Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New webcam at Longmire!

At long last, our webcam at Longmire has gone live! We now have six webcams at Paradise, for goodness sake, and a summer webcam at Camp Muir, so it was high time we got one at Longmire. The camera is located in the conference room on the second floor of our administration building, just two doors down from my office, so you can now see roughly the same view I have out my office window, looking across the grounds to the Longmire Museum and the road leading up from the Nisqually Entrance, with the National Park Inn hidden behind the trees in the distance. Watch for school groups gathering at the beginning of the Trail of the Shadows. In the summer, look for shuttle buses arriving to take visitors up to Paradise. This time of year, you might see people building snowmen in front of the administration building. Enjoy the show!

The above is Longmire. Here, just for comparison, is the view from the visitor center at Paradise:

And from Camp Muir (don't expect anyone to go up and defog the camera lens until spring):

Friday, November 18, 2011

Snow Rover training scheduled

From West District Interpreter Lee Snook:

Winter is on its way -- or is it here?! There are already several inches of snow on the ground at Longmire. As the fall colors give way to the white of snow some think it’s time to hang up the boots and wait for melt out next year, but many of you know this is when the fun really begins. The winter wonderland of Paradise opens a whole new set of recreational opportunities and special ways to explore the mountain. This means we still need volunteer rovers! With the ever-changing weather conditions in the winter, having rovers on the trails talking to visitors, answering questions and providing staff with trail updates is just as important as having them out there in the summer.

Snow Rovers assist in a variety of ways. Besides making contacts with visitors and assessing conditions, rovers can also help by resetting wands on marked trails, check in with winter campers, assist with snowshoe programs and snow play, relay information about wildlife, as well as staff the visitor center desk.

If you love snowshoeing or skiing or you just love being on the mountain and want to help out, we will be holding a Snow Rover training on December 10th at the Longmire Community building. Training will include how to snow rove safely as well as Leave No Trace principles. We will send out the day’s agenda by early December. Please RSVP to the email below.

If you have questions feel free to email the rover coordinators Curt Jacquot and Bill Marsh at MORA_Meadow_Rovers@nps.gov.

Volunteer Opportunities for 2012!

I've just completed an exhaustive review and update of our complete listing of volunteer opportunities. Follow the link at the top of the page for the very latest information on our plans for volunteer day-projects, long-term volunteer opportunities, and full-time positions and internships. Opportunities exist for both individuals and groups. With a few exceptions (e.g. Campground Hosts), most are not yet hiring for next summer, and many have not even advertised their positions yet, or decided whether they will have the resources to do so. But this will give you a good guide to what positions we've hired in the past, and what we might anticipate hiring in the future.

It's never too soon to inquire about volunteer opportunities, so browse through the list, find something that touches your interests, and follow the directions to either apply or contact the appropriate supervisor to express your interest! You can also follow this blog, our Twitter feed, or our Facebook page, or contact me, Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher, and ask to be added to our mailing list for updates monthly during the summer and intermittently through the winter.

Speaking of winter: One of the most common questions asked of me this time of year is, how can I volunteer during the winter? The truth is, not many opportunities are available when trails and plants are buried by snow--that is, from November through May or June in most parts of the park. But options are available:

  • Nordic Patrol. We work in partnership with the Washington Ski Touring Club to provide ski patrol services at Paradise, including marking trail routes and assisting visitors. This requires a very dedicated and spirited kind of volunteer, but those who contribute provide an invaluable service. People interested in this opportunity should contact WSTC directly at http://www.wstc.org/, as we work with the group, not with individuals. If you have questions about ski patrol at Mount Rainier, contact Daniel Camiccia at 360-569-6652.
  • Visitor center and snowshoe walks. Most of the work in our visitor centers, and on the trails leading snowshoe walks, is done by our permanent and seasonal staff. However, there are always busy times like the Christmas holidays when we're short staffed and welcome the help of volunteers. Anyone interested in these opportunities should contact us well in advance of the winter season so that they can participate in our winter seasonal training in early December. In other words, if you're interested this year, now is the time to contact our West District Interpreter, Lee Snook, to express your interest. Her number is 360-569-6576.
  • Greenhouse assistance. Our greenhouse is active throughout the slow months, and we're always open to working with volunteers who are willing to commit to coming out on a regular basis to help us weed, pot, and care for our plants, most of which will be used on revegetation projects during the summer. We especially need help in the spring as we're gearing up for the season. For more information, see our listing on volunteer.gov, or contact Josh Drown at 360-569-6766.
  • Curatorial library. Brooke Childrey, our museum curator, works with many volunteers to sort and store our archives, photos, and historic artifacts collections. Our full-time curator positions are filled for this winter already, but there may still be possibilities for the right person to help with special projects on an intermittent basis. Call Brooke at 360-569-6784.
  • Education program. Our curriculum-based education program works with many school groups in the spring and fall, and also has a number of curriculum-development projects underway. We have a full staff on board for the winter, but individuals with education experience can often help out. For more information, contact Fawn Bauer at 360-569-6591.
  • Lower elevation opportunities. While we're under heavy snow for half the year, many of our partners work at lower elevation under the snowline. Consider volunteering with them through the winter! The Washington Trails Association, for example, has a long list of volunteer projects. Olympic National Park has land as low as sea level, and their annual Coast Cleanup is legendary. Check out the website of Washington's National Park Fund and the National Parks Conservation Association to learn about opportunities to contribute financially or through advocacy. You can also find great opportunities throughout the region on the websites volunteer.gov/gov and serve.gov.
There are lots of ways to get involved in your public lands, any time of the year. Wherever you contribute, thanks for your time!