Thursday, September 25, 2014

Checking in about National Public Lands Day

Our biggest volunteer day of the year is just a day and a half away now! Plans are coming together to offer a wide variety of projects suitable for everyone. Here's a summary of what's happening:

Saturday September 27, 2014

  • All Day: Entrance fees are waived in all National Parks! Working volunteers will receive a fee free certificate that can be used at any national park on a different date.
  • 8:00 a.m. (Longmire): Registration, by the National Parks Conservation Association, will begin at their tent in front of the Transportation Exhibit, between the bathroom and the National Park Inn.
  • 9:00 a.m. (Longmire): Welcome by the Acting Superintendent and Volunteer Program Manager, followed by the introduction of project crew leaders.
  • 9:00 a.m. (Sunrise): Crew leaders will meet planting volunteers in front of the Sunrise Visitor Center.
  • 3:00 p.m.: Most work will wrap up mid to late afternoon. However, if you need to leave earlier, that's O.K. too -- just let your crew leader know.

Weather Forecast 
  • Partly sunny. Freezing level near 9500 feet. (That's about as perfect as a September work day can get!)

  • Skyline Trail
    Location: Skyline Trail between the Visitor Center and Alta Vista
    Project: Finalizing and cleaning up a trail project that has been going on all summer
  • Paradise Trail Winterization
    Location: Trails above Paradise, including Deadhorse Creek and Skyline
    Project: Taking down ropes, bringing in rebar, and preparing trails for the coming snow
  • Narada Falls Trail
    Location: Between Narada Falls and the Wonderland Trail
    Project: Building a turnpike with the Washington Trails Association for a muddy section of trail
  • Longmire Campground Winterization
    Location: Longmire Stewardship Campground
    Project: Taking down platform tents and storing them for the winter; scattering storm debris; stacking and storing firewood; and otherwise preparing the campground for winter
  • Longmire Landscaping
    Location: LongmireProject: Remove alders and conifers growing within 18-24 inches of the rock-lined trails throughout Longmire
  • Sunrise Campground Restoration
    Location: 1 mile hike from Sunrise Visitor Center
    Project: Planting native plants in the old Sunrise Campground
    Note: Meet for this project at 9:00 a.m. in the Sunrise Parking Lot
  • Have a safe, fun day contributing to the stewardship of our National Park!
  • Finish up some important work and prepare the park for the coming winter
  • Improve trails and meadows for the enjoyment of visitors
Thank you for your participation in this year's National Public Lands Day!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Volunteers will work on trails and campground restoration at Mount Rainier on National Public Lands Day, September 27; Entrance fees waived

Mount Rainier National Park will celebrate National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 27, 2014, with several volunteer projects open to public participation. The work day caps a busy summer in which nearly 2,000 people have contributed to the protection of Mount Rainier’s natural and cultural treasures and helped serve its visitors.

National Public Lands Day is an annual celebration of public involvement in the stewardship of America’s national, state, and local parks and forests. More than 170,000 individuals are expected to participate in events all over the country. In recognition of this, entrance fees will be waived at all national parks for the day. Volunteers will receive an additional coupon for free admission on a day of their choice.

Members of the public are invited to join in the day’s work. The National Parks Conservation Association will help coordinate registration for the event beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Longmire, six miles inside the southwest entrance to the park. After a brief welcome at 9:00, participants will divide into work groups. The Washington Trails Association and Park Service crew leaders will lead trail maintenance projects at Paradise, while other crews will winterize a campground at Longmire that is used by volunteers, school groups, and other park partners. Trail work is suitable for ages 16 and up, while campground maintenance is good for all ages. Additional projects may be added as well.

Another project, revegetating a former campground near Sunrise, will put a small number of volunteers to work on the east side of the national park. Volunteers interested in planting should meet crew leaders in front of the Sunrise Visitor Center at 9:00 a.m. and plan for a mile-long hike to the project location. This project can only accept about a dozen volunteers. Please RSVP to Kevin Bacher at Volunteers should come prepared for cool, wet weather, with warm clothing, rain gear, sturdy footwear, and gloves. Knee pads are also recommended for planting. If the weather is nice, sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats are recommended. Volunteers should also bring water, snacks, and a lunch.

