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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Jan 10, 2023 8:24 pm 
Yes when I worked there you could get a pass to go out on the ranges. It had to be arranged in advance and 4x4 only. There was a lot of unexplored ordnance out there and strictly controlled. An amazing place. They have not had civilian tours for the past few years. Did you know there is a full underground hospital out there?

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Bruce Albert
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PostThu Jan 12, 2023 11:38 am 
Bearing in mind that maybe I'm a bit thick:
cascadeclimber wrote:
There is no worker shortage. There is a pay shortage. And, just like has been pointed out here about MORA's conflicting statements/ads, there is a lot of double-talk. Stevens management claimed there was a worker shortage last year. Not a peep about that from them this year and they are fully open. Did they suddenly find a secret stash of workers that no one else knows about?
Vail's raise of starting wage to $20 and above certainly did not hurt. Neither IMO did the change in management with a new manager experienced in operations and focused on results.. And at the end of the day it's all Vail anyway, with the advantages and disadvantages that brings. A lot of the Vail Koolaid is just plain weird, but it's their toy to run as they please. A bit of research to WSDOT, Stevens, and the NPS revealed to me that starting wage to plow snow is in the neighborhood of $20 everywhere. The ski industry has a hiring safety valve in the form of the J1 visa program by which they are able to hire and import foreign seasonal workers. This provides needed relief when unemployment rates are low and helps keep wages down. I don't know if the NPS has similar hiring alternatives available or not. The ski industry also for years was able to perpetrate the fiction that since they are seasonal and weather dependent, those conditions allowed them to pay less than their counterparts in other industries, plus of course getting away with a 56 hour threshold for overtime and other abuses. Having been privy to the numbers for several years allows me to state with confidence that this is just so much BS.

peter707
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Bruce Albert
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Bruce Albert
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PostThu Jan 12, 2023 11:57 am 
kiliki wrote:
For seasonal employees, staff housing is available at the park. The park posted vacancies on three occasions over the past year at USAJobs.gov, but did not receive enough applications to fill all roles. For permanent employees, the high cost of housing has been a deterrent. “We’ve been told by some people who have tentatively accepted a position that they just couldn’t see themselves living in the area and being able to afford a home,” Dudgeon said.
Pardon me. I had seen this distinction but I assumed that difficulty/expense of long term housing in the Ashford area would not affect the willingness of seasonal employees to accept temporary housing near Ashford, and that full time hires might be willing to live in temporary housing while seeking to find more desirable long term alternatives. I may have been wrong. This is an opportunity to be The Forest Ranger in the Great North Woods. It is unique, and it is assuredly not a 300K-plus posting in South Lake Union with the vast array of ground floor retail, newly built high rise housing, and food choices abounding, all just a short stroll from Jeff's Balls. To live and work in the mountains it may be necessary to trap mice, to fix things, to shovel the sidewalk. Some people would not find these necessities objectionable. I have had to do these things all my adult life and find them a cheap price to pay for how and where i choose to live and work. If vogtski's excellent and richly descriptive posts above do not resonate with a person as to how a winter or two at Rainier would represent a wonderful opportunity unavailable elsewhere, then I don't know what to say. All things are not for all people, I guess.

