Coming up this weekend: National Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 24, 2011. Washington's Mount Rainier National Park is looking forward to masses of folks coming to plant native plants, maintain trails, and rededicate the Glacier Basin Trail after four summers of repairs. The work day will cap a highly successful season during which about 2,000 people have contributed to the protection of Mount Rainier’s natural and cultural treasures and helped serve its visitors.
Volunteerism has a major impact at the big mountain park. Last year, 2,016 volunteers contributed 73,990 hours of service, an effort valued at $1.54 million. Park officials are hoping that this weekend's volunteers will make a huge difference in this last big push for the season. Of course, the Washington venue is just one of many across the country. More than 120,000 individuals are expected to participate in events all over the nation. 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.
At Mount Rainier, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Washington Trails Association will help coordinate the event and lead volunteer projects. Participants may register at the event, or pre-register by e-mailing Mariely Lemagne at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers will sign in at the amphitheater in White River Campground, in the northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park, beginning at 8:00 a.m. Beware that the Stevens Canyon Road in the park is closed due to construction. The White River Campground can be reached via State Highways 410 or 123.
Volunteers of all ages will help with revegetation efforts at Sunrise and with several trail projects near White River Campground. Come prepared for cool, wet weather, with warm clothing, rain gear, sturdy footwear, and gloves. If the weather is nice, sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats are recommended. Volunteers should also bring water, snacks, and a lunch. Volunteers will re-gather at the amphitheater in White River Campground at 3:30 p.m. for a more informal celebration, with refreshments provided by the Washington Trails Association.
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 www.nps.gov/mora, or on its volunteer program blog at rainiervolunteers.blogspot.com.
photo: Mount Rainier National Park Volunteer, courtesy NPS. GOV