Monday, February 28, 2011

ArrowCorps 502 - The Ultimate Adventure

We're getting excited about a unique partnership coming up this summer--ArrowCorps 502, which will bring as many as 502 Boy Scouts, mostly members of the elite Order of the Arrow, to Mount Rainier and its neighboring National Forests for a week of training and service in early August. On February 15, several members of the group joined us at park headquarters to fill us in on the plans and answer questions. Park staff are busy putting together projects for the young men to complete, and helping with logistics.

ArrowCorps 502 is a concept based on "ArrowCorps 5," a nationwide volunteer project a few years ago that brought thousands of Scouts to five different National Forest sites. ArrowCorps 502 is organized by the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts, local T'Kope Kwiskwis Lodge number 502, and the Order of the Arrow. About half of the young people being recruited for the project will work in Mount Rainier National Park, based out of Camp Sheppard north of the park, the Longmire Volunteer Campground, Ipsut Creek Campground, and possibly Round Pass. The other half will work on trail and road projects in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Gifford Pinchot National Forests.

The Scouts have spent a year and a half now planning for this project, including participating in recent National Public Lands Days and other volunteer efforts at Mount Rainier.

Here's a great video put together by the Scouts themselves that captures well the energy behind this effort:

Here's the press release that went out a few weeks ago. Watch this blog for more information as the July 31 kickoff of ArrowCorps 502 approaches!

ArrowCorps502- The Ultimate Adventure (Seattle, WA, 02/14/11)—

"The goal of the project," said Evan Skandalis, ArrowCorps502 Chairman, "is to invite hundreds of Scouts, Scouters, and Arrowmen from all over the country to spend a week in Mt. Rainier National Park. It‟s a great way to get people to „pay it forward‟ and give back to one of our iconic National Parks."
The Order of the Arrow is the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America. The local branch of the Order of the Arrow is T‟Kope Kwiskwis Lodge #502. The organization is known nationally for its mission of community service and focus on outdoor adventure. Uniquely, the programs in the Order are planned and executed almost entirely by youth members.

The Chief Seattle Council serves over 35,000 youth and registered adult volunteer members each year and encompasses five counties: King, Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap and North Mason.

Please contact Darla Sklar for more information and/or to participate in this incredible conservation project. Scouts are available for interviews.
ArrowCorps502 is a weeklong conservation project at Mt. Rainier National Park, sponsored by Chief Seattle Council and the T‟Kope Kwiskwis Lodge of the Order of the Arrow. From July 31st through August 6th Scouts and volunteers from all over the country will rebuild campsites, blaze trail, clear invasive species, and leave a legacy that will last generations. The program is open to any Scout, Scouter, Venturer, or Sea Scout. There will also be a one-day Cub Scout program. This summer, adventure calls. Will you answer?


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WTA Advertises 2011 Volunteer Vacations

It's only February, and it was snowing outside my window this morning, but the Washington Trails Association is already planning for summer! The calendar of Volunteer Vacations is posted on their website, and they're filling up rapidly.

If you've considered visiting Mount Rainier on your summer vacation and spending a week doing something worthwhile -- building and repairing trails in some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth -- sign up now before it's too late! WTA provides crew leaders, food, and tools; you provide the sweat; and we provide the scenery!

Three volunteer vacations will be within Mount Rainier National Park:
Carbon River - May 28-June 4
Carbon River - June 4-June 11
Carbon River - September 3-10

See you on the trail!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Seeking experienced Meadow Rovers to serve as summer program assistants at Sunrise and Paradise

From East District Interpreter Christine Czazasty:

Dear Meadow Rovers,

We are looking forward to summer! It will be a fun and busy season at the park, especially as the Sunrise visitor center opens with new exhibits. We are looking for experienced Meadow Rovers to help out as a Meadow Rover Program Assistant four days a week at Paradise and at Sunrise. Two positions are available. Duties include helping to oversee the Meadow Rover program, mentoring and training new Meadow Rovers, and assisting at the Visitor Center information desk.

We are looking for one person on the Sunrise area from June 30 through September 5. Housing will be provided in the South Blockhouse dorm. You would have your own bedroom with shared kitchen, living room and bath.

At Paradise we are looking for someone June through August. The season is somewhat flexible since we could use help with melt-out as well. An RV pad or shared housing is available in Longmire or Tahoma Woods.

If you are interested in the Sunrise position please contact Christine Czazasty (360-569-6047 phone or email

For the Paradise position please contact Curt Jacquot at 360-569-2211 x 6426 or email

Please respond by March 31, 2011.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Volunteer conducts safety research for Mount Rainier National Park

Some of you who are on our volunteer rolls may be receiving a letter or e-mail from Laura Rickard, asking for your help with a survey about safety issues at Mount Rainier. If you receive such a letter, I encourage you to participate--the survey is not only approved by us, it will provide us with invaluable information to help us identify places where we can improve our ability to work safely with both staff and visitors.

