Mount Rainier National Park will celebrate National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 28, with four volunteer projects open to public participation. The work day caps a busy summer in which more than 2,000 people have contributed to the protection of Mount Rainier’s natural and cultural treasures and helped serve its visitors.
National Public Lands Day is an annual celebration of public involvement in the stewardship of America’s national, state, and local parks and forests. More than 100,000 individuals are expected to participate in events all over the country. In recognition of this, entrance fees will be waived at all national parks for the day. Volunteers will receive an additional coupon for free admission on a day of their choice.
Members of the public (families are welcome) are invited to join in the day’s work. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at Longmire, in the southwest corner of the park. After a brief welcome at 9, participants will divide into four work groups, according to their interests and skills:
• Revegetation: Volunteers will help plant native plants at Paradise, around the Paradise Inn. This project is suitable for all ages.
• Wonderland Trail Maintenance: Volunteers will work with the Washington Trails Association and Northwest Youth Corps to do trail maintenance on the Wonderland Trail near Longmire. This project is suitable for adults and teens, and requires pre-registration at https://www.wta.org/volunteer/schedule/workparty/a2m2K000009FhN2/.
• Box Canyon Trail Maintenance: Volunteers will help prepare a project to rebuild the railings at Box Canyon. This project is suitable for adults and strong youth.
• Campground Maintenance: Volunteers will build and paint five new platforms for tents in the Longmire Stewardship Campground, and will take down the existing tents and platforms. This project is suitable for adults, and younger volunteers with parental assistance.
After traveling to their specific work sites, volunteers will work until 3:30 p.m. Volunteers should come prepared for any kind of weather, with warm clothing, rain gear, sturdy footwear, and gloves. Knee pads are also recommended for planting and weeding. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats are also recommended. Volunteers should also bring water, snacks, and a lunch. Work tools will be provided.
Many partners help make National Public Lands Day happen. The day’s volunteer work will be supported by crew leaders from the Washington Trails Association and Northwest Youth Corps. Washington’s National Park Fund supports Mount Rainier’s volunteer program year-round through donations and grants, and Discover Your Northwest and the National Environmental Education Foundation provided funding for this year’s project supplies.
Volunteers work throughout Mount Rainier National Park to maintain and patrol trails, assist and educate visitors, conduct research as community scientists, plant native plants, and help with dozens of other projects. Last year, 2,533 volunteers and interns contributed 69,181 hours of service, work valued at $1.76 million.
For more information, head to the Mount Rainier National Park’s website, www.nps.gov/mora.