Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mount Rainier National Park Volunteer Newsletter: August 2011

Summer is here and despite the record setting snow level at Paradise, lower elevations are starting to melt out and volunteer project are in full swing throughout the park!

If you have not checked out Mount Rainier National Park’s Volunteer Blog recently, here are a few headlines that should not be missed!

We recently partnered with Scouts from ArrowCorps502, Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest, and Evergreen State College students to work on a variety of services projects. You can read more about this successful weeklong event by visiting our blog.

Trail work along Glacier Basin has come to a triumphant completion. A celebratory event to thank all the volunteers for their hard work along with a re-dedication of the trail is currently in the works, so stay tuned!

Keep up with current volunteer events, upcoming training opportunities, and the latest news by clicking on the calendar of activities at the top of this blog. You will also find projects through the Washington Trails Association (WTA) and the Mount Rainier National Park Associates (MRNPA). These two partner organizations schedule day long projects throughout the summer season.

Washington Trails Association Projects

Contact WTA through their website for details and to register for these projects:

August 5, 6, & 7 – WTA Trail Work Party at Glacier Basin Trail
August 12, 13, & 14 – WTA Trail Work Party at Crystal Peak Trail
August 19, 20, & 21 – WTA Trail Work Party at Crystal Peak Trail
August 26, 27, & 28 – WTA Trail Work Party at Huckleberry Creek Trail
September 2, 3, & 4 – WTA Trail Work Party at Huckleberry Creek Trail

Additional projects will be added to WTA’s calendar on a weekly basis throughout the summer. Most projects happen on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Labor Day.

Mount Rainier National Park Associates Projects

Contact MRNPA through their website for details and to register for these projects:

August 13 – Trail Maintenance/Campout
September 10 – Re-vegetation
October 1 – Project TBD

Event Volunteer Opportunities

September 9 – 25 – Puyallup Fair

It's almost time to do the Puyallup. This year's theme is "Make Your Escape."

Last year park staff and volunteers talked to over 10,700 people. That averages out to 1 new contact every minute of our 17 days at the fair. In addition thousands more took time to look at our exhibits. We hope to do even better this year.

The Northwest Outdoors Alliance is working hard to make our building space more open and inviting. It will have hundreds of native plants throughout the building to make it an outdoor experience. The park is teaming with the Pierce County Stream Team to put in a small water feature between our two spaces.

The park will occupy a prominent place. Our 10’ x 30’ 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 93 miles of the Wonderland Trail. We’ll have our traditional "paws and poop" display and kids will be able to make bookmarks. But the most important part is a real live person representing the park service, talking with all those enthusiastic fairgoers.

The fair runs from September 9th through September 25th. 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.

For more information on volunteering please contact Jim Ross at 360-569-6568 or jim_ross@nps.gov.

September 24 – National Public Lands Day:

Every year on the last Saturday of September, Mount Rainier brings its summer volunteer program to a close with a massive volunteer day, offering volunteer opportunities throughout the park including trail maintenance and re-vegetation. This year’s event is taking shape on the EAST side of the park, with projects at Sunrise and White River. Watch the blog for details further details coming soon!

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:

Native Plant Restoration:

Our re-vegetation 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 360-569-6762 to arrange a date for your group.

Attractants Assessment:

Mount Rainier National Park wants to evaluate its efforts at keeping human attractants away from wildlife. Annually, crews walk through the campgrounds of the park and document use of the campsites and whether items of concern (e.g. coolers, dishes, etc.) are left out where wildlife can get to them.

By monitoring campgrounds, we can see how effective our educational efforts are, and where we might improve our attractant management program.Volunteers are needed to walk through the campgrounds, documenting whether each campsite is used, and what types, if any, of attractants may be left unsecured from wildlife access.

The volunteer would complete specific data forms, and would have the option of providing an educational message if contacted. Each of the four campgrounds (Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, White River, Mowich Lake) need surveying on a periodic (e.g. monthly) basis, July to Sept. One person can survey a campground in a couple of hours, but working in pairs or small groups might be preferred. For more information please contact Mason Reid at 360-569-6771 or Mason_Reid@nps.gov.

Washington’s National Park Fund Information Distribution:

Mount Rainier National Park and Washington's National Park Fund are looking for three good volunteers to help distribute information about the Fund at the Nisqually Entrance for four hours on Saturday, August 20.The volunteers will talk to visitors as their cars wait in line at the entrance during the peak 11am to 3pm period, hand out brochures about the Fund and its activities, and answer questions. They will meet at 10:30am for a brief training and safety orientation.

If enough volunteers sign up, we may also distribute information on the following day, Sunday the 21st.

For more information you may visit our recent blog post or to sign up for this project, please contact Laurie Ward at 253-566-4644 or laurie@wnpf.org

Nisqually Glacier Monitoring:

We are finally getting to the point on the Nisqually Glacier where we’ll be able to see some rocks or other stuff on the surface to survey!

We’re hoping to get a pretty large area of rocks surveyed in order to determine the extents of stagnating ice on the lower glacier. This will involve using a Total Station to survey in individual rocks on the glacier over the course of several weeks. We will hopefully have between 2 and 3 teams combing the Nisqually Glacier surveying in rocks. Each team will also GPS and photograph the rocks in order to get relative positions so they can be resurveyed.

Survey Dates: Thursday, August 18; Thursday August 25;Thursday, September 1; andThursday, September 8.(Possibly one other day in September, to be determined.

There may also be another day down the road where we’ll have surveys.

Do you have glacier hiking/climbing skills and have personal gear necessary for the trip?

We have a limited amount of equipment (crampons, helmets, ice axes, etc) for the excursion, but not enough to supply everyone.

For more information or to volunteer please contact Scott Beason, Park Geologist, at 360-569-6781 or scott_beason@nps.gov.

More projects are in the works, so even if you don't see something of interest to you here, give us a call (360-569-6588) and let us connect your group with a project that will make a real difference at Mount Rainier National Park!

Individual Openings

Interested in volunteering for a longer period of time, or return regularly throughout the summer to help with 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.

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 the only campground showers within the park!).

We are consistently updating our blog with all the latest information and opportunities to volunteer at Mount 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 Patti Poulin (360.569.6588 or patricia_poulin@partner.nps.gov) or Kevin Bacher (360.569.6567 or kevin_bacher@nps.gov).

Thank you for supporting Mount Rainier National Park and we look forward to working with you this summer!

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