Monday, April 29, 2013

EDRR Invasive Weed Recognition Training Sessions

Are you interested in learning more about invasive plants in the area? The PNW Invasive Plant Council is holding two training sessions in early May. Many of our Volunteers have attended these sessions in past years.

Training Locations and Dates for 2013:

  • Sunday, May 5th; 1pm - 3:30pm at NorthwestTrek Wildlife Park in Eatonville, WA
11610 Trek Drive East, Eatonville, WA; Specific location of training will be sent to participants who sign up for the trainings. General location information about Northwest Trek can be found at
  • Monday, May 6th, 2013; 1pm – 3:30pm at LOTT Clean Water Alliance Center in Olympia, WA
500 Adams Street NE, Olympia, WA; Specific location of training will be sent to participants who sign up for the trainings. General location information can be found at

***Capacity is limited so if you would like to attend one of the trainings, please RSVP to Julie Combs at (or call 615-812-5295) to reserve your place.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Teaming Up

When Carol and Jim Miltimore were hiking at South Beach (Olympic National Park), they discovered a tangle of ropes and net which had washed in on the tide. Assisting Olympic Volunteers Walt, Conrad and unnamed others over the weekend, they removed a substantial quantity of beach debris to a spot for later pickup. Volunteers lend a hand even when they're not in their "home" Park!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Volunteer Brunch and Meadow Rovers Training Sessions

Ah, yes! Many of you will have attended our annual Volunteer Brunch in the past and know that it's a great occasion to meet friends both old and new. Bring your favorite potluck dish and join us at the Tacoma Mountaineers' Program Center, 2302 North 30th St. Tacoma WA 98403. The time and date are from 9-11 AM on Saturday, May 11. Unlike last year's Brunch, this one will include a discussion of plans for the suMMer season (as opposed to the "suPPer" season typo inadvertently posted last year) and a briefing regarding general news in the Park. Come as early as 8 AM if you'd like to help with setup! Coffee, tea, juice and tableware will be provided by the hosts. For directions, contact Amy Mann or Michael Waiss

Meadow Rovers, we have two training sessions coming up for you as well. The first is for incoming Rovers and will be held on Saturday, June 22. The training for experienced Rovers is on Sunday, June 23. Further details will be posted here and also in an upcoming Volunteer newsletter.

A Homepage for Citizen Science!

Caitlin Kenney, citizen science coordinator at Mount Rainier, is featured in this image on the new NPS Citizen Science homepage. You can see it on-line at through April 30. This feature links to the web page titled "Get Involved with Citizen Science."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

T'Kope Kwiskwis Lodge Receives National Recognition

In recognition of their conservation project ArrowCorps502, the T'Kope Kwiskwis Lodge received the 2012 OA National Service Award, making the lodge the first in its section to receive the Award, and only the second lodge in Washington State. The National Service Award was established in 1999 to recognize lodges in each region which have performed outstanding service to their council. ArrowCorps volunteers built trails and restored campsites during August 2011. Congratulations to all who made ArrowCorps502 a success!

NPS Litter Team, Earth Day 2013

Photo credit: NPS, Crow Vecchio

In anticipation of Earth Day (Monday, April 22), Mount Rainier National Park sent out a team comprised of volunteers, paid employees and their family members to complete a litter patrol covering two miles of SR 706, the main access to the Park. In three hours, the group of twelve collected eleven bags of trash as part of their contract with the Washington State Department of Transportation's "Adopt-a-Highway" program. I had the honor of supervising this great crew, and couldn't have asked for a cheerier and efficient lot. Thank you so much, gang, for helping keep the Road to Paradise clean and tidy!

Volunteers needed for backcountry painting this summer

Volunteer John Kemple takes a break at the Mowich Cabin
Some volunteer jobs are really tough. Imagine spending all day painting or staining a backcountry cabin or fire lookout in the mountains of Mount Rainier National Park, then hanging out at the cabin in the evening with no television or Internet, a rough bed to sleep on and a camp stove to cook on, with nothing but gorgeous scenery to relieve the tedium. It's a rough assignment... but someone has to do it!

That's why we're looking for volunteers, two or three in a group, to spend a couple of days at a time at locations throughout the park performing basic maintenance and painting on backcountry structures. Some locations (the Mowich Cabin, for example) would involve little or no hiking to get to, but others (Golden Lakes Cabin, for instance) might take an additional full day of strenuous hiking to get in or out of.

Due to snowpack, the work would not begin until at least July, but after that the dates are flexible and would be coordinated between your schedule and ours. You'd hike in with a member of the park's backcountry maintenance staff, who would get you set up and work with you part of a day before leaving you to finish the job on your own. Once you're up to speed, more complex and independent projects may become an option later on.

For more details, or to express interest in participating, contact Mitch Anderson, Backcountry Carpenter, at 360-569-6726 or

Friday, April 19, 2013

Share The Wonders

The linked article was written by Russ Aguilar, a participant in the NPS Academy who volunteered at Mount Rainier Naitonal Park during the summer of 2010. Profoundly moved by his experience, Russ says, "I became an Environmental Studies major and completed two more SCA internships, one at a small wetland-prairie refuge in northern Minnesota with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and one at Yellowstone. The Yellowstone internship was part of NPS Academy, a collaborative program between SCA and the National Park Service that introduces college students from diverse backgrounds to national parks and the range of career opportunities within NPS...There are many things that each of us can do to help save the natural world, and I think the biggest of them all is sharing the joy that nature brings you with others."

