Event raises funds for SAR

Staff reportMarch 31, 2013 

Inside our parks Washington’s National Park Fund hopes to raise more than $90,000 at its annual spring fundraiser April 12.

The event, beginning at 5 p.m., will be at The Mountaineers, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle. It will feature a dinner and auction.

Proceeds from this year’s event will go toward search-and-rescue operations at Mount Rainier, North Cascade and Olympic national parks.

“Why search and rescue? Because it is a vital component of the parks,” said Laurie Ward, the fund’s executive director. “Search-and-rescue rangers and volunteers provide outstanding service despite experiencing deep budget cuts.”

More than $65,000 was raised at last year’s program. A portion of the proceeds, $20,000, went directly to the parks’ youth and family programs.

Tickets are $100 each. Learn more at wnpf.org.

CELEBRATING MONUMENT

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Land Management Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze will join local officials and stakeholders Monday to celebrate the creation of the San Juan Islands National Monument.

President Obama signed the legislation creating the monument last Monday.

The event will be at 10 a.m. at the Anacortes Senior Center, 1701 22nd St., Anacortes.

The new monument, to be managed by the BLM, is home to bald eagles, orcas, harbor seals and other rare species. San Juan Islands is a chain of 450 islands, rock and pinnacles that provide an opportunity for visitors, campers, kayakers and birdwatchers to experience the beauty of the rugged landscape.

OPERATIONS UPDATE

Today is the last day the snowplay area at Paradise will be open. It also is the last day the guided snowshoe walks will be offered.

On Friday, the Westside Road is expected to be open to Dry Creek, according to park officials.

Visitors planning to come to the park should check for current weather and road conditions. Recorded information is available by calling 360-569-2211.

February

visitation

Mount Rainier

Feburary 2013: 16,937

February 2012: 16,894

Difference: 0.3 percent

Year-to-date 2013: 38,673

Year-to-date 2012: 31,255

Difference: 23.7 percent

The park saw just a slight up tick – 43 to be exact – in recreational visits last month. The February counts for this year and last, however, are the lowest for the month going back more than 10 years. The exception was 2007, when the park was closed after the damage done by the November 2006 floods.

Olympic

Feburary 2013: 81,808

February 2012: 79,292

Difference: 3.2 percent

Year-to-date 2013: 158,970

Year-to-date 2012: 144,470

Difference: 10 percent

Increased visits to the Lake Crescent, Elwha, Hoodsport and Hoh districts made up for a large decline at the Quinault District, where visitation declined by 31.5 percent (more than 6,000 visits). It was the best February count since there were 87,317 visits in 2010.

National Park Service

Feburary 2013: 11,366,142

February 2012: 12,212,718

Difference: -6.78 percent

Year-to-date 2013: 22,930,262

Year-to-date 2012: 23,851,101

Difference: -3.86 percent

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