Saturday, September 25, 2010

A great National Public Lands Day at Mount Rainier!

You couldn't ask for better weather than we had at Mount Rainier National Park today for Nataional Public Lands Day! Preliminary estimates are that about 102 people turned out for three different volunteer projects in the park. I spent the day visiting each of the project areas in turn and taking pictures, a preliminary set of which is posted on my Flickr site and shown as a slide show above.

(For you camera buffs, I shot camera RAW, so the pictures will look a lot better once I've had a chance to tweak the exposure on them, hopefully Monday. But I wanted to give you a first look at all the great work that went on today!) Update 9/27: Done! The high quality, full-resolution photos are now posted.

Thirty-one people joined us on the Glacier Basin trail to continue its reconstruction. I was amazed at the amount of work that has occurred since my visit just a week ago. Eventually I'll post before and after photos so you can see what I'm talking about. The crew at Glacier Basin included members of the Washington Trails Association and the T'kope Kwiskwis Lodge of the Boy Scouts of America (who also had a number of members working on Forest Service land outside the park, which are not included in our total).

At Paradise, about 71 people worked to plant native plants around the lower parking lot. This is a project we began last year, and those plants look great, as if they'd been there for years rather than just one, so I look forward to seeing the plants put in today after they settle in to their new home! The group of volunteers at Paradise included members of a class from Evergreen State College, several volunteers from the Boeing Employee Association, and a number of volunteers recruited from their membership by the National Parks Conservation Association, as well as many members of the general public who learned about the volunteer day from their local newspapers. Many volunteers also returned after participated in National Public Lands Day last year.

Mid-afternoon, a contingent of Evergreen State College volunteers broke off from the main group and returned to Longmire to take down the platform tents in the Volunteer Campground in preparation for winter. The Evergreen students have been living in the campground for the past ten days, attending lectures under tarps in the rain, going on field trips, participating in seminars led by park scientists, and working on volunteer trail repair and planting projects, so it's fitting that they wrapped up their experience today by helping us with one final volunteer job.

Thank you, everyone, for an awesome day, and for your exceptional work in support of your national park!

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