Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MRNPA - Boundary Trail Work Party

My first time on a trail work party was everything a guy could hope for in a day out on the mountain's trails. After an exciting trek up the dirt road, leaving the Saturday's sunny weather behind for the chilly snow covered Boundary Trail near Mowich Lake. A great group of dedicated volunteers kept everyone's spirit up with their good sense of humor and delicious cookies while being pelted by the occasional snow bomb from the tree branches high above.

Lessons learned from the day:
1. Dress in more layers and invest in wool socks.
2. When using a chainsaw, don't forget the wedge and 2 bar nuts are better than 1.
3. Rose Evans likes to bake cookies. Visit her often at the WIC.

The next Mount Rainier National Park Associates trails work party will be on Saturday, June 12th.

We will be working on the Glacier Basin Trail reroute. The rerouted trail will replace a significant portion of the original trail that was destroyed by the floods of November 2006. The plan is to complete the reroute work the year so the newly rebuilt Glacier Basin Trail can be reopened.

If you're interested in volunteering with the MRNPA contact John Titland at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sunrise Snow Shoveling Spectacular

Attention all Sunrise VIPs, Meadow Rovers, and snowball fight enthusiasts:

As you may know we are going to be remodeling the Sunrise Visitor's Center this summer and we need to get the contractor up there ASAP! We are looking for volunteers to shovel the two visitor center entryways and ranger station door mid-week once our crews clear the Sunrise parking lot and roads.

Don't miss your chance to be one of the first skiiers or snowshoers to "check snow conditions" at Sunrise afterwards.

Anyone interested should contact Patti Wold at 360 569-2211 ext. 3327 or

Friday, May 14, 2010

Interpretation Training open to all VIPs

The Interpretation department at Mount Rainier will be hosting their annual Summer Seasonal Training June 1-5 and June 8-12. It is open for all volunteers to attend and encouraged particularly for those working closely with park visitors in education and interpretation. This is a great opportunity for our volunteers to learn about the park history, ecology, glaciers, geology, safety concerns etc. A special focus will be on developing interpretive educational programs and working with visitors throughout the week.

To view the full Summer Seasonal Training schedule go to this link.

* Please note that the training locations will vary by day.

If you're interested in attending any of the training sessions please RSVP to Christine Czazasty at so we can reserve your space!

Volunteer Newsletter: May 2010

We are enjoying a beautiful sunny day at Longmire today. It's got us excited for the upcoming summer and all the projects taking place in the park. We anticipate even larger numbers of volunteers than last year, and have a wider range of volunteer projects available to choose from than ever before! No matter what type of volunteering you are interested in, long term vs short term, individual or group, backcountry or frontcountry, we have many opportunities for you to help protect the beautiful natural and cultural resources of Mount Rainier National Park and to help serve its visitors.

Check out the link at the top of this blog for a calendar of activities and full details on our summer volunteer schedule, including upcoming training opportunities. In addition, the Washington Trails Association (WTA) and the Mount Rainier National Park Associates (MRNPA) are two partner organizations that schedule day long projects and even week long vacations. The WTA will announce more dates as we get further into the summer season so check their site or our blog for updates.

Washington Trails Association Projects
Contact WTA through their website to register for these projects:

May 28 - WTA Trail Work Party at Glacier Basin
May 29 through June 5 - WTA Volunteer Vacation at Carbon River
May 30 - WTA Trail Work Party at Glacier Basin
June 5 - National Trails Day at Glacier Basin
June 5 through 12 - WTA Volunteer Vacation at Carbon River
July 17-24 - WTA Volunteer Vacation at Glacier Basin

Mount Rainier National Park Associates Projects
Contact MRNPA through their website for details and to register for these projects:

June 12 - Trail Maintenance
July 10 - Exotics/Alpine Gardening
August 7 - Trail Work/Campout
September 11 - Revegetation
October 2 - Trail Maintenance

Training Opportunities
Watch for details about these training courses, and how to register for them, on this blog:

