Saturday, August 31, 2013

Final (hopefully) call for help at the fair

Even with the great response from volunteers and park staff we still have need for some more folks to fill out our schedule. With 51 shifts at the information booth and another 18 shifts at the snowshoe track, we can use your help Please consider helping, especially during the days and times listed below as URGENT NEEDS

The opening day of the Washington State Fair is one week away!

Snowshoe Track URGENT NEEDS
Saturday 9/7 from noon to 3 PM
Saturday 9/7 from 3 to 6 PM
Saturday 9/14 from 3 to 6 PM
Need at least one (prefer two) person for each of these shifts

Information Booth URGENT NEEDS
Monday 9/16 from 5:00 to 8:30 PM
Tuesday 9/17 from 5:00 to 8:30 PM
Need at least one person for the quiet closing shift on my days off.

Snowshoe Track Less Urgent
Friday 9/6 from 3 to 6 PM
Friday 9/20 from 3 to 6 PM
Saturday 9/21 from 3 to 6 PM
Sunday 9/22 from 3 to 6 PM
Would like a second person for each of these shifts

Information Booth Less Urgent
Friday 9/6 from 1:30 to 5:00 PM
Sunday 9/8 from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM
Sunday 9/8 from 1:30 to 5:00 PM
Friday 9/13 from 1:30 to 5:00 PM
Saturday 9/21 from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM
Saturday 9/21 from 1:30 to 5:00 PM
Would like a second person for each of these busy weekend shifts.

- Jim Ross,

Friday, August 30, 2013

Roving in September

The asters and bog gentian are blooming, berries are ripening and summer is drawing to a close.   However, roving continues through the month of September.  Mount Rainier will continue to draw visitors who will find themselves drawn to our beautiful trails.  Sadly, Jodie is back in school and the Sunrise Visitor Center will be closed.  However, our radios and log books will be at the White River WIC. Continue making radio and campground reservations for Sunrise through the and I will forward the information to the WIC.  Just check in with the rangers at the information desk and they will sign out the radio to you. 

This is also true if you want to wander the Grove of the Patriarchs or Silver Falls trails at Ohanapecosh.  There is a radio stationed at the Stevens Canyon Entrance along with a sign-in/out sheet.    E-mail your hours and contacts to me at the above e-mail or to my direct e-mail and I will post them.  Paradise rovers may continue to use either e-mail. 

I wish to offer many thanks to all the volunteers who have wandered the trails this summer educating our park visitors.  You are truly a great resource in our magnificent national park. 

I would also like to give a big thank you to Jodie and Lynn.  I would never have been able to do my job without their assistance at Sunrise.  Ladies-you are awesome!

Maureen McLean
Coordinator MORA Meadow Rovers
360 569 6582

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mount Rainier celebrates 20-year partnership with Japan Volunteers-in-Parks Association

This week Mount Rainier National Park staff will celebrate with present and past members of the Japan Volunteers-in-Parks Association (J-VIPA) and thank them for the contributions they have made to the park during the past 20 years. Each summer, students, individuals and staff from Japan have come to Mount Rainier to volunteer their time. The completed projects have been numerous, including the ADA accessible boardwalk at Kautz Creek; repairing and rehabilitating campsites throughout the park; trail repair on the Westside Road; building the ADA trail near the Jackson Visitor Center; and revegetation projects in many areas. Staying with host families during their visits has resulted in lifetime friendships and memories. Some park and local families have hosted J-VIPA volunteers the entire 20 years. This year will be the final season the group will come to “the Mountain” for this volunteer program.

The J-VIPA program began as an International Volunteer Experience in 1993 coordinated by Mr. Hiro Yamaguchi with Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. Inquiries were sent to several national parks about interest in utilizing a volunteer group from Japan. Mount Rainier National Park responded favorably. As a result, in 1994 the first group of volunteers arrived at Mount Rainier – the beginning of a long-standing partnership. During the past 20 seasons, over 380 individuals have contributed 22,656 hours of service to the park – equivalent to $501,600+ dollars. J-VIPA is the longest international volunteer group in the National Park Service. They have also sent volunteers to other national park areas such as Hawaii Volcanoes, Glacier, and Manzanar and done volunteer project in their own country as well.

