The Morning Report

Thursday, October 02, 2014

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INCIDENTS



Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Search In Progress For Missing Hikers

A search is underway in and around the Cedar Grove area for Rommel and Marisol Pompa, who failed to return from their backpacking trip as scheduled on Monday, October 29th. They planned to hike the Rae Lakes Loop, departing from Cedar Grove on the Woods Creek trail and returning via the Bubbs Creek trail.

In addition to teams on foot, searchers are using the park helicopter and horse patrols. There were 15 searchers hiking trails within the search area and interviewing other hikers yesterday.

The 32-year-old Rommel Pompa is described as 6 feet tall and weighing 160 pounds, with short, light brown hair and brown eyes. Marisol Pompa is 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 140 pounds, and has shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes.

Any hikers who may have seen or come in contact with either or both of them should call the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Incident Command Post at 559-565-3341 or 888-677-2746.

Click on the link below to see a flyer with a photo of the Pompas.

[Submitted by Jana McCabe]

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Zion National Park (UT)
Storm Causes Significant Flooding; Hiker Dies In Narrows

On September 27th, 1.9 inches of rain fell on Zion National Park, including 1.27 inches which fell over a three hour period beginning at 10:30 a.m. The North Fork of the Virgin River rose from a flow of 52 cubic feet per second (cfs) at 10 a.m. to a peak of over 4000 cfs at 1 p.m. The associated flooding forced the closure of the Zion Mount Carmel Highway (Route 9) as well as the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive from late morning through late afternoon.

On the morning of the 27th, the National Weather Service forecast indicated a 90% chance of rain in Zion Canyon, with heavy rain possible. The flash flood potential rating was at the highest level of concern, and many slot canyons were expected to experience flash flooding. 

Two men from California drove up Zion Canyon instead of using the required shuttle bus and began hiking upstream from the Temple of Sinawava Trailhead at 8 a.m.  Rain started to fall on the pair while they were in the Zion Narrows, but they continued a short distance up the canyon.  They eventually turned around due to concern with the weather, but were trapped by the rising river on separate river benches 200 feet apart about a quarter mile north of the end of the paved Riverside Walk. 

Both men were on high ground and safe from the swollen river and waited for most of the day for the flood waters to drop. They were able to see each other but were unable to communicate due to the noise of the river.  Late in the afternoon, the downstream hiker believed that he could not survive the night because of hypothermia and decided to risk swimming the river, which was still flowing at a rate of about 1000 cfs.  He made it to safety and reported to rangers that his companion was safe and on high ground. 

Due to the continued high flows, it was impossible for rangers to check on the condition of the stranded hiker. Early on the morning of September 28th, rangers learned that the reporting party had hiked back into the Narrows to the point where he had last seen his companion but was not able to locate him. 

A large search team was mobilized and the team located the body of the missing hiker at 2 p.m. on the bank of the river near the Riverside Walk about a mile downstream from the point where he was last seen. 

[Submitted by Ray O’Neil, Plateau District Ranger]


New River Gorge National River (WV)
CSX Railroad Cars Derail In Park

Rangers Nate Freier and Eric Oaks were on foot in the area of Fayette Station around 10 p.m. on September 26th when they heard a CSX railroad car derailment as it occurred directly across from them on the New River.

Investigation revealed that two sealed cars carrying soybeans had derailed and separated from the rest of the train. The two cars rolled down the steep embankment and came to rest along the shore and partially in the river. No fuel or hazardous materials were spilled and there were no injuries.

Most of the standing trees between the railroad tracks and the river’s edge were uprooted and leveled. A small number of soybeans ended up in the river. Cleanup is expected to last at least a week and will involve removing the soybeans and then cutting the two damaged cars into pieces for removal.

[Submitted by Chuck Noll, Law Enforcement Specialist]


Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (GA)
Eight-Year-Old Boy Struck By Car

On Tuesday, September 23rd, rangers received a 911 dispatch report that an eight-year-old boy had been struck by a car in one of the park’s crosswalks on Cheatham Hill Road.

The boy was waiting to cross the busy road and pressed the activation button on a pedestrian warning signal at the crosswalk. Traffic on one side of the road stopped and he began to cross. He was struck by a vehicle in the opposing lane and suffered minor injuries. He was transported to the hospital for treatment.

The driver, a juvenile, was cited during the accident investigation.

Cheatham Hill Road is one of the park roadways that experiences a high number of non-recreational visits – approximately 6600 vehicles per day (Cobb County DOT 2012 statistic).

[Submitted by Anthony Winegar, Chief Ranger]


NEWS AND NOTES



Canyonlands National Park (UT)
Canyonlands Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

Canyonlands National Park celebrated its 50th anniversary on September 12th with birthday cake and good cheer at the Island in the Sky District Visitor Center and a special commemorative ceremony in the Needles District.

A gorgeous blue sky afternoon greeted some 350 participants at the Needles, including past and present NPS employees, community members and dignitaries who came together to reflect upon and honor the inspiration, solitude, and adventure Canyonlands has offered during the past 50 years.