June 1 through 5 and 8 through 12 - Seasonal Interpreter's Training
June 26 - Meadow Rover Training

Other Individual Volunteer Opportunities
Several dates are on the calendar for drop-in projects, with more being planned:
June 5 - National Trails Day at Longmire Campground: Help us get the Longmire Volunteer Campground set up for the summer by cleaning up storm debris and setting up platform tents. Meet at the Longmire Community Building at 9:30am.
June 19 - Hidden Jewel Volunteer Party: Join us as we work with our partner organization, Seattle Parks and Recreation, to clean up Camp Long in Seattle. Visit the Seattle Parks website for details.

September 11, 18, and 25 - Revegetation projects at Paradise and/or Sunrise: Help us plant native plants in the meadows above Paradise and Sunrise. We hope to be at both locations on all three dates, but that will depend on staff availability, so watch the blog for confirmation, but put these dates on your calendar now!

Group Projects
If you are a part of a group and/or organization that is looking for a project at the park we have several projects that require groups ranging in size from 5 to 100. Multi-day projects can use volunteers for a single day, or for several days at a stretch. Here are some options:

Rock Wall Restoration in Stevens Canyon:
Work alongside maintenance crews to pull weeds, remove loose and broken masonry joints, and wire-brush grout to remove moss from rock walls built by the WPA in the 1920s. Help us preserve this important historical and scenic resource! Crews will be working Monday-Thursday from now through June 3 and again from July 6 through July 29. Contact Dale Harvard at 360-569-2211 ext. 3388.

Cougar Rock Campsite Rehabilitation:
Join maintenance crews as they repair and rehab individual and group campsites in the Cougar Rock Campground. Crews will work Monday-Thursday from June 7 to July 1 and from August 30 to October 7. Contact Dale Harvard at 360-569-2211 ext. 3388.

Sunrise Snow Shoveling:
Every year, volunteers help us dig out fire hydrants, rock walls, steps, pathways, and other facilities that mechanical snow removal equipment can't get to safely. It's a fun way to spend a day in the snow at Sunrise, before the area is open to the public! Either weekday or weekend options are available (with a crew leader provided by our volunteer program). Dates are flexible in early to mid June. Contact Dale Harvard at 360-569-2211 ext. 3388.

Trail Maintenance:
Our trail crews will be building and maintaining trails all summer long, and are always happy for help from volunteer groups. Call Trails Foreman Carl Fabiani at 360-569-2211 ext. 3351 to set up a date and location for a project that meets your needs any time during the summer.

Native Plant Restoration:
Our revegetation crews will be busy in late summer and early fall planting native plants at locations in both Paradise and Sunrise. Groups of almost unlimited size are welcome to help, either for single days or multiple day stretches. Contact Will Arnesen at 360-569-2211 ext. 3374 to arrange a date for your group.

More projects are in the works, so even if you don't see something of interest to you here, give us a call (360-569-2211 ext. 3385) and let us connect your group with a project that will make a real difference at Mount Rainier National Park!

Individual Openings
Would you like to volunteer for a longer period of time, or return regularly throughout the summer to help with an extended projects? We have many opportunities to choose from! Follow these links for details and to apply for any project that interests you:

Meadow Rover: Help us protect the subalpine meadows above Paradise and Sunrise by patroling trails and educating visitors about the importance of staying on trails.

Plant Propagation (Greenhouse Assistant): Help grow plants for transplanting in the subalpine meadows.

Longmire Volunteer Campground Manager: Help us manage the campground for volunteers at Longmire. Hosts are still needed for the second half of the summer season.

Historic (Costumed) Interpreter: Act out scenes from the park's history, or help lead visitors by lantern-light through the trails at Longmire!

Citizen Science Team: Survey frogs, salamanders, and other species in the park's backcountry!
Besides the obvious benefits of volunteering at a National Park (time outdoors, meeting new people, sense of accomplishment), our volunteers get free entrance to the park on their days of service, as well as free use of the Longmire Campground (and its showers!).