peter707
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Gwen
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Gwen
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PostThu Jan 12, 2023 8:56 pm 
I'm a little late to the party, only now catching up on the whole thread, but I've been acutely aware of the whole dog and pony show from the minute it was announced. Repeatedly, we are told it is a staffing issue, with a shortage of applicants. You've all discussed wage and housing and testing as parts of that issue, but the one thing I have not seen mentioned is the limitation created by not allowing for full time employees. Someone copied the details from a few of the job listings over on USA.gov (and even having to apply through that nightmare will significantly cull the herd) and they all pretty much stated half time (masked as full-time but seasonal). To me one of the bigger bottom lines is the NPS isn't allowed to hire year round full time employees (because that would require paying benefits and such). While I have no proof of this, I suspect there are more than enough applicants who "could" be hired, but aren't because they've already worked a summer gig. While my experience is overall with FS staff, I believe the same applies to NPS staff - many of them would make any number of sacrifices if only given a full time position. So, where does this nonsense rule come from? Is it set by the head of the NPS, or is s it Congressional? Doesn't matter - it's bullsh## and it needs to go. Our Federal land managers have had their hands tied for far too long and we need to push to let them do the job they were hired to do. Now, don't get me wrong, I think the current Supe has a lot to answer for - the dissemination of information has been abysmal, at best, and, like others have stated, we deserve better. Early this week, the MORA FB page made this announcement... "Fireside Chat with Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Greg Dudgeon, 2 pm, Friday, January 13th at the Longmire National Park Inn Join park superintendent Greg Dudgeon for an informal one-hour discussion of the opportunities and challenges of overseeing one of the most dynamic and popular national parks in the United States. Gather in the National Park Inn's parlor room, adjacent to the hotel front desk. Coffee and hot chocolate will be provided by park partner Rainier Guest Services. This morning, the topic mysteriously changed with this post... Join superintendent Greg Dudgeon at the Longmire National Park Inn for a fireside chat tomorrow, Friday, January 13th, at 2pm. This chat will be focused on using science to make informed management decisions, including newly published glacier research. Park geologist Scott Beason will be available to answer specific questions on the glacier research. The Q&A will also be open to discussing any questions visitors may have. These chats will be hosted periodically by the National Park Inn to give hotel and park visitors a chance to hear from the park superintendent personally. Never mind that the "chat" was scheduled on a weekday in the middle of the afternoon when any number of interested parties would not be able to attend. Never mind that it was scheduled in the remote location of Longmire, in the infinitesimally small parlour. Never mind that the advance notice was limited at best. Please explain to me the dramatic change of topic. Like, you didn't think we'd notice? WTF! We very much deserve better. I think it's important to make your voice be heard both locally and all the way to DC. Let the Supe know. Let the heads of the NPS know. And by gods, let your congress people know (and make sure they know they can not count in your vote if changes aren't made). I have little faith in the "system", even less faith in changes occurring, and pretty much think our country and it's democracy are effed, but I gotta try. I hope y'all try too. Peace out.

Tomorrow's not promised to anyone, so be bold, scare yourself, attempt something with no guarantee of success. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve. -Olive McGloin

JimmyBob, ChinookPass, Anne Elk, peter707, Opus, bullfrog, fourteen410, Bramble_Scramble, vogtski
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cascadeclimber
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PostFri Jan 13, 2023 9:19 am 
Gwen wrote:
Never mind that the "chat" was scheduled on a weekday in the middle of the afternoon when any number of interested parties would not be able to attend. Never mind that it was scheduled in the remote location of Longmire, in the infinitesimally small parlour. Never mind that the advance notice was limited at best.
This is the same exact thing Sup. Randy King did in 2013. One meeting, short notice, middle of a work day, middle of nowhere. It's clearly about ticking a box that a meeting was held, and has nothing to do with actually connecting with all the affected parties. "What is the minimum I can do here to show that I did something?" Solid leadership. Not.

If not now, when?
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vogtski
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vogtski
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PostSat Jan 14, 2023 4:11 am 
Probably no help this winter, but perhaps a glimmer of future hope for our benighted local NPS management: * $68 million to cover the cost of the federal employee pay raise. * An increase of $31.5 million to restore staffing across the park system * An increase of $6.9 million to construct, lease, and rehabilitate housing at parks where housing is either unaffordable or unavailable in the local community. https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2023/01/within-fine-print-consolidated-appropriations-act Might be worth urging our congress critters to explore these funding sources, but I suspect the real allocations will fall to NPS Director Sams and Interior Secretary Haalund. Anybody got email addresses for these last two, or has everybody (but me) moved to social media?

