Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mt. Rainier on Twitter

The NPS at Mt. Rainier NP now has a Mt. Rainier NP Twitter account. It seems to be updated in a timely manner, or what I've seen so far. So you can take this with you. I also have my own WSR Photo Twitter account, but I can't promise it's updated timely or often. You're better off just going to the photo guide since they are the most recent and updated pages.

A Wee bit late

Webcam photo from Camp Muir (8/31/11)

Ok, a lot late, but the August reports are on-line at the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide, but they'll be replaced soon with the September reports at the same place. The news for August is two words, snow and wildflowers.

First, the snow. The snowpack was unusually high this year, the second highest in recorded history (since 1981) and the snowmelt was considerably later and slower to the point it will be the longest and latest snowmelt on record, the point where the highest snow site recorded zero on the Paradise gage, southeast of Jackson vistors center. The snowmelt lasted 98 days from May 23rd to August 29th.

This is only four days longer than I predicted but my guess was more an estimate based on the shape of the graph in July.

This in turn delayed the wildflowers, see map to the latest time in a long time, where they're blooming from about the 20th of August and likely through the Labor Day weekend in places where the last snow melted in the open and alpine meadows. This means you have about a week left.

After the Labor Day weekend, everything begins to change in the NP as several changes start the week after the holiday into the fall, which will be described in the September reports.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Car Break-ins in NP

Update.--The NPS reported they arrested two suspects in the string of car break-ins, see news article using a sting operation Sunday August 23rd.

Original post.--This from the NPS in Mt. Rainier NP:

Over the past 2 weeks, the park has experienced nearly 10 car break-ins at trailheads and parking lots at the following locations:
Hwy 410 at the Gravel pile,
trailheads at Crystal Lakes,
Frying Pan Creek,
Comet Falls, Carter Falls, and
Owyhigh Lakes trailhead along the Sunrise Road.

The break-ins have been occurring both on weekends and weekdays, and all have occurred during daytime hours.

Most of the break-ins have involved thieves breaking out car windows to snatch bags, backpacks or valuables visible by looking into the vehicle. Wallets, cash, credit cards, purses, electronics, cell phones, I-pods, and other valuables have been taken. In one case, a visitor hid her purse under her car seat after she parked her car, only to find it stolen after returning from her hike. There is some indication that she may have been watched as she hid her purse.

One of the vehicles broken into today was a government SUV (with government plates) operated by a visiting USDA researcher. They lost phones, an I-pod, and other valuables.

Rangers are actively investigating these break-ins, but are requesting the following of all employees:

· Do not leave any valuables in your vehicle, both personal or government vehicles.

· Do not leave bags or packs, laptop cases, camera cases or any other containers that look like they may hold valuables in your work or personal vehicles. If you must leave anything in the vehicle, lock it in the trunk or place it well out of sight before you arrive at the parking area.

· Immediately report suspicious activity you might observe throughout the park to Park Dispatch. Activity to watch for may include individuals who look out of place looking into vehicles or sitting in a parked car in a parking lot; a car driving back and forth past a parking area multiple times without clear direction; broken window glass; discarded packs, purses, handbags thrown out on the side of the road.

· Spread the word to other visitors you have contact with about the warnings above.

· Do not intervene if you happen upon a break-in in progress unless you are trained and equipped to do so (ie: Law Enforcement commissioned). Immediately notify dispatch and report your observations, record vehicle color, make, model, and license #, detailed description of the subjects, direction of travel if they flee.

Please contact my office or one of the other rangers if you have any further questions or have some observations to pass on. A version of this message will be posted on the park public website.