Volunteer work? Earth Day? Coastal preservation? The coinage of a new word (voluntourism!) – Sign me up now!

Although a volunteer vacation is not a new concept, the travel industry has recently seen a growing interest in getaways that combine philanthropic work with leisurely activity. The feel-good, do-good vacation, also known as “voluntourism,” is a rewarding way to make a difference in the lives of other people.

This Earth Week, Lake Quinault Lodge and Kalaloch Lodge in the Olympic Peninsula are inviting guests to help preserve a bit of history and clear up public beaches through their second annual Earth Day “Volunteer Vacation.”

– On Saturday, April 18, 2009, volunteers will work with the Washington Clean Coast Alliance to pick up waste and tidy up the beaches at Kalaloch.

– Then the following Saturday, April 25, 2009, volunteers can assist the Park Service in restoring the Kestner Homestead property from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

– Later that evening, Lake Quinault will host a barbecue on Saturday afternoon as a token of its appreciation for the volunteers.

Why the Kestner Homestead? More than a century ago, Anton Kestner ventured through the Quinault Rainforest looking for the perfect place to claim land under the Homestead Act of 1862. He and his family built a cabin on the North Shore and lived on the homestead for nearly 40 years before passing it to the Olympic National Park. Since then the park service has developed a trail into the Homstead which is in the first phase of restoration.

In conjunction with the volunteer events, Lake Quinault Lodge and Kalaloch Lodge are offering the “Earth Day Working Vacation” deals* for guests, available only online.

-On the nights of April 17 and 18, the voluntourists can stay in a Seacrest room for $99, or a cabin starting at $109. The rates include a one-night stay and boxed lunches for two.
-On April 24, guests can receive a one-night stay in a Lakeside or Main Lodge room at Lake Quinault Lodge and enjoy the barbecue for two for just $108. Additional nights can be added at just $89 a night.

As an added bonus, both lodges will give guests an additional $15 gift certificate if they arrive in style- seated in or on a green vehicle-as part of the “Every Day is Earth Day” promotion. The gift certificate can be used in the lodges’ gift shop, store or restaurant.

To book a volunteer vacation at Lake Quinault Lodge or Kalaloch Lodge, check out www.VisitLakeQuinault.com or www.VisitKalaloch.com.

*Based on double occupancy. Extra rates apply to additional adults. New reservations only, based upon availability, special rates do not include taxes, fees, or gratuities. Inventory is limited and some blackout dates may apply, rates based on double occupancy. Additional people and pet fees apply.