Mount Rainier National Park will celebrate National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 24, 2016, with two large volunteer projects open to public participation. The work day caps a busy summer in which nearly 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 170,000 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 will coordinate registration for the event beginning at 8:00 a.m. at the White River Campground, six miles west of Highway 410 in the northeast corner of the park. After a brief welcome at 9:00, participants will divide into work groups. The Washington Trails Association and Park Service crew leaders will lead trail maintenance projects at Sunrise, while other volunteers will work with the park’s revegetation crew to plant native plants in a restoration area about a mile from the Sunrise Visitor Center. Trail work is suitable for ages 16 and up, while planting is good for all ages.
Volunteers should come prepared for any kind of weather, with warm clothing, rain gear, sturdy footwear, and gloves. Knee pads are also recommended for planting. If the weather is nice, sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats are recommended. Volunteers should also bring water, snacks, and a lunch.
Volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park maintain and patrol trails, assist and educate visitors, conduct research as citizen scientists, and plant native plants. Last year, 1,778 volunteers and interns contributed 65,538 hours of service, an effort valued at $1.5 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 at www.nps.gov/mora.