Free camping at the Longmire Campground is available both the day before and after National Public Lands Day for event participants. Kevin Bacher at to reserve a campsite.

Volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park maintain trails, patrol park roads and wilderness areas, assist and educate visitors, conduct research as citizen scientists, and plant native plants. Last year, 1,784 volunteers contributed 62,736 hours of service, an effort valued at $1.4 million.

Information about Mount Rainier’s volunteer program, including a list of open positions, a calendar of activities, and pictures and videos of volunteers in action may be found on Mount Rainier National Park’s website at, or on its volunteer program blog at

- NPS -

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Toadlets are Here!

Received the following message from our amphibian biologist - Scott Anderson:

I checked Tipsoo lake a couple days ago and Western Toad tadpoles are just beginning to metamorphose into toadlets.  The next two weekends (Sept 19-21, 26-28) would be a great time to have some meadow rover presence along the trail around Tipsoo.  The Toad numbers are not huge this year but there are at least several hundred in addition to hundreds of Cascade froglets.  The newly emerged Cascade frogs have reached the trail and by next week I suspect the toadlets will be crossing the trail.  Both species are concentrated around the inlet creek on the south side of the lake.  I have included a couple of pictures from my recent visit.  The idea would be to help prevent trampling of the toads and frogs as they cross the trail.  Here again is the list of folks who helped Laura and may be interested in helping out.  Please feel free to email or call if you would like additional information.  I will probably send another email out on Monday or Tuesday.  I know it is short notice but this weekend could also be a good time for meadow rover presence but next week will be best.  In the photos note size of toadlets (< 1/2 inch) and cascade froglet ( ~ 3/4 of an inch).

So Meadow Rovers, how about a fun day saving froglets and toadlets  at Lake Tipsoo.  A radio will be made available at the White River WIC.  Send an e-mail through
Thanks so much for helping save the plants and animals of Mt. Rainier National Park.
Maureen McLean
Coordinator MORA Meadow Rovers

Saturday, September 13, 2014

MVP Walt Reid

Photo courtesy of Walt Reid
Walt Reid, this month's MVP, has been a part of Mt. Rainier’s Volunteers-In-Parks program with his major contributions occurring after the Great Nisqually River Flood of 2006. As a retiree with a background in Forestry and time on his hands, Walt answered the Park’s call for volunteers to help repair and restore the damaged areas near the Nisqually River. He used the Park often and like many volunteers, considered it "give-back" time.

His various contributions include trail work, collecting wildflower seeds, transplanting seeds in the nursery, planting new vegetation around the new Paradise parking area, and digging out Sunrise from under the snow in the Spring. Not only that, he helps rope off restricted areas around Paradise that are still covered in snow, and he helps get the Longmire Campground ready for its volunteer guests in the Spring. He also helps with the Mount Rainier Volunteer Adopt-a-Highway program picking up litter.

As a native of Tacoma, Walt remembers taking trips to Mt. Rainier where he came to consider it "my mountain”. He graduated from the University of Washington and Yale University with degrees in Forestry and spent 41 years working for a local forestry company. After his retirement, his time was freed up to enjoy more hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing at Mt. Rainier. He has a cabin in the Ashford area which gives him easy access to the Park. When not at the cabin, he spends the rest of his time at a farm in Palouse.

When not volunteering at the Park, Walt belongs to an organization of US Masters Swimmers, a program for adults that provides opportunities for fitness and competition throughout the world. For the last 35 years he has been the keeper of the competitive swimming records in the USA and for the last 22 years he has served as the Masters Recorder keeping the competitive swimming records for the World Swimming Organization (FINA). This has given him the opportunity to travel to the Masters World Swimming Championships all over the world!

He was asked what in particular he likes about his Park volunteer work. His reply, “It gives me the opportunity to give back some measure of what the Park has given to me. I get satisfaction in knowing that I am making a difference and that someone appreciates what I have done. I also like the opportunity to spend time with some very interesting people.”

