Monday, September 30, 2013
No, we didn't have a record turnout; nor did we restore more miles of trail, plant more seedlings, or pick up amazing amounts of trash. But we did work in some of the wettest, muddiest weather in the volunteer program's history! Chief Ranger Chuck Young reports that from Friday through Monday about 8 inches of rain fell in the park, and those of us who spent six hours maintaining trails at Narada Falls, or taking down tents and picking up storm debris at the Longmire Campround, carried much of that home with us, soaked through to the skin in spite of the best efforts of Gortex and leather.
It was so wet, in fact, that I didn't get a total count on participants before heading out Saturday afternoon. I'm guessing about three dozen people showed up, split fairly evenly between trail work and campground restoration. The trail work was accomplished in partnership with the Washington Trails Association, while Boy Scout Troop 356 from Bothell pitched in with spirit in the campground. The National Parks Conservation Association helped with registration, and brought along volunteers, and Student Conservation Association intern Joshua Jones represented his organization's partnership honorably as well.
I've posted a complete set of photos on the park's Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mountrainiernps/, so check them out! If you took photos of your own, please post them on Flickr or Facebook or Instagram or Picasa or whatever, and send us the link -- we'd love to see every last soggy one of them.
This year's event was a testament to what people can accomplish when they come together for a common cause, in spite of epic challenges. You guys are an inspiration!
Friday, September 27, 2013
In spite of wet weather in the forecast, volunteer projects at Mount Rainier National Park will go forward as planned. Come one, come all -- but dress warmly and bring your Gortex!
Depending on conditions, trail work may be moved to a more sheltered location.
In related news, President Obama has issued a Presidential Proclamation in support of our volunteer efforts. Well, not our efforts specifically, but, dear volunteers, he was speaking in part to you!
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Saturday, September 28, is National Public Lands Day: the biggest volunteer day of the year for us here at Mount Rainier National Park. In anticipation of the event, we've been planning a full set of projects, and our volunteer program staff have spent the afternoon walking our soles off getting prepared.
This year's events fall into two categories:
- Trail maintenance, in cooperation with National Park Service and Washington Trails Association crew leaders. It sounds like trail work is planned for the beautiful Golden Gate Trail and maybe a second location somewhere in the Paradise area. Yes, in case you're wondering, we did have a dusting of snow up there last night! It melted off pretty quickly today, though, and the snow level's forecast to stay high over the next few days. Bring gloves and layered clothing, but temperatures should be nice and cool for hard work.
- Restoration of the Longmire Campground, an ongoing effort that is coming tantalizingly close to completion. Saturday's work will fall into several categories: taking down the platform tents that are used during the summer season, and hanging them up to dry; disposing of the the last of the storm debris that volunteers gathered last year from 50 years of accumulation; cutting some of that debris into firewood for use by volunteers; doing a thorough trash pickup, including the remnants of an old kiosk that collapsed a year ago; tidying up some fallen hazard trees by lopping limbs; cleaning up the remnants of an illegal campfire ring; and propping up picnic tables and tent platforms for the winter.
And last but not least, remember that if you plan to camp in the Volunteer Campground Friday or Saturday night, be sure and send a note to Joshua Jones at Joshua_Jones@partner.nps.gov to reserve a site.
We look forward to seeing you all this weekend!
The volunteers of Mount Rainier National Park are still arriving this 2013 season to dedicate time and energy to Mount Rainier National Park. For the past 20 years groups of students from the MEAD Alternative Learning School in Spokane, WA have been coming to Mount Rainier to offer services that contribute to the revitalization of the park. From storm debris removal in the 2006 flood, Restoration of the parking lot around Paradise Inn and the Jackson Visitor Center, and this week, planting along the Steven Canyons Road.
“We want to create an opportunity for these kids to be exposed to a National Park and understand the purpose that the parks represent,” says Carole Allen the group’s leader. “How an idea and a attitude towards preserving such wonderful places can be experienced by these kids, so when they bring their children back, they will have an understanding to educate them on why they should take care of these special places.”
From all of us here in the National Parks we want to thank all the volunteers that have contributed to the preservation of Mount Rainier National Park. We also want to express an appreciation to groups like the MEAD Alternative Learning School that invoke a purpose of stewardship in the next generation.