We are consistently updating our blog with all the latest information and opportunities to volunteer at Mt Rainier. If you would like to get involved in any of the programs you have read about it this newsletter get in touch with either Evan Escamilla (360.569.2211 ext. 3312 or or Kevin Bacher (360.569.2211 ext. 3385 or

Thanks for your support of Mount Rainier, and we'll look forward to working with you this summer!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

June 5th is National Trails Day!

American Hiking Society's signature trail awareness program, National Trails Day (NTD), inspires the public and trail enthusiasts nationwide to seek out their favorite trails to discover, learn about, and celebrate the 200,000+ miles of outdoor trails in our country.

Mount Rainier's many trails provide access to the natural world for recreation, inspiration and education. Trails provide opportunities to breathe fresh air, get hearts pumping, escape from daily stresses and maintain overall health. NTD represents years of hard work, dedication and countless volunteer hours contributed by individuals, nonprofit groups and community organizations across America. During last year's NTD 2009 nationwide volunteers contributed nearly 180,000 volunteer labor hours to our nation’s trails, worth an estimated $3.6 million.

Here at Mount Rainier we have several projects taking place on NTD.

Washington Trails Association
For those looking to spend some time specifically on the trails the WTA is planning on working at Glacier Basin Trail. The Glacier Basin Trail sustained extensive damage during the storms of November 2006. Volunteers have spent the last three summers helping the park relocate the trail away from the river and on to the hillside. We still need your help to complete this approximately 2-mile relocation, which will include fun new trail construction tasks!

Longmire Campground Cleanup
We are looking for volunteers to help get our Volunteer Campground ready for the summer season. Anyone interested can meet at the Longmire community building at 9:30am on June 5th.
To join this work party click here.

REI of Tacoma - *Closed to the public
This group will be joining us on NTD to work at Kautz and Twin Firs Trail. If your company or group is interested in volunteering together we will have more opportunities throughout the summer. Give us a call and we'll set up a project for you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mass Causualty Incident **DRILL**

This past Monday 22 volunteers, most from Eatonville and Puyallup High School, got the rare opportunity to play the role of a "patient" in a Mass Casualty Incident training exercises staged at Mt Rainier's Education Center.

Many months of detailed planning went into developing a 5 car pile up scenario, which was kept a secret to preserve its authenticity. Each patient had detailed "cue cards" listing their injuries and vitals. Nearly all the volunteers had their bruises and injuries painted on their skin and clothes. In total, approximately 50 respondents from Mt. Rainier Park Service, Eatonville Fire Department, and Pierce Country Fire and Rescue participated in the two hour drill aimed at identifying deficiencies in a safe and controlled environment.

The result was an impressive display of force. The respondents split into teams to pull the patients safely out of the cars, sometimes cutting away doors, with a calm sense of urgency. One EMT with NPS, Corey Connor described it as, "turning total chaos into organized chaos. There are many levels of organization taking place at the scene and everyone is constantly re-evaluating and prioritizing."

As a spectator I was most impressed with the volunteers' dedication to their roles. Although the evening air was cool and the ground wet from a light drizzle the volunteers remained laying on the ground, some on backboards, with their various injuries for well over an hour.

Although an official debriefing will take place in the coming weeks the general feeling by those interviewed was that it was an invaluable learning experience integrating the various departments.

WTA Summer Projects Up

We are excitied to announce that the Washington Trails Association (WTA) has teamed up with Mt Rainier again this summer to offer opportunites during May to volunteer at Glacier Basin and Carbon River. Look for more opportunites to volunteer with the WTA as the summer season approaches. For a full listing of volunteer activites click the Calendar of Events link under the title heading.

