Outdoors

Early fall volunteer options about at park

People wanting to volunteer at Mount Rainier National Park will have two opportunities on Sept. 6.

The first is a litter pickup effort as part of the park’s Adopt-a-Highway patrol. Organizers need about 10 volunteers who are willing to commit about two hours. How long the work takes depends on the number of people who take part (a maximum of 12).

In 2012, the park’s volunteer program partnered with the Washington Department of Transportation to keep clean a two-mile section of state Route 706, including the Park's Tahoma Woods frontage.

The group will meet at the Tahoma Woods park headquarters, three miles east of Elbe, at 10 a.m. The work will take place rain or shine. Long-handled grabbers, litter bags, gloves and safety vests will be provided. Participants can bring your own gloves if you prefer.

Before participating, volunteers who have not done so must watch a short training video -- featuring a young and Bill Nye ("the Science Guy"). The video can be found online at wsdot.wa.gov/operations/adoptahwy .

To take part, send an email to Crow Vecchio at petrina_vecchio@partner.nps.gov no later than Sept. 1 to confirm that you've watched the video.

The other option is to take part in the annual Mount Rainier National Park Associates meadow revegetation work party. Volunteers will again assist the Mount Rainier ecological restoration crew in planting wildflower seedlings, working to convert a historic campground area near Sunrise back into alpine meadows. This year's seedlings need to be planted before the snow covers the meadows.

Participants should meet in the Sunrise parking lot between 8:30-9 a.m. Look for John Titland's dark green Subaru Outback wagon, parked in the far left (south) corner of the parking lot. Volunteers should check in as soon as you arrive.

Participant should be prepared for any kind of fall weather. Plan to bring a sun hat, sunscreen and rain gear, as well as a lunch, plenty of fluids to drink, gardening gloves and a hand-digging tool you like to use. If you have no gardening tools, the park will provide small hand tools.

Most of the day, volunteers will be working on their hands and knees to do the planting, so bringing some kind of knee protection is a good idea.

The work site is about a mile hike from the Sunrise parking lot, so plan on carrying everything you need to and from the work site.

Volunteers can camp for free at the White River Campground the evening prior to, the evening of the work party or both nights. Contact Julie Hover at julie_hover@ nps.gov and tell her which evenings you wish to camp and how many tent sites you will need. Make these arrangements well in advance of the work date.

If you plan to join the group, send an email to volunteer@ mrnpa.org to confirm you will be participating and how many volunteers you will bringing.

Wilderness photo contest

Federal land management agencies have been spending much of the year celebrating the “50 Years of Wilderness”. On Sept. 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act, creating the National Wilderness Preservation System and setting aside millions of acres of wildlands.

The Washington Wilderness Act of 1988 further designated thousands of acres of land as wilderness, including the majority of Mount Rainier National Park is designated as a wilderness area.

As part of its celebration, Mount Rainier National Park has invited photographers to enter its 2014 digital photo contest. To learn more about the contest, please visit the park’s Flickr group at flickr.com/groups/mountrainiernps_wilderness50th/rules .

Rainier road work

Road construction continues from the Nisqually entrance to Longmire. Drivers should plan for a maximum delay of 30 minutes Mondays-Fridays.

Looking ahead, the final paving is set to begin after Sept. 1. Ricksecker Point and Paradise Valley roads will close Sept. 2 for repairs.

Drivers are urged to proceed cautiously because there are numerous bumps, abrupt edges and rough patches along the 7 miles to Longmire.

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