Monday, October 4, 2010

The end of an era: Trail foreman Carl Fabiani retires this month

If you've hiked a trail at Mount Rainier National Park, you've probably benefited from the work of our trail foreman, Carl Fabiani, who has built and maintained trails here, and more recently supervised such work, for 45 years--almost half the history of the park. If you've volunteered on a trail crew, you have certainly benefited from his efforts; Fabiani's legendary commitment to exceptional trail standards pervades everything we do, and his dedication to working with volunteers has allowed hundreds or even thousands of people to participate in that legacy.

Read all about Carl's career at Mount
Rainier in The News Tribune, with photos
like this one by Dean Koepfler
The News Tribune, yesterday, published an excellent article about Carl's career, in light of his impending retirement later this month. Meanwhile, a staff retirement party is planned for Thursday the 21st. If anyone would like to send good wishes to Carl, or say a few words about what his work has meant for you, leave them as a comment on this post or e-mail them to me, and I'll make sure he receives them.

One of my favorite trail experiences -- hiking home
from Mystic Lake in a torrential late-September
rainstorm in 2005
 On a personal note, I fell in love on the trails of Mount Rainier... both with The Mountain, and with my wife, back in 1994 and 1995, on the east side Wonderland Trail, the Silver Falls Trail, and the Northern Loop. I shared many wonderful adventures with friends on the park's trails: exploring at Indian Henry's, hiking the west side Wonderland Trail in the rain, hiking back from Mystic Lake in the rain (with the superintendent) as the Carbon River began to flood, hanging out at Mildred Point and Panorama Point and Shriner Peak and Mount Fremont. You rarely think of the labor that goes into such trails as you trudge over them, but the reconstruction of the Glacier Basin trail over the past two years has opened my eyes. That work has been done by Park Service trail crews, by contract crews from WCC, by teams of interns from the Student Conservation Association, by partners like WTA, by groups of boy scouts and employee groups and service clubs, and by literally hundreds of volunteers, all ultimately under the leadership of Carl Fabiani.

Thanks, Carl, for all your hard work; and happy trails.

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