Minigrants can help fund field trips to park

Staff reportFebruary 16, 2014 

Mount Rainier National Park is now accepting reservations for spring school field trips to the mountain.

The ranger-led, curriculum-based educational programs are available at no charge to school groups on weekdays through the park’s Education Program. The programs are designed to meet the teacher’s learning objective and typically take place at Longmire or Paradise.

This spring through a “Connecting Kids to Parks” grant from Washington’s National Park Fund, park managers are offering several minigrants to help subsidize transportation costs for school groups bringing students to the park.

The minigrants are meant to be cost-share subsidies for bus transportation, so that the maximum amount of students can benefit. The number and size of grants will vary, depending on how many requests the park receives relative to the available funding.

In order to qualify for the grant and to support Mount Rainier’s climate-friendly park initiative, students must be transported by bus, with one additional support vehicle for the group.

These grants are part of an effort to increase accessibility to park experiences for youth who might not otherwise have an opportunity to visit a national park.

In order to be considered for a field trip bus subsidy during the 2013-2014 school year, teachers can request a transportation grant application by contacting fawn_bauer@nps.gov. If teachers need information about the types of programs that are offered and to schedule a program, contact the park Education Center at 360-569-6592 or visit nps.gov/mora/forteachers/planafieldtrip.htm.

SNOW PLAY AT OLYMPIC

For visitor safety, sliding and tubing is permitted in only two locations at Olympic National Park.

The small children’s snowplay area near the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is where children 8 years and younger may slide.

The Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club operates a tubing park in the downhill ski area.

Sliding is not allowed anywhere else in the Hurricane area or along the Hurricane Ridge Road.

While sledding has been a favorite activity for some time, it has also been one of the most dangerous activities at Hurricane Ridge. Serious injuries, even permanent disabilities occurred when people collided with trees, other sliders, or lost control and ended up in the road, said a park news release.

If conditions are too icy to allow safe sliding, the sliding areas will be closed.

In an attempt to make it safer for participants, metal or hard plastic runner sleds and wooden toboggans are not permitted.

Only tubes provided by the ski area will be permitted in the tubing park. Compressed air for inflating inner tubes is not available.

Park officials ask that sledders observe the following rules:

• Slide only in the designated areas.

• For your safety, be sure the path is clear before starting your slide. Collisions can result in injuries.

• Watch for skiers and snowshoers crossing below the areas.

STATE PARKS UNVEILS NEW LOOK

Washington State Parks last week launched a new interactive website that provides improved public service and information about parks and programs.

The website, parks.wa.gov, has undergone a seven-month redesign. The result is a site that has improved functionality, a cleaner layout and user-friendly navigation.

New features include park videos and slide shows, a sitewide search function, park and agency meeting and events calendars and Google maps and park tours

The new website is intended to increase interaction with the public and to improve the flow of information. Visitors to the site can sign up to receive automatic updates and alerts for park closures, agency events, meeting announcements and more.

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