Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mount Rainier National Park July Volunteer Newsletter

July 2012 Volunteer Newsletter

MRNPA July 14th Work Party Reminder!

Just a reminder of the exciting work party coming up this weekend with the Mount Rainier National Park Associates, exotics removal day!

We will be working with Will Arneson's Ecological Restoration crew doing exotic plant removal (weeding).  The project area is the 3.5 miles of the Westside Road, from the Nisqually Road junction to the end of the road at the Fish Creek parking lot.   We will be removing non-native plants that are invading the areas adjacent to roadway by digging up the whole plant, including the root system, and collecting the plants in plastic garbage bags.  All collected plant materials will be removed from the park and disposed of in a landfill.
To participate there is no need to know about native plants.  Will and his crew members will teach you which plants to remove, and they will be able to identify for you all the native plants in the area.  There will be no heavy tools (like shovels and pulaskis) to carry and use.  The Westside Road  is open to vehicle traffic, and though not heavily traveled, we will be required to wear safety vests. 
Things you should bring are work gloves, a small digging tool like a hand trowel, or your favorite weed removing tool, your lunch, plenty of fluids to drink, and a full set of rain gear.  A warm jacket would be good to include too as most of the Westside Road is shaded by trees.  If you have a reflective safety vest, bring that too.   Because we will be working along the road, you will not need to carry much more than your digging tool, your jacket, and some fluids to drink.  We will have our packs transported to the lunch site. 
We will meet at 8:30 AM at the junction of the Westside Road and the Nisqually Road. (That is about a mile inside the Nisqually Entrance to the park).  Be ready to go to work by about 9:00 AM and expect to finish about 3:00 PM.  Tell the ranger at the gate as you enter the park that you will be working on a volunteer project and you will be admitted to the park for free.

If you would like to camp in the park for free before or after (or both) participating in this work party, camping is available at the Longmire VIP campground.  To camp for free you must make camping reservations by contacting Will Arneson at or
We look forward to seeing you there!

Citizen Science Program 2012!
Do you love amphibians, science and exploring Mount Rainier National Park? Then the Citizen Science Program is for you. The Citizen Science program gives volunteers the opportunity to hike and explore some of Mount Rainier’s remote lakes and wetland habitats while gaining experience in surveying and science. This year’s Citizen Science program will be starting up around late July and will run until mid-September. We will be conducting amphibian surveys by locating, identifying, and surveying amphibians at breeding habitats with an emphasis on Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) sites. You do not need any previous experience and surveying equipment will be provided. If you need to stay overnight for a few days, free camping is available at Cougar Rock, White River, Ohanapecosh and Longmire campgrounds, however, there is no long term housing available. Surveys will be conducted based on volunteer availability. If you are interested or have any questions contact Kristen Moore (Citizen Science Coordinator) at 360-569-6773. I look forward to hearing from you!

Citizen Science: Early Detection, Rapid Response: Invasive Plant Removal Project
The PNW Invasive Plant Council is working in partnership with the Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and many other state and local conservations groups, including Mount Rainier National Park, to develop a Citizen Science EDRR program in Washington State with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. While this is not a National Park Service project, some of the project sites are in Mount Rainier National Park, and controlling invasive plants around the park is a good way to prevent them from reaching our borders in the first place. The invasive Plant Council submitted this summary of their upcoming work:

What makes this conservation project unique is that we are focusing on eradicating plants currently in low abundance in target areas. The goal is to find these newly established populations and remove them before they have a chance to spread and cause serious ecological and economic damage. Volunteers will be asked search for a suite of invasive plants while they explore and enjoy the outdoors camping, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking etc. and report plants if they encounter them. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to have a more directed search assignment, concentrating on certain “red-flag” areas. We are piloting our surveys in four different Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMA); Nisqually, Yakima, and Chehalis River Watersheds and HWY 12 –SR 410, which includes areas in and around Mt. Rainier National Park.