Diagonally parked in a parallel universe

kiliki
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Bruce Albert
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Bruce Albert
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PostSat Jan 14, 2023 9:43 am 
Only found the generic ‘contact us’ pages for those agencies. Individual addresses tend to be tucked away, because nobody at that level wants to receive 50,000 emails a day on every conceivable topic, nor in fairness would such a thing be productive. I’m certain there is an avenue that will reach the boss. I have found first class mail with tracking, if it’s a big deal, to be an effective means of communication requiring a higher degree of accountability on both the sending and receiving parties than email. Hit this, though, right off the bat, a compilation of frequent nps foia requests: https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/foia/foia-frd.htm

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kiliki
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kiliki
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PostWed Jan 18, 2023 9:12 am 
Quote:
but the one thing I have not seen mentioned is the limitation created by not allowing for full time employees. Someone copied the details from a few of the job listings over on USA.gov (and even having to apply through that nightmare will significantly cull the herd) and they all pretty much stated half time (masked as full-time but seasonal). To me one of the bigger bottom lines is the NPS isn't allowed to hire year round full time employees (because that would require paying benefits and such).
Really excellent points in your post. The hardest jobs to fill are seasonal jobs, no matter what the occupation. Labor economists have talked a lot about that over the past year or two with the "worker shortage." Why would anyone take a seasonal job when there are good opportunities for year-round jobs? Re your other points about hiring obstacles I might have touched on that but during the Trump administration many policies were put in place to reduce the federal workforce by making it hard to hire. So the assessment test I talked about, plus they made it harder-to-impossible for NPS staff who worked winters at one park to get a summer job at another park. They strictly limited the types of appointments the NPS could use or limited how many times they could use them. Etc etc.

vogtski
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kiliki
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kiliki
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PostWed Jan 18, 2023 9:14 am 
Quote:
cascadeclimber wrote: There is no worker shortage. There is a pay shortage. And, just like has been pointed out here about MORA's conflicting statements/ads, there is a lot of double-talk. Stevens management claimed there was a worker shortage last year. Not a peep about that from them this year and they are fully open. Did they suddenly find a secret stash of workers that no one else knows about? Vail's raise of starting wage to $20 and above certainly did not hurt. Neither IMO did the change in management with a new manager experienced in operations and focused on results..
It also sounds like they doubled down on providing housing, and providing transportation from the east and west sides.

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Bruce Albert
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PostWed Jan 25, 2023 7:32 pm 
In today’s Seattle Times” https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/record-1-1-million-awarded-to-wa-national-parks/ “ Each year, park superintendents and leadership teams select priority projects for their respective parks, which fall into four core areas: advancing science and research, improving visitors’ experiences, expanding volunteerism and stewardship and embracing inclusion.” “ Mount Rainier National Park received $630,768, which will fund projects like Wonderland Trail improvements and maintenance, development of an online accessible trails guide, aquatic surveys and restoration and the park’s 200 Meadow Rover volunteers, who patrol alpine trails to teach visitors about land stewardship, WNPF said.”

vogtski
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BigBrunyon
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PostWed Jan 25, 2023 9:41 pm 
Look heres the deal: all u need to hear is that FUNDS WERE INTERCHANGED. Once you hear that FUNDS WERE INTERCHANGED you know the deals gone bad!!!!! It's all a scam once you hear that FUNDS WERE INTERCHANGED.

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Randito
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Randito
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PostThu Jan 26, 2023 5:56 am 
The term "Funds were interchanged" does not appear in the Seattle Times article. What are you babbling about?

