North Cascades Opportunities for Support
Washington's National Park Fund is actively seeking charitable contributions to help make projects possible in the following areas:
1. 14 Days of Bio Bliss, $50,000
This project will encompass fourteen days of exploring, documenting, and communicating biodiversity in the North Cascades. Over the two weeks, daily activities will be scheduled to communicate the range of biodiversity within the parks to the public. Activities will include opportunities to participate in bio blitzes, conversations with scientists, photography, ranger-led walks/talks, children’s activities, and broadcasts from the field. Two to four areas will be selected, both from easily accessible and remote locations. Partnerships with local universities, interest groups, and North Cascades Institute will help provide activities and collect data. Focus will be on a range of species, including: birds, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies and other insects, plants, and small mammals. Internship opportunities will be available for students to lead or participate in this project.
2. Repair the Sahale Arm Trail, $58,440
The Sahale Arm Trail is a 2.2 mile trail that traverses through high elevation meadows between Cascade Pass and the Sahale Glacier camp. Easy access and spectacular views make this the most popular alpine trail in the park. Currently, thousands of feet of steep, mud-covered trail are threatening visitor safety and detracting from the visitor’s experience. Funding for this project will allow the damaged trails to be repaired. Additional drainage devices will be put into place to prevent further trail damage. Revegetation to bare ground will prevent erosion and further damages. Trail segments that cannot be maintained in their current location will be relocated. Seasoned trail workers must be recruited to work on this trail to ensure these improvements will withstand weather and time.
3. Produce a Guide to Alpine and Subalpine Wildflowers, $5,000
Efforts from this project will result in a wildflower guide for the public to have access to (both on paper and online) that features 90 common alpine and subalpine species. This guide will enable the park to have additional information to help educate, engage, and create stewardship with the visitors to North Cascades National Park. The park doesn’t have the funding needed to station an interpretive ranger in the park to help educate visitors about wildflowers throughout the park. With this guide, the park will be able to reach out to more visitors than a single park ranger would be able to talk to, and in turn, create a greater interest in the protection of this fragile piece of the North Cascades landscape.
4. Provide Youth with Opportunities for Leadership, $21,000
This project will enable three seasonal employees to be hired at North Cascades National Park to work solely with the youth programs in the park. These staff members will work with and mentor diverse youth, lead volunteers on a variety of park projects including trail and facility maintenance, construction, ecological restoration, research, administrative projects, and general education. The three employees and volunteer youth crew leaders will be selected from the growing team of gifted diverse youth who have been involved in North Cascades’ partner youth programs. This program will help increase the numbers and diversity of youth involved in programs in the park, educate those youth about issues facing the park service, enhance resource protection and conservation, and create highly enjoyable stewardship experiences throughout the park.
5. Engage Citizens Scientists in Butterfly Monitoring, $20,000
This volunteer-based project, which has already completed one year of research, combines visitor reports and permanent transects to monitor subalpine butterflies and plant phenology in North Cascades National Park. Volunteers walk along the transects in the park during the summer and then document the number of each butterfly species observed in each area. The volunteers will also record plant species that are in flower during their observations. This program is important to Washington’s national parks because changes in butterfly species abundances and distributions can be linked to changing climates, habitat loss, and fragmentation. As the parks learn more, they will be better equipped to protect these delicate habitats, as well as the other areas of the park climate change will effect. Volunteers in this project will create a community interested in following the progression of this research, and widen the information given to the general population about this subject.
6. Construct ADA Accessible Campsites at Rainbow Falls, $66,000
In the Stehekin District of North Cascades National Park, no ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant campsites currently exist. This project will enable North Cascades National Park to construct three accessible campsites with an interconnecting path at Rainbow Falls. Each campsite will include a tent site, fire ring, picnic table and bear-proof food storage box. Labor for this project, along with North Cascades employees, will be augmented by interns from the Washington Conservation Crew. In addition to handicap accessible campsites, this project will also provide the park with an alternative camping area to the Harlequin Campground, which experiences routine seasonal flooding.
