Grant funds youth work crews at Mount Rainier Olympic Peninsula lands focus of Audubon talk

craig.hill@thenewstribune.comJuly 14, 2013 

Mount Rainier National Park is one of 34 national parks receiving a 2013 America’s Best Idea grant from the National Park Foundation, the park announced Wednesday.

The grant will support the park’s partnership with the Student Conservation Association.

Funding from the foundation supports the crew leaders for three eight-person trail maintenance teams, each made up of community program members from Seattle and Base-to-Base Camp youth from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The first crew is working in the park now, and the second and third will be in the park later this month and in August.

Additional funding for the program comes from the National Park Service’s Youth Partnerships Program and Washington’s National Park Fund.

Through the partnership with SCA this summer, 37 young people will contribute more than 9,000 hours of conservation service at Mount Rainier, said Kevin Bacher, Rainier’s volunteer program manager.

The Olympic Peninsula will be the focus of the Tahoma Audubon Society’s monthly meeting Thursday.

Graham Taylor from the Sierra Club will give a presentation on The Wild Olympics Campaign.

Legislation initially introduced in June 2012 by Sen. Patty Murray and then-Rep. Norm Dicks would create more than 126,000 acres of wilderness in the Olympic National Forest and designate 464 miles of 19 rivers and their tributaries on the Olympic Peninsula as wild and scenic rivers. The rivers flow through Olympic National Park, the national forest and state Department of Natural Resources land.

In addition, there will a showing of the documentary film “Out of the Mist.” The movie details the experiences of four individuals who share a deep passion for the Olympics.

Doors open at 7 p.m., with the meeting starting at 7:30 p.m., at the Tacoma Nature Center, 1919 S. Tyler St., Tacoma. The public is welcome to the free movie.

You can learn more about the Wild Olympics Campaign at


Hurricane Ridge at Olympic National Park is known for its wildflower meadows. If you want to explore the area, plan to join the Friends of Olympic National Park on a wildflower walk to Hurricane Hill on July 25.

Hurricane Ridge interpretive ranger and area naturalist Janis Burger will lead the walk and introduce participants to the dozens of species of wildflowers in bloom, some of which are unique to the Olympics.

The walk is 2-3 miles round trip along the Hurricane Hill trail. Participants should wear comfortable, layered clothing and sturdy walking shoes and bring a hat, raingear and a flashlight.

Participants should meet at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center at 6 p.m. The walk will last until 8 p.m., with the sun setting about 9 p.m. Those who wish to do so may continue to the top of Hurricane Hill to view the sunset.

The group size is limited. To reserve a space, RSVP by sending an email to Karen Jensen at


Also, at Olympic National Park, visitors can join astronomer John Goar for a 21/2-hour sunset-full moon hike Saturday, July 20 and Aug. 21.

Participants should meet at the Hurricane Hill trailhead at 8:30 p.m. Bring flashlights and wear sturdy shoes. The walk is 1.6 miles one-way on a partially paved trail that climbs 700 feet to the top of Hurricane Hill.

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