Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mount Rainier August Volunteer Newsletter

August Mount Rainier Volunteer Newsletter

What this Newsletter Covers:
a.      Volunteer Picnic Potlucks!
b.      MRNPA Trail Work Party and Potluck
c.       WTA Comet Falls Wrap Up
d.      Longmire Volunteer Campground Reminder
e.      Ongoing Glacier Survey Volunteer Opportunities
f.        Puyallup Fair: Volunteers Needed
g.      Shadows of the Past: Come and enjoy, come and Volunteer!
h.      Keep Wildlife Wild Volunteer Opportunity
i.        NEW Meadow Rover Training Announced!
j.        Cascades Butterfly Project seeks butterflies, volunteers

Volunteer Picnic Potlucks!

It is that time of year again to come together and celebrate the hard work and dedication of our excellent volunteers! We will be having, for the first year ever, two volunteer potlucks to accommodate the East siders and west siders. This Saturday, August 11th, we will be having our West side potluck picnic at the Longmire Community Building starting at 4:00 pm. Some beverages will be provided. Bring a dish to share. Earlier in the day, you will have the chance to volunteer with MRNPA or WTA on their work parties, so sign up soon! If you have any questions about the west side potluck picnic, please direct them to Carrie Anders at Carrie_Anders@partner.nps.gov.

Next weekend, on Sunday, August 19th, the East side volunteers will be having their picnic potluck at the Sunrise Picnic Area in the northwest corner. It will go from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. Bring with you a buddy, a beverage, a grill item or a dish to share! We are in need of a grill or two. If you are able to contribute or have any questions, please contact Gayle Eads at gayle.s.eads@gmail.com, our East Side Meadow Rover Lead.

This is a chance to recognize what a huge impact our volunteers have at Rainier. Come support your fellow volunteers and celebrate your accomplishments this year!

MRNPA Trail Work Party and Potluck!

Mount Rainier National Park Associates will be having a trail work party this Saturday, August 11th. We will be working on the Twin Firs Trail. We will meet at the upper end of the Longmire parking lot, near the museum, at 8:30 AM on Saturday morning, and be ready to move out at 9:00 AM.
Bring work gloves, a hard hat if you have one, safety glasses, full rain gear (you never know if you will need it), your lunch, and PLENTY of fluids to drink. 
If you plan to attend this work party, email John Titland and tell him that you are coming and how many volunteers you are bringing with you.  He needs an estimate of the number of volunteers so that Park staff can be sure to have enough tools for us all.  If you have a hard hat you will be wearing, please tell him that too.

Following the work party MRNPA volunteers are invited to assemble in the Longmire VIP campground (not the Cougar Rock campground) to relax and socialize, followed by a potluck dinner, and an evening spent sitting around the campfire.  It's a fun event, so plan on staying (at least for a little while) and getting to better know some of the volunteers you have been working with.  
Overnight camping is available both Friday night, August 10th, and Saturday night, August 11th at the Longmire VIP campground.  Camping is free for MRNPA volunteers. If you plan to camp either or both nights, please tell him the nights you intend to camp when you email him telling him that you are coming to the work party.  He needs to assure that we have sufficient tent sites reserved.
Sunday, the 12th, we will try to do a short hike together.

There are safety equipment requirements for all MRNPA trail work volunteers. (These rules apply to all trail workers.)  Anyone using an aggressive tool - like a Pulaski, ax, shovel, etc. - or anyone working near them - is required to wear a hard hat and safety glasses.  People working with or near a less aggressive tool are not required (but will be encouraged) to wear a hard hat.   If you own a hard hat that you can wear, please bring it.   If you do not have a hard hat, we have hard hats that we loan for the day.
Wearing safety glasses is encouraged at all times. Not all safety glasses are comfortable for everyone and some will not fit over eye glasses.  Because of cleanliness issues, some people don't like wearing safety glasses that have been worn by other people.  For these reasons, please purchase (acquire, find, dig-up, whatever) a pair of personal safety glasses that you will wear.  The local hardware store is a good place to start shopping.  A serviceable pair or safety glasses will cost about $10.  And be advised that shatterproof eye glasses do not meet the requirement for safety glasses.  Safety glasses all have side protection which eye glasses do not.
John Titland
Volunteer Coordinator
Mount Rainier National Park Associates

Washington Trails Associates last weekend at Comet Falls!

