Monday, May 5, 2014

Volunteer Newsletter - May 2014

Here comes summer! 

Warmer temperatures are pushing the snow back, urging visitors and volunteers alike to come out of winter hibernation. We have some exciting projects planned for this year, including a reprise of MeadoWatch, the phenology program which was so popular in 2013. If you're looking for a new volunteer opportunity or want to continue in your former capacity, there's something here for every taste. Watch our blog ( for announcements of short-term projects or review the listings at to see which positions we are currently hoping to fill. We'd love to see you on the Mountain in 2014!

Volunteer Brunch - Saturday, May 10, 9-11 AM

Late-breaking announcement! The Volunteer Brunch is less than a week away! This annual get-together will be held on Saturday, May 10, 9-11 AM at the Tacoma Mountaineers Clubhouse, 2302 N 30th St, Tacoma, WA 98403. Whether you are a returning volunteer or a new one, or if you simply are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at Mount Rainier National Park, we would be delighted to have you join us at this gathering. The event is potluck, so please bring a dish to share!


Upcoming Events

Saturday, May 10, 9-11 AM - Volunteer Brunch
Every year, the Tacoma Mountaineers host a brunch for volunteers at their Tacoma Program Center. Join us to meet other volunteers and learn about this summer's volunteer opportunities! Returning, new, and potential volunteers are ALL welcome!

Saturday, May 17 - MRNPA Trails project
Join the Mount Rainier National Park Associates for a volunteer project at Mount Rainier National Park! This will be a trail maintenance project at a site to be determined as the date draws closer and we have a better sense of where the greatest needs are. Visit for details, and write to John Titland at volunteer(at) to sign up.

Saturday, June 7 - Longmire Campground Project
The details are still being worked out, but will include setting up the campground for the season and building picnic tables. Stay tuned for more details!

Saturday, June 7 - National Trails Day
Our partnership with the Washington Trails Association resumes in June! Watch WTA's website at for a schedule of projects (usually posted about two weeks in advance), and sign up online for the days you're interested in.

Saturday, June 14 - MRNPA Trails project
This will be a trail maintenance project at a site to be determined as the date draws closer and we have a better sense of where the greatest needs are. Visit for details, and write to John Titland at volunteer(at) to sign up.

Saturday, June 14 - Adopt-a-Highway Litter Patrol

Mount Rainier's volunteers partner with the Washington State Dept. of Transportation to make litter patrols along Hwy 706 three times a year. For more information or to sign up, contact Crow at petrina_vecchio(at)

Saturday, June 21 - MeadoWatch and Meadow Rover Training
Details will be coming soon, but put the date on your calendar now! Basic orientation will be at Mount Rainier's Education Center, located at Park Headquarters (55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304). MeadoWatch training will begin the day, followed by Meadow Rover training. Volunteers are welcome to attend either one, or stay for both.

Sunday, June 22 - Advanced Meadow Rover Training
Details will be coming soon. The Advanced Training will be held at the Longmire Community Building. Basic orientation is a prerequisite.

And that's just for starters! Come on out and volunteer!


What's Been Going On

Wanted: Campground Hosts at Longmire and Ohanapecosh
Although we have hired campground hosts for the Longmire Volunteer Campground for the first half of the summer, we are still looking for someone to fill this position from July 22 through the end of September.

Hosts coordinate the use of 31 tent sites, 2 group sites, and half a dozen Park-provided platform tents. They take reservations and assign campsites, and make sure guests are aware of campground regulations, ensuring that they comply with the rules while making sure everyone feels welcomed and supported. Duties include 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, as well as keeping the campground free of camping litter.

If you are interested in being a Longmire campground host, please contact Kevin Bacher directly at 360-569-6567 for more information; drop a note to Kevin_Bacher(at); or fill out an online application at

The Ohanapecosh Campground is also looking for hosts, as the ones originally hired had to change their plans. That campground will open for the season in June and close in September. For more information, contact Debbie Hannevig at 360-569-6622 or Debbie_Hannevig(at), or fill out an application at

Nisqually to Paradise Road Construction
A road well-traveled aptly describes the historic Nisqually to Paradise Road. It is the most common entry to popular destinations in Mount Rainier National Park. Like most roads that you travel, it requires maintenance and periodic repairs. This year, the main focus is on the seven miles from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire. Taking advantage of the best weather, construction began in March 2014 and will continue throughout the spring and summer months. 

Road work begins around 8:00 am and continues to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Currently no work is scheduled for Saturday or Sunday. Expect delays of up to 20 minutes at one stop. Your total construction delay should not exceed 30 minutes.

If you have a park "86" key as part of your duties, you may bypass the construction by entering via Forest Service Road 52 and the service road behind the Longmire Campground. The road is gated and must be kept closed and locked for security. Ask your supervisor for details.

MeadoWatch 2014
MeadoWatch is looking to recruit volunteers for the 2014 wildflower season! This program was a big hit in the Park last year with volunteers gathering phenologic data on the occurrence of specific species in selected areas.

