Mount Rainier wildflowers NPS Photo Mount Rainier wildflowers Credit NPS

2015 Funding Priority | Amount Needed $800 | FUNDED

funded_01 funded 01The greenhouse facility at Mount Rainier National Park provides native plant materials and seed sourced from within the Park for vegetation projects carried out under the Vegetation Restoration Program. Projects include revegetating former developed campgrounds and visitor impacted areas at selected sites in backcountry and wilderness areas as well as visitor and operational impacts to front country areas of Mount Rainier. Covering approximately 9/10 of an acre, the facility produces 50-100,000 plants (herbs, shrubs and trees) per year. The facility consists of a 1,900 sq. ft. polycarbonate panel greenhouse capable of holding 25,000 plants, a 980 sq. ft. polyethylene covered hoophouse capable of holding 10,000 plants, a 3,500 sq. ft. shade house and 9,000 sq. ft. of outdoor growing areas. This improvement to our operation will make us more efficient.

During the growing season, volunteers, school groups and adult organizations come to the park to participate in growing native plants produced at the park’s greenhouse. When new volunteers and youth work groups participate in watering activities, it can be difficult to understand watering patterns and routines, creating unintended frustration. Irrigation would increase operational flexibility and simplify tasks for staff, youth groups and volunteers.

Wildflower viewing in subalpine meadows in Mount Rainier National Park is a key visitor activity. Beginning early in spring, the park receives many calls from the  public to get an idea of when the wildflowers will be in peak bloom. Many photographers seek to capture these moments and the wildflowers with the majestic mountain in the background, and these photos are found displayed in many advertisements, books, films, calendars, and cards. Without restoration, the very subalpine meadows people come to enjoy and photograph will lose their appeal and enjoyment by the visitor will decline.

Climate models project warmer summers and lower snow packs for the Pacific Northwest, resulting in longer, drier growing seasons. Subsequent changes in vegetation distribution and plant phenology (flowering times) will influence both human recreational opportunities and habitat for wildlife. Reducing direct human impacts will help these communities be more resilient to changes in climate.