WTA has been working for weeks on the Comet Falls Trail to help be able to safely open it to park visitors. They have done a tremendous job on this trail! So far, they have fixed areas with extensive exposed roots by building new turnpike and crib steps, and have been building a rock wall to stabilize the trail. They have worked to reroute around the wash out on the trail and things are really looking great!

This weekend, August 10th through the 12th, will be WTA’s last weekend on the Comet Falls Trail before moving on to a new project. Go to the WTA website, www.wta.org, to find out more about the trail work parties and to sign up for this weekends group! Be a part of the fantastic team that has worked to make Comet Falls a safer, exciting hike for our visitors!

A reminder about the Longmire Campground!

Volunteers, remember that the Longmire Campground is open to you on the day before and day of your volunteer projects in the park! You may make reservations through your direct park supervisor or by emailing me (Carrie_Anders@partner.nps.gov) with your project information, how many will be camping and if you will be in tents or an RV. Your reservation will be confirmed, and upon arrival at the Longmire Campground, our host, Jean Millan, will assign you your camp site!

There are some differences in rules between the Volunteer campground and the other campgrounds in the park. Pets are not allowed to stay in the tent camping area at Longmire. They are allowed to be in the employee residence (RV) sites, but must remain on a leash when outdoors, stay in the camper at night, and no pet food is permitted outside the camper.  If you have any questions or concerns about Longmire campground rules, please do not hesitate to ask!

Nisqually Glacier Survey Project is Ongoing!

If you are interested in getting out on the glaciers and surveying, the Nisqually Glacier Survey project is still looking for volunteers!

The main goal of this project is to identify the glacial flow velocity field of the Nisqually glacier. A major secondary goal is to isolate, to the extent possible, the approximate area of the lower Nisqually glacier that is flowing at a slower rate than the upper glacier. Past research has indicated that the Lower Nisqually typically moved approx. 0.6 m/day. However, measurements by Lead Climbing Ranger Stefan Lofgren during the glacier mass balance-monitoring project indicate that portions of the Lower Nisqually are now hardly moving, in the range of centimeters per day.

This is important because there is a possibility that stagnant ice (glacial ice that is no longer moving) may facilitate the development of glacial conditions that could allow for the storage of vast amounts of water that can be released catastrophically in the form of outburst floods.

This year the area set up by the 2011 glacial studies team will be re-surveyed. The surveying device used will be the Topcon GPT-3105W Total Station used last year. We will identify and survey suitable rocks at the beginning of the project, with as much overlap with last year’s rocks as possible. Ideally, the locations of said rocks will be resurveyed weekly or biweekly in order to ascertain changes in position due to glacial flow. At the end of the survey period, we should be able to utilize the relative motion of the rocks to characterize the velocity field of the glacier. At that point, we should be able to find areas that are not moving, or are moving abnormally slowly and contrast that with areas that are moving rapidly.

Ideally those helping with the survey will have waterproof sturdy boots, sunglasses with full coverage, a climbing helmet, an ice axe and crampons, as well as everything they require for a day trip (lunch, water, extra layers, sunscreen etc). That being said, crampons are unlikely to be required for the first several weeks and even after that if people do not have them, we can put them on a lower-elevation team. An ice axe and climbing helmet are highly recommended. Sturdy boots, sunglasses and sunscreen are not optional!

Volunteers need to be in good shape as they will be hiking all day and helping to carry survey equipment which is not exactly lightweight.

