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2013

Gifts to Mount Rainier National Park in 2012-13 totaled $225,149.50

 

The following is a list of funded projects at Mount Rainier National Park in 2013.  Several of them will launch in the summer of 2014.

 

1. Protecting Subalpine Meadows through the Meadow Rover Program – $18,000

The meadow rover program at Mount Rainier National Park is one of their most successful volunteer efforts, allowing volunteers to “patrol” the subalpine meadows above Paradise and Sunrise, interacting with visitors, answering their questions, helping them find their way, and most importantly, educating them on the importance of staying on the trails in those fragile environments. Funding for this program will allow the park to hire a long-term (six-month) seasonal employee to coordinate the volunteer Meadow Rover program at Paradise and Sunrise. This individual will be responsible for recruiting, training, coordinating, supplying and supervising the volunteers who patrol these subalpine meadows. This coordinator will relieve the Paradise Interpreter and Sunrise Lead Interpreter the job of managing 140 individuals, which would normally be in addition to their regular duties.

 

2. Restoring Subalpine Vegetation – $14,000

This project is part of an ongoing program designed to restore vegetation in former developed campgrounds and impacted areas at selected sites in the backcountry and wilderness of Mount Rainier National Park using established restoration protocols that have been used successfully in the park in other areas. This restoration work will help prevent soil erosion, prevent vegetation and habitat loss, ensure continued years of Mount Rainier’s famous wildflowers, help these areas be more resilient against climate change, and will allow visitors continued use of the areas. Subalpine areas this program would affect are Paradise Meadows, the former drive-in campground at Sunrise, Spray Park, and selected backcountry camps including Nickel Creek, Lake George, South Mowich, Summerland, Lake James, Knapsack Pass, Curtis Ridge and sites in the Tatoosh Range.

 

3. Providing Roadside Assistance to Visitors – $10,000

The RAVN (Roadside Assistance for Visitors in Need) program in Mount Rainier National Park provides free roadside assistance to park visitors who experience minor motor vehicle problems while visiting the park. RAVN volunteers help with visitors who are locked out of their cars, have dead batteries, have run out of gas, etc. Funding for the continuation of this program covers the rental costs of two government vehicles, housing costs for volunteers, volunteer stipends, and costs for equipment like traffic paddles, jumper cables, traffic cones, reflective triangles, safety vests, fuel, and oil. The RAVN program operates seven days a week during the busy months (June, July, and August). It is estimated the RAVN program saved visitors about $70,000 in service calls over the course of 109 assistance calls.

 

4.  Protecting People and Resources, Summer Seasonal Ranger – $27,000

Funding supports a summer seasonal ranger who performs law enforcement and other public safety and resource protection duties.  This position augments a summer staff person that was projected – then cut – due to severe reductions in park operations over the past few years.  This is a critically important position for Mount Rainier National Park.

 

5. Monitoring Elk Populations in Washington's Parks (a partnership project with Olympic National Park) – $12,000

Elk populations are key components of lowland and montane ecosystems in Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks, and are tightly woven into each park’s historical and cultural fabrics. Although the elk were largely protected in Olympic National Park by its vast wilderness, Mount Rainier was also created in order to protect the natural resources that call that area home. Over the years, many things have impacted the elk in Mount Rainier National Park, and an attempt to track their movement in and around the park is vital. A program very similar to this is already well underway in Olympic National Park, but continuation of the program throughout the North Coast and Cascades Inventory and Monitoring network.

 

6.  Carolyn Dobbs Environmental Science Grant – $500

Funds were awarded to Jocelyn Akins for her research of the Cascade Red Fox.  A PhD student, Ms. Akins work follows in the path of all that Carolyn Dobbs loved…caring for the wildest of species in our national parks.

 

7.  Search and Rescue – $18,830.00

These funds – a combination of money raised during our 2013 Spring Dinner and Auction coupled with a few memorial gifts – were used to fund training programs for park staff and mountain rescue volunteers, and to purchase high mountain rescue gear (litter, ropes, and helmets) at Mount Rainier National Park.