Trail Work Party - May 28th and 29th
Glacier Basin Trail
Mount Rainier National Park. The Glacier Basin Trail sustained extensive damage during the storms of November 2006. Volunteers have spent the last three summers helping the park relocate the trail away from the river and on to the hillside. We still need your help to complete this approximately 2-mile relocation, which will include fun new trail construction tasks!

Volunteer Vacation - May 29 through June 5
Carbon River
There is nothing like working on a National Treasure, and that's just what Tahoma (Mount Rainier) is. Late May in the park will be showing many signs of spring, and you will get to experience it up close. The trail from Ipsut Creek campground to Carbon Glacier has sustained much damage in the past few years, and needs your help to be put back together. Get ready for a week of working in the shadow of a giant. SPACES REMAINING:1

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wanted: Campground Hosts

Adventurous and enthusiastic guests and volunteers looking for summer Volunteer Campground Hosts who enjoy mountain side hiking, beautiful scenery, good people, and bragging to their friends and relatives that they practically live in "paradise."

Hosts are needed at Longmire and Ohanapecosh Campgrounds between Memorial Day and Labor Day for the duration or just half season. Both Longmire and Ohanapecosh have RV sites with full hookups. Volunteer couples are welcome! It's a great opportunity to contribute to the enjoyment of Mt Rainier by guests and fellow volunteers during what is sure to be another gorgeous summer.

For more information or to apply please follow these links;
Campground hosts at Ohanapecosh

Campground hosts at Longmire

For inquires at Ohanapecosh you may contact Debbie Hannevig at 360-569-6006 or

For inquires at Longmire please contact Kevin Bacher at 360-569-2211 ext. 3385 or

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Public Service Recognition Week!

I received a notice in my e-mail yesterday, informing me that May 3-9 is Public Service Recognition Week. I confess I had no idea! We try to thank our volunteers regularly and sincerely, of course, but I can't pass up such an auspicious date without making a special effort to say thank you.

Our volunteer program is slowly ramping up this month. The annual Meadow Rover Brunch is coming up this Saturday, so join us for good foot and good information about volunteering. The Mount Rainier National Park Associates will be out working on trails on May 22; consider joining them in their efforts. June 5 will be National Trails Day, for which plans are still being developed, but will probably include trail construction and spring campground opening. June will be busier, and July busier still. Watch our calendar for short-term projects, and our recruitment list for long-term positions we're still filling, in our curatorial collection, campgrounds, and interpretive programs!

Meanwhile, from the office of the Secretary of the Interior:

"In the spirit of service, volunteerism, and connecting with our local communities, please participate in Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW), May 3–9. Celebrated since 1985, Public Service Recognition Week is a nationwide public education campaign honoring the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees and ensure that our government is the best in the world.

"Each year, the President and Congress designate the first full week of May as PSRW, and activities are held nationwide and around the world in celebration of public employees who put service above self. This year’s theme is Innovation and Opportunity, and Interior employees exemplify the theme with all of the hard work that they give to the Department and to America.

"From the steps of the Capitol to the smallest towns, public servants use the week to educate citizens about the work that they do and why they have chosen public service careers. Please read the DOI Public Service Recognition Week Events link below for more information about how you can participate in this week’s activities.

"Important links:
DOI Public Service Recognition Week Events
Partnership for Public Service"

Great Turnout for National Park Family Day

On Sunday, May 3rd Kevin Bacher, Jim Ross and Hilary Gaddis made the trek up to Seattle to participate in National Park Family Day in Seward Park. We were one of the many local national parks there hoping to reach out to new audiences in the community. The national parks in attendance were: Fort Vancouver, Lake Roosevelt, North Cascades and Olympic Park. We also made new partnerships on behalf of the CAMP program with the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club, Urban Wilderness Project and the National Wildlife Federation. As I visiting the different booths, it was exciting to see all the different kinds of information and kid activities available. I even learned a new fact about the Lewis & Clark expedition. During the entire expedition, a Newfoundland dog named Seaman was their constant companion. Once the sun broke through the clouds, all of us were talking to families non-stop. A popular activity was Jim's challenge game of having to match a footprint and scat with the correct animal. It was fun to see how much the kids knew. Kevin and Jim entertained the crowd telling stories and singing camp songs. As the C.A.M.P outreach intern, I was talking to as many families as I could about this amazing opportunity. On a side note, click on this link to read an article about CAMP in The News Tribune. It seems safe to say that a great time was had by all; even our furry mascot friends.

