Directorate Visits New York Area Parks Hit By Hurricane
Director Jon Jarvis, Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell and Comptroller Bruce Sheaffer traveled to the New York metropolitan area on Monday afternoon to visit some of the parks most affected by Hurricane Sandy. They were accompanied on their tour by Zeph Cunningham (Blue Ridge), the incident commander for the Eastern Incident Management Team, Cheto Olais (Intermountain Region), the team’s operations section chief, Northeast Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach and Diane Chalfant, acting commissioner for the New York Harbor Parks,
The group visited Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Gateway’s Sandy Hook unit, and the incident command post at Fort Wadsworth in Gateway. They also took an aerial tour of Gateway’s Jamaica Bay unit, including Breezy Point, Jacob Riis Park and Floyd Bennett Field, currently being used as a joint staging area for more than 5,000 federal, state and local area responders, as well as relief agencies and military units supporting the recovery efforts
In addition to examining the affected parks and their impacted resources, considerable discussion was given to employees affected by the storm, including the more than 50 employees displaced from private and park housing and what efforts are being done to provide assistance. More than 600 employees in the 15 New York and New Jersey area parks sustained some damage from the storm. Director Jarvis emphasized the need to address sustainability as the rebuilding goes forward, and ensuring that the proper time and attention is given to fixing things correctly and permanently.
At the incident command post, the director addressed some 75 NPS employees, thanking them for their work; promising support for employees who suffered loss in the storm, in the near and long term; and pledging the support of the entire National Park Service in the recovery efforts.