Mount Rainier Superintendent Randy King said, “We are sincerely grateful to all of the participants of the J-VIPA program for their hard work and dedication in helping us repair and improve the resources of Mount Rainier National Park. The work they have done will benefit the park for many years to come, and the friendships that have been formed through this program will last a lifetime.”

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

10 Days 'till The Fair - still need help

It is 10 days until opening day of the Washington State Fair and I am in need of more volunteers and park personnel to staff our booth and snowshoe activity at the fair.

The greatest need is helping with the snowshoe activity. This is one of the featured activities in our building. Use this link to see our page on the Fair website: The straw track is longer this year and will be right in front of the Mount Rainier booth. See the attached floor plan if interested in getting a sense of the set up.

I would like to have 2 people for each shift (Noon to 3, 3 to 6) on Fri-Sun.

Here are the current needs: both shifts the 7th & 14th; first shift on the 15th and 21st; and second shift on the 6th and 13th. We could also use a second person on first shift on the 8th and second shift on the 8th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd.

We also need to fill some spots at our information booth. You'll love our new exhibit with puzzle pieces (The Fisher at Mount Rainier - A Missing Piece of the Puzzle). Shifts are 10-1:30, 1:30-5, and 5-8:30.

Need someone for the following shifts: 9/6 shifts 2 and 3, 9/8 shift 2, 9/10 shift 3, 9/13 shift 2, 9/14 shift 2, 9/16 shift 3, 9/17 shift 3, 9/19 shift 2, 9/20 shift 2.

Finally, we could use a second person on the following busy weekend shifts: 9/7 shift 1, 9/8 shift 1, 9/15 shift 1, 9/21 shift 1, and 9/22 shift 1.

If you can help out please email me the day and shift. Also include your mailing address so I can send your ticket and parking pass.

See you at the fair!

Jim Ross

Update on Sunrise Meadow Roving

The Sunrise Visitor Center will remain open through Labor Day. You are more than welcome to continue roving at Sunrise until the road closes in approximately one month. Radios will be located at the White River WIC (Wilderness Information Center) located just inside the White River entrance. Radio reservations should continue to be made through Please put "radio request" in the subject heading.

The annual Sunrise volunteer/staff picnic was a success with approximately 20 Meadow Rovers [in addition to other volunteers] attending in the cool, overcast weather. Thank you to the National Park Service staff including Randy King, Kevin Bacher, and Maureen McLean for attending and to Discover Northwest for enabling us to have hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers provided. It was a great way for the rovers to have a chance to talk to our NPS staff and socialize. We are a team!

It has been a great summer at Sunrise with many days of constant sunshine and blue skies until recently when we have experienced foggy days. I want to thank the 57 Meadow Rovers who came to Sunrise this season and gave of their time and energy to help the park service protect the resources and serve the public. You are a dedicated, knowledgeable group who made my job as volunteer coordinator incredibly enjoyable and easy. Our conversations were one of the highlights of my day. Everyone who helped with injured hikers, bear patrol, meadow stompers, turned-around hikers, and hikers with dogs know who you are and also please know neither the park service nor I could have done it without each one of you.

There must be a special thank you to Lynn Kittridge who was my replacement for three weekends. She was definitely the Sunrise co-coordinator this year and did a great job both as the volunteer coordinator and helping to control the visitors as well as the bears when their paths intersected.

In closing, to my many new Sunrise meadow roving friends, I can’t wait to see you next year at our June MR training and happy trails!

Jodie Hollinger-Lant
2013 Sunrise Volunteer Coordinator

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Picker-uppers Wanted!

Yep, it's time for the next Adopt-a-Highway litter patrol, and Crow is looking for twelve good men/women who are willing to commit approximately three hours to this community service.

As many of you know, Mount Rainier's Volunteer Program has partnered with the Washington Dept. of Transportation in a commitment to keep the two-mile section of SR 706 clean of litter. This area includes the Park's Tahoma Woods (headquarters) property. In exchange for our services, Park volunteers are acknowledged by two signs placed at either end of the "beat." These signs bring our volunteers and volunteer program into the public eye, encouraging even more people to volunteer in the Park. It's the classic win-win situation!

We will be gathering at Park Headquarters at Tahoma Woods, three miles east of Elbe on SR 706 on Saturday, September 21, 9 AM, and work will go forward rain or shine. "Long-armed grabbers," litter bags, and safety vests will be provided. We will have a limited number of gloves available, so if you have your own, please bring them.

