Looking Ahead to September
September is already off to a cooler start, though there is still hope for a last few rays of warm sunshine between these chilly and rainy days. Even though the summer is starting to wind down, there are still plenty of opportunities to volunteer at Mount Rainier in the month of September.
MRNPA’s Annual “Reveg” – September 12
The annual Mount Rainier National Park Associates meadow revegetation work party will be Saturday, September 12th. MRNPA volunteers will again be assisting the Mount Rainier ecological restoration crew in planting wildflower seedlings, working to convert a historic campground area near Sunrise back into subalpine meadows. Be prepared for almost any fall weather. In the past we have experienced everything from warm and sunny days to a driving blizzard. In addition to your sun hat, sunscreen, and your rain gear, bring a lunch, plenty of fluids to drink, gardening gloves, and a hand digging tool you like to use. If you have no gardening tools, the NPS will provide small hand tools. Most of the day you will be working on your hands and knees to do the planting, so you should bring some kind of protection for your knees. The pads available at your local gardening retailer work for most people. The work site is about a mile hike from the Sunrise parking lot, so plan on carrying everything you need to and from the work site. If you plan to join the MRNPA volunteers on Saturday, September 12th, for this meadow revegetation work party, please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org confirming that you are coming and indicating the number of volunteers that you will bringing with you.
The Washington State Fair – September 11 – 27
The largest fair in the State of Washington is just around the corner! Volunteers are still needed on a few shifts either working the informational booth or (especially) by assisting on our indoor snowshoe track! Volunteering for this event also gives you a free pass to the Fair as well as free parking, which is a $25 value. If you are interested in volunteering during the fair, please contact Jim Ross at Jim_Ross@nps.gov for more information.
National Public Lands Day – September 26
Join us for one of our largest events of the year on National Public Lands Day! This year, the event will be based in the Sunrise area with a variety of projects available for all ages, ranging from revegetation of native plants in the Sunrise subalpine meadows (suitable for all ages) to working on trail projects in the area. Registration begins at 9:00am in the White River Campground. As always, those planning on volunteering are able to stay in the campground free of charge for the time of their service. For more information on reserving a campsite, please contact Ian Harvey at email@example.com by September 20 with the number of people staying in the campsite, as well as the number of tents being used.
WTA’s White River Trail Projects – Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until 9/27
Do you love volunteering your time to do trails work, but the Backcountry Response Team trips seem a little much for you? Well, don’t you worry anymore, because the Washington Trails Association offers weekend and single day trail projects right here at Mount Rainier National Park. Sign up for a day or the full weekend, and you will spend your time with likeminded individuals, determined to work. Visit www.wta.org for more information on the projects offered at Mount Rainier for the rest of the month.
Paradise Trail Projects – Every Friday and Saturday until 9/27
Maybe the WTA’s White River trail project sounds like something you’d like to do, but it’s on the complete other side of the mountain, and you don’t want to drive all the way over there. You’re in luck! There is an option on the west side of the mountain for you! Kevin Watson of the Paradise Trail crew will meet people at the stairway immediately behind the Jackson Visitor Center every Friday and Saturday at 9:00am for a walk-up trail work opportunity. He is flexible with everyone’s ability levels, though this will be work done above 5,500 feet, so it is inherently more difficult. If you have any questions about the projects, or want to bring a group out for a few hours of trail work, contact Kevin Watson at Kevin_J_Watson@nps.gov
Meadow Rovers – Until the Snow Flies
Just because it is getting a little bit cooler outside doesn’t mean we are done with the Meadow Rover program! We still need volunteers to come out and protect the meadows at Paradise and Sunrise. The meadows have been cloaked in their autumnal colors already, and they are absolutely beautiful. This means there will still be hundreds of people hiking the trails through these meadows, and we still need the Meadow Rovers out there to help educate the public!
August came in like a lion and left…also like a lion, but a wet lion. This extreme and sudden shift in weather hasn’t stopped hundreds of volunteers from coming out and sharing their knowledge and expertise with the thousands of visitors who entered through the gates surrounding the park. Heat? No problem. Smoke-filled air? Don’t worry about it. Glacial outburst floods? Easy. All in a day’s work. Here are some of the things our amazing volunteers have been working on over the month of August.
