Puyallup volunteer receives DNR honor

Staff reportApril 28, 2013 

Ron Downing of Puyallup, “a dedicated volunteer,” takes part in the annual Great Gravel Pack-In.

DIANA LOFFLIN/ DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

A Puyallup man was honored as a Volunteer Hero by the state Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark April 13 during the eighth annual Great Gravel Pack-In, an annual volunteer trail improvement event at the Capitol State Forest.

Ron Downing received a certificate, a jacket and a Volunteer Hero patch. Downing has been a strong supporter of the Great Gravel Pack-In from the event’s beginning.

“Ron Downing is a dedicated volunteer who inspires the best in all of us. His enthusiastic support makes events like the Great Gravel Pack-In a great success,” Goldmark said in a prepared statement. “It is a pleasure to recognize Ron’s volunteer accomplishments today.”

Downing is a long-time volunteer for the agency. He has contributed hundreds of hours to develop equestrian trails in the DNR-managed Elbe State Forest.

Downing was cited for his ability to organize reliable pack animals and riders, especially at events like the Great Gravel Pack-In.

Volunteer Heroes are nominated by the public and chosen, based on their sustained service, superior performance, leadership and commitment to the state Department of Natural Resources, said an agency news release.

TEAM EARNS AWARD

Staffers at the Hood Canal Ranger District on the Olympic National Forest have received the group/Team Accessibility Advancement Actions award.

The award was one of several handed out last week by U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, recognizing extraordinary efforts to integrate accessibility into national forests and grasslands facilities to better serve all visitors, said an agency news release.

The Hood Canal staffers were cited because they “created and improved accessibility at developed recreation facilities and administrative facilities. Recent projects improved accessibility on the Mount Townsend trailhead and the Coho Campground, which resulted in an increase of thousands of annual visitors.”

The Forest Service has more than 23,000 accessible recreation units, such as campsites and picnic areas, and 8,000 accessible recreation buildings.

March visits

Mount Rainier

March 2013: 22,315

March 2012: 15,977

Difference: 39.7 percent

Year-to-date 2013: 60,988

Year-to-date 2012: 47,232

Difference: 29.1 percent

March’s total was the best since 2010, when there were 26,409 recreational visits. The increase, compared with March 2012, was driven by good road conditions and good weather.

Olympic

March 2013: 119,954

March 2012: 96,768

Difference: 24 percent

Year-to-date 2013: 278,923

Year-to-date 2012: 241,238

Difference: 15.6 percent

An increase in the number of visitors to the Elwha, Hurricane, Hoh and Kalaloch districts gave the park a strong month. Last month’s count was the best for March since 2009, when there were 130,282 recreational visitors.

National Park Service

March 2013: 18,174,808

March 2012: 19,122,312

Difference: -4.95 percent

Year-to-date 2013: 40,994,947

Year-to-date 2012: 42,973,413

Difference: -4.6 percent

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