In order to participate in the upcoming patrol, volunteers who have not already done so will need to watch a short training video which features a very young and goofy Bill Nye ("the Science Guy"). The video can be found on the DoT's website at

To sign up for this Adopt-a-Highway event, contact Crow at by September 17 to confirm that you've watched the video.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Revegetation September 7th at Sunrise

The annual Mount Rainier National Park Associates meadow revegetation work party will be Saturday, September 7th.  MRNPA volunteers will again be assisting the Mount Rainier ecological restoration crew in planting wildflower seedlings and working to convert a historic campground area near Sunrise back into alpine meadows.  Approximately 40,000 seedlings have been grown and will need to be planted this fall before the snow covers the meadows.  September 7th will be a big day in getting this effort started.

On the morning of Saturday, September 7th, MRNPA volunteers will meet in the Sunrise parking lot between 8:30 and 9:00 AM.  As you arrive at Sunrise, look for John Titland's dark green Subaru Outback wagon.  It will be parked at the south corner of the parking lot.  Please check in with John as soon as you arrive. There will be volunteers from other organizations milling about so stick close with the MRNPA group and be ready to move out at 9:00 AM.  Work time is expected to last until at least 3 PM with a break for lunch at about at noon.

Be prepared for almost any fall weather.  In the past, this day has featured everything from warmth and sunshine to a driving blizzard.  In addition to your sun hat, sunscreen, and your rain gear, bring a lunch, plenty of fluids to drink, gardening gloves, and a hand digging tool you like to use.  If you have no gardening tools, the NPS will provide small hand tools. You will be working on your hands and knees to do the planting, so you should bring some kind of protection for your knees. The pads available at your local gardening retailer work for most people.  The work site is about a mile hike from the Sunrise parking lot, so plan on carrying everything you need to and from the work site.

This is a great outing to share with your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend and even your kids.  It is also very inspiring to see how much of the area has been replanted and how it is slowly returning to being a meadow.

There is no charge for volunteers to enter the Park.  When you enter at the White River Entrance, tell the gate attendant that you will be doing volunteer work on the meadow restoration project at Sunrise.  

If you would like to camp for free at the White River Campground the evening prior to or following the work party (or both), please contact John Titland at soon, specifying which nights you wish to camp and how many tent sites you will need.  For free camping, arrangements must be made well in advance of the scheduled date.

If you plan to join the MRNPA volunteers on September 7th for this meadow revegetation work party, please respond to John Titland at

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Share the Wonder!"

Put yourself in this picture and "Share the Wonder!"

Yes! It's almost time to do the Puyallup. Only this year it is the "Washington State Fair." Last year park staff and volunteers talked to over 14,200 people and thousands more checked out our exhibits.   

This year you have two opportunities to "Share the Wonder."

#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 almost $25). You can experience the fair before and/or after your shift. The fair runs from September 6th through September 22nd.   

#2. Staff the Snowshoe Walk (bigger and better): On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 6 PM the NW Outdoors Building and Mount Rainier National Park will be providing a snowshoe experience (mainly for kids, but adults can try too). The trail of straw will wonder around and through the Rails-to-Trails booth, the native plant display, and the Christmas trees (40-50 yards round trip). There will be two 3-hr shifts each day (12-3 and 3-6) and we need at least two people each shift. It will be a busy, but quick, three hours. You will also receive a ticket and parking pass.

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.

As in past years, park supervisors may allow their employees to do a shift at the fair on park time if the supervisor can make a day available. Including drive time and shift time it usually makes close to an eight hour day. Park employees who volunteer to do a shift on their own time may wear their normal uniform. Uniforms are not a requirement to volunteer.

Thanks, and we’ll see you at the fair.

Jim Ross

Community Crews hard at work

From the National Park Foundation:

Thanks to a 2013 NPF "America's Best Idea" grant, Mount Rainier National Park in Washington has been able to work with Student Conservation Association Community Crews - that included youth from Joint Base Lewis-McChord - to restore trails ...such as the Trail of the Shadows, Comet Falls Trail and Wonderland Trail! Have you ever hiked any of these trails?

Learn more about "America’s Best Idea" at & check out even more great photos from the recent volunteer event at Mount Rainier at!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pizza, Burgers and More!

