Thursday, June 28, 2012

Date change for East Side Volunteer Picnic

The date of the Volunteer Picnic to take place on the East Side is changing from Saturday, August 18th to Sunday, August 19th due to conflicts with the 'Living History' program in Longmire

Mark your calendars!

Volunteers needed for Eatonville July 4th Parade!

The 4th of July is on Wednesday this year, and like always, Mount Rainier National Park will take part in the Eatonville Parade!
 
This year we hope to have two vehicles carrying posters honoring the memory of LE Ranger Margaret Anderson and Climbing Ranger Nick Hall. We would like to have a number of park staff and volunters in uniform to walk along with the vehicles to wave to, and acknowledge, the thousands along the parade route.
 
If you would like to join us we gather at 11:30 AM somewhere near the football stadium at Eatonville High School.  The exact spot is different each year and is not known until we arrive.  Just look around for some ranger hats.  For more information contact Jim Ross ( mailto:jim_ross@nps.gov).
 
We hope you can join us in honoring Margaret and Nick.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

MRNPA July 14th Work Party!

Greetings,
 
The next Mount Rainier National Park Associates volunteer work party will be Saturday, July 14th.
 
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 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 plan to attend this work party, please reply to this email indicating that you are coming and give me the number of volunteers you expect to accompany you.  I need an estimate of the number of volunteers who will attend.

 
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 Will_Arnesen@nps.gov or Carrie_Anders@partner.nps.gov.
If you are not able to attend a MRNPA work party, but are interested in volunteering at Mount Rainier National Park,  please look at the Mount Rainier "Volunteers in the Park" website.
  
John Titland
Volunteer Coordinator
Mount Rainier National Park Associates



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Base to Base Camp at Mount Rainier: SCA Program to help Military Families enjoy outdoor recreation and help conservation efforts

In partnership with the National Park Service, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Sierra Club and the Office of Congressman Norm Dicks, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) is leading a demonstration project to create a conservation service and outdoor recreation opportunity for the dependents of active service military families.

This summer, SCA will be fielding a conservation crew of eight teenagers from military families serving from Joint Base Lewis/McChord (JBLM) into Mount Rainier National Park, Washington. The crew members will be accomplishing critical trail-building and habitat restoration projects for this iconic national park that has enjoyed a partnership with SCA for over 40 years. The crew will camp and work for 15 days at Mount Rainier in both backcountry and front country settings August 6-20, 2012. Tangible outcomes will include trail(s) built, restored or maintained and habitat areas restored.

The program will offer hands-on, practical work skills, environmental knowledge, personal growth, awareness of career opportunities, as well as connectivity to the dedicated professionals of the National Park Service.

SCA will recruit a crew composed of eight high school students between the ages of 15-19 from military families stationed at JBLM. SCA is working with the Child, Youth and School Services program (CYSS) of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation office at JBLM in implementing the program. CYSS expertise and familiarity with participating students (and families) will be critical to the program’s success. SCA sees this first-year demonstration program as replicable and scalable, with strong possibilities for providing a pathway for the members to other SCA opportunities.

There is also a great opportunity for expansion to other military bases where both parents and children are feeling the strains of the sacrifices they are making in service to their country. SCA will plan for multiple crews to place and serve military families, including reaching out to Yakima Training Center (under JBLM administration) and the Yakima Nation. SCA is evaluating opportunities to increase our reach to Naval Base Kitsap and other installations.

SCA and JBLM are exploring the possibilities of facilitating on base SCA programs to help the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation program staff connect with the forestry program already well-established on base. SCA sees great opportunity for developing youth members to become mentors on base and share in conservation activities with younger children. As members matriculate into the program, SCA will provide tuition free opportunities for “Base to Base Camp” members to serve in SCA programs throughout the country.

Almost 2 million children in the U.S. have parents that are military service members. The need to educate and serve these children is a national concern; SCA is proud to provide leadership, support, and opportunities for these young Americans and their families.

Spring-Summer 2012 - Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) Invasive Plant Project

This is a great opportunity to volunteer with a conservation effort at Mount Rainier National Park! The contact person is Julie Combs. You can find her email address at the bottom of the announcement.

The PNW Invasive Plant Council is working in partnership with the Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and many other state and local conservations groups to develop a Citizen Science EDRR program in Washington State with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. We are recruiting volunteers in the next three to four weeks to participate in the EDRR project.