7. Monitor Water Quality and Ecological Integrity of Ross Lake, $20,000
Assessment of Ross Lake’s ecological condition, through routine water quality monitoring, is essential to manage a unique endemic fish community, support a renowned recreational rainbow trout fishery and provide for diverse water related visitor uses. Monitoring Ross Lake began in 2009, and this project will enable the park to recruit diverse college or high school students as volunteers, as well as including volunteers from the Student Conservation Association, Western Washington University, North Cascades Institute, Seattle City Light and North Cascades National Park’s Pathways for Youth Programs. Data collected from this project will assess variations in key chemical, physical and biological water quality parameters, determine trends, monitor year-round water temperature, and develop management actions to alleviate the impacts of human activities, climate change, and hydropower operations on Ross Lake.
8. Transport Youth to Their Park, $12,000
At North Cascades National Park, where development of the next generation of public land stewards is a priority, one of the largest hurdles to this goal is simply getting youth into the park. Many of the North Cascades’ youth programs engage a significant number of diverse and underserved youth who are particularly hampered by funding for transportation. This project will help North Cascades pay for transportation of youth involved in one or more of their 20 youth programs. The programs allow the youth volunteers to help with work including scientific research, maintenance of existing facilities, new construction and program administration, and to engage in a long-lasting community.
9. Restore Fishers to the Cascades, $20,000
The goal of this project is to restore self-sustaining populations of fishers in the northern and southern Cascades. Specifically, the project will relocate 160 fishers (40 each year for two years, in both NOCA and MORA) from British Columbia. These fishers will be monitored to assess the success of their reintegration, and to learn more about their biology and ecology in the Cascades. Knowledge gained from this project will enable park biologists to refine fisher’s habitats for future use. Fishers are native to Washington, but during surveys conducted in the 90’s and early 2000’s no fishers were detected. Fishers play an important role in the cycle of life in Washington by consuming both vertebrate and invertebrate prey, and dispersing seeds, spores and pollen in their fur. This project has already proven successful in Olympic National Park, where this project began in 2009.
10. Develop Community through Wi-Fi, $7,500
North Cascades National Park is developing the next generation of public lands stewards and NPS employees by connecting park youth programs and partnerships in a continuum of meaningful park-based experiences; a pathway for youth toward a lifetime of advocacy and stewardship. To better connect with these youth, North Cascades will establish a Wi-Fi hotspot at the Volunteer Shelter at the North Cascades National Park Marblemount Ranger Station. Not only will this allow people to better communicate their experiences in the park via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but it will also eliminate the need for employees, volunteers and visitors to leave the park for internet access. Along with social networking, this will also allow long-term volunteers to more easily communicate with their friends and families, some who have never experienced a national park.
11. Volunteer Citizen Scientist Plant Phenology Monitoring in the Alpine-Subalpine, $20,000
Phenology, the study of the life cycles of plants and animals, is an extremely important aspect North Cascades National Park’s ability to properly maintain and safeguard the precious resources of the park. This project will recruit volunteers to be trained to collect phonological data on key plant species to track the potential impacts of global climate change and climatic variation on the ecosystem in the subalpine and alpine areas of North Cascades. This project will allow the park to establish important baseline information on the flowering times of selected species from the ecosystem. Data will be collected twice monthly during the growing season each year. Though most data will be collected by volunteers, a biological technician will train volunteers, coordinate, assure data quality, and produce the final report.
12. Renovate Youth Program Storage Facility, $12,500
Since 2008, youth programs in North Cascades National Park have expanded rapidly to more than 20 different programs. Unfortunately, a centrally located storage space for the tools, equipment, and supplies hasn’t yet been established. This project will allow the park to repair and improve a small shed, located close to the volunteer shelter at Marblemount, to house many of the volunteer-related tools. Work will include improving the foundation, replacing the roof, and improving the structure’s interior. All work will be done by NPS staff, volunteers and members of the Youth Conservation Corps.