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bccarlso
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PostThu Jan 26, 2023 1:45 pm 
Randito wrote:
The term "Funds were interchanged" does not appear in the Seattle Times article. What are you babbling about?
BigBrunyon works for BigSatire.

vogtski
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vogtski
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PostFri Jan 27, 2023 1:24 pm 
For those who may not have signed the Change.org petition, here's an update by author Steve Price: Jan 27, 2023 — Greetings all signatories of the “Restore Mount Rainier Weekday Winter Access” petition. #1. I thank you for your engagement. Especially for all the heartfelt comments. You can download a (slightly edited) copy of the comments from the following link. They are a great read. http://bit.ly/3HdtMfo Comments from Petition #2. Above is a picture from a lovely ski in the sun on Snoqualmie Pass this week with fresh snow from the night before. I bet Paradise would have been AWESOME…. Sigh… #3. As you may be aware, the park service met with several outdoors grounds and local business owners on December 16. Following that, the Mountaineers published a blog post and the Seattle Times ran an article. Copies of the meeting minutes, the blog post, and the article are at the following links. http://bit.ly/3RaLi8y 12/16 Meeting Minutes http://bit.ly/3Hyn3Np Mountaineers Blog Post http://bit.ly/3kOV6Jp The Seattle Times - Paradise lost? Angst mounts over Mount Rainier National Park weekday closure #4. As of 1/27, nothing else has been heard from MORA Park HQ. There is no indication that winter weekday access will happen at all this winter/spring. They did post job openings on Twitter and FB in Mid-January for heavy equipment and snowplow operators; at a salary range of $25 to $38 per hour, higher than what they offered last fall. #5. I wrote letters a week ago to Superintendent Dudgeon, Frank Lands, the Director of the western region of NPS in San Francisco, and Shawn Benge, the Deputy Director of Operations in DC. I asked for a response to post to the petition signatories, but have received no reply from any of the three yet. #6. In his communications with the Mountaineers, Superintendent Dudgeon indicated he would like to be contacted by users. I think the primary goals should be #1) ensuring winter weekday access to Paradise next winter and all winters thereafter and #2) making daily functional and timely access to Paradise a metric of the Park’s annual performance. The 2,900 of us don’t have much leverage in this situation. I think our best shot is regular and periodic messaging between now and next November. I propose that every two months, a sizable number of us email the Superintendent’s office and remind him that we are upset about what happened this winter and that we sorely miss winter weekday access to Paradise. The emails should be brief, polite, and not look like SPAM or some automated service. I suggest a sentence saying how disappointed you are about the lack of access and ask a straightforward question about the current lack of access or their office’s plans for next winter. Attaching a photo of winter visits from years past would be a great addition. Please be polite and respectful. Superintendent Greg Dudgeon's email is MORA_Superintendent@nps.gov I prompt you now to do that. I will then prompt you to repeat it every other month. I will also write letters to electeds in early February and let you know if I receive any correspondence back from the Park Service. Be well and enjoy the rest of winter! Steve

Diagonally parked in a parallel universe
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cascadeclimber
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PostFri Jan 27, 2023 3:20 pm 
I admire your optimism. It reminds me of me a decade ago. There is an accountability vacuum in the NPS. You're experiencing that in the lack of communication after the "tick the box" meetings. It goes all the way to the director and is ultimately, I believe, is a result of the Interior Sec position being used as window dressing: Either a 'buddy' appointment or a minority appointment, in both cases often someone with little government experience or apparent interest in or ability to change the status quo. So you end up with a Jon Jarvis running the entire NPS and being left in his position after he was found to be using it to force parks to sell his book. The interior sec at the time, maybe Sally Jewel, left him in the position but removed responsibility for ethics from him. Jarvis was, by the way, MORA Sup when Dave Uberuaga sold his house in Ashford to RMI for 300% of its value (Uberuaga was in charge of letting contracts, including RMI's, for MORA at the time). Jarvis let King off the hook and the NPS promoted Jarvis to Director, and Uberuaga to Sup. First at MORA, then Grand Canyon where he was when a massive sexual harassment scandal broke. This sh## is endemic to the NPS. Jarvis ethics thing and being told by one of Sen. Murray's staffers to quit trying to effect change took all the wind out of my sails. You're a better person than me for keeping at it. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/mount-rainier-park-ex-official-scrutinized-on-land-deal/ https://www.hcn.org/articles/grand-canyon-superintendent-retires-during-ongoing-harassment-investigation-1

If not now, when?
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