Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mount Rainier National Park Weather Alert

(October 31, 2015) Mount Rainier National Park is expected to experience a significant weather event this weekend. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Visitor access will be affected and evacuations could become necessary. Stay alert and check in with information sources frequently for updates.  

  • Current weather models are predicting up to 12” of rain to fall in the park over the weekend, shifting to heavy snow on Sunday and Monday at elevations above 4000’.  
  • High winds are also expected. Watch for fallen trees and rocks on park roads.  
  • All park rivers are expected to reach near flood stage, with potential for debris flows associated with glaciers. Roads may close suddenly and without warning.  
  • Power outages may occur and emergency services may be significantly delayed. 
  • The following emergency closures are in effect (no driving, biking or hiking):
  • Westside Road
  • Sunrise and White River Campground Roads, closed at the junction with SR410
  • Carbon River Trail
  • Mowich Lake Road, beyond the Paul Peak vehicle barricade 
  • The timing of these emergency closures coincides with the last few days of planned operations, so effectively this storm will end seasonal driving access to these locations. 
  • Heavy snow may cause winter closure of Cayuse and Chinook Pass. 
  • The road from Longmire to Paradise and the Stevens Canyon Road will close nightly. These roads will reopen in the morning if and when they are deemed safe for travel. Stevens Canyon Road will close for the winter if it receives heavy snow. 
  • For their safety, visitors are asked to respect any closure signs, barriers or staff directions as it relates to park access this weekend. 
  • Backcountry camping permits will not be issued through the weekend and camping in vehicles is not permitted in the park.
  • Effective November 1, 2015, all vehicles (including 4WD) will be required by state law to carry tire chains when traveling the Nisqually Road to Paradise. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Mount Rainier Prepares for Significant Weather Event

Superintendent Randy King advises that Mount Rainier National Park has begun preparations for a significant weather event that is expected this weekend. Visitor access will be impacted and evacuations could become necessary. Current weather models are predicting 12”-15” of rain to fall in the park over the next 48 hours, with snow at higher elevations. Travel in the park is discouraged until the storm passes. More information can be found on the Park's website.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Citizen Scientists in Action!

In today's post, we feature photographs taken by Yonit Yogev, an Evergreen State College intern throughout the summer at Mount Rainier.  Among many, many, many, other things, Yonit worked very closely with the multiple Citizen Science programs we offer in the park.  Citizen Scientists are volunteers who donate their time and budding expertise to research scientists from all over the state by assiting in the collection of information from an array of sources, be it along a trail, deep in the backcountry, or even in the middle of the subalpine meadows of Paradise or Sunrise (GASP!).

Below are some of her pictures from the field.

A survey of amphibians

Cascades Butterfly Project identfying butterlies in meadows

MeadoWatch, noting the stages of development of subalpine flowers

Do you have any pictures that you took while volunteering at Mount Rainier?  If so, please share them with us!  Send pictures and stories to Ian Harvey ( and you may be featured on our Blog this winter!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Just How Busy Were the RAVENs this Summer?

The short answer: very.

The longer answer, in sentence form, with pictures:

This summer, the RAVEN program was off to a very quick start and continued throughout the duration of the summer.  The numbers are in, and the RAVENs were essentially in constant motion from June to September.  Collectively, Les and Gary interacted with over 2,500 visitors, and turned what could have been a vacation ruining experience to a painless and positive time, allowing the guests to continue on their adventures around Mount Rainier.

Together these two assisted with 31 dead batteries, 32 locked doors, and 17 cases of low or flat tires.  Sure, these are important to help get people back on the road, but in addition to the vehicle assistance, the RAVENs also assisted with 7 Search and Rescue efforts, drove the Park's ambulance multiple times, and even provided life giving CPR to a visitor suffering from a heart attack. 

These are just a few examples of the extremely valuable service Les and Gary provided while volunteering at Paradise all summer as RAVENs.  Yes, we can look at numbers and hard facts to see how important these two were all summer, but just ask any of the 2,500 visitors they interacted with, and you will hear it firsthand from them how Les and Gary turned their potentially horrible day into a great one.

We just cannot say it enough.

Thank you for a great summer, RAVENs!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Love is Always in the Air at Mount Rainier

Photo by Lynn Kittridge

Do you have a photo you took while volunteering this past summer that you want to share with the world?  Send pictures and stories to Ian Harvey ( and they may be featured on our blog and Facebook page over the winter!  We would love to hear from you!

N2P Road Construction, Oct. 23-30

Please click to enlarge to readable size

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Stellar Season for our Astro-Volunteers

This summer has been an amazing one, especially for those who are more nocturnal than others.  For many nights out of the year, the night sky was crystal clear and not a cloud could be found, which is why the Astro-Volunteers at Mount Rainier shattered the records of previous years.  This year, the group of five astronomers who donated not only their time, but their true passion for the night-time world, volunteered over 2,400 hours at both Paradise and Sunrise, and helped introduce the cosmos to over 20,600 visitors from around the world.  What better place to star gaze than right under the watchful eye of The Mountain?
A BIG thank you to all of our Astro-Volunteers for making this summer out of this world!


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Only the Brightest and Best!

Only the brightest and best of our volunteers turn out for litter patrols in the rain! Susan Lyon, Joan Hays, Jim Smith, Jean Millan, Ian Harvey and Marc Blackburn joined Crow Vecchio for the last Adopt-a-Highway work party of the year, and there's no denying the crew's brightness. Under light showers, we collected 16 bags of trash along the two mile stretch of SR706 from MP 2 to MP 4. This event marks the third full year that Mount Rainier's volunteers have worked to keep this section of highway litter-free. Our next pickup will be in April and is usually the most major cleanup effort of the year. If you'd like to join us, drop Crow a note at to be put on the mailing list for this community service project.

Did You Volunteer this Year?

If you did in fact volunteer this year and you have been self reporting your hours, please make sure all hours get to the Volunteer and Outreach office as soon as possible.  Although October isn't what most people see as the end of the year, it is in fact the end of the fiscal year for the National Park Service, and we here in the office are hard at work crunching numbers and tracking down missing paperwork!  If you have any hours from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015 that have not been turned in, please send them to Crow at  Thank you all for your help with this! 

Keep up to date with the Volunteer Program by checking back to our blog regularly and following our Facebook page (Mount Rainier National Park Volunteers).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Steve Cart, VIP Meadow Rover at Sunrise
With the lack of snow predicted in the near future, the Sunrise Road will remain open until the 31st of October. Superintendent Randy King has asked that Meadow Rovers continue their expert services throughout the remainder of October at Sunrise and possibly even later at Paradise. However, there will be some changes from the normal summer Meadow Rover operations. As always we have your safety as our top priority along with the safety and enjoyment of visitors and the protection of our magnificent natural and cultural resources.

First, reservations must be made in advance through the e-mail. While we enjoy your drop-in presence in the summer, we need to coordinate with the Law Enforcement Rangers’ schedules. Most days, they will be your closest back-up. If for some reason no Law Enforcement Rangers are available on a given day, rovers will not be scheduled. Ian Harvey will be organizing your schedules with rangers after October 17 as Maureen will be on furlough. When you are scheduling a day, we highly encourage you to rove in pairs.

While you may feel as though you are the sole protector of the resource, your sole task during this extended season is to educate visitors. You are not Law Enforcement. If you are confronted with any situation involving a law enforcement issue, you are to immediately contact a Law Enforcement Ranger via Dispatch. You should never engage a visitor on a law enforcement issue.

Due to more limited back-up, we are asking our rovers to limit their roves to areas around the visitor centers and parking areas. Specific guidelines will be given below.

Sunrise Specifics

As you may know, the Sunrise Visitor Center has closed along with the Day Use Building. Utilities including water have also been turned off for the winter. Until October 12, the radios will be available at the White River Wilderness Information Center. After October 12, a lock box will be set up with a key for retrieving and returning radios. More information will be available as you schedule your roves.

In the Sunrise area, rovers are to limit their coverage to the Sourdough Ridge - Frozen Lake - Sunrise Campground – Visitor Center Parking Lot area. If, at any time, Law Enforcement is called beyond the Sunrise/White River Entrance, rovers should return to the Sunrise Parking Lot.

Note that potable water is no longer available at Sunrise. Please bring plenty of water with you as you rove.

Gwen Remmen, VIP Meadow Rover at Paradise
Photo by Ed Hunds
Paradise Specifics

Rovers are asked to limit their roves to within the Skyline Trail and Nisqually Vista Loops. If at any time Law Enforcement becomes unavailable, you need to return to base.

Limited housing will be available at Tahoma Woods if requests are made well in advance of the desired day. These requests must be made through the e-mail.

Weekdays after October 12:

Radios will be housed at the Longmire Museum which is open from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily. Radios will need to be returned to Longmire before the museum closes. As the sun begins to set earlier each day, this should not be a problem! If you wish to rove later than 4:30, please make arrangements well in advance and, if staff is available, we will arrange for someone on a later shift to receive your radio.

Weekends after October 12:

The Jackson Visitor Center will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Normal radio checkout will follow the summer procedures. Radios must be back in the Rover Room before the 5:00 closing.

Again to all of you who have given your time this past year a giant thank you. For those of you able to continue, please remember your safety is our first priority. Be sure to keep your radio on at all times so you can hear Dispatch call you for any reason. Be wise, be careful, and have a wonderful day.

Friday, October 2, 2015

2016 Mount Rainier Nordic Patrol

Mount Rainier Nordic Patrol is tuning up their skis for another season. Since 1993 the volunteers of Nordic Patrol have been traversing the slopes in the Paradise area from Panorama Point to the Tatoosh and Reflection Lakes. Like Snow Rovers, Patrollers main function is to practice Preventive Search And Rescue (PSAR) by being affable, welcoming, and accessible to park visitors on weekends and holidays throughout the winter season. In addition, Patrollers maintain winter signage and monitor over 200 bamboo poles used to mark winter trails. The season begins when the meadows around Paradise fill with snow and can extend into April. 

Last season Patrollers were involved with several searches for overdue visitors, assisted in a medical evacuation, checked camping permits, and even changed a flat tire for an elderly visitor. All Patrollers carry avalanche safety equipment and enough personal gear so they can stay out for the entire day in weather that varies from terrific to terrifying. Skiing prowess is not the most important skill required of volunteer Patrollers and snowshoers are also on our team. 

Nordic Patrol is organized exclusively by the Washington Ski Touring Club ( in cooperation with MORA. For liability purposes all Patrollers must be members of WSTC. Therefore, the first step in volunteering for Nordic Patrol is joining the Ski Club. Additional information about Nordic Patrol qualifications, annual training, and schedule is available to members on the WSTC website. 
Jon Epstein
Nordic Patrol Coordinator

Thursday, October 1, 2015

N2P Road Construction Resumes

On Monday, October 5, work will resume on the road between Longmire and Paradise. Work will be concentrated at roadside vaults and will involve pulling lines through underground conduit and other vault work.

Delays through the project will be no longer than 30 minutes.

Work will take place M-F during daylight hours
Work will take place during October and into the beginning of November.