This is a great example of a partnership between a university research program--in this, a graduate research project at Cornell University--and the National Park Service, faciliated by the volunteer program and supported by our close partner, the Student Conservation Association. It's literally a win-win-win situation. Thank you, Laura, for your work on our behalf!

Similar research partnerships have been done in recent years in our biology and geomorphology programs.

Here's the letter Laura sent last week, introducing herself to the park community:

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the Mount Rainier National Park community. I am a graduate student at Cornell University working as a Student Conservation Association (SCA) intern at MORA [Mount Rainier] this winter/spring; if I haven’t met you already--either in the last few days, or when I was here in Summer 2009-- I hope to do so soon.

Because you have worked as employees and volunteers at MORA, I believe you have a unique and important perspective to share. Therefore, I’d like to invite you to take part in an online survey about visitor safety. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers to these questions, and your responses will be kept confidential. Your comments will inform my research at Cornell, as well as help to provide NPS with feedback on how to address visitor safety issues in the future.

In the next few weeks, you will be receiving an email invitation to access the survey. You may skip questions that you do not wish to answer, or discontinue participation at any time with no effect. (You can also fill out some questions, and then return to the survey at a later point). I estimate that the survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. Once you finish, you’ll have the option of entering into a drawing for a gift certificate to REI.

Two other parts of my research deserve mention. First, I will be contacting some of you in the next few weeks to ask you to participate in an interview, also relating to safety in the park. Second, you may see me at Paradise or the Carbon River area speaking with visitors, whom I will be recruiting to take a similar online survey.

If you have any questions or comments about any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to interacting with you all in the next few months!

Best wishes,

Laura Rickard
Cornell University

2nd Annual NW National Park Family Day

Visitors to Mount Rainier's booth in 2010
Here's a great opportunity for families in the Seattle area. I participated last year, and we had booths from all the local national parks, environmental organizations, and youth organizations, with lots of great activities for families and kids. Put it on your calendar!

Our own calendar is beginning to take shape, so stop by and check out what's planned.

June 25th, 2011- SAVE THE DATE!
The Mountaineers Program Center
Magnuson Park - Seattle, WA

The National Park Service and National Parks Conservation Association will host the 2nd Annual NW National Park Family Day on Saturday, June 25th at the Mountaineers Program Center in Magnuson Park from 10am-4pm.

Northwest National Park Family Day—“Bringing the Parks to the People” is a free, family-friendly event filled with fun activities geared toward children and those unfamiliar with national parks of the Northwest, outdoor activities and conservation in general.

Our goals for the event are to expose lower income and diverse communities to our national parks, outdoor activities, and environmental stewardship opportunities, to educate youth on employment opportunities within our National Park System, and to inspire children and adults to get outdoors and learn about the natural, cultural and historical treasures found within our National Parks. The event will also provide visibility for NPS, NPCA, and all of our partner groups attending the event.

Last year, we had nearly 1,000 participants, volunteers, and staff in attendance, including 30 on-site groups providing activities, demonstrations, and information for children and adults. Our goal is to reach 2,000-2,500 participants this year and with the support of The Mountaineers, REI, NPS, Discover Your Northwest, NPCA, KCTS, and YOU we know we can achieve this goal!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Former Recovery Corps leader now working with Artists as First Responders in Peru

Hanna O'Connell helps with
Wonderland Trail restoration in 2007
I have a number of Google news alerts set up, including, of course, one that looks for a combination of the terms "volunteer" and "Mount Rainier." I get a lot of notices about volunteers in Mount Rainier, Maryland, and my own blog posts turn up frequently, but I also occasionally come across news about alumni of our volunteer program and the things they've gone on to do elsewhere in the world.

Such in the case with this pair of articles on the website of the "Scene" newspaper in Wisconsin, featuring our own Hanna O'Connell, one of the crew leaders for our Student Conservation Association-led Mount Rainier Recovery Corps back in 2007. Hanna is now working on a degree in International Relations at the University of Wisconsin, but has not given up her passion for volunteer work; she's now working with an organization called Artists as First Responders, helping with flood recovery efforts in Peru. It's not clear from the articles, but it sounds like she might be one of the founders of the group.

It sounds like wonderful and compassionate work, and all of Hanna's old friends here at Mount Rainier wish her well. Follow these links to learn more about what she's up to:

Artists as First Responders born from trip to Peru
Hanna in Peru: Back to the Sacred Valley
Artists as First Responders (A1R)