This year, observers will monitor ten different wildflower species at nine locations along a system of trails which run north to south across approximately 2000 feet (600 meters) of elevation. The 5.5 mile round-trip hike consists of the east branch of the Lakes Trail to the Skyline Trail and finally to the Paradise Glacier trail. This hike can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours depending on trail conditions, the volunteers' plant identification experience and how fast each person hikes. As a token of appreciation for collecting valuable phenological data, project volunteers may enter the park for free on the day that they will be surveying, and will also have the option to camp within the park for free. 

Sign for MeadoWatch or learn more about the project through their website,

If you would like to be involved in a citizen science project studying phenology on Mt. Rainier through the collection of photographs from across the entire mountain, please read the details regarding Photo Collection at

MeadoWatch staff will be holding a training session at the Tahoma Woods Education Center on June 21, 9:00 AM to approximately 11:30. Contact Anna Wilson at mwatch(at) for more information.

JVIPA Chosen for Pacific West Region George Hartzog Award

During the summer of 2013, 24 students from Waseda University in Tokyo came to Mount Rainier to participate in a project organized by the Japan Volunteers-in-Parks Association (J-VIPA).  This year’s volunteer effort marks the final year of a 20-year partnership with J-VIPA that began in 1994.  Since that time, a total of 386 individual program participants have contributed 23,040 hours of service to the park.  The J-VIPA program is one of the largest and most enduring international volunteer partnerships in the National Park Service.  After 20 years, J-VIPA is retiring its partnership with Mount Rainier to focus on volunteer efforts closer to home, especially in the wake of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami in 2011.  This unique partnership has created enduring friendships and good will.  As a result of this volunteer group, 15 people from Mount Rainier’s staff and surrounding community flew to Japan in March 2014 for a week-long cultural exchange which was arranged between Mount Rainier National Park and the Japanese Ministry of Environment. J-VIPA was chosen to receive the Hartzog Volunteer Group Award for the Pacific West Region.

SCA Community Program Nominated for Director's Partnership Award
Mount Rainier National Park has nominated the Seattle office of the Student Conservation Association for a "Director's Partnership Award," recognizing 30 years of youth outreach through its Community Crew program, including 20 years at Mount Rainier.

Since 1984, the community program has engaged Seattle-area youth in local conservation activities. In 1994, the program began bringing crews to Mount Rainier for 15-day leadership projects, mostly building and repairing trails. Over the past two decades more than 750 young people have contributed more than 50,000 hours of service at the park.
MRNPA Twin Firs Trail Project
The MRNPA makes work look like way too much fun! You'll wish you'd been there when you watch these four short videos on our blog:

Adopt-a-Highway Volunteers Pick It Up
A record crew of litter pickers showed up at Tahoma Woods at 10 AM on April 26 to patrol the two-mile stretch of SR706 between mileposts 2 and 4, a strip which includes the Park's Tahoma Woods frontage. In partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation, Mount Rainier's fabulous volunteers contract to make three litter pickups each year, a detail which generally lasts two to three hours on each date. Quite a few of this spring's crew were new volunteers, eager to involve themselves in a project which benefits the community as well as the Park. The team of 13 brought in a total of 10 bags of litter. Former campground host Jean Millan provided munchie packs to each participant. Future patrols will be held in June and September.

Eva Meassick Retires
A Park Volunteer since 1987, Eva Meassick has announced her retirement. Eva and her husband Joe conducted wilderness patrols on the east side as well as frontcountry patrols out of Sunrise until Joe passed away in 2002. The Meassicks also staffed Sunrise, assisting visitors in many capacities, including issuing permits, providing information and offering roadside assistance. They also made winter ski patrols from the north boundary to Chinook Pass, as well as assisting in other volunteer projects and SARs.

In 2003, Eva received the Superintendent's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008, she was invited to Washington, D.C. to receive the George B. Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service on behalf of Mount Rainier's volunteer program. Eva and Joe were well-known for their cheerful demeanors and exceptional stewardship of the Park as well as their ability to handle difficult situations.

Upon her retirement, Eva Meassick has a total of 12,496 hours of volunteer service on record. We would like to thank her for her amazing contribution of time and service.

MVP - Monthly Volunteer Profile
We are pleased to announce a new feature on the Park blog: the Monthly Volunteer Profile. Jean Millan, former campground host at Longmire, will be digging into the files to find people with stories to share: stories about visitor contacts, backcountry adventures or simply why an individual chose to be a volunteer. She will be interviewing people who work in a variety of positions, bringing to light many of the behind-the-scene jobs which help keep the Park operating smoothly and efficiently. If Jean contacts you and you are willing to participate, YOU may be featured in our new Monthly Volunteer Profile!

Read about last month's MVP, Pete Sabin, on our volunteer blog.


Putting a Value on Volunteers
Independent Sector specializes in crunching numbers in order to put a monetary value on volunteer hours. In a recent report, they say that the value of one hour of volunteer service is $22.55 nationally, and in the state of Washington, $26.72.

No comments: