Saturday, July 5, 2014

Volunteer Newsletter: July, 2014

Happy 4th of July weekend!

Summer has shifted into high gear at Mount Rainier National Park, with all park visitor centers, campgrounds, and roads open except for Mowich Lake, and snow melting rapidly. Volunteers are busy all over the park, and there are opportunities almost every day to get involved in projects lasting from a single day to the rest of the summer. Here’s a look at our summer calendar:

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: Join the Washington Trails Association for a day of trail maintenance! Visit and click the “Volunteer” tab to find out where WTA is working. Next weekend they’ll be working on the Wonderland Trail near Longmire, and they’ll move higher as the snow melts. For future reference (since this year’s groups are already full), WTA also leads multi-day “Backcountry Response Teams” that go farther out into the wilderness for the ultimate “Volunteer Vacation” experience. This year’s teams will be working in late July and early September on the Wonderland Trail between Klapatche Park and Golden Lakes, arguably one of the most beautiful areas of the park.

Every Monday through Thursday: Stop in at the park’s Greenhouse, located at Park Headquarters between Ashford and Elbe, to help with planting, weeding, repotting, and other green thumb activities that help with the park’s native plant restoration efforts.

Saturday, July 12: The Mount Rainier National Park Associates (MRNPA) welcomes volunteers to help with their annual Exotic Plant Removal project. They’ll be working in the Carbon River corner of the park. Visit for details and information on how to sign up.

Saturday, August 2: MRNPA will return for a trail work party, followed by a potluck and campout. Visit for details.

Friday, August 16: Our annual Volunteer Picnic at Longmire! Join us at the Longmire Community Building at 4:00 for a potluck picnic and a celebration of all things volunteer!

Saturday, August 17: Our annual East Side Volunteer Picnic will be held at the Sunrise Picnic Area at 4:00. Bring your own grillables and drinks, and a side dish or dessert to share!

Saturday, September 6: Revegetation day! Join us to plant native plants in a restoration area near Sunrise. All are welcome! Visit for details, or read our blog entry about last year’s project.

Friday, September 5 to Sunday, September 21: Help represent Mount Rainier National Park at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup! Staff our booth for a four-hour block of time, and receive free entrance and parking. Contact Jim_Ross(at) to express your interest.

Saturday, September 27: National Public Lands Day is our biggest volunteer day of the year. Details are still being worked out, but volunteer options will probably include trail maintenance and planting in the White River and Sunrise corner of the park. Make sure you’re on our mailing list to receive details.

Every Day: You can contribute to research just by snapping photos! If you have a camera with a built-in GPS unit (including almost all modern smart phones), upload your pictures of flowering plants to help build a database of what’s blooming and when. Visit the MeadoWatch website to find out how!

Also Going On

As you explore Mount Rainier National Park, look for volunteer uniforms. You’ll see them almost everywhere you go! Here are some of the things currently going on in the park:

Student Conservation Association (SCA) Community Crews will be working on trails all over the park. Our first crew of high school students arrives July 6, and the last crew leaves August 31st. Crews are made up of students from Seattle and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and are funded by grants from the National Park Foundation and Washington’s National Park Fund.

Washington Conservation Corps teams will also be working on trails from July 23 through August 31.

ArrowCorps, a project of the Seattle Boy Scouts of America, will be working on a variety of projects from August 5 to 7.

Volunteer Groups like Starbucks, the Sierra Club, Girl Scout Troops, and local High Schools can be seen working on trails and revegetation projects almost every weekend.

Interns from SCA, the Geologic Society of America, and local colleges will be joining seasonal park rangers and unaffiliated volunteers in the park’s visitor centers, and helping to conduct research in the field. The Visitor Center at Ohanapecosh is back open this summer thanks in part to these volunteers! Other volunteers offer night time astronomy programs at Paradise. In addition, “Teacher-Ranger-Teacher” volunteers will be here for several weeks, helping with educational programs, curricula, and our annual teacher workshop.

Emergency Roadside Assistance volunteers, nicknamed “Ravens,” patrol the Paradise area, helping visitors who need jump starts, air in their tires, or help retrieving locked keys. Look for the pickup with the volunteer program logo on the door. This year’s program is made possible by your donations through Washington’s National Park Fund!

Meadow Rovers form the park’s largest team of active volunteers, and patrol the trails above Paradise and Sunrise, assisting visitors and educating them about the importance of staying on trails and not feeding wildlife.

Backcountry Patrol volunteers are similar to Meadow Rovers, except that they venture farther into the wilderness areas of the park, and assist with backcountry trails and campsites.

Campground Hosts will welcome you if you stay at Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, or the Longmire Stewardship Campground.

Visitor Survey Volunteers will be seen handing out survey forms at several locations throughout the month of July. Thank you to everyone who signed up for this special project!

Citizen Scientists can be found all over the park, and are trained to perform very specific jobs that contribute to our understanding of Mount Rainier’s plants, animals, ecosystems, and climate. Amphibian Survey volunteers venture out to backcountry lakes and ponds... MeadoWatch volunteers inventory flowering plants... and Cascades Butterfly Survey volunteers tally butterflies on transects set up around the park. In addition, several people have signed up for a brand new Citizen Science project called the “Cascade Carnivore Project,” collecting wild animal scat on park trails.

Search and Rescue volunteers help out almost every time there’s a lost or injured hiker or climber in the park, and converge on the mountain from communities all over the state. We are extremely grateful for our Mountain Rescue partners and the many other volunteers who support them!

These are just a few of the many, many ways that volunteers serve at Mount Rainier National Park. If you cross paths with someone wearing the volunteer patch, say hello and thank them for their service—and ask how you can help too!

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