Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Volunteer Newsletter: September 2010

As the end of the summer draws near the kids are going back to school and the we're seeing the number of daily visitors fall with each Fahrenheit degree on my thermometer here in Longmire but there is still so much work to be done! We'll have individual volunteers and groups out working nearly every day until the winter's snow covers their tracks. Please come join us in enjoying the parks beauty by serving in whatever capacity that interests you. Listed below you will find our upcoming opportunities for the month of September.

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

September 3, 4 & 5 - WTA Trail Work Party at Glacier Basin
September 10, 11 & 12 - WTA Trail Work Party at Glacier Basin
September 17, 18 & 19 - WTA Trail Work Party at Glacier Basin
September 25 - NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY at Glacier Basin

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

September 11 - Alpine Gardening Party at Sunrise
October 2 - Trail Maintenance

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

Living History Training - September 11, 8:30am - 5:00pm at the Education Center in Tahoma Woods

Other Individual Volunteer Opportunities
Several dates are on the calendar for drop-in projects, with more being planned:

National Public Lands Day
September 25 - Look for an upcoming blog with the details on one of the largest volunteer weekends of the year. Last year we hosted over 200 volunteers!

Revegetation projects at Paradise
September 11, 18, and 25 - Help us plant native plants in the meadows above Paradise. Individuals and groups are welcome.

Soundscape Monitoring
This unique opportunity to contribute to science by assisting with the Soundscape Surveys is located in some of the most spectacular backcountry areas of Mount Rainier National Park on a gorgeous fall day? --anyone interested should contact Brett Kiser directly at bkiser@rsginc.com, or by calling 802-295-4999 (work) or 540-250-0202 (cell)

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:

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 August 30 to October 7. 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.

Native Plant Restoration:
Weather permitting our revegetation crews will be busy through late September 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 patrolling trails and educating visitors about the importance of staying on trails.

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

Historic (Costumed) Interpreter: Act out scenes from the park's history, or help lead visitors by lantern-light through the trails at Longmire! Although we won't be putting on any more Shadows of the Past programs this summer we are looking for interpreters to put on programs at other times. Anyone interested should sign up to attend our upcoming Living History training session.

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. 3414 or evan_escamilla@partner.nps.gov) or Kevin Bacher (360.569.2211 ext. 3385 or kevin_bacher@nps.gov).

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

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Alpine Gardening Party at Sunrise

Coming up on Sunday the 11th of September, the Mount Rainier National Park Associates are sponsoring an "alpine gardening" party at Sunrise. Come help revegetate the meadows! For details, check out this article in today's News Tribune:

Work Party Scheduled at Sunrise

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Living History Training

Become a living part
of Mount Rainier's history!
September 11, 2010
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Education Center at Tahoma Woods, Ashford, Mount Rainier National Park (click link for map)

Mount Rainier National Park is looking to develop a cadre of living history volunteers to research, develop and present living history programs in first and third person. Hoping to build on the popularity of the Shadows of the Past program, we have invited Living History Reenactor and Professional Storyteller Karen S. Hass to present a one-day workshop for staff and volunteers interested in exploring this medium of interpretation.

Subjects covered will include first and third person interpretation; costumes; how to research your character; storytelling; and more. There will be role playing and work in small groups. Come prepared to interact with your fellow participants.

While there is no other time commitment required beyond attending the workshop, our hope is that participants will work with park Interpretive staff to research, develop and present living history programs in the park. If you have a passion for the Mountain, an interest in history, enjoy dressing up and would like to perform for the many visitors of Mount Rainier, please contact Lee Snook by September 7th at Lee_Snook@nps.gov or 360.569.2211 x 6043 to RSVP for this free training. Space is limited.

The volunteer campground at Longmire is available to participants of the workshop for the nights of September 10 and/or 11. Let us know when your RSVP if you plan to use this resource, in order to reserve a spot.

Lee Snook

West District Interpreter
Mount Rainier National Park

Volunteers still needed for Soundscape Monitoring

Tragically, this project requires you to spend a day
surrounded by this scenery in Van Trump Park.
VIPs are still needed over the next couple of weeks in the Van Trump Park area of Mount Rainier National Park to survey soundscapes! Here's a link to the original posting for this project. Volunteers are still needed on the following dates:
  • Saturday August 28 – 1 volunteer at Van Trump Park (meeting in Longmire)
  • Sunday August 29 – 1 volunteer at Van Trump Park (meeting in Longmire)
  • Saturday September 4 – 1 volunteer at Van Trump Park (meeting in Longmire)
  • Sunday September 5 – 1 volunteer at Van Trump Park (meeting in Longmire)

 We also need volunteers the weekend of September 11-12 and September 17-19, two volunteers needed – one at Van Trump Park and one at Clover Lake, although these are less urgent since they are farther out.
If you're interested in helping -- and who wouldn't be interested in spending a day contributing to science in some of the most spectacular backcountry areas of Mount Rainier National Park on a gorgeous fall day? -- contact Brett Kiser at bkiser@rsginc.com, or by calling 802-295-4999 (work) or 540-250-0202 (cell) as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Final CAMP of Summer 2010

A smaller number of families joined us this time, but there were still many new experiences and a lot of fun had by all. The fewer number of people allowed for a closer-knit group and the kids had a blast playing together since it was all boys around the age of 10. We started the first day off with a hike around the Trail of Shadows; a nice hike that introduces the families to the history and ecology of the park. Then it was back to the campsite at Cougar Rock Campground for snacks and rest time. A highlight of each of the CAMP programs is the campfire and the first night didn’t disappoint. The rangers led several funny and interactive songs and stories that ensure each person gets to show off their silly side. Then it was off to bed to be well rested for trip to Paradise on the following day.

The next day the sun was out and the temperature was just right. Each of the three families came along on the Nisqually Vista Trail that was awash in beautiful wildflowers and dramatic views of Mount Rainier. After eating our lunch and spending time in the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center, we piled into the two vans and headed to Box Canyon. The road up to Box Canyon named Stevens Canyon Road can provide its own thrill to the faint of heart due to the jaw-dropping cliffs on the edge of the road. At Box Canyon, a loop trail allowed us to see both sides of the canyon; the view from the bridge of the river running through the canyon is always impressive. It was getting to be four soon thus it was time to return to the campsite to have snacks and let people rest.

Once it became dark it was time for another campfire and we had a nice surprise that night. The nice surprise was by Ray Morris who came last year as well with his grandson. He entertained us by playing two songs on his harmonica. It was such a nice treat to hear him play. The night finished up with a retelling by Ranger Jim Ross of the story of the first recorded summit of Mount Rainier by P.B Van Trump and Hazard Stevens. The end of this camp was bittersweet since it was the last one this summer, but I am blessed with so many good memories and new friends.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Congressman Reichert at Glacier Basin Trail

Washington's Congressman Dave Reichert made a special visit Monday to view the progress being made on the Glacier Basin Trail by over 498 different volunteers including the SCA group of high schoolers who were working during his visit. Reichert took the time to talk to each one of the SCA volunteers and extended his appreciation to all volunteers who have given their blood, sweat, and tears in efforts to promote the goals of the National Parks.

"Free Your Glee!" at the Puyallup Fair

Yes! It's time to do the Puyallup. This year's theme is "Free Your Glee!"

Last year park staff and volunteers talked to over 8200 people and thousands more saw our exhibits. 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 25’ space will have two exhibits, one will try to answer the question "What can you see at Mount Rainier when you can't see Mount Rainier," and another one features the 10 National Park Service sites in Washington. Along with our "paws and poop" display, kids will be able to make bookmarks with stamps of their favorite animal tracks. 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 10th through September 26th. 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.

As in past years, park supervisors may allow their employees to do a shift at the fair on park time if the supervisor can make a day available. Including drive time and shift time it usually makes close to an eight hour day. Park employees who volunteer to do a shift on their own time may wear their normal uniform.

Our exhibit space will be along a trail wandering through native plants and connecting five different organizations. The groups in the Northwest Outdoors Building are working hard to make the area both fun and educational. You will have a great time at the fair and I look forward to hearing from you.

Anyone interested in helping out should contact Jim Ross at Jim_Ross@NPS.gov.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Alpine Gardeners and Trail Work Volunteers

The annual Mount Rainier National Park Associates alpine gardening work party will be Saturday, September 11th. That is the Saturday following the Labor Day weekend. We will again be planting wildflower seedlings at Sunrise on the project to convert a historic campground area back into alpine meadows.
On the morning of September 11th, we will meet in the Sunrise parking lot between 8:30 and 9:00 AM. Jane and I will be parked on the far left (south) side of the parking lot as you arrive at Sunrise. When you arrive, please check in with us. We need to get the names of all our volunteers. There may be volunteers from other organizations milling about, so look for us at the green-gray Subaru Outback Wagon surrounded by people who look like they know what is going on,

Be prepared for almost any fall weather. Bring both your sun hat and sunscreen, your rain gear, plus a lunch, plenty of water to drink, gardening gloves, and a digging tool you like using. If you have no gardening tools, the park can provide small hand tools. You will be working on your hands and knees doing the planting, so if you like to use a pad for your knees, bring it along too. The work site is about a mile from the parking lot so plan on carrying everything you want to bring. We normally work until at least 3 PM.

There is no charge for volunteers to enter the Park. When you enter at the White River Entrance, tell the attendant that you will be doing volunteer work on the meadow restoration project at Sunrise. If you would like to camp at the White River Campground the evening prior to or the evening of the work party (or both evenings) contact Evan Escamilla at evan_escamilla@partner.nps.gov . He can make the arrangements so that you can camp for free.

If you plan to join MRNPA on Saturday, Sept 11th, for this alpine gardening work party, please reply to John Titland at volunteer@mount-rainier.org confirming that you are coming and indicating the number of volunteers that you will bringing with you.
If you would like to assist in doing planting at Mount Rainier but September 11th is not the right day, or you would prefer to volunteer at Paradise, please consult the Mount Rainier website, http://www.nps.gov/mora/home.htm. Wildflower planting will be going on at both Sunrise and Paradise for several days.

Glacier Basin Trail work featured in Seattle Times

Thanks to Lynn Kittridge for passing this link from the Seattle Times along highlighting the Glacier Basin Trail re-route and an extra special thanks for continuously logging long summer weekend hours volunteering on the trail!


Special Projects at Paradise

With the meltout on Paradise trails nearly complete there is much work to be done to bring in the full summer flower's bloom. Jen Glyzinski has asked us to pass the word on to our volunteer network that she is looking for people to complete some special projects in the Paradise area.

These projects include;

  • Clearing brush from the Skyline trail between Myrtle Falls and 4th Crossing
  • Installing silt bars on Golden Gate and Skyline trails
  • Transporting fill material to the Golden Gate trail
  • Digging out lateral drains, culverts, waterbars
  • Resetting liner rocks on Golden Gate trail
Anyone interested should contact Jen at 360-569-2211 ext. 3325 or Jennifer_Glyzinski@nps.gov

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Soundscape Survey Recruitment

Volunteers are needed to conduct a Soundscape Survey examining backcountry visitors’ soundscape perceptions and experiences in Mount Rainier National Park. The administration of this study involves three interrelated components or methods conducted at Van Trump Park and Clover Lake.

Volunteer Needs
We need two volunteers per site to conduct two separate, yet complimentary tasks.
Tasks that volunteers will need to conduct:

Administer a visitor survey.

  1. This task includes intercepting hikers as they are heading back to their car and asking them to participate in the survey. If the visitor accepts, the volunteer would explain the survey and then allow the visitor to complete the questionnaire. The volunteer will need to discretely observe the visitor as they complete the survey to make sure things are completed correctly. The volunteer will also keep a detailed log of acceptances and refusals throughout the day.
Conduct sound source logging.
  1. In addition to the visitor survey, a volunteer will be needed near each survey location to conduct sound source logging using a Palm Pilot PDA. This task consists of logging the sounds heard while sitting at a designated location.
  2. The logged sounds will be used to correlate to visitor survey responses to understand what visitors perceive hearing and what sounds are actually present.

