Here, at last, is this year's Annual Activity and Expense Report for the volunteer program. As always, I will follow this soon with an analysis of where changes occurred between last year and this year, and why. From the outset, though, two things jump out: first, our total number of volunteer hours is down dramatically (from 74,615 last year to 62,736 this year); and second, our total number of volunteers remained almost steady (1,804 last year, 1,784 this year). A quick look at the numbers reveals that most of the changes are reflective of fewer full-time volunteer and intern positions. We had fewer full-time volunteers in the Paradise Visitor Center and Climber Information Center; fewer Emergency Roadside Assistance ("Raven") volunteers; fewer Historic Architecture positions; and so forth. Even if just a few positions are lost in each division, they carry with them thousands of hours of volunteer time. We lost a few thousand hours of volunteer time at the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center alone.
Most of these positions seem to have been lost for the same reasons that our numbers of paid staff have declined: volunteers are inexpensive but not free, incurring either housing, per diem, and vehicle costs, or commitments to the Student Conservation Association and other partners, and with reduced budgets, we've had reduced capacity. It is also likely that under Sequestration whole programs have shrunk, volunteers and all.
The silver lining is that, clearly, individual interest in volunteering has NOT declined. While we've had fewer full-time volunteers parkwide, our number of itinerant volunteers has remained roughly the same, in spite of the shrinkage of some programs. As revegetation opportunities have declined, citizen science opportunities have increased, for example, and our total number of volunteers this year is the second-highest ever, just slightly behind last year's number.
I will work on bringing these statistics and conclusions into sharper focus over the next few weeks, and will report further when I have more information. For now, here are the raw data!