 

8.  Mount Rainier National Park Endowment – $50,000

Mount Rainier National Park’s endowment was established in 2010.  It was the result of a $100,000 estate gift from the Eleanor and Raymond Wilson Charitable Trust.  In 2013, the board elected to add $50,000 to the endowment. 

 

9.  Meadow Restoration Equipment – Trailer, tank, and avionic helmets/jump suits – $13,440

In memory of Dr. Ernest McKibben, these funds allowed the revegetation teams at Mount Rainier National Park to purchase a portable water tank and trailer, a landscape trailer for hauling native plants from the green house to the sub-alpine meadows, and flight helmets/flight suits for crew members who transport plants via helicopter.

 

10.  Outer wear by Outdoor Research (in-kind)

Seattle’s own Outdoor Research gave outerwear to the backcountry rangers.

 

11.  Funding for the Volunteer Program – $50,000 (year three of five from Wilson Charitable Trust)

 

For the past three years, one estate gift to Washington’s National Park Fund has resulted in $50,000 to Mount Rainier National Park to fund its volunteer program.  60% of the volunteer program is funded through this one gift.  The program brings in more than 1,800 volunteers each year who donate thousands of hours to projects like meadow rovers, meadow restoration, trail maintenance, and public awareness.

 

12.  Mount Rainier Institute Curriculum Development, $10,000

 

To maximize the potential of the University of Washington's Pack Forest, Mount Rainier National Park is partnering to determine the viability of the Mount Rainier Institute.  This gift funded curriculum development.  

 

 

Gifts to North Cascades National Park in 2012-13 totaled $147,730.50

 

1.  14 Days of Bio Bliss, $38,000

This project will encompass fourteen days of exploring, documenting, and communicating biodiversity in the North Cascades. Over the two weeks, daily activities will be scheduled to communicate the range of biodiversity within the parks to the public. Activities will include opportunities to participate in bio blitzes, conversations with scientists, photography, ranger-led walks/talks, children’s activities, and broadcasts from the field. Two to four areas will be selected, both from easily accessible and remote locations. Partnerships with local universities, interest groups, and North Cascades Institute will help provide activities and collect data. Focus will be on a range of species, including: birds, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies and other insects, plants, and small mammals. Internship opportunities will be available for students to lead or participate in this project.

 

2. Repair the Sahale Arm Trail $32,000

The Sahale Arm Trail is a 2.2 mile trail that traverses through high elevation meadows between Cascade Pass and the Sahale Glacier camp. Easy access and spectacular views make this the most popular alpine trail in the park. Currently, thousands of feet of steep, mud-covered trail are threatening visitor safety and detracting from the visitor’s experience. Funding for this project will allow the damaged trails to be repaired. Additional drainage devices will be put into place to prevent further trail damage. Revegetation to bare ground will prevent erosion and further damages. Trail segments that cannot be maintained in their current location will be relocated. Seasoned trail workers must be recruited to work on this trail to ensure these improvements will withstand weather and time.

 

3. Produce a Guide to Alpine and Subalpine Wildflowers, $5,000

Efforts from this project will result in a wildflower guide for the public to have access to (both on paper and online) that features 90 common alpine and subalpine species. This guide will enable the park to have additional information to help educate, engage, and create stewardship with the visitors to North Cascades National Park. The park doesn’t have the funding needed to station an interpretive ranger in the park to help educate visitors about wildflowers throughout the park. With this guide, the park will be able to reach out to more visitors than a single park ranger would be able to talk to, and in turn, create a greater interest in the protection of this fragile piece of the North Cascades landscape.

 

4.  Search and Rescue -- $12,000.00

These funds – money raised during our 2013 Spring Dinner and Auction – were used to purchase high mountain rescue gear (litter, ropes, and helmets) at North Cascades National Park.

 

5.  Outerwear by Outdoor Research (in-kind)

Seattle’s own Outdoor Research gave outerwear to the backcountry rangers.

 

6.  North Cascades National Park Endowment – $50,000

North Cascades National Park’s endowment was launched in 2013 when the board elected to dedicate $50,000 to establish it.

