Monday, July 1, 2013

Volunteer Newsletter, July 2013


Everyone Loves a Parade!

Join Mount Rainier National Park rangers in the Eatonville 4th of July Parade! Last year the Town of Eatonville gave us the honor of leading off the parade as we remembered Rangers Margaret Anderson and Nick Hall. This year we would like to thank the folks of Eatonville for their support during that difficult year.

To give the town proper thanks, we need park staff and volunteers, including scouts.  We need flag wavers, sign carriers, banner carriers, and folks smiling, waving, and giving high-fives.  If you normally wear a uniform, please do so for the parade.

If you wish to take part, we gather at 11:30 AM, usually on Pennsylvania Ave. near Lynch St., one block west of 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! Contact if you'd like to participate.

A Special Meet-and-Greet Opportunity

Trails is hosting three groups of high-school aged Student Conservation Association (SCA) youth this summer; they will each be here for a 15-day period. Each group has 2 adult leaders and a different set of 8 youth from JBLM and the surrounding areas. Trails will be putting them to work, but also want to provide them a broad experience, introduce them to the many disciplines within the Park, and increase their interest and connection to this awesome place. Many people are unfamiliar with the dynamics of the Park and the inter-workings of how we function as a city, so the plan is to have at least one person from each work group make contact. Just stop by and introduce yourself! Contact Melody Abel at for times and details.

We are especially grateful to the National Park Service’s Youth Partnerships Program and the National Park Foundation’s America’s Best Idea program for providing the grant partnership to support SCA’s community crews!


Longmire Campground Still Needs Hosts

The position of Campground Host for the Longmire Volunteer Campground still has not been filled. We're looking for someone to live in the campground in their own RV and coordinate the use of 31 tent sites, 2 group sites, and several Park-provided platform tents. As host, you will be taking reservations and assigning campsites, making sure guests are aware of campground regulations and that they comply with them while making sure everyone feels welcomed and supported. Your duties will consist of dealing with challenges as they come up (illegal campers, people who've lost their keys, loose dogs and so on), maintaining, cleaning and restocking a comfort station with three showers, and assigning/retrieving keys from campers, and keeping the campground free of camping litter. For more details, fill out an application today at or contact Kevin Bacher directly at 360-569-6567 or Our host site will hold RVs up to about 24’ in length, and short-term assignments (as short as one month) are possible.

Trail Maintenance

WTA trail work parties will be happening on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the summer. Find details and times, locations, and projects at, and sign up for a project today!


The Mount Rainier National Park Associates will be holding its annual Exotic Plant Removal ("deveg") party on Saturday, July 13 this year. Although last year's project was done on the Westside Road, NPS leaders are currently evaluating this year's plant growth and the possibility of working at another area. The location will be announced when plans are firmed up. Visit for information on joining this project.

Citizen Science

Three “citizen science” projects will finally begin for the summer season this coming month, as the snow melts away from project locations at high elevations. Amphibian surveys take place in remote backcountry locations, while butterfly and flowering plant surveys will occur on trails throughout the park. These projects are possible through partnerships with the Student Conservation Association, North Cascades National Park, and the University of Washington, and are funded in part by a grant from Washington’s National Park Fund. If you’d like more information about these programs, search our blog for “Citizen Science” or drop a note to

Sky Viewing

Our stellar volunteer astronomer Don West-Wilke is back for another summer season! Don will be setting up his telescope outside Jackson Visitor Center Thursday evenings through Monday afternoons with additional telescopes and astronomical binoculars available for nighttime viewing. Daytime sessions will offer observers a chance to use a solar telescope. Any visitor, employee, partner or volunteer is invited to attend.

If you would like to volunteer to help with night sky viewing, please reply via email to Don will provide the necessary training to assist visitors with one of our many new devices.


Longmire Campground Procedures

With no host in the Volunteer Campground, we've had to make a few adjustments to site assignment procedures this summer. If at all possible, you should contact your supervisor or the Volunteer Program office to make a reservation at least a week in advance of your expected arrival date. Reserved campsites will be marked with a card clipped to the numbered post at each campsite. If you have not received confirmation of your request from your supervisor, Kevin, Crow or Joshua, or if you have made last-minute plans to camp, you may take any unoccupied, non-reserved campsite. A key to the showers is now hung in a lock-box on the door closest to the propane tank, and the combination will be made available to you when you check in with a supervisor.

Also, we have been given permission to allow campers in the Volunteer Campground to use wood from any of the remaining stacks/piles still in the campground. Please note that this permission applies only to wood which has already been gathered by clean-up crews.

No matter where you’re volunteering in the park, let your supervisor know if you need overnight camping, and we’ll arrange a space for you at the nearest campground.

Summer Meadow Rovers

Meadow Rover trainings were well-attended, and we'd like to give a big welcome to Maureen McLean and Jodie Hollinger-Lant who will be overseeing the program this year. If you'd like to do some Roving, just let them know! Maureen and Jodie will also be proposing and implementing some new strategies to make the program more efficient, effective, and safe. They can be reached through the Meadow Rover mailbox at

Longmire Campground Cleanup

Over the span of two week in June, teams of volunteers were hard at work clearing away the piles of storm debris created by last year's work parties. On June 8, geocachers participated in their annual "CITO" event at the campground, and on June 15, another team of nine individual volunteers gathered for a second assault. Four hours later, two 15-yard drop boxes had been filled to capacity, accounting for approximately 75% of the debris. As noted above, the remaining debris is available to volunteers to use in their campfires (but only the wood piled by crews).

Adopt-a-Highway Picks It Up Again

A two-mile section of SR706 is all nice and tidy for the holidays, thanks to a team of volunteer "litter pickers" who are part of our partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation's "Adopt-a-Highway" program.

Trails Volunteers, Hard at Work

Crews from the Washington Trails Association and Mount Rainier National Park Associates have been hard at work on trails this month, first at Carbon River, then, as the snow receded, the Wonderland Trail between Kautz Creek and Pyramid Creek. The crews accomplished a substantial amount of work grading and brushing the trails. If you missed these events, more opportunities are available. The WTA will be working in the Park Fridays through Sundays in various locations throughout the summer season. Those who are interested should sign up through the Washington Trails association website at

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