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 ( pnw.ipc.org@gmail.com ) for more information or to sign up for one of the trainings. We will announce training dates and locations based on volunteer response.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Many Hands Make Light Work

video

For a sixth year, a small, dedicated group of geocachers got together with Park staff on June 9 to erect tents in the Longmire Campground for use by summer volunteers. This project has been plagued by a number of issues in the past, anything from late-lying snow needing to be shoveled away to parts having gone missing. This year was no exception as we discovered that the canvas tents had shrunk so radically that in a couple of cases, the poles did not fit. The good news is that the poles have now been shortened and standardized, and next year's "CITO the Mountain" should be the easiest one yet!

Changes to MRNPA Trails Work Party this Saturday, June 16th!

Greetings,
 
There has been a last minute change in the project that we will be doing during the June 16th (this coming Saturday) MRNPA trails work party. 
 
Rather than working on the Laughingwater Creek trail, we will be working on the Wonderland Trail in Stevens Canyon, doing brushing and tread work.  From what I know about that section of the Wonderland Trail, be prepared to hike downhill to the work site and uphill at the end of the day.
 
There is no change in the location where we will meet.    We will meet at the Ohanapecosh Ranger Station at between 8:30 and 9:00.  The last weather forecast I saw looked good, but don't forget your rain gear.
 
John Titland
Volunteer Coordinator
Mount Rainier National Park Associates

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

MRNPA June 16th Work Party Details!

Greetings,
 
Here are the details about the Mount Rainier National Park Associates trails work party on Saturday, June 16th.
 
We will be doing tread repair on the Laughingwater Creek Trail.  This trail is located in the southeast corner of the park.  It begins at state highway 123 and climbs east to join with the Cascade Crest Trail.
 
We will meet at the Ohanapecosh Range Station at about 8:30 AM and be ready to move out about 9:00.
 
If you are like me and can't remember ever having been to the Ohanapecosh Ranger Station, drive via state highway 123 to the Ohanapecosh Campground entrance road.  Turn onto this road, but instead of going into the campground take the first available left turn. The ranger station is a short way along this road.  This is where we will leave most of our cars.  If you are going to get there by driving through Enumclaw and via SR 410, plan on it taking you 30 minutes longer than it takes you to drive to the White River Entrance.
 
John Titland
Volunteer Coordinator
Mount Rainier National Park Associates

Friday, June 1, 2012

June 2012 Volunteer Newsletter

Washington Trails Association has Another Exciting Season Planned!
This Saturday, June 2nd, is National Trails Day! WTA will be working on the West Boundary Trail. Last year, WTA crews worked on this trail by removing downed logs, repairing tread and other maintenance needs. This Saturday, they will work on restoring the trail back to good hiking conditions. While spaces are full for this work party, be sure to check the volunteer blog for updates and pictures from a day celebrating our trails!

Upcoming events with WTA include extensive work on the Comet Falls Trail! You will find WTA opportunities to work on the Comet Falls Trail throughout the month of June: every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between June 8th and June 24th! 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. What a great opportunity to work on a trail that many claim holds the most beautiful waterfall in the park! 

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. 

We hope you can make it out to help maintain our beautiful Mount Rainier trails! 

Meadow Rover Details and Upcoming Training Sessions
Greetings Meadow Rovers! We are writing to let you know of dates and updates that may be of interest.  Also, at the bottom of this note is a list of resources and contacts useful to Meadow Rovers. 
– Curt Jacquot, Park Ranger-Interpretation, Bill Marsh, West Side Meadow Rover Coordinator

Spring is here and summer is approaching! With it, comes thoughts of wildflowers waiting to be preserved by helpful humans like us! 

Returning this summer are our experienced and knowledgeable volunteer meadow rover coordinators.  Both Bill Marsh and Gayle Eads will be back for a second season!  Bill will be the west side rovers and Gayle will be working with east side rovers at Sunrise. Curt Jacquot will be the meadow rover supervisor on the west side of the park.  Filling in for Christine Czazasty on the east side will be former seasonal interpreter Todd Smith.  Todd is now a permanent employee with the park service. He is currently a supervisory ranger at Chamizal National Memorial in Texas.  He will be working on what the government calls a “detail.”  That means he is on loan from his position in Texas while we formally announce/fill the position vacated by Christine Czazasty.  Christine has been here briefly in May for a transition period before she returns to her new Chief of Interpretation position at Chaco Canyon National Historic Site.  Congratulations to Todd and Christine!

Be sure and try to attend one of our Meadow Rover Trainings this month!

June 23: New Meadow Rover Training at the Longmire Community Building: 10 AM to 3 PM.  RSVP to: Mora_Meadow_Rovers@nps.gov.

June 24: Experienced Meadow Rover Training at the Longmire Community Building: 10 AM to 3 PM. RSVP to Mora_Meadow_Rovers@nps.gov. We are planning some new things for this training!

