A program of one of the region’s iconic national parks will be given Wednesday at the area’s best known national wildlife refuge.
Jim Ross, a naturalist and outreach specialist at Mount Rainier National Park, will give a presentation on the mountain’s first climbers. “Mountain Fever: Stories of the First Ascents on Mount Rainier” is part of the 26th annual Summer Lecture Series at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
The program is at the refuge visitor center auditorium at 7 p.m. It will last about one hour followed by time for questions. Attendance is limited to 100 people and seating will be issued starting at 6 p.m. on a first-come basis, and you must be present.
The refuge entrance fee is waived for those attending the lecture. On lecture night, the visitor center remains open until 7 p.m. and opens again after the lecture.
The programs are offered every Wednesday in July and August. On Aug. 21, naturalist Don Ehlen will give a program “The Insect Safari” and the summer series will conclude Aug. 28 with the program “Feathers: Biology and Beauty” by artist Chris Maynard.
The refuge is located off Interstate 5 at Exit 114. Follow the signs to the refuge.
While summer begins to ebb, some of the high-elevation trails at Mount Rainier are clearing of snow.
As hikers explore these and other trails, they are reminded to be wary of changes in the weather.
A recent thunderstorm brought rain and lightning to the Paradise area. Many visitors were out on the trails and in danger from the lightning strikes, said Maureen McLean, the coordinator for the park’s Meadow Rovers program.
McLean stressed the importance of checking the weather forecast at the information desk in places such as the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center before hikers head out. Once on the trail, they should keep an eye on the sky.
If you do see a storms move in, visitors should turn back to the safety of a visitor center, inn or their cars. She recommends remaining under shelter for 30 minutes following the last thunder clap.
Hiding under a tree is not safe, nor is being out in the open, McLean said.
For more information on safety in a thunderstorm, go to the National Weather Service website at lightningsafety.noaa.gov/outdoors.htm#near.
Ranking the national parks
Washington’s three national parks placed in the top 20 in a ranking compiled by theactivetimes.com.
Olympic National Park was ranked eighth, with North Cascades National Park at 14 and Mount Rainier National Park at 18.
The top five were Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, Acadia National Park, Glacier National Park and Grand Canyon National Park.
The website gave each park a score using criteria such as biodiversity and visitor activities, but also input from a panel of 17 experts in the field including recently departed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
You can find the rankings at theactivetimes.com/ national-parks-ranked.