Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leave No Trace in Washington State

Backyard Session at the Seattle Mountaineers June 27th

Bigfoot made a visit to say hello to Washington Leave No Trace supporters!

Last week in Seattle, volunteers, activists, partners and staff joined together for two
Leave No Trace
Backyard Sessions. Outreach Manager Dave Winter, Education Programs Manager Sarah Folzenlogen, and Washington State Advocate Jon Wilmot led the events. These evening sessions provided an important opportunity to network with over 50 existing Master Educators, Trainers, members and partners. Leave No Trace Partners from Seattle (Cascade Designs, Outdoor Research, myscenicedrives.com, Eddie Bauer, The Mountaineers, Washington Water Trails Association) set up small displays and provided giveaways for those in attendance. Attendees were encouraged to get involved and were introduced to some new volunteer opportunities within Mount Rainier National Park this summer.

The park service has three great opportunities for you to get involved if you live in the Seattle area. Mount Rainier National Park is looking for over 40 volunteers to help with routing trails through the snow at Paradise, assisting the revegetation crews with planting and with outreach during the Keep Wild Life Wild weekend in August. If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities please email Dave@LNT.org.

Washington Volunteer State Advocate Jon Wilmot was pleased
to meet many new key volunteers, including
Rangers from the park and to
learn more about the Centers work with Mt Rainier
. Jon is planning on building on these two sessions and is looking forward to hosting a Leave No Trace Backyard Session this summer in his hometown of Spokane Washington.

These two sessions provided the following updates on the Centers work so far with Mt. Rainier in 2011.

Mt. Rainier National Park Hot Spot Update– The Center has been working with staff from the National Park Service (NPS) on strategies for minimizing recreation-related impacts in the Paradise area of the Park. In consultation with NPS staff, the Center will provide the following services for the Park (some of this work is already underway):

Provide training for key park staff and volunteers. Center staff provided Leave No Trace training for both existing and new volunteers, known as Meadow Rovers, at the Park on June 25th and 26th. Theses trainings aimed at better integrating Leave No Trace into the work of the Meadow Rovers. Both trainings had over 40 attendees who left the training with new tools to effectively disseminating Leave No Trace information to park visitors.
Provide expert review of the situation at Paradise. Center staff enlisted the expertise of leading recreation ecologists and protected area managers to provide input and advise for strategies on minimizing the recreation-related impacts at Paradise. These experts reviewed the situation at the Park and provided consultation on both direct and indirect management actions that could minimize and/or mitigate the damage from off-trail hiking.

Draft recommendations and language for signage to be placed in the Paradise area to help keep visitors on trails and off the fragile meadows found in the area. Center staff drafted a comprehensive suite of recommendations for Park managers, from which managers can make better-informed decisions based on new research for dealing with the impacts at Paradise.

4. The Center will
provide funding for the production of signage for use in the Paradise area in order to keep visitors on designated trails.

Generate significant media coverage. The Center has distributed two national press releases about Mt. Rainier’s Hot Spot designation, which have been run by over a dozen newspapers in western Washington and other print media outlets. Additionally, the Center will leverage its social media network of over 75,000 individuals to further raise awareness about Paradise.

Meadow Rovers discuss ethics and how they can help visitors build their own outdoor ethic.

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