Those interested in roving this spring that have not yet been trained can schedule an individual training and orientation session.  The individual must be willing to commit to eight hours of roving per month (June-July-August-September) in order to schedule an individual training/orientation.  Contact mora_meadow_rovers@nps.gov if you wish to schedule an individual training with our coordinator Bill Marsh. The session will last 3-4 hours.

Be sure to take a look at the Mount Rainier Volunteer Blog post from the month of May with more details about this years Meadow Rover updates including a new awards program and updates about the Winter-Spring Roving season!

Mount Rainier National Park Associates June Work Party! 
The next Mount Rainier National Park Associates trails work party will be on Saturday, June 16th.  That's a little over two weeks away.  Specific project location details are still being determined, but we will inform you of the details of the project and where we will meet as soon as we get that information!  Whatever the project, we will meet at about 8:30 AM and be ready to move out by 9:00 AM!
 
When you enter Mount Rainier National Park, remember to tell the attendant at the gate that you will be working on a volunteer project with MRNPA, as volunteers enter the park for free.  Be prepared for a hike to the work site.  As always, bring your lunch and plenty of fluids to drink, work gloves and safety glasses, and a full set of rain gear.   
 
You may contact MRNPA through their website (www.mrnpa.org) to let them know you’d like to participate. 
 
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 less aggressive tools 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, MRNPA has 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, and probably many others, 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 eyeglasses do not.

It’s warming up and the park is popping! This is a great chance to get out here in the early summer to lend a helping hand to Mount Rainier!

CITO the Mountain 2012
On June 9th, members of the local geocaching community will again be working in the Longmire campground, erecting NEW wall tents and removing debris from sites and the road. This is the sixth year this group has organized a "CITO" cleanup ("Cache in, trash out") in the Park. Our own Kevin Bacher (K2D2 in the caching world) spearheads the operation.

You do not need to be a geocacher to join the party. Anyone who wishes to be part of the efforts should arrive at the Longmire Community Building at 9 AM for a short briefing. We may even be done by lunchtime, with plenty of time to socialize afterwards. "Many hands make light work!"

More details can be found on the cache page at Geocaching.com: 

Urgent Need for Campground host! 
In an exceptional set of circumstances, we find ourselves without Campground Hosts for both Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh. It is a minimum of 32 hours per week. Hosts are needed through Columbus Day, but partial seasons are fine. We are open to the possibility of local people working shifts of a few days a week until the position can be filled. Benefits of being one of our Campground hosts include a campsite with hookups for power, water, and sewage, waiver of park entrance fees, reimbursement of some expenses, and coverage for tort liability and on-the-job injury through the VIP program. If you feel you could fill this position, PLEASE contact Kevin Bacher at your earliest convenience at (360) 569-6567 or fill out an application at http://www.volunteer.gov/gov/results.cfm?ID=7096

We are still looking for our new Maintenance response team!
After 27 years of service in a variety of positions, Clyde and Lois Ambacher retired, leaving vacant their positions on the Maintenance Response Team. Cumulatively, the couple had logged 15,436 hours since they started volunteering in 1985. Those are some mighty big shoes to step into, but they need filling. Mount Rainier National Park is looking to "recruit new Ambachers" to this valued position!

As part of the Maintenance Response Team, volunteers will provide support for the Maintenance Division at Longmire. Duties will include general maintenance such as litter pickup, weeding and watering, and "handyman" repair work. The assignments may also include service as backup to staff members in the Wilderness Information Center and at the Museum. If you are interested in applying, please fill out an application at http://www.volunteer.gov/gov/results.cfm?ID=12393. This is a great opportunity to experience Rainier in many different ways and serve the park you love! 

Interpretation Training June 5 -8!
If you are an active or incoming volunteer, you still have time to attend the remaining Interpretive Training sessions which have been offered from May 29 through June 9. Topics have included a basic introduction into interpretation and the division's goals and objectives, and next week will cover topics including geology, natural history, and climate change among others! A full course schedule may be found at 2012 Summer Interpretive Training Schedule - Summer of Traditions (.pdf file). Please note that you must be a current volunteer or be committed to an assignment (e.g., new Meadow Rover, Curation Assistant, etc.) in order to attend. Please RSVP to Kevin Bacher soon, as space is limited! This is a great chance to learn about all the beautiful aspects of our park!

Sessions on June 8 and 9 are limited to staff only. Persons wishing to attend the Geology session on Wednesday June 6 should note that it is a field trip and they must bring their own vehicle. It is sure to be a treat, don’t forget to bring a lunch and snacks! Hope to see you there!

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, rainiervolunteers.blogspot.com! We have our webcams at Paradise and Longmire on the park website www.nps.gov/mora.