Walt also has a special message for Kevin Bacher, Volunteer Program Manager and Petrina "Crow" Vecchio. “I especially want to thank (them) for doing all the planning and organizing of the volunteers. They make it easy for us to know what is available, how to sign up and always give a big ‘thanks’ when the job is done."

~Jean Millan

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Volunteer Newsletter, September 2014

National Public Lands Day! Saturday September 27

Mount Rainier National Park's biggest volunteer day of the year is coming up in a few weeks! This year's event will kick off at Longmire at 9:00 a.m., with registration as early as 8:00 a.m. by the National Parks Conservation Association in front of the Transportation Exhibit next to the National Park Inn. We'll have several trail projects available at Paradise on the Skyline Trail, led by park crew leaders and the Washington Trails Association. A contingent of volunteers will take down platform tents and prepare the Longmire Campground for winter. Additional projects are still being lined up. If enough plants are available, we'll also do revegetation at the old Sunrise Campground. Watch the Volunteer Blog at for updates!

Free camping is available for NPLD participants on either Friday and/or Saturday nights. Please RSVP to Nancy_Mortensen (at) with details of your request, including your name, contact information, nights requested, number of people, and number of tents (or size of RV -- no hookups are available and campsites are small).

Park entrance fees will be waived for everyone on September 27. Volunteers will receive a fee-free coupon to use at a later date.

Share your photos and stories!
As the busy part of our year winds down, we're interested in hearing about your experiences as a volunteer. Send us your anecdotes and photos, and we'll publish them on our volunteer blog and Facebook page. Watch for a special series of blog entries later this month!

Trail maintenance and Meadow Roving continues throughout the month
If you're still looking for ways to volunteer this year, consider joining the Washington Trails Association for trail maintenance projects at Paradise through the end of the month. Visit WTA's website at and click on the "volunteer" tab for a full list of projects. Look for the ones marked "Mount Rainier" for details and to sign up.

Meadow Rovers continue to be invaluable as long as there are meadows to stomp! If you're signed up as a Meadow Rover, we welcome your continued presence at Paradise and Sunrise through the month of September and into October or beyond, as long as weather permits!

Boy Scouts and Community Crews and REI, oh my!
August is always the busiest month of our volunteer program, so let me take this opportunity to thank the many individuals and groups who helped keep the park humming! This includes the Mount Rainier National Park Associates, Boy Scouts of America, ArrowCorps, Recreational Equipment Inc., Starbucks and Microsoft employees, Washington Trails Association, Washington's National Park Fund, Washington Conservation Corps, and Student Conservation Association, to name a few, and my apologies if I missed anyone!

Many of our full-time summer volunteers and interns wrapped up their seasons in the past month as well, and to them we say an additional thank you for their extended service. In addition to "unaffiliated" volunteers, we worked with interns this year through the Student Conservation Association, Geologic Society of America, Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program, Evergreen State College, and University of Washington.

Visit us at the Washington State Fair
If you "Do the Puyallup" this year, stop by the Northwest Outdoors building and say hi to the rangers and volunteers representing Mount Rainier National Park! You can also get a preview of our winter season by taking a "strawshoe" walk with volunteers.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September is still trail maintenance month for WTA

Autumn is definitely setting in in the mountains, with cool nights and lots of amber grasses in the landscape. Still, the days are sunny and beautiful with blue skies, and the Washington Trails Association is still busy maintaining trails at Mount Rainier National Park! If you're looking for a late-season volunteer project, check out the full list of WTA projects at, and look for the ones labeled Mount Rainier. This month's work is scheduled for the gorgeous Skyline Trail at Paradise.

A reminder, too: Saturday September 27 will be National Public Lands Day, so mark that on your calendar and plan to come out and help! We'll be doing multiple trail projects in the Paradise area on that date.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Toadlets are Coming! The Toadlets are Coming!