SCA Community Crew #2 & #3 – July 27 to August 10; August 17 to August 31
The second and third SCA community crews of the season arrived and went straight to work, assisting trails crew efforts all over the park. Sometimes they were spiked out to Klapatche Park, other times they were able to call the Longmire Stewardship Campground their home. No matter where they spent their evenings, the crews were always out working hard, improving the trails we all know and love. The SCA has many opportunities for youth across the country, ranging from summer-long internships to year-long stays in some of America’s most beautiful locations! For more information on how you can get involved, visit www.thesca.org
Starbucks – August 8 and 9
Fueled by their world-famous brew, over thirty volunteers from Starbucks locations all over the state joined the Paradise Trails crew for a weekend of stewardship. With such an energetic and eager group, the project had two trail crew leads, and the group was divided into two different projects. One group helped prepare a section of trail that will be repaved in the near future by brushing the edges and widening the trail to its original width (which, in some places, doubled the width of the trail!), while the second group spend most of their day moving large boulders and edging a section of the Skyline Trail, which was recently repaved, to help prevent the trail from crumbling under the feet of thousands of people each day. Starbucks has been visiting the park in this capacity for many years and will also match donations to a variety of charitable organizations. For more information on some projects Starbucks is working on, visit www.community.starbucks.com/en_us/home
Washington Trails Association’s Youth Volunteer Vacations – August 9 to 14; August 23 to 28
Throughout the month of August, the Washington Trails Association hosted two Volunteer Vacations for youth from all around the West Coast. Through this program, the WTA provides an amazing experience for high school students aged 14-18 including camping and trails projects. This year, both groups have been based out of the White River Campground and have been primarily focused on the Glacier Basin Trail, with other projects mixed in. For some, this was their first time ever stepping foot in Mount Rainier National Park, while for others, they grew up under the gaze of the mountain. But, for all, they now have a special connection to the park through their hard work and determination while volunteering through the WTA. The WTA has many opportunities for all ages, with some programs specifically designed for youth. Read more about them here: www.wta.org/volunteer/youth
Mount Rainier National Park Associates’ Trail Day – August 15
The Mount Rainier National Park Associates were at it again, this time doing some trail work high up on the Skyline Trail. In fact, they were so far up the Skyline Trail that the entire day was spent working in a cloud! The weather had shifted slightly in the middle of the month, and instead of the 90 degree days from the previous week, the group experienced mist and temperatures in the mid-40s. Much of the work done on this day was resetting some stone steps that were in desperate need of attention, and now you can effortlessly climb your way to Panorama Point! The MRNPA takes on an array of projects, ranging from trail work to revegetation to devegetation and removal of invasive species. To learn how you can become a part of this amazing team, visit www.mrnpa.org today.
Volunteer Picnics – August 14 and 15
The volunteer picnics have come and gone, and we would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all who participated in these events. We saw something falling from the sky for the Longmire Volunteer Picnic (our best guess is that it was... rain) and we were able to shift everything inside next to the roaring fire within the Community Building. As for the Sunrise Volunteer Picnic, we were much dryer, though it was much colder, with temperatures in the mid 40s for most of the day. We had great turn-outs at both events, and we thank all of the volunteers that could make it and those of you who could not.