The Long and... Snowy Road

After a week's worth of driving from beautiful Kalamazoo, MI I have arrived to Mt. Rainier National Park where I will be serving as the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator with Kevin Bacher for the next 6 months.

My name is Evan Escamilla. I am a 24 year old graduate from Western Michigan University with degrees in Business Management and Spanish. After graduating in April 2009 I worked with Energy Management and Sustainability at WMU developing energy outreach initiatives and working closely with student affairs to promote sustainable behaviors among the students living on campus.

As an adventurer and someone who can't sit still, the bittersweet 30+ hour trek from Michigan through the great plains, across the Rockies and finally to Mt. Rainier was a true test of my patience. The miles of corn and hay fields were quite enjoyable thanks to my Grandpa and co-pilot who shared his life's stories along the way.

After spending 6 days in Washington I have yet to see the mountain I now call home and have only seen the blue sky through "sucker holes" (see below). This summer I'm looking forward to keeping busy with all the exciting programs taking place at the Park and meeting all the fantastic hard-working people who volunteer their time to keep their state's icon beautiful.

Sucker hole; noun
A brief moment of awe-inspiring hope when the mountain clouds break momentarily to allow the pacific sun to shine down upon the wet and glistening pines. Often followed by heavy cloud cover, rainfall, snow, hail, or any combination of these.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reminder: Next week is the annual Meadow Rover Brunch!

One of the must entertaining (certainly the most tasty) events of the volunteer year is coming up next weekend: the annual Meadow Rover Brunch at the Tacoma Mountaineers clubhouse. Don't miss it! Mostly this is an opportunity to meet other volunteers, especially other members of the park's meadow rover program, and to share scrumptuous breakfast foods. Several park rangers will be on hand, too, to talk about the volunteer program and how you can get involved--so previous experience is not necessary! We'll tell you what's new with the program, including several new volunteer opportunities this year, and some changes (hopefully improvements) to the rover program.

We'll also be unveiling a brand new 7 1/2-minute video about Mount Rainier's volunteer program that was produced for us over the winter as a volunteer project by Three Moon Bay video company.

Follow this link for full details at the original blog posting. See you in Tacoma!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rainier's campground hosts go south for the winter

If you've ever wondered what Mount Rainier's campground hosts do in the "off" season, here's one example! Some of you may remember hosts Hank and Judy Bernard, who served recently at Ohanapecosh Campground. They're spending this winter in Florida! But don't be too envious of them: they're working--as campground hosts at Everglades National Park. OK, that's worth being a little envious. Here's their note. And by the way, I love hearing from volunteers during the long winter months!

Hi Kevin, We are in Florida with our motorhome, decided to take a long trip this past winter. Our last stop before heading north was Everglades National Park. When we arrived at Long Pine Key campground we met the Campground Hosts who were leaving the next day, earlier than planned. This was going to leave the park short for the next few weeks until the heat and mosquitos end the season and there arn't enough people here to warrant a host. At the same time Judy began to have a dental problem and needed to stay in the area a while to have it taken care of. So, we are now Campground Hosts in the Everglades, wow, sure never expected that to happen. We showed them our volunteer reference letters and said we had our uniforms and name tags and they couldn't wait to sign us up! Don't worry, we will be back in Washington this summer,maybe just a bit later than usual. Just thought you might find it interesting that some of your volunteers are working in Florida and are so appreciated that after the first day they asked us to come back next year! Hope all is going well back there as you approach another beautiful summer season. We'll be back!!

Sincerely, Hank and Judy Bernard