Infusions of grant money and youthful energy are once again helping Mount Rainier National Park shape up this summer.
A grant from the National Park Foundation is helping pay for three teams of teenagers recruited by the Student Conservation Association’s Base to Base Camp program from Seattle and Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM). Each team, consisting of eight high school students and two crew leaders, will spend 15 days working on trail maintenance projects throughout the park.
They started July 6 and will keep working through Aug. 31 repairing paths and building bridges at sites such as Klapatche Park and the Wonderland Trail.
This is the 20th year that Student Conservation Association teams have been sent to Mount Rainier, the last three years via Base to Base Camp. Eleven students from JBLM and 13 from Seattle participated last year, contributing more than 9,000 ours of labor.
“These young people play an important part in the protection and care of our national parks, and they also represent the next generation of park stewards,” said park superintendent Randy King. He that some of the conservation-minded students have gone on to be seasonal or full-time park rangers with the National Park Service.
(Read more in the July 23 print edition of The Dispatch)