Volunteers are not required to have prior glacier experience, though having it is certainly a plus!
What the project manager needs to know from you if you are interested in participating in glacier surveys is the following information:

1.      When you are available, Thursdays are most often the survey days. 

2.       What is your glacier experience?

3.      Do you have glacier gear  (ice axe, crampons, helmet, climbing harness, stiff crampon-compatible boots, etc)?
If you are interested in volunteering with the glacier survey team this summer, please send the information listed above to Laura Walkup, the Project Manager.

Laura C. Walkup
Geology Technician
National Park Service
Mount Rainier National Park
Longmire, WA 98397

Office: 360-569-2211 ext.7003

Puyallup Fair: Volunteering for the Mountain!
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Yes!  It's almost time to do the Puyallup.  This year's theme is "Get your happy on!" 

Last year park staff and volunteers talked to more than 12,500 people and thousands more checked out our exhibits.
This year you have three opportunities to "Get Your Happy On!"
#1. Staffing the Mount Rainier Booth:   We would like to have two park people for each of the three 3 1/2-hour shifts a day (10 AM – 1:30 PM, 1:30 PM – 5 PM, 5 PM – 8:30 PM).  You will receive a ticket for admission to the fair and a parking pass (together worth $21-23).    You can experience the fair before and/or after your shift.    The fair runs from September 7th through September 23rd.   
#2. Staff the Snowshoe Walk:   On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 6 PM the NW Outdoors Building will be providing a snowshoe experience (mainly for kids but adults can try too).  We will have a trail of straw around the trees provided by the Christmas Tree Growers.  There will be two 3-hr shifts each day (12-3 and 3-6) and we need at least two people each shift.  Snowshoes are provided by GoPaw but the two elderly ladies that have done this in the past just can't do it anymore.  I volunteered our volunteers.  It will be a busy, but quick, three hours.  You will also receive a ticket and parking pass.
#3. Help set up and take down the plants:  We will have hundreds of native plants throughout the building to make it an outdoor experience.  These plants have to be placed the day before the fair and then removed the day after.  This is very labor intensive and the park's reveg crew will be helping but we could use some more volunteers. Plants will be moved in at 10 AM on Thursday, September 6th and removed at 10 AM on Monday, September 24th.  If enough folks show up we should be done by 1 PM.  If you would like to join this activity let me know and I'll send you location and parking information.  All you'll need are work gloves and a "grain" shovel if you have one.
As you can see, the park is an important part of the Northwest Outdoors Alliance.  Our exhibits will occupy one of the largest spaces in the building.   But the most important part is a real live person representing the park service, talking with all those enthusiastic fairgoers.
I hope you can help out.   You will have a great time at the fair and I look forward to hearing from you.   An email response would be best, since at this time of the year I’m seldom in the office.  Tell me what activity, date, and time shift would work for you.  Also please include your mailing address so I can mail you instructions, maps, and tickets.
Uniforms are not a requirement to volunteer, but if you have one you are expected to wear it. Volunteer hats will be available at the Mount Rainier booth.  
Thanks, and we’ll see you at the fair.
Jim Ross
Outreach Specialist

Mount Rainier National Park

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Volunteers needed for Shadows of the Past lantern carriers!

YOU are invited to celebrate the August birthday of the National Park Service!  On the evening of August 18th West District Interpretation is presenting the Shadows of the Past living history program. Lantern-lighted, ranger-led walks depart from in front of the National Park Inn every 20 minutes between 8:30 PM and 9:30 PM.

The approximately 80-minute program tells the story of the beginning of Mount Rainier National Park and the National Park Service. Meet people who explored, settled, developed, climbed, and protected Mount Rainier more than 90 years ago as they emerge from the darkness along the Trail of the Shadows.

The program will be held rain or shine. Bring a warm jacket, insect repellent, a flashlight, and wear sturdy shoes. This interpretive program is free and open to all. No  RSVP is required.
Volunteers are needed to carry lanterns that light the way and illuminate the characters when they talk. If you can help with this task please email seasonal volunteer coordinator Carrie Anders: carrie_anders@partner.nps.gov.