Toad tadpoles will be emerging from Tipsoo Lake as toadlets within the next 1-2 weeks.  Volunteers are needed to help protect the small amphibians and to educate the public. This is important throughout the week, but especially on the busier weekends. I will be getting more information from Scott Anderson one of our amphibian biologists to pass on to the volunteers so you are better informed, but if you are interested, please let me know via  Radios will be placed at White River for use along this rove.   
Also, after the Sunrise Visitor Center closes on September 21st, the radios will be housed at the White River WIC until the 9th of October.  Rovers are always needed until the snow flies (or road closes, or WIC is closed)!  Let me know, and I will reserve the radios.

Please be sure to send me your thoughts and issues encountered while roving.  What would you do to better protect or beautiful park?  What worked well for you this summer?  What frustrated you?  All this information will be presented to the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, and the department heads.  E-mails are fine, attach photos to help explain your problem if you have them.   

Lastly, I would like to give Lynn a giant thank-you for all her work this summer.  She has made operations at Sunrise run smoothly and been a tremendous help to me.  Thanks so much Lynn.
Maureen McLean
Coordinator MORA Meadow Rovers

Friday, September 5, 2014

Thanks for the great trails!

Our Superintendent, Randy King, received this e-mail from a grateful visitor, and asked that I pass it along. Thank you, trail volunteers!!!

Date: Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 2:24 PM
Subject: From The Wonderland Trail

Mailing Address:
lake orion, mi 48361

I just backpacked the Wonderland Trail and I wanted to send my sincere thanks to all the workers and trail crews and volunteers who have done such an amazing job of trail design, work and maintenance. I do a lot of volunteer trail work and what I saw was some of the best and most comprehensive trails and bridges and rock creations I've ever experienced. Please send my thanks for a job so very well done!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Litter pickers still needed this Saturday

Still looking for something to do for this year's National Day of Service? Looking for a way to get community service hours for high school? Consider joining our roadside cleanup team for a few hours this Saturday, September 6! Mount Rainier Volunteers have adopted the piece of highway that runs past park headquarters between Ashford and Elbe, and three times a year, dedicated volunteers walk the two-mile stretch to keep it clean.

If you'd like to join us, don't delay: read our earlier post for details about how to sign up. There's a quick on-line orientation you'll need to complete, and then you'll be ready to go!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Urgently Needed! Fair Volunteers!

Volunteers! I have received word from Jim Ross that out booth at the Washington State Fair still has several vacancies! If you can help out on any of the following shifts, please let Jim know as quickly as possible. Contact him at Jim_Ross(at)

Please note that shift times vary for weekdays vs. weekends!

Snowshoe Track (***** indicates URGENT!)
Friday, Sept. 12 (two volunteers) - noon-3:00 PM and 3:00-6:00 PM
Saturday, Sept. 13 - 3:00-6:00 PM
*****Sunday, Sept. 14 (two volunteers) - noon-3:00 PM
*****Friday, Sept. 19 (two volunteers) - 3:00-6:00 PM
Friday, Sept. 19 - noon-3:00 PM
Saturday, Sept. 20 - noon-3:00 PM

Friday, Sept. 5 (two volunteers) - 10 AM-1:30 PM and 1:30-5:00 PM
Saturday, Sept. 6 (two volunteers) - 10 AM-1:30 PM and 1:30-5:00 PM
Sunday, Sept. 7 (two volunteers) - 10 AM-1:30 PM and 1:30-5:00 PM
Tuesday, Sept. 9 - 2:30-5:30 PM
Wednesday, Sept. 10 - 2:30-5:30 PM
Friday, Sept. 12 (two volunteers) - 10 AM-1:30 PM and 1:30-5:00 PM
Saturday, Sept. 13 - 1:30-5:00 PM
Sunday, Sept. 14 (two volunteers) - 10 AM-1:30 PM and 1:30-5:00 PM
Tuesday, Sept. 15 (two volunteers) - 11 AM-2:30 PM and 2:30-5:30 PM
Thursday, Sept. 18 - 11 AM-2:30 PM
Friday, Sept. 19 - 10 AM-1:30 PM
Saturday, Sept. 20 - (two volunteers) - 10 AM-1:30 PM and 1:30-5:00 PM
Sunday, Sept. 21 - 1:30-5:00 PM