Intro to Mt. Rainier

Intro to Mt. Rainier

Hello everyone! My name is Simon Aceto and this summer I will be one of the Mosaics in Science interns at Mt. Rainier National Park as an Interpretive Assistant. I am from Southern California and I have always had a strong passion for the wilderness and National Parks. Every winter my Dad and I would visit different National Parks and that is where my curiosity sparked for wildlife and environmental conservancy, and it has carried with me through my studies at Cal State Monterey Bay.

Mt. Rainier peaking through the clouds on a early morning

My primary focus during my time here will be helping visitors connect with the incredible natural and cultural resources of this breathtaking park. My role will involve leading educational programs, answering visitor questions, and creating memorable experiences for everyone who comes to explore this majestic mountain and its surroundings. Mt. Rainier is the 5th oldest National Park yet there is still something new to learn here everyday. Mt. Rainier is one of the snowiest places on Earth, averaging just under 56 feet per year. Another interesting note about this winter wonderland is that it has a vast glacial system spanning up to 25 glaciers giving Glacier National Park a run for their  money. The supreme subalpine ecosystems and wildflower blooms in late summer add to the mesmerizing beauty you find each step of the way. Mt. Rainier was also the first National Park to allow cars inside the park. The beautiful drive up to Paradise and Jackson Visitor Center still holds the same iconic viewpoints as it did when it first opened. 

Snowy bridge crossing across the Nisqually River
Christine Falls

Mt. Rainier and all of its beauty still has its dangers as a monstrous Volcano in the Cascade Range. Although Mt. Rainier is not expected to erupt it still causes dangers with Debris Flows and Lahars that can take out entire areas at a moment’s notice. It truly amazes me how Mt. Rainier can connect the forest around it from the Alpine to the Sub Alpine regions and can influence the wildlife as well from Golden-crowned Kinglets in the Fir trees above to the black-tailed deer drinking from the Nisqually River. Mt. Rainier and all of its mighty and potential destruction is a beacon for boasting rich and diverse ecosystems. 

Pika on lunch break

There are still many native tribes within the area who are active in the community. The Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxin Island, Muckleshoot, Yakama, and Cowlitz tribes have lived in this area for thousands of years and to them Mt. Rainier is more than what we can see. The most common name these tribes call the mountain is Tahoma which means “White Mountain” or “the mother of waters”

Designated Land Use Area sign for Native Tribes

During my time here I hope to impact visitors’ lives and minds and engage with them in conservancy and stewardship. My goal is to have a positive impact on someone every day and hopefully, they walk away with a nuanced understanding and appreciation for where they are. Mount Rainier National Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders and historical significance, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Stay tuned for updates and stories from my journey at Mount Rainier National Park. Here’s to a summer of adventure, discovery, and unforgettable experiences!

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