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.


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