It is my pleasure to announce that this year's Volunteer Picnics will offer main-course dishes for our guests of honor: YOU! We will be serving a variety of pizzas at Longmire on the 16th, and "grillables" (hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers) at Sunrise on the 17th. Grill space is somewhat limited as of this writing, so if you have one you would allow us to use, please drop a note to kevin_bacher (at) If you would like to share your favorite potluck dishes with the group, you are welcome to bring salads, fruit, finger-foods, desserts, breads or other comestibles ("good things to eat"). Let's make this year's gatherings the best ever! See you there!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Citizen Science programs are busy working (and looking for help)

As I write this, three different volunteer programs are underway in Mount Rainier National Park that work with volunteers to improve our understanding of the park's natural resources and how they are changing over time. One of those, the Cascades Butterfly Survey, is actively looking for additional participants.

Started two years ago by resource managers at North Cascades National Park, the Cascades Butterfly Survey enlists volunteers to cover transects throughout Washington's Cascade Range, including four sites at Mount Rainier. Participants slowly walk their appointed route with a butterfly net, collecting butterflies that cross their path as they flit through wildflowers at peak bloom. Each is carefully identified, recorded, and released. Over time, changing patterns of butterfly range and behavior will give us clues to how our environment is changing under both natural and human influences.

Crews will be working at Rainier next week: Monday August 12 at Naches Peak, Tuesday August 13 near Berkeley Park, Wednesday August 14 on Mazama Ridge, and Thursday August 15 at Spray Park. If you're interested in getting out in the sun, wildflowers, and butterflies, contact volunteer coordinator Michelle Toshack as soon as possible at You can also visit the group's website and read previous articles on this blog.

Meanwhile, the brand new MeadoWatch program is up and running, with volunteers working almost daily to keep track of which flowers are budding, flowering, and setting seed at Paradise and Reflection Lakes. Like the butterfly project, this one will monitor changes in when flowers grow and bloom over time, especially as the climate changes. MeadoWatch is a program run by the University of Washington in partnership with the National Park Service, and a training session last month was well-attended. If you're interested in participating with the program next summer, get on the mailing list by contacting Anna Wilson at

Mount Rainier's first official Citizen Science program was initiated half a dozen years ago to survey frogs, salamanders, and other amphibians in the park's remote lakes and ponds. As with later Citizen Science programs, it was born out of the challenge of collecting large amounts of vital data about the nature of park resources, without enough paid staff to do so. Questions as simple as "how many frogs do you have in the park, and what kinds?" are impossible to answer unless someone actually first looks. This year's surveys are being organized by Student Conservation Association intern Annie Tran, and will be making forays to Mazama Ridge, Bench Lake, Three Lakes, Laughingwater Canyon, Golden Lakes, and Mystic Lake over the next month. Get on the mailing list for next year's program by filling out a volunteer application online.

Whatever they're doing, Citizen Scientists aid our understanding of the magnificent and often endangered resources of our National Parks. We could not protect those resources as effectively without their help, and for this we are deeply grateful!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

10 Facts about Youth Service

Today's food for thought:

1. Between 20% and 55% of all young people volunteer (depending on who and how you ask).

2. Young people are more likely to volunteer when engaged through schools, youth organizations, or religious groups.

3. Having family and friends who volunteer makes it much more likely that a young person will volunteer themselves.

4. Young people under age 25 make up 1/3 of the population in the United States and 1/2 of the world's population.

5. Young people are uniquely suited to solve problems through service.

6. High quality service-learning leads to increased academic engagement & success.

7. Volunteering improves career and workforce readiness.

8. Service is a "gateway asset" that can lead to increased positive youth development outcomes.

9. People who volunteer when they are young donate more to philanthropic causes when they are older. (They are also more likely to volunteer and to vote as adults.)

10. Volunteering can help improve your health.

Get all the details behind each of these facts at:

Party with the Stars!

Families and individuals of all ages are invited to the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park for a special program on Saturday August 10. The event coincides with the Perseid meteor shower which will peak during the second week of August. The program starts at 8:00 PM in the lobby of the Paradise Inn with a short presentation about the National Park Service “Natural Lightscapes” program.

The National Park Service has come to embrace night skies as one of the many scenic vistas the agency stewards. At 8:45 PM there will be outdoor star and meteor gazing next to the Paradise Visitor Center with Tacoma Astronomy Society volunteers and their telescopes. Volunteers will also assist visitors to make astronomical devices called star finders. If weather makes star gazing difficult, the party will move inside the Paradise Inn lobby for star finder making and a question and answer session with the astronomers.