Read the full text of his story here: Sharing the Wonders of National Parks.

Looking for a Park Ranger in Paradise

Early summer above Paradise
Opportunity Summary: 
What could be better than being a ranger in Paradise? Mount Rainier National Park is looking for a highly-capable full-time volunteer to patrol trails and assist with emergency response in one of its busiest and most beautiful districts.

Opportunity Description: 
Serves as a volunteer park ranger working out of Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park. This person will work closely with the West District Rangers helping with visitor management in one of the busiest areas of the park. This includes: patrolling the high use day-use trails, parking vehicles, enforcing park regulations and responding to emergency incidents. They will provide visitors with information concerning safety, area information, travel routes, historical and natural features, outdoor ethics and authorized use of recreational areas. They will perform foot patrols in both backcountry and frontcountry areas of the park, making visitor contacts and providing resource information and education. This person also serves as a member of the park’s emergency response for medical and search and rescue incidents based on type and level of certification. They may also assist with monitoring of the activities of concessionaires, special permit holders and commercial use licensees for compliance.

This position will be active from June to September, and will include park housing. Candidates should be in excellent physical condition and capable of hiking long distances in rough terrain or over snow. Experience and certifications in emergency response, law enforcement, and/or visitor services are all helpful. For more information, contact Daniel Camiccia at 360-569-6652 or

Apply online now!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nordic Patrol Wraps Up 2012-13 Winter Season

Phil Hertzog resetting a trail pole, photo by Barry Shepherd

On March 31, the Mount Rainier National Park’s Nordic Patrol wrapped up its 2012-13 winter season in the Park.  The Nordic Patrol is made up of volunteers supplied by the Washington Ski Touring Club (WSTC). Our volunteers patrol the backcountry trails of the Park on weekends and holidays.

On a typical weekend, we reset all of the trail poles on the marked backcountry routes and then head out to make visitor contacts.  Our primary mission is to be the eyes and ears for the Park’s Rangers and to conduct PSAR (Preventative Search and Rescue). We often assist visitors with directions, provide trail maps, educate backcountry users on Park rules and check overnight camping permits. Occasionally we also help on searches and rescues. In addition to the marked winter trails; our volunteers can be found up on the Skyline trail, Panorama Point, Mazama Ridge, Reflection Lakes, Edith Basin, Tatoosh Range and Cowlitz Rocks. This season we had 47 volunteer Nordic Patrollers out in the backcountry who put in over 1,081 hours. 

If you are interested in volunteering for Nordic Patrol, visit To join Nordic Patrol, you must be competent in companion avalanche rescue, a member of WSTC, and able to ski and navigate the backcountry high country mentioned above.

A big thank you to the volunteers who came out on Nordic Patrol and made this a safe and uneventful winter season in the Park’s backcountry.

Phil Hertzog,
Nordic Patrol Co-coordinator

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

MRNPA Work Parties for Summer 2013

On April 27th, the MRNPA has a great day planned on the Tahoma Woods Trail. This 1.3 mile loop trail, used extensively by residents and NPS personnel and Education Center activity groups, is in need of attention due to vegetation overgrowth along the trail corridor. The day’s project priorities include the removal of encroaching vegetation, downed trees and other debris from the corridor. In addition to Park Headquarters, Tahoma Woods is also the location of the greenhouse facility where the seedlings for the meadow restoration program are grown. Sometime during the volunteer day on April 27th, the group will have the opportunity to visit the greenhouse.

The group will be staging at the Tahoma Woods housing area tennis court between 8:30 and 9:00 AM. From Elbe, take SR 706 3.5 miles toward Ashford. At the Park Headquarters sign, turn in and then take the first right. Proceed straight ahead to the tennis court.

If you plan to attend this April 27th trails work party, please respond by email to to let the supervisor know you are coming. Please provide the number of volunteers who will accompany you. If you have your own hard hat and/or safety glasses, you are asked to bring them. Safety equipment will be provided for those who do not have their own.

Future MRNPA projects include trail work projects on May 18, June 15 and August 10, removal of exotic plants on July 13 and a revegetation project at Sunrise on September 7. If you are interested in participating in any or all of the above activities, please contact or visit MRNPA's website at

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What's a Volunteer Worth, Anyway?

Well, the current value of volunteer time (provided by Independent Sector) makes the 74,615 hours of service donated by last year's 1804 volunteers worth $1.65 million. The new value of volunteer time by the hour is $22.14, a 35-cent increase from last year. And that's just the money figures! Their estimate didn't include sunny smiles, great attitudes, and the rest of the bonuses which come with your willingness to volunteer!

Volunteers Wanted for Litter Patrol!

As of this writing, only about half of the vacancies have been filled for our April 20th Adopt-a-Highway litter patrol and the litter along State Route 706 is multiplying daily! Please join us in tidying up for Earth Day and the summer season! Contact to reserve your spot.

We will be staging at Tahoma Woods (approximately three miles east of Elbe) at 9 AM. There will be a brief orientation before the patrol begins.