Fundraisers Funnel Nearly $300,000 to Olympic, North Cascades, and Mount Rainier National Parks

Thanks to a series of fundraisers held by Washington's National Park Fund, nearly $300,000 is being funneled to Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades national parks for projects in the parks.

The fund serves as the official philanthropic partner for the three national parks located in Washington state, collaborating with them to obtain support for priority projects. The parks will use the funds in 2010 for a wide range of purposes, from site restoration to wildlife monitoring to public education and enrichment programs.

Contributions were raised from a variety of private sources, including individuals, corporations and foundations, plus several special events and proceeds from the sale of the state’s national park license plate. Donors to Washington's National Park Fund live in every state of the U.S. plus Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom.

“It’s a great honor to provide this support to our National Parks,” said Greg Moga, president of the fund's board of directors. “These parks are a treasure for the people of Washington State, our nation and the world, and this support will help them reach key goals of protecting natural resources, encouraging new generations to experience our parks, enhancing the overall visitor experience and leaving a legacy for the future.”

Mount Rainier will receive more than $111,000 to introduce 150 kids and their families to camping, bring 500 students to the park on school field trips, develop a fleet management study to identify ways that the park can reduce its carbon footprint, increase use of the shuttle system within the park and from the City of Ashford on summer weekends, and engage volunteers in native plant restoration at Paradise Meadow.

“The Washington's National Park Fund grants will help Mount Rainier National Park to connect urban residents and families to the park, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the park,” said Mount Rainier Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. “Our staff and our visitors greatly appreciate the generosity of Washington’s National Park Fund and the individuals and companies who donate through it.”

North Cascades will receive $70,050 to continue a study on climate-change effects on pika populations, develop a volunteer-staffed butterfly monitoring program, provide 450 middle school students with classroom and field programs about the Skagit River Watershed, host a classroom teacher for an eight-week summer internship, and improve the Wilderness Information Center entryway.

“The Washington's National Park Fund helps us create a level of excellence that will serve the park well for years to come,” said park Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “Education, science and visitor experiences all will gain from the Fund’s efforts.”

Olympic will receive $103,280 for an “adopt a river” study of fish populations, community outreach surrounding the Elwha River Restoration project, an assessment and monitoring of Lake Crescent freshwater mussels, and for a wayside exhibit on the Olympic marmot.

“Washington’s National Park Fund is a great resource for park leaders and visitors,” Olympic Superintendent Karen Gustin said. “It brings together people from across the state and the nation and allows our parks to benefit from a single focus."

To learn more about or to become involved with Washington's National Park Fund, visit the web site at www.wnpf.org or call 253-566-4644. If you live in Washington state, your purchase of a specialty license plate results in a $28 contribution to support the national parks.