If you have questions please contact Park Ranger Curt Jacquot at (360) 569-6577.

Butterfly Surveys

From Michelle Toshack:
Happy August, fellow lepidopterists!
I wanted to give a mid-season update on what's been happening at our butterfly monitoring sites...and it's pretty exciting! July was an incredibly sunny month, with many of the monitoring sites snow-free sooner than we've seen in the last couple of years.
17 surveys have been completed, compared to 5 completed in July 2012.19 butterfly species have been detected, compared to 6 species in July 2012.16 citizen scientists have volunteered with the project (Thank you!), compared to 5 in July 2012.and...942 individual butterflies have been detected while conducting surveys. In July 2012, 71 individuals had been detected. I think that's pretty impressive! The butterflies that we have seen include the following:
* Clodius Parnassian
* Anise Swallowtail
* Margined White
* Western White
* Sara's Orangetip
* Silvery Blue
* Anna's Blue
* Boisduval's Blue
* Arctic Blue
* Purplish Copper
* Mariposa Copper
* Moss' Elfin
* Western Meadow Fritillary
* Arctic Fritillary
* Mormon Fritillary
* Edith's Checkerspot
* Anicia Checkerspot
* Milbert's Tortoiseshell
* Vidler's Alpine
Keep up the good work!
Next week we will be conducting butterfly surveys at both Mount Rainier National Park and the North Cascades National Park. Let me know if you are interested in volunteering!
Mount Rainier schedule: James Heintz and Tanner Humphries
August 12-Naches Peak (Tipsoo Lake trailhead)
August 13-Berkeley Park (Sunrise trailhead)
August 14-Mazama Ridge (4th Crossing trailhead, near Paradise)
August 15-Spray Park (Mowich Lake trailhead)
North Cascades schedule: Michelle Toshack
August 12-Cascade Pass
August 13-Sauk Mountain
August 14-Skyline Divide

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Rainier Rovers Rock

Statistics are in for the month of July and they speak volumes.  If you ever have wondered if you are making a difference, then this is confirmation of your work. 
Total Number of:
Average Number of Hours Per Person
Average Number of Contacts Per Person
Average Number of Contacts Per Hour

18, 399 people have had a question answered, learned something new about the fragile meadows, or shared your love of this special place.  Kudos go out to each and every one of you.  You are awesome.  (Forgive all the stats…I am a math geek!)
There is still work to be done.  While we have found the calendar is not linkable to the website page, it is allowing us to see internally how many rovers are available on any given day.  As yet, we have not had all radios reserved at Paradise or Sunrise.  In fact, this past weekend, there were no rovers at Paradise on Saturday, and only two at Sunrise on one of the busiest days so far.  So come on out! 
Be sure to put the dates on your calendar for the Volunteers Picnic:  August 16 – Paradise, August 17 – Sunrise.  NPS is providing drinks, bring potluck.  Sign-up when you meadow rove or send us an e-mail so we have a reasonable head count.
See you in the meadows.
Maureen McLean
Coordinator MORA Meadow Rovers


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Eye on the Sky

Where is the summer going?  The Mountain continues its ever changing scenery as the early flowers give way to the mid-summer ones.  The meadows are becoming more and more luxurious.   Snow is leaving the higher trails, though I often wonder if it will truly be gone before the next snow arrives!  This will be my first “fall” on the mountain as in the past I have been one of those leaving early to return to the classroom.  

Yesterday’s weather brought a terrific thunderstorm to Paradise with much lightning and rain.  Many visitors were out on the trails and in danger from the lightning strikes.   With this in mind, I would like to emphasize the importance of checking the weather forecast at the information desk before you head out and keep an eye on the sky.  As the storms move in, warn visitors to turn back to the safety of the Visitor Centers or their cars and do the same with yourself.  Remain under shelter for 30 minutes following the last thunder clap.  Hiding under a tree is not safe, nor is being out in the open.  The National Weather Service says, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.”  As Meadow Rovers, we are entrusted with protecting the resource, but I want you to be able to return another day.
For more information on safety in a thunderstorm, go to the National Weather Service website at .

Maureen McLean
Coordinator MORA Meadow Rovers