We will conduct volunteer trainings in mid-July to train volunteers to identify plants, collect and report data to the IPC who will then alert local weed managers so they can act to remove these invaders. If you are interested in participating as a Citizen Scientist to help detect newly established invasive species please e-mail Julie Combs ( )

July 2012 Citizen Science EDRR Invasive Species Volunteer Training Schedule

·       Seattle: Wednesday, July 18th; 6:00-830pm
·       Seattle: Saturday, July 21st; 9:30am-12am (with optional field training from 1-2:30pm)
·       Olympia Wednesday, July 25th; Session A 1:00pm-3:30pm
·       Olympia: Wednesday, July 25th; Session B  6:00pm-8:30pm
·       Yakima: Saturday, July 28th; 9:30-12am (potential optional field training from 1-2:30pm) 

We will train volunteers to identify 25-30 EDRR plants, collect and report data to the PNW IPC who will then alert local land managers so they can act to remove these invaders. We will use a Powerpoint presentation, herbarium specimens, live material and informational handouts in the trainings. In Seattle and possibly Yakima we will add a field component for those interested in getting hands on experience using the data sheets (e.g., estimating population size of plants encountered, area surveyed etc.) Once volunteers are trained they will conduct surveys within the four target areas listed below. The PNW-IPC will then distribute data to county noxious weed controllers and other state and federal land managers that will be able to use the information to remove EDRR invaders. .

Exact locations of trainings will be posted on our website ( ) soon. In addition, location information will be e-mailed directly to volunteers who sign up for one of the trainings. If you would like to attend an EDRR training session please e-mail Julie Combs ( ) with the subject line "Yakima Training" ,"Seattle Training" or "Yakima Training". We want to get a general idea of how many people will be attending each training session so we can reserve space commensurate with the number of people attending.

We are targeting four different CWMA (Cooperative Weed Management Areas) in eight WA Counties for this pilot program:

·       Nisqually River Watershed– Pierce, Thurston, Lewis
·       Chehalis River, Southwestern WA – Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason
·       HWY 12- SR 410 – Lewis, Pierce, Yakima, Kittitas
·       Southcentral WA– Kittitas, Yakima, Klickitat
For more information contact:
Julie K. Combs, PhD
PNW Invasive Plant Council
EDRR Citizen Science Program Coordinator
U of W
Box 354115
Seattle, WA 98195

Get outside, See the Park, Work on Comet Falls with the Washington Trails Association!

Regarded by many as some of the best falls at Mount Rainier National Park, Comet Falls is the project to help on this summer! Join the WTA crew work parties this summer and help clean up this trail!

My own experience working with this group has been excellent. You couldn’t ask for a more devoted team and fun crowd to work alongside. Lead by crew leader John, you are not only going to have a great time, but learn so much about the trails in the park and how they are made and maintained! Working with this crew with give you a greater appreciation for the trails we all love to hike!

John leads a group out every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Rain or shine, it’s always a good feeling knowing you’re helping out your mountain! Come for one or come for them all, stay for the weekend and utilize the Longmire Volunteer Campground! On this trail, the crew will conduct regular maintenance and repair any damage done to the trail over the winter months.

You can sign up for these work parties on the WTA website. Follow this link to view the different work party dates and assignments in more detail. Information on the work parties is only available three to four weeks before each trip, but there is a project every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the summer! You can check for updates on future WTA projects using our volunteer calendar linked at the top of our blog page or by visiting WTA's website using the link above. 

I’ll be out and about with this crew throughout the season and look forward to seeing and meeting you all!

Volunteer Picnics! Time to mark your calendars!

We appreciate all that you do as volunteers to help this park and we want to show you that we do! Next month we will be having not one, but two volunteer picnics to accommodate both sides of the park.

 The West side volunteer’s picnic will take place on Saturday August 11th at the Longmire Community Building. This is a great opportunity to utilize the beautiful Longmire Volunteer Campground! 

East side volunteers will have their picnic Sunday August 19th at the Sunrise Visitors Center from 4-6pm. This is a potluck style picnic, so bring your favorite dish to share!

Volunteering in the park? Camp in Longmire for FREE!

We don’t know where we would be without the use of our volunteers. Because of our wonderful volunteers and the many hours they put in to making this park beautiful, safe and accessible, we have designated the Longmire Campground as a Volunteer campground. If you are volunteering in the park in any capacity, you may utilize the campground while you are volunteering. You may use the campground if you are working with WTA or MRNPA, if you are a meadow rover, if you are working with the restoration crew, and more! Volunteers are welcome!

To stay in the campground, you must make a reservation. You can do so by emailing your supervisor or emailing me directly, I will confirm with the campground host and send you a confirmation email. Upon arrival, you must check-in with the campground host and they will assign you your campsite. We encourage you to utilize this accommodation whenever possible!

Follow Us!

Remember that Mount Rainier Volunteers now have numerous ways to keep updated on events and projects. We are now on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Blogspot! All of these links are available from our blog,! We have our webcams at Paradise and Longmire on the park website

No comments: