United States Department of the Interior
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Mount Rainier National Park Tahoma Woods, Star Route IN REPLY REFER TO: Ashford, Washington 98304-9751
Welcome to the family of staff and volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park! Volunteering is an American tradition that has made an immeasurable contribution to communities, organizations, and individuals throughout the country. Volunteers-In-Parks are Very Important People (VIPs)! In Fiscal Year 2004, 140,000 volunteers donated 5 million hours to your national parks at a value of $85.9 million. At Mount Rainier National Park, 1105 volunteers donated more than 38,000 hours at a value of $660, 806. Within this guide you will learn more about the mission of the National Park Service. You will also learn about the history and structure of Mount Rainier National Park and about your role and responsibilities as a volunteer. It is important that you understand the responsibility you have in providing accurate information and making sure our visitors have a meaningful and enjoyable experience.
Thank you for your time, interest, and energy!
National Park Service Mission Statement
On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 40 national parks and monuments then in existence and those yet to be established.
This "Organic Act" of August 25, 1916, states that "the Service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations . . . by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
The National Park Service still strives to meet those original goals, while filling many other roles as well: guardian of our diverse cultural and recreational resources; environmental advocate; world leader in the parks and preservation community; and pioneer in the drive to protect America's open space.
The National Park System
The National Park System of the United States comprises more than 380 units covering more than 83 million acres in 49 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands. These areas are of such national significance as to justify special recognition and protection in accordance with various acts of Congress.
By Act of March 1, 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming "as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people" and placed it "under exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior." The founding of Yellowstone National Park began a worldwide national park movement. Today more than 100 nations contain some 1,200 national parks or equivalent preserves.
In the years following the establishment of Yellowstone, the United States authorized additional national parks and monuments, most of them carved from the federal lands of the West. These, also, were administered by the Department of the Interior, while other monuments and natural and historical areas were administered as separate units by the
War Department and the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture. No single agency provided unified management of the varied federal parklands.
An Executive Order in 1933 transferred 63 national monuments and military sites from the Forest Service and the War Department to the National Park Service. This action was a major step in the development of today's truly national system of parks—a system that
includes areas of historical as well as scenic and scientific importance. Congress declared in the General Authorities Act of 1970 "that the National Park System, which began with the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, has since grown to include superlative natural, historic, and recreation areas in every region ... and that it is the purpose of this Act to include all such areas in the System...." Additions to the National Park System are now generally made through acts of Congress, and national parks can be created only through such acts. But the President has authority, under the Antiquities Act of 1906, to proclaim national monuments on lands already under federal jurisdiction. The Secretary of the Interior is usually asked by Congress for recommendations on proposed additions to the System. The Secretary is counseled by the National Park System Advisory Board, composed of private citizens, which advises on possible additions to the System and policies for its management.
Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park was established on March 2, 1899, and encompasses 235,625 acres, ranging in elevation from 1,610' to 14,410' above sea level. The "mountain" is an active volcano encased in over 31 square miles of snow and ice, surrounded by old growth forest and stunning wildflower meadows. The park is also rich in cultural resources and was designated a National Historic Landmark District as an outstanding example of early park planning and NPS rustic architecture.
Mount Rainier National Park Mission Statement
Together we preserve, for future generations, the natural and cultural resources in Mount Rainier National Park.
Through a variety of high quality park experiences, we promote park values, personal connections, and responsibility for the environment in our local and global communities. With integrity, teamwork, pride, and motivation, we demonstrate environmental leadership and deepen our understanding of the park’s ecosystems. We value our diverse range of individual contributions by showing respect and concern for each other and the park.
The Mountain inspires stewardship. Its protection and preservation is our legacy.
Frequently Asked Questions about Mount Rainier National Park
1. When was the park established?
Congress established Mount Rainier National Park on March 2, 1899, reaffirming the nation's intent to set aside certain areas of outstanding scenic and scientific value for the enjoyment of present and future generations. It is America's fifth oldest national park, after Yellowstone (established in 1872), and Yosemite, General Grant (now part of Kings Canyon), and Sequoia (all established in 1890).
2. How big is the park?
Mount Rainier National Park encompasses 235,625.08 acres or 365 square miles. Of that amount, 228,480 acres (97% of the park) has been designated by Congress as Wilderness. The park's National Historic Landmark District includes 2.7% of the park. The park has 260 miles of maintained trails and 147 miles of roads.
3. How many people visit the park each year?
Generally, 1.5 - 2 million people visit Mount Rainier each year. In 2004, the park had 1,812,978 visitors.
4. Is the park open all year?
Yes, but some areas of the park, including Sunrise, White River, Ohanapecosh, State Routes 410 and 123, and the Stevens Canyon Road close for the season in mid-October or early-November and do not reopen until summer. You may call 360-569-2211 for a recorded message on road conditions. Longmire is open all year. The road from Longmire to Paradise is generally open on winter days, although it is closed and gated at Longmire every evening and any time snow, ice, or potential avalanches make travel to Paradise unsafe.
The Longmire Museum is open year-round. The Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise is open weekends and holidays in the winter and daily from early May through early October. The National Park Inn at Longmire is open year-round. The Paradise Inn is open from mid-May to October only.
1. How high is Mount Rainier?
The official measurement is 14,410 ft. above sea level.
2. How old is Mount Rainier?
The volcano was built up above the surrounding country by repeated eruptions and successive flows of lava. It is a relatively young volcano, only about 500,000 years old. By contrast the mountains of the Cascade Range that Mount Rainier looks down upon are at least 12 million years old!
3. How many people climb the mountain each year?
In 2003, 9,714 people attempted to climb Mount Rainier; 5,295 of them actually reached the summit.
4. Is Mount Rainier really a volcano?
Geologists consider this mountain to be an 'episodically active' volcano, meaning one that will erupt again some time in the future even though it may be quiet now. Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano and fifth highest peak in the contiguous United States. 5. Is it safe to visit the volcano?
New research indicates Mount Rainier is far more active than previously believed. We now understand there are risks associated with the volcano and its glaciers that require visitors and staff to be aware and prepared. Mud flows (also known as lahars) and glacial outburst floods can occur without warning, and could damage roads, invade campgrounds, and cause enormous injury to park visitors and staff. The Longmire Historic District, Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, Sunshine Point, Ipsut Creek and White River campgrounds are all vulnerable to geologic hazards. Be sure to review information posted at park campgrounds and inns.
6. When was the last time the volcano erupted?
The last major eruption that deposited lava occurred 1100 years ago, while the most recent eruption to leave a recognizable ash deposit took place between 1820 and 1854, as determined by tree-ring dating. As recently as 1894, observers reported seeing ash and steam at the summit.
7. How much snow and ice is on Mount Rainier?
Over 31 square miles of permanent ice and snow cover Mount Rainier. Of all the glaciers in the contiguous U.S., Mount Rainier's Emmons Glacier has the largest surface area (4.3 square miles). Carbon Glacier is the longest (5.7 miles), thickest (700 feet), and has the lowest terminus elevation (3,500 feet) in the contiguous U.S.
Administration of Mount Rainier National Park
There are five divisions that work together within Mount Rainier National Park, under the management of the park’s superintendent and assistant superintendent.
Directly responsible for overall park operations, supervision of
; Deputy Superintendent
; Community Planner
; Superintendent’s Secretary
; Concessions Specialist
Directly responsible for day to day park operations and supervision of four Division Chiefs including the following staff:
; Chief of Interpretation and Education
; Chief of Maintenance
; Chief Park Ranger
; Chief of Cultural and Natural Resources
; Safety Officer
Administration and Contracting
This division provides administrative support services to all operations in budget and finance, human resources, contracting and procurement, property, warehouse, information technology and housing.
Interpretation and Education
This division is divided into East (Ohanapecosh and Sunrise) and West (Longmire and Paradise) Districts. Interpretation and Education provides information to park visitors by operating visitor centers, presenting interpretive/naturalist activities, and preparing publications and exhibits.
This division is responsible for the maintenance and repair of all government-controlled facilities in the park including buildings, roads, utility systems, electronic equipment. Maintenance also completes minor construction projects and manages environmental health operations.
Resource and Visitor Protection
The Resource and Visitor Protection division is responsible for the park’s law enforcement functions, fire activities, emergency medical services (EMS), search and rescue operations (SAR), and the operation of entrance/fee collection stations. Natural and Cultural Resources
This division is responsible for natural and cultural resource management, inventory, monitoring and research. Natural and Cultural Resources supervises program areas involving biology; aquatic, wildlife and plant ecology, atmospheric sciences; geology;
archaeology; museum curation; cultural landscapes, environmental compliance; and social sciences. The library operations are also included in the Natural and Cultural Resources programs.
The Volunteers in Parks (VIP) Program
The National Park Service Volunteers-In-Parks Program (VIP) was authorized by Public Law 91-357 enacted in 1970. The primary purpose of the VIP program is to provide a vehicle through which the National Park Service can accept and utilize voluntary help and services from the public. The major objective of the program is to utilize this voluntary help in such a way that is mutually beneficial to the National Park Service and the volunteer.
Volunteers are accepted from the public without regard to race, creed, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability.
Volunteers in Parks at Mount Rainier National Park Mount Rainier volunteers have hearts as big as the mountain. Some come to work for only a day, others full- or part-time over a season, and some give thousands of hours over many years. Our heartfelt thanks go to those who have given their time and talents so generously over the years.
THE MOUNT RAINIER VIP PROGRAM recruits people of all ages and abilities, either as individuals or members of groups. Our goal at Mount Rainier is to use volunteers in such a way that we realize the maximum benefit of their skills, talents, and services to help the park staff accomplish mission goals. In addition, we seek to use the volunteer program as a tool for broadening citizen understanding and support for the park. Our VIPs assist the regular professional park staff by helping with projects or assisting visitors. The park's resources are better protected and its visitors are better served because of the tremendous help provided by our volunteers.
Most VIP jobs are active between the months of May and September. Volunteers perform a wide variety of jobs, from maintaining trails to leading guided hikes. The time commitment for volunteer work varies from one-day projects to full-time work extending over months or years. Both individuals and organized groups are welcome to volunteer. Individuals under 18 may volunteer with parental approval.
Here are some examples of summer volunteer positions at Mount Rainier:
; Trail Repair & Maintenance
; Meadow Restoration/Planting
; Greenhouse Assistant
; Campground Host
; Historical Researcher
; Meadow Rover
; Visitor Information Assistant
; Roadside Service
; General Maintenance/Repair
Fewer positions are available during the snowy winter months (October-April), though we may still use volunteers as Nordic ski patrollers or interpretive ranger assistants at Longmire and Paradise on weekends and holidays.
Other types of volunteer positions
Student Conservation Association
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a national organization that places volunteers in National Parks and on other public lands. Mount Rainier employs several SCA resource assistants each summer. You do not have to be a current student to participate in SCA. For information, contact the Student Conservation Association, Inc., P.O. Box 550, Charlestown, NH 03603-0550. You can also find information at www.thesca.org or by calling 603-543-1700.
Mount Rainier also employs volunteers and interns through the GeoScientists-in-the-Parks program. Visit www2.nature.nps.gov/grd/geojob for information about available
positions and how to apply.
Where Do You Fit In?
Who can volunteer? Basically, anyone can volunteer. In positions where safety is a concern, however, age limits may be set. Volunteers must be physically able to do the job agreed upon. Children under the age of 18 years may be VIPs provided they have the written consent of their parent or guardian. There are certain limitations and restrictions on people who have criminal records. Background checks may be conducted for some positions. Employees cannot perform their regular duties as a volunteer. Special requirements must be met by international volunteers, including obtaining a J-1 or student visa.
Volunteer Services Agreement
This form legally enrolls an individual in the NPS VIP program and provides him/her with Federal protection in case of injury or tort claim. There are two types of Volunteer Services Agreement forms-one for individuals; the other for groups. Both forms must clearly describe the volunteer work to be performed and must have the original signatures of all involved parties.
Individual Volunteers: An “Agreement for Individual Voluntary Services” (Form 10-85)
is to be used for individual volunteers. It must be completed and signed by both the VIP and the appropriate NPS official, even for projects of only a few hours duration.
Volunteer Groups: An “Agreement for Sponsored Voluntary Services” (Form 10-86) is
to be used for organized groups and is to be signed by the group representative or leader. A list containing the name, address, phone number, and signature of each member of the group participating must be attached to Form 10-86. (The reverse side contains a worksheet to record statistics that will be needed for the annual activity and expense report).
Your supervisor should attach a job description or clearly describe the volunteer work on the form. This is important if questions arise on whether a VIP was acting within his/her assigned responsibilities. It will also assist the VIP and the supervisor in understanding the VIP’s exact job. The document can be modified at any time by mutual agreement, but it must accurately reflect VIP duties. If you will be driving a government vehicle in order to fulfill your volunteer duties that should be noted on your volunteer agreement.
Parental Approval Form (10-89): This form must be completed for any individual
volunteer under the age of 18 and attached to the Volunteer Services Agreement. For organized groups, a signed Form 10-89 for each group member who is under 18 years of age must be attached to the Form 10-86 for that group.
TO PROTECT YOURSELF, NEVER DO ANY WORK UNLESS YOU HAVE
SIGNED A VOLUNTEER CONTRACT!
Required forms for all volunteers:
; 10-85 Agreement for Individual Voluntary Services (if volunteering as an
; 10-86 Agreement for Sponsored Voluntary Services (if volunteering as a
member of a group)
; Position Description (attached to your volunteer agreement, or included on the
volunteer agreement itself)
; Emergency Contact Form (copies are kept on file in the Communications
Center and in the volunteer coordinator’s office, so we know who to contact in
case of an emergency)
; 10-89 Parental Approval (for volunteers under age 18)
Additional forms that may apply to certain volunteers:
; Auto decal application (will waive park entrance fees while you are working in
; Motor Vehicle D1-131 (for volunteers who will be driving government vehicles
as part of your volunteer agreement)
; 10-67 Claim for Reimbursement for Volunteer Expenses (as agreed to in
advance with your supervisor)
All forms are available from your supervisor, the volunteer coordinator, or on the park network at S:\VIP Forms. There is also a folder called Welcome Packet for Volunteers at S:\VIP Forms\Welcome Packet for Volunteers. The Welcome Packet includes forms frequently used by volunteers, such as the 10-67 Reimbursement form and Daily and Monthly hours reports. Sample forms are also included at the end of this volunteer handbook. If you aren’t sure whether you need to fill out a particular form or can’t find
the form you need, please ask your supervisor or the volunteer coordinator.
Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities
Volunteers have the right to:
1. Receive the same fair personnel practices as paid staff.
2. Have their time used effectively.
3. Receive clear and non-conflicting guidance and direction.
4. Be kept informed of activities pertaining to their volunteer assignments.
5. Not undertake assignments they do not wish to do.
6. Receive appropriate orientation, training and supervision.
7. Be assigned jobs that are worthwhile and challenging.
8. Be made aware of the overall operation of the park.
9. Have opportunities for growth.
10. Be offered a variety of experiences.
11. Receive regular, clear feedback on the quality and effectiveness of their work.
12. Be recognized for their contributions.
13. Have an opportunity to provide input into the volunteer program.
14. Be trusted with the information needed to carry out their jobs effectively.
15. Be assigned a direct supervisor.
Volunteers have the responsibility to:
1. Represent the National Park Service in a professional manner.