Washington Trails Association’s Backcountry Response Team, #2 –
August 26 – August 30
Continuing the amazing partnership Mount Rainier National Park and the Washington Trails Association share, the WTA fielded two Backcountry Response Teams to share their trail maintenance experience for a week at a time while hiking deep into the wilderness of Mount Rainier and setting up camp in a cross-country zone on Emerald Ridge. In addition to having some pretty amazing views of Mount Rainier and some grand sunsets in the western sky, both crews completed a much needed reroute of the Wonderland Trail that will be used for years to come. The WTA does some amazing work all over the state. To learn more about some of the projects they are working on for the rest of the year, and how you can be a part of a great backcountry crew, visit http://www.wta.org/volunteer/volunteering/bcrt
REI – August 24 to 26
The Longmire Stewardship Campground was jam-packed early in the afternoon on August 24, as just fewer than 150 people from every level of employment at REI joined us for three days of stewardship activities. We offered a wide range of options for all ages, including trail projects on the Snow Lake Trail, landscaping within the Longmire Historical District, participating in Junior Ranger and Citizen Ranger activities, joining in on a variety of Ranger led programs in Longmire and Paradise, or exploring the trails on a self-led hike to help each person make their own special connection with the park. The event was capped off with a catered meal and words of thanks from the Park Superintendent and the CEO of REI. REI is dedicated to preserving the amazing landscapes across the country. As a Premier Level partner with the National Park Foundation’s #FindYourPark campaign, REI is showing this level of commitment through more than just signing a check. These people are passionate about what they do, and it can be seen through the work that nearly 150 volunteers did throughout the park. For more information on how REI is working with the National Park Foundation to help celebrate the NPS Centennial next year, visit www.rei.com/h/national-parks
Urban Wilderness Works – August 28 to September 8
North Cascades National Park’s loss was our gain, as a group of enthusiastic volunteers from Seattle were rerouted to Mount Rainier due to the fires up north. Thanks to the flexibility of the park’s trail crew, this group has been hard at work on the Snow Lake, Nisqually Vista, and Skyline Trail, while camping out in the Longmire Stewardship Campground. Even the cool rain of early September hasn’t dampened their spirits! To learn more about this great organization, visit http://www.urbanwildernessproject.org/works-w.htm
RAVENS – All Summer Long
Our Roadside Assistance Volunteers (better known as the “RAVENS”) have been absolutely amazing this summer. We cannot begin to show our gratitude for Les and Gary and the work they have done throughout the summer. These two have seen it all while out on the trails and roadways of Paradise, ranging from rescuing keys locked inside a vehicle to performing life-giving CPR for over an hour. From collecting trash thrown by careless hikers to being the first on the scene for the rescue of an individual who had fallen off a cliff, the RAVENS have provided a service that has greatly impacted the lives of countless visitors, whether directly or indirectly, and we cannot thank them enough. But, we will try. Thank you.
Meadow Rovers – All Summer Long
With the early start of the summer this year, there has been a great need for protection of the beautiful resources that are the meadows around Paradise and Sunrise. Luckily, the Meadow Rovers responded, and in greater numbers than ever. Both Lynn and Maureen were training larger and larger groups as the summer went on, with record numbers of contacts being made each day. Even though the summer is starting to wind down, we can always use Meadow Rovers out on the trails. Don’t forget to come help in September and October!
These are only a few of the many things volunteers have been up to this summer. MeadoWatch, Amphibian Survey, and Cascades Butterfly Survey volunteers have gathered valuable data as Citizen Scientists. Backcountry patrol volunteers have kept the wilderness trails in good shape. Historic Landscape Architecture interns have inventoried, stabilized, and restored important parts of the park’s history. Costumed volunteers portrayed historical characters from the park’s past in the annual Shadows of the Past program. Campground hosts made visitors and volunteers welcome. Astronomy volunteers delighted visitors with views of the heavens through their telescopes at Paradise and Sunrise. Volunteers are everywhere, and we could not protect Mount Rainier National Park for the enjoyment of present and future generations without them.
Photos from many of the volunteer projects listed here are posted on the park's Flickr page at http://flickr.com/MountRainierNPS. Check it out -- you might find someone you know!
Looking Further into the Future...
It may seem like summer has come and gone quickly for some, but just because it isn’t over 80 degrees every day, doesn’t mean the park is shutting down. Snow will soon be on the forecast, and many of our summer volunteers and interns will be migrating back to their homes across the country and across the world. At the Volunteer and Outreach office, we just want to thank you for all you have done to help make this an absolutely amazing summer at Mount Rainier. With the elongated summer, we were expecting a higher number of visitors hiking our trails, exploring our visitor’s centers, and experiencing all that is Mount Rainier. Without your crucial help, this summer would not have been nearly as great as you have made it. Thank you so much for all you have done and we look forward to working with you again very soon.
If you have any special stories you’d like to share about your time volunteering, please send them to Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov. Throughout the winter months, we plan on featuring different stories from volunteers all over the park, and we would love to hear you input. Send us a story, a letter, some pictures, or anything that made your time volunteering special for you.
And again, THANK YOU.