The start of our volunteer season was a strong one in June, with many different events culminating in hours of hard work put in around the mountain. Here are some highlights from the past month:
Tribal Use Dedication – June 10th
At the junction of the Nisqually River and the Longmire Stewardship Campground lies a recently dedicated piece of land. This land was dedicated as a Tribal Use Area, as members of the Nisqually Tribe participated in the dedication, showcasing traditional dance and grilling salmon over a fire.
Geocacher’s CITO Event – June 13th
The 8th Annual CITO (Cache In, Trash Out) event was a very productive one, as geocachers and others worked hard in and around the Longmire Stewardship Campground. They were able to help prepare the campground for the fast approaching summer season by cleaning the campsites, removing debris, erecting platform tents, filling potholes, and giving a much needed coat of paint to an adjacent firebox. Thanks to their dedication year after year, we are able to provide a spectacular campground for all of our volunteers to enjoy.
Girl Scouts of Tacoma, Washington – June 25th to June 28th
Seven members of Girl Scout Troop 40216 of Tacoma, Washington stayed with us in the Longmire Stewardship Campground and had a blast. When they arrived, they had a lesson with volunteer coordinator Crow on different forms of photography and lessons on various organisms from a “Penny’s Perspective.” The second day they spent with members of our Education team and learned all about habitats around Mount Rainier and spent much of their additional time hiking to Carter Falls, cooling off in the Nisqually River, and constructing a small rock dam in the ultimate show of teamwork (they later destroyed it, as it was not to be a permanent structure). On their final day, they tied all this new knowledge together to participate in our MeadoWatch program. They walked along portions of trail in the Paradise area, taking pictures of flowers they saw, making note of their exact location, and entered it into an Internet database once they returned home. The intrepid group of girls pressed on bravely through the sweltering sun in the name of science, and with the promise from their leaders of ice cream at the end. Work with a Boy Scout or Girl Scout Troop in your hometown and are looking for service projects? We can help!
Citizen Science Trainings – Throughout the Month of June
Many citizen science projects kicked off this month with higher numbers of volunteers than ever before. The MeadoWatch program is designed to allow volunteers of all kinds to help monitor and track the impacts of global climate change at Mount Rainier. Participants will be collecting information throughout the summer and over many years in the form of noting the stage of development of different species of flowers along a set trail. Scientists will then study this data and compare it from year to year. The Cascades Butterfly Project is taking the same approach as the MeadoWatch crew in that they are enlisting the help of dozens of volunteers to help track and identify sensitive indicator species, such as butterflies, in five different locations throughout the park. They too will be continuing on with this project over many years and tracking the effects of global climate change. Love science and want to participate in these or similar studies? There are still spots available!
Meadow Rovers – Throughout the Month of June
This year is on track to be one of the most popular years for visitors in Mount Rainier’s history. With thousands upon thousands of visitors rambling through the trails, many questions may go unanswered, many flowers may be picked from our pristine subalpine fields, many dogs may chase down those loveable marmots, and many meadows may become stomped. This is where the Meadow Rover crew comes into play. Showing in record numbers this year, the Meadow Rovers have one goal: to improve protection of the meadows at Paradise and Sunrise through visitor education. This devoted group of volunteers spends their time on patrol around the meadows of Paradise and Sunrise, sharing stories with visitors on a wide range of topics, educating guests on a variety of ecological concepts and programming within the park, and assisting those in need while on the trails. We’d love to have you out roving the meadows at either Paradise or Sunrise!
Looking Ahead to July
July is looking to be a hot month, but that won’t stop our volunteer crews! Here are some events coming up in the month of July (and beyond).
Eatonville 4th of July Parade – July 4th
This year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Wonderland trail, the 90+ mile loop trail that encircles the mountain. Come cheer us on, or if you’d like, join us walking the parade route! For more information, contact Jim Ross at Jim_Ross@nps.gov, or just show up at 11:30 on Penn Avenue in Eatonville and look for the ranger vehicle. Wear your trail maintenance helmets and show your support for the Wonderland Trail!
SCA Community Crew #1 – July 6th
On July 6th, we welcome our first of three youth crews from the Seattle area as part of the Student Conservation Association’s Community Crew program. These volunteers will spend two weeks working in the backcountry alongside trail crews, improving many miles of trails. If you hike past them, make sure to express your support for them and all of their hard work! The second crew will then be arriving on July 27th and staying through August 10th.
Mount Rainier National Parks Associates “Deveg” – July 11th
The next MRNPA volunteer work party will be on Saturday, July 11th. The primary focus of this work party will be exotic plant removal, or “deveg,” at the site of the new Carbon River Ranger Station, just west of the Carbon River Entrance. They are meeting between 8:30am and 9:00am in front of the ranger station and no prior experience is needed; all training necessary will be provided on site. If interested, please contact MRNPA at firstname.lastname@example.org with information of how many volunteers you are expecting to accompany you.
Washington Trails Association Trail Work – Every Weekend of the Summer
The WTA is a longstanding partner of Mount Rainier National Park, and every weekend they are having volunteer work parties that are designed to improve sections of trail that are commonly traveled. For information on where their next work project is in the park and how YOU can join them, visit www.wta.org.
Volunteer Picnics – August 14th and 15th
Remember that our annual Volunteer Picnics (Longmire on the 14th and Sunrise on the 15th) will be held in August. Food will be provided at both events, and more information will be posted on the volunteer blog (rainiervolunteers.blogspot.com) soon!