We will be finishing out the season with various volunteer projects in the park on Saturday September 28th for National Public Lands Day. The Nation’s largest, single day volunteer effort for public lands.
This year’s event will take place on the west side of the park, with registration by the National Parks Conservation Association beginning at Longmire at 8:00am and the day’s work kicking off at 9:00.
If there are those who are interested in volunteering, but need to stay closer to home, you can find opportunities at http://www.publiclandsday.org/ to find something in your area.
I've received two good reports in my office over the last 24 hours. The first is from Jim Ross, who coordinated our volunteer presence at the Mount Rainier National Park booth at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup:
Just got back from the fairgrounds and the final cleanup of the building. The big-leaf maple challenge puzzle was completed 311 times. We estimate the fisher puzzle was completed 2400 times since it was completed 5-10 times for every time the challenge puzzle was completed. Although total numbers were down some this year, I feel it was one of our best years at the fair.
The second report is from Curt Jacquot, who supervises the volunteer astronomy program at Paradise:
Our "Star" volunteer Don West-Wilke set records for contacts and hours this season. He worked Thursdays through Mondays every week from June 14 through September 15.
Total Contacts: 10,192
Total Hours: 595.5
These two reports represent tens of thousands of people who learned about Mount Rainier and its stellar resources who would have otherwise been left in the dark. Great work, everyone!
Monday, September 23, 2013
Volunteers will work on trails and campground restoration at Mount Rainier on National Public Lands Day, September 28 – Entrance fees to be waived
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
|Not such a bad place to work|
|Volunteers installing a culvert on the Pinnacle Peak Trail|
|Happy Birthday WTA|
|Park Service Employee giving direction on planting process|
|Boy Scouts helping with clean up|
Saturday, September 14, 2013
seems to have ended and fall is rapidly move onward too. Thus our days of meadow roving are also
coming to an end as the meadows will soon be covered with snow. The last official day of roving at Sunrise
will be on October 6. As the WIC
prepares to close for the season, I will be collecting all of the radios and
the logbook. At Paradise, roving will
continue daily through October 14.
During the following three weekends, radios will also be available at
the JVC. This of course holds if we have
meadows instead of snow fields. November
3 will be the last day for meadow roving for this year at Paradise.
Friday, September 13, 2013
I received the following summary on Wednesday from our Cascades Butterfly Survey volunteers. Let me add my own thanks for all of the awesome Citizen Science that was done this summer!
The total tally for the season has been completed and within our study transects we saw a total of:
Including incidental species we saw a total of:
35 different butterfly species!
This project wouldn't be as successful without the help of outstanding citizens like yourselves and we hope to see you all again next season.
Always watching those butterflies flutter-by,
The Leaping Lepidopterists
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
I've received a flurry of photos from volunteer projects around the park lately. It's always a lot of fun to see what everyone is doing, and to share that good work with you! These images come from volunteer Ed Hunds:
|Meadow Rover volunteers point the way for visitors at Glacier Vista|
|And how does this compare with your office?|
|Volunteers help represent the National Park Service at the Northwest|
Outdoors exhibit at the
|Hay! You don't even need snow to try out snowshoeing|
with the help of volunteers!
Volunteer Lawrence Jacobson shared this photo with us of his son Andy, who will soon be a graduate of The Evergreen State College, helping out as a restoration volunteer at Sunrise on September 7. Thanks for your efforts, Andy!
If you've been part of a volunteer project at Mount Rainier, share your photos with us. We'd love to see them!
On August 30, Mount Rainier National Park employees and local community members gathered to say farewell to the Japan Volunteers-in-Parks Association (J-VIPA), a group that has contributed volunteer time and friendship to the park since 1994 and is now moving on to other projects. The event was featured in The News Tribune and the Eatonville Dispatch. Photos from the event, and from this year's volunteer project building picnic tables in the Longmire Campground, can be seen on the park's Flickr page.
Thank you, J-VIPA... you've enriched our park and our lives, and we wish you well!
The T'kope Kwiskwis lodge of the Boy Scouts of America returned to Mount Rainier at the end of August for what has become an annual gathering of service and training. The group camped at the Boy Scouts' Camp Shepherd, north of the park on Highway 410, and spent two days working on painting and campground cleanup projects at Carbon River and Ohanapecosh. They spent a third day doing trail work in the Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest around their camp.
Thanks for your hard work, everyone! We look forward to seeing you back next year!