Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Future Rangers

And remember... many of our Today Volunteers are also Future Rangers!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Guess Who is Coming Back?

If you guessed the Student Conservation Association's Community Crews, then you would be 100% correct!  But, why are we so excited?  Well, read on to find out...

The SCA's Community Crews have called Mount Rainier National Park home for quite a few years now.  Last year, the SCA brought eighteen 14-18 year olds into the park for two weeks of back country trails projects, front country projects, education programs, and countless interactions with Rangers from all over the park.  Completing 2160 hours of volunteer service in 2015 alone, the SCA Community Crews helped complete over 7,500 feet of trail brushing and installed 34 check steps along some popular trails, like the Skyline Trail and the Nisqually Vista Loop, as well as some lesser traveled trails, like the Snow Lake Trail and the North Puyallup Trail. 


Either setting up shop in the Longmire Stewardship Campground or spiked out to Klaspache Point, the Community Crews were always in high spirits and spent much of their free time exploring all reaches of the park.  Odds are, if you had volunteered this summer, you probably met at least one crew member.

We have recently learned that the SCA Community Crews will return to Mount Rainier, thanks special funding coming from the National Park Service's Youth Partnerships Program.  So, when you see those bright blue shirts and blaze yellow hardhats on trail this summer, make sure to stop and say "hello!" and "thank you!" to these amazing crews.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Short Drive to Sunrise

After spending the day sharing their experiences as Volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park with Browns Point Elementary School students, Pete and DiAnne Sabin made a quick side-trip to the Lemay-America's Car Museum in Tacoma, where they were so thankful for the Sabin's service to the parks, they let them borrow a car and take it up to Sunrise!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Volunteer Photo Spotlight, Part #2

Continuing with the theme from our last post, I am looking to share some of Ed Hunds's photos that he has taken over the past few years.  In part two of this week's series, we are looking to help you thaw out a little bit more. 

Summer is just around the corner, and even though there is still nearly 15 feet of snow on the ground at Paradise right now, before you know it, you will be getting sunburnt at Panorama Point or while climbing over Second Burroughs.  It's only March, but in the lower elevations flowers and trees are already starting to bloom and you may be woken earlier and earlier by those songbirds outside your window. 

So, get out your lawn chairs, relax with an ice cold lemonade, and enjoy the season just around the corner: Summer.

NPS Photo / VIP Hunds

NPS Photo / VIP Hunds
NPS Photo / VIP Hunds

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Joan Hays, Adventurer of the Week

One of our Mount Rainier Adopt-a-Highway volunteers has hit the Big Time! Read Craig Hill's story about Joan Hays (red coat, center) in the Tacoma News Tribune!

Photo courtesy of Vern Brown via TNT

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Volunteer Photo Spotlight, Part #1

When I requested photos from volunteers a few months ago, Ed Hunds stepped up to the plate and not only shared a few pictures...he shared a few hundred with the volunteer program.  Because of this, I am hoping to share some of the amazing shots he has captured in a two part series.  Today's post will go best with some hot chocolate and should be viewed while under your coziest blanket, wrapped up on the corner of your couch.

Winter at Mount Rainier National Park:

NPS Photo / VIP Hunds
NPS Photo / VIP Hunds

NPS Photo / VIP Hunds

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Museum Collections Reconciliation Volunteers Needed

Wanted: two volunteers to assist with the reconciliation project which will involve verifying the location of every artifact in the collection and its corresponding paperwork. This task requires careful attention to detail even when the work is repetitive. Applicant will also be assisting with the installation/deinstallation of seasonal exhibits, aiding researchers, scanning researcher photograph requests, and cataloging artifacts. All training in museum management and the National Park Service Cataloging program will be provided. For a full description of this volunteer opportunity and to submit an application, visit (Link takes you to the opportunity listing.) You may also contact Brooke Childrey, Park Curator, at 360-569-6784.

NOW RECRUITING: Emergency Roadside Assistance Volunteers

Mount Rainier National Park is looking for some amazing volunteers to provide Emergency Roadside Assistance during the summer around the Paradise area.  These dedicated volunteers would assist with jump-starting dead batteries, changing flat tires, aiding in vehicle lockouts (with tools and training provided), and assisting park Rangers with traffic control, among many other things. 

Bonus points if you have previous law enforcement experience or similar experiences with assisting people in potentially challenging circumstances. 

Perks of this position include park housing available for those who volunteer 32 or more hours per week, either in historic cabins or an RV pad with hookups in the Longmire Stewardship Campground, as well as a uniform and government vehicle provided and a waiver of park entrance fees.  Not to mention you'd play a crucial role in making experiences for park goers unforgettable. 

Last year, the two RAVEN volunteers assisted with over 30 dead batteries, 32 locked doors, and over 15 flat tires, all while having meaningful contacts with over 2,500 park visitors. 

More information can be found here, with a link to apply!  If you have any questions about the position, please direct them to Chief Ranger Curt Dimmick at

Friday, March 4, 2016

Adopt-a-Highway Volunteers Wanted!

It's time for our first Adopt-a-Highway litter patrol of 2016, and Crow is looking for a crew of a dozen to help clean up the trash which has accumulated along SR706 over the winter. We will be patrolling the two-mile section which includes the Park's Tahoma Woods property on Sunday, April 10. The work party begins at 10 and goes until we're done, generally by 1 PM depending on the number of volunteers who turn out for this community service. Gloves, long-armed grabbers and safety vests will be provided. If you'd like to be part of our picker-upper team, contact Crow at no later than April 1.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Mount Rainier's Nordic Patrol

In case you didn't know, Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park is one of the snowiest places on the planet.  When the snow falls in the accurately named Paradise, droves of snowshoers, skiers, and sledders flock to those subalpine meadows with the hope of filling their afternoon with winter fun and excitement.

With more and more people visiting America's National Parks every year, the need for volunteers is ever-growing.  One of our core group of volunteers each and every winter is the Nordic Patrol crew.  They are out every weekend marking the routes that we know and love, providing preventative search and rescue, and making contacts with countless visitors enjoying the backcountry on any given day, all while enjoying the sublime grandeur of some of the lesser traveled areas of the park during the winter.

Sound pretty awesome to you?  Well, you are right.  It is pretty awesome.  BUT WAIT!  You can also be a part of this great group of volunteers this winter and for many snowy winters to come!  Here is a brief summary of the group and an excerpt from the position description, as provided by Wilderness Ranger and Nordic Patrol Supervisor, Jeff Gardner:

Scope of Work - Nordic volunteers will work independently or with NPS Rangers during weekends throughout the winter use season, and as available during the Christmas holiday period. Nordic Patrol volunteers will perform day patrols of routes primarily in the Paradise and Tatoosh areas. Occasional trips may be scheduled for other destinations, such as the westside road. Patrols will center around visitor contacts with emphasis on providing information to skiers, snowboarders, showshoers and winter campers; preventative search and rescue; avalanche safety and resource protection (i.e. minimum impact winter camping and compliance with park regulations). Nordic volunteers will place and maintain ski trail signs and markers on selected ski trails in the Paradise area. As needed, volunteers will monitor group winter camping activities in the immediate Paradise area as well as check other parties camped in more remote areas.

Safety - Nordic volunteers will be required to patrol as two person teams at a minimum. Participation in a patrol risk management session before patrols. If you don’t agree with an assignment you can request a different route/duty for the day. Patrollers will be required to have the necessary avalanche response gear to provide assistance to their own party or park visitors (avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel). Without avalanche equipment, patrollers won't be able to ski near avalanche terrain. The NPS will work with Nordic Patrol to offer training opportunities throughout the year to improve patrollers' skill levels (Avy Awareness, EMS CE's, litter training).

Equipment - Volunteers will be issued NPS radios and will serve as a communication link in reporting ski and avalanche conditions, backcountry emergencies, and potential violations of park regulations (e.g. dog in the backcountry). Patrollers are expected to have the proper equipment and food to stay out overnight should they be injured or unable to make it back to the pick-up point by dark. The patrollers will not be required to carry additional gear for an injured visitor. This will be solved by a hasty team bringing additional overnight supplies and medical equipment to handle the injury.

Search and Rescue - Within their level of training and certification, volunteers may assist rangers and other rescue personnel on medical and SAR emergencies. In order to improve the ability of the NPS and Nordic Patrol to respond to emergencies, a new system has been established to improve communications between both parties. Nordic Patrol will need to review EMS and SAR training of its members and place each member into the following SAR categories.

           - PSAR – preventative SAR with expectations of contacting visitors and educating them about the dangers while they are out.

           - Searchers – have the fitness, desire and ability (skills, training, and experience) to assist NPS Rangers with searching for lost visitors throughout the Paradise or Tatoosh area. These patrollers may not have the fitness or desire to actually extricate the lost visitor, but can search.

           - Rescuers – have the fitness, desire and ability (skills, training, and experience) to assist NPS Rangers with searching for lost visitors throughout the Paradise or Tatoosh area. These patrollers also want to assist with the extrication by a litter or staying out overnight with a lost visitor. The NPS will work to collect documentation of SAR skills to ensure we are not asking too much of volunteers.

If this sounds like exactly what you would like to do with your winter, then  contact Jeff Gardner today!  He can be reached by e-mail at