There will be four walks and we need up to eight volunteers (2 per lantern). Walks are planned to leave from in front of the National Park Inn at 8:30 PM, 8:50 PM, 9:10 PM, and 9:30 PM. If you are game to carry a lantern, please let Carrie know your top two walk choices.  She will confirm your participation. Volunteer lantern carriers will need to meet 15 minutes before their scheduled walk at the picnic tables by the General Store.  Our Lantern Guru, Alan Parsons, will be there to give you your lantern.  He will also provide tips for carrying the lantern and effectively illuminating the trail and characters. New Shadows of the Past volunteers will need to sign a volunteer agreement form.

Please contact Carrie if you have any questions or are interested! Thank you in advance!

Keep Wildlife Wild Volunteers Needed!

Saturday August 18th will be a great opportunity to volunteer in the park. Not only do we have the Shadows of the Past opportunity, but it is also the return of the Keep Wildlife Wild program. We are in need of volunteers to work with the wildlife crew up at the Paradise Visitors Center. It will be from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. Please contact Carrie Anders at Carrie_Anders@partner.nps.gov if you are interested or have more questions. We hope you can recognize the importance of this program to the wildlife in our beautiful park and can contribute your time to informing the public of the importance of keeping our wildlife wild! 

New Meadow Rover Training This Weekend and Through the Summer Season!

The Meadow Rover program will be providing trainings through the end of the summer season on a variety of topics of interest to meadow rovers and other volunteers.
They plan to have training sessions every Saturday at the same time (10 AM to 11:30 AM) and location (Longmire Community Building) as follows:
8/11/2012 - 'The New Ten Essentials' - Ed Hunds, Experienced Meadow Rover, Wilderness Preparedness Expert
8/18/2012 - 'Staying Found' - Judy Kennedy, Experienced Meadow Rover, Backcountry Expert, Interpretive Ranger
8/25/2012 - 'The Roll of the Meadow Rover during Search and Rescue Operations (SARs) - Rangers Jordan Mammel and/or Ben Guttridge
9/1/2012 - 'Nature Photography, Tips for the Visitor, General Nature Photographic Techniques, Photographic Trail/Meadow Damage Documentation' - Gary Ouellette, Experienced Meadow Rover, Professional Photographer

The first of these trainings will be providing an expanded training session on the 'New Ten Essentials' from 10AM to 11:30AM on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at the Longmire Community Building.  Ed Hunds, experienced Meadow Rover and Wilderness Preparedness Expert will be the course instructor.  (RSVP required please, no later than Wednesday, August 15, 2012 to eugene_marsh@partner.nps.gov.)

Cascades Butterfly Project seeks volunteers to seek butterflies!

If you’re out hiking this summer and come across a group of people walking slowly along a trail with butterfly nets, they’re probably part of the Cascades Butterfly Project! This group is tracking butterfly populations as a means of monitoring climate and ecosystem changes at Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks. They’re still looking for volunteers to help, and have several project dates still coming up on this year’s calendar! Here’s an update from project leader Michelle Toshack about their day above Berkeley Park on August 2nd:

“What a great trip to Mount Rainier! Wildflowers were blooming beautifully (at Naches Loop and Berkeley Park anyway) and butterflies were truly on the wing. Thank you to the ten excellent volunteers who helped with the project. We saw the following butterflies:

Milbert's Tortoiseshell

Anna's Blue
Silvery Blue
Boisduval's Blue
Edith's Checkerspot
Northern Checkerspot
Clodius Parnassian
Arctic Fritillary

“As a reminder, Melanie Weiss (volunteer field lead) will be at Sunrise (Berkeley Park) on August 17th and is looking for volunteers to accompany her. Please email me at michelle_toshack [at] nps.gov if interested. There will be one more chance to volunteer at Mt. Rainier from August 27-30.

Read more about the program on their Yahoo Group at http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/cascadesbutterfly/

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