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Contact: Kevin Bacher, Volunteer and Outreach Program Manager, 360-569-6567
On National Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 24, 2011, more than a hundred volunteers will assemble at Mount Rainier National Park 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.National Public Lands Day is an annual celebration of public involvement in the stewardship of America's national, state, and local parks and forests. More than 120,000 individuals are expected to participate in events all over the country. 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.
Members of the public are invited to join in the day's work. 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.National Public Lands Day 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. Travelers should note 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.
At 9:00 a.m., the Glacier Basin Trail will be rededicated in a short ceremony recognizing the many groups and individuals who contributed to the project. The popular trail was devastated by flooding in November 2006, and would have taken many times as long to rebuild without help from the public, said Kevin Bacher, Volunteer Program Manager at Mount Rainier. "The Glacier Basin Trail is a perfect example of the power of partnerships," said Bacher. "On our own, we can slowly chip away at a project. But together, we can move mountains."In addition to National Park Service crews, participants in the reconstruction have included Alpine Ascents International; Boy Scout troops 224, 436, the Pacific Harbors Council, and T'kope Kwiskwis Lodge 502; EarthCorps; the Northwest Youth Corps; Recreational Equipment, Inc.; sailors from the USS Henry M. Jackson; and the Washington Conservation Corps. The Washington Trails Association leads about 500 volunteers per year in the park, many of them at Glacier Basin, and continues to be an invaluable partner in trail maintenance. Interns and Seattle-based youth crews from the Student Conservation Association work throughout the park on projects including volunteer coordination. The Mount Rainier National Park Associates coordinate volunteer projects every month throughout the summer.
After the dedication ceremony, volunteers of all ages will help with revegetation efforts at Sunrise and with several trail projects near White River Campground. Volunteers should 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.
In addition to trail maintenance, volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park patrol wilderness areas and climbing routes, assist and educate visitors, conduct research as citizen scientists, plant native plants, provide roadside assistance, and catalogue historic records. Last year, 2,016 volunteers contributed 73,990 hours of service, an effort valued at $1.54 million.
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 or on its volunteer program blog.
- NPS -