Skills needed to conduct these two tasks:

For administering the visitor surveys:
  1. Ability to hike up to 3 miles (one-way) on varied and often steep terrain in a reasonable amount of time.
  2. Typically, these volunteers need to be personable and comfortable speaking with the public– enough so that they don’t mind interrupting a visitor’s hike to ask them to help the park service out. They also should not mind getting “refusals” as these can sometimes be common (although less likely at our two study locations).
  3. Volunteers need to have a high degree of personal accountability to ensure timely and consistent presence on scheduled sampling days, as the tasks are to be conducted at very specific times for consistency between sampling dates across the summer; previous experience with data collection or scientific studies, is desirable, but not necessary.
  4. Volunteers need to be very attentive to details and have a good sense of quality control in the data collection process.
For the sound source logging:
  1. Ability to hike up to 3 miles (one-way) on varied and often steep terrain in a reasonable amount of time.
  2. Volunteers need to be able to listen very attentively and not get distracted by other aspects of the surrounding (wildlife, views, etc.).
  3. Volunteers need to be somewhat “techno-savvy” to work with the Palm Pilots and to react to any “issues” that may arise with using the Palm Pilots.
  4. Volunteers need to be able to sit for up to 7 hours without any human contact and maintain attention to the quality of their work despite the “slower” nature of the sound source logging task.
Volunteers with previous sound source logging and/or visitor survey research experience are particularly desirable, although all volunteers will need to undergo project-specific training before conducting these tasks.

On each sampling day, we will begin collecting data at 10:30 AM and continue until approximately 5:00 PM. This means that volunteers will need to be setup at the survey locations by 10:30 AM. At Van Trump Park this means finding parking near the Comet Falls Trailhead and hiking up the trail (approximately 1.5-2 hours hike). At Clover Lake – this means getting to the Sunrise Point parking lot and hiking to the survey locations (approximately an hour hike). In particular, to allow enough time for training (on volunteers’ first work days)
and setup prior to the scheduled start time for sampling, volunteers should plan to meet with project staff (i.e., the graduate students and/or interns).

Volunteers working at Van Trump Park:
  • On the volunteer’s first work day, meet project staff in Longmire at the Wilderness Information Center at 8:15 AM.
  • On all subsequent work days (i.e., after being trained by project staff) , meet project staff in Longmire at the Wilderness Information Center at 8:30.
Volunteers working at Clover Lake:
  • On the volunteer’s first work day, meet project staff at the Sunrise Point parking area at 8:45 AM.
  • On all subsequent work days (i.e., after being trained by project staff), meet project staff at the Sunrise Point parking area at 9:15
For more information and/or to schedule volunteering with the Soundscape Survey please contact Brett Kiser at bkiser@rsginc.com or by calling 802-295-4999.

Annual Volunteer Potluck

Annual Volunteer Potluck
August 28th
Longmire Community Building

Set down your trekking poles and grab your casserole dish! You've worked hard all year long volunteering thousands of hours on your feet, sometimes on your hands and knees, through meadows, forests, rain, snow, occasionally sunshine and all on your free time. It's time to pat each other on the back, swap stories, and celebrate all your work over the past year.

Please plan on bringing a dish to share to the Longmire Community Building August 28th, 2010 at 4:00pm. Utencils and plates will be provided.

We will also be putting together a slide show presentation to highlight all the accomplishments of our fantastic VIPs since last August and we would love to include some of YOUR best photos showing your volunteer experiences at Mount Rainier. Please send them to evan_escamilla@partner.nps.gov

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Attention Sunrise Meadow Rovers

At Sunrise the trails are cleared of snow but FULL of visitors enjoying the blooming meadows and sunshine.

There is a particular need for a committed Rover at 9:30 on Saturdays until August 14 for a long Ranger-led hike to Skyscraper Mt.

Meadow Rover Mentoring
One of our experienced Meadow Rovers, George Penfield, has offered to train and mentor any interested Meadow Rovers Friday-Monday.

Anyone interested in either of these opportunities should contact George Penfield at george.penfield@comcast.net