) videos from the raw footage, highlighting Mount Rainier's outreach program in general and the CAMP program specifically. This could also be done from the volunteer's home, and with a much looser deadline.

Individuals interested in volunteering for this job should contact Brad Carlquist, Urban Outreach Ranger, at or 206-220-4229; or Kevin Bacher, Volunteer and Outreach Program Manager, at or 360-569-2211 ext. 3385.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Volunteers needed for amphibian surveys August 10-11

I received this e-mail today from Caitlin Kenney, our Citizen Science Volunteer Coordinator:

I was wondering if you might have a couple people that would want to do an overnight trip to Spray Park for amphibian surveys on Monday Aug 10th to Tuesday Aug 11th. It is a mile and a half walk to the campsite and another to the wetlands. I had three volunteers and they all had to cancel, and none of my other volunteers are available those days. I would hate to cancel survey work for lack of volunteers, since some of the other dates have almost too many.

This is a great opportunity to get in the door on one of our most exciting volunteer programs: doing field research on behalf of the National Park. And in one of the most stunningly beautiful places in the park, too!

By coincidence, I just received a photo from George Coulbourn, who patrols in Spray Park, of a young ptarmigan family in the meadow. Click the photo above to enlarge it. How many can you spot?
If you'd rather volunteer in an office, maybe you could come do my job for two days and I'll go work in Spray Park...

If you'd like to participate in this great opportunity, please contact Caitlin by e-mail at [address corrected] as soon as possible.

Help Light the Way: Looking for Latern Bearers for Shadows of the Past

Does history get you excited? Does historical reenactment get you even more excited!? Then come join us on Saturday, August 15 and take part in our 'Shadows of the Past' historical reenactment program.

One moment you're a hired hand working for the Longmire's, leading groups of adventurous travelers to the "healing springs" of Longmire Meadow. The next you're a seasoned park ranger, leading tourists through the woods of the new and recently established Mount Rainier National Park. Walk through nearly half a century of history as we take visitors on a travel through time (and space).

You'll help lead groups of visitors along the Trail of the Shadows, where they will come into contact with famous figures from Mount Rainier's storied past. Learn what life was like in the past from the people who lived it.

One group walk lasts about 90 minutes, and the walks start at 8:30, 8:50, 9:10, 9:30. Don't worry, we only have you participate in one walk. We meet outside the Longmire General Store around 8:00, where we will quickly complete the required paperwork and familiarize everyone with the lantern operations. Each Lantern Bearer is assigned one walk, and multiple Lantern Bearers are assigned to each walk.

You don't need previous experience with leading groups, and you are not required or even preferred to participate in the historical reenactment part of the night. Costumes are not needed. All we need you to do is come with an open mind and a willingness to help.

If you're interested in volunteering for this event, you can contact Nick Abel at or by phone at 360-569-2211 x3385.

We would love to see you there!

"We are the lantern bearers, my friend; for us to keep something burning, to carry what light we can forward into the darkness and the wind."

-The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff

Join us for the annual Volunteer Recognition Picnic and Shadows of the Past!

Hard as it is to believe, it's already the 4th of August, and our annual Volunteer Recognition Picnic is fast approaching! Please consider joining us on August 15 for lasagna, potluck, awards, photos, stories, friends, and history!

Yes, history: once again, this year's Volunteer Recognition Picnic is on the same day as our popular Shadows of the Past program, in which characters from the history of Mount Rainier come to life along the Trail of the Shadows. Volunteers are needed to help carry lanterns for the program (contact Nick Abel at, but you can also just show up at dusk to enjoy the program as a member of the audience.

Here are the details of our Recognition Picnic:

When: 4:00 p.m. Saturday August 15, 2009

Where: Longmire Community Building (across the Nisqually suspension bridge from Longmire, on the edge of the Longmire Campground)

RSVP: Kevin Bacher,

Bring: Side dishes, salads, and deserts to share. We will provide meat and vegetarian lasagna, a variety of drinks, and table service.

This is a great opportunity to learn what's been happening with the volunteer program, to learn about new volunteer opportunities, and to meet other volunteers. We hope to see you there!

Kevin Bacher
Volunteer Program Manager
Mount Rainier National Park
360-569-2211 ext. 3385