 

7.  Arum Scholarships – $5,344

In memory of John Arum, a climber who died in the North Cascades in 2010, six climbing rangers received specialized training that they otherwise would not have received.  As a result, they are more confident and comfortable serving the public in the unique roles that they have.

 

 

 

 

 

Gifts to Olympic National Park in 2012-13 totaled $156,403.26

 

1.  Pathways to Employment for Diverse Youth – $25,000

Olympic National Park has designed a comprehensive program to partner youth with leading scientists and creative educators to engage and train young stewards about today’s significant environmental issues. The Olympic Pathways for Youth program recruits local students from Olympic Peninsula’s economically disadvantaged and relatively isolated communities. Deploying a variety of programs will dram in interested young people and introduce them to an amazing resource in their own backyard. There are two large Latino populations and eight Native American Tribes living on the peninsula. This program will allow the park to create four youth programs designed to lead to employment options in the future.

 

2.  Adopt-a-Fish: Radio-tracking the Return of Pacific Salmon to the Elwha River – $11,500

For nearly a century, salmon migrations into Olympic National Park have been blocked on the Elwha River by two large hydroelectric dams. In 2011 the removal of the lowermost dam (Elwha Dam) allowed Pacific salmon to regain access to eight miles of new habitats. The next dam up the river, the Glines Canyon Dam, will be fully removed in 2013 and Pacific salmon will be able to recolonize 80 miles of mostly protected habitat within park boundaries. This project will allow biologists to tag and track adult fish migrations in the Elwha and its tributaries. The low populations of Chinook salmon and steelhead trout will be the species tracked, as they’ve been recognized as federally threatened species. A website will also be created, to allow the general public to see the positions and movements of individual fish throughout the river. This project will provide tangible evidence of the movements of these fish at they return to a habitat they’ve been denied access to for the past 100 years, while also directly involving interested students, volunteers and park employees.

 

3.  Understanding Olympic National Park’s Shrinking Glaciers – $12,000

Glaciers are an important hydrologic resource and sensitive indicators of climate change. This project will properly monitor the amount of glacier loss Olympic National Park is incurring and allow the park to better understand the mechanisms and rate of change each glacier has. Together with the North Coast and Cascades Network (NCCN), Olympic National Park will adopt the same methodologies used in Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks, although previous studies have shown that Olympic’s glaciers are responding to climate change differently than the glaciers in other parks. Since the glaciers affect everything from salmon health to recreation, this project is an important part of protecting Olympic National Park’s resources.

 

4.  Olympic Marmot Citizen Science Monitoring Project – $5,500

Since 2010, Washington’s National Park Fund has funded this program, and allowed Olympic National Park to monitor the fate of the Olympic marmot population with the help of citizen scientists. Each year, 90-100 volunteer scientists have a day-long training, and then embark on a three to seven day long data-collecting hike in their assigned area of the park. The success of this program has spread and the US Forest Service now helps monitor the entire species range! However, since 90% of the population lives within the park, this citizen science based monitoring remains a vital part of the research process. Since more than 65% of the volunteers choose to come back for a second year, this project is vital to both the marmots, as well as the park’s volunteer program.

 

5. Monitoring Elk Populations in Washington’s Parks – $21,000

Past funding from Washington’s National Park Fund has allowed the foundation for this project to be established by GPS radio collaring for elk. These collars allowed the park to better understand the elk movement patterns. With that knowledge, the park is now able to do aerial surveys to monitor population trends in the Roosevelt elk. These elk are important drivers of ecosystem change, and long-term monitoring of both subalpine vegetation and elk populations will help the park to better protect and understand this majestic creature.

 

6.  Kalaloch Ranger Station – $19,275

In partnership with the Forks Chamber of Commerce, funding was provided to underwrite a portion of the cost for an education and public information ranger to base out of Olympic’s Kalaloch Ranger Station.

 

7.  Search and Rescue – $12,000.00

These funds – money raised during our 2013 Spring Dinner and Auction – were used to purchase high mountain rescue gear (litter, ropes, and miscellaneous gear) at Olympic National Park.

 

8.  Olympic National Park Endowment – $50,000

Olympic National Park’s endowment was launched in 2013 when the board elected to dedicate $50,000 to establish it.