Kicking off the ceremony were the Cultural Arts Performers from Utah State University’s Blanding Campus, who treated event goers to native dances.  The guest speaker was Douglas Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University, history commentator for CBS News, and author of a variety of biographies, including The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America and The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960. He shared his thoughts regarding the history of western land stewardship and conservation.

Alan “Tug” Wilson, son of Bates Wilson, considered the “Father of Canyonlands,” relayed stories of his time growing up in and around Canyonlands, and his father’s passion for the red rock wilderness of the region.  Bates was instrumental in the establishment of Canyonlands and served as its first superintendent from 1964 until his retirement in 1972.  He dedicated countless hours exploring and mapping Canyonlands’ diverse geology, and his famous camping trips and cowboy cookouts helped persuade the country’s decision makers that Canyonlands was worthy of national park status. 

At the ceremony’s conclusion, a cowboy-themed dinner was dished up by Red Cliffs Lodge of Moab while participants reminisced with old and new friends about their careers and experiences in this “wilderness of rock” known as Canyonlands.

The non-profit Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks, founded by members of the Bates Wilson family, worked closely with the National Park Service and officials from Grand and San Juan counties, retired park rangers, and the Canyonlands Natural History Association to plan the year-long 50th anniversary celebration.

A variety of park and community events throughout the year helped recognize the special occasion and included art contests, film festivals, special Canyonlands quilt exhibit, special ranger-led wilderness hikes, community picnic with dutch oven deserts, and alumni gatherings.

For more information about the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks, visit their website at:  www.bateswilson.org.

[Submitted by Mary M. Wilson, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services]

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Denver Service Center
Director Jarvis Gives Keynote Speech At Transportation Conference

On September 16th, Director Jon Jarvis was the keynote speaker at a gathering of more than 100 transportation professionals at the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Conference on Transportation and Federal Lands: Enhancing Access, Mobility, Sustainability, and Connections.

Director Jarvis’s presentation was enthusiastically received by conference attendees from the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, state and local governments, academia, and the private sector. Among the topics of his talk was the importance of connecting our parks to younger and diverse populations, the need to collaborate with partners on transportation solutions, and the resiliency of our transportation systems and infrastructure.

The September 15–17 conference in Washington, D.C., was organized by the TRB Committee on Transportation Needs of National Parks and Public Lands. The NPS transportation system is a key component of providing access to our millions of annual visitors. An efficient transportation system is pivotal to balancing access and protecting the natural and cultural resources of our park units.

A broad range of speakers and topics were represented at the September conference. There was a panel discussion on the changing trends in tourism, recreation, and travel and the implication of these changes on national parks and federal lands—think the technological needs of the Millennial Generation and the comfort needs of Baby Boomers.

In concert with "A Call to Action," there were presentations on transit to address diverse needs and enhancing access to national parks for changing demographics. On the technology side there were presentations on improving dust control, reducing road damage in seasonal frost areas, and the benefits of stream simulation in the design of road/stream crossings. Environmental topics included the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities National Parks Initiative, climate change vulnerability of transportation infrastructure in Alaska, and why transit reduces transportation impacts on wildlife on public lands.

Many NPS projects were highlighted, including Muir Woods National Monument parking and shuttle reservation system; the interactive trip planner at Mississippi National River and Recreation Area; Aztec Ruins National Monument/City of Farmington, New Mexico partnering for shuttle access; Going-to-the-Sun Road rehabilitation at Glacier National Park; the Cape Cod National Seashore bicycle feasibility study; the D.C. circulator on the National Mall; and the various completed and ongoing long-range transportation plans within the National Park Service. Many of these presentations are available for download at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/conferences/2014/Parks/Program.pdf.

The Transportation Research Board is a division of the National Academies of Sciences, which serves as an independent adviser to the federal government and others on scientific and technical questions of importance. The TRB mission is to promote innovation and progress in transportation through research.

Each January the TRB annual meeting brings together more than 12,000 transportation professionals from across the nation and world. The Committee on Transportation Needs of National Parks and Public Lands (ADA40) was established to serve as a national forum for transportation issues and public use as they relate to the management and conservation of the natural, cultural, and scenic values of the national parks and other federal public lands.

The committee helps advise the National Park Service to meet its statutory requirements under Title 23 U.S.C. and to cooperate and participate in a collaborative network with other federal land management agencies, state departments of transportation, local governments, universities, and private consulting businesses involved with transportation needs and research issues affecting the National Park Service.

If any unit has transportation needs or issues that would benefit from transportation research, please discuss these with your Regional Transportation Program Managers. For information about the Transportation Research Board or the Committee on Transportation Needs of National Parks and Public Lands please contact committee members Tom Canick or Nola Chavez or visit http://www.trb.org/AboutTRB/AboutTRB.aspx or https://sites.google.com/site/trbcommitteeada40/.

Southeast Region
Charles Sellars Selected As Superintendent Of Andersonville

Charles Sellars has been selected as the new superintendent of Andersonville National Historic Site, effective November 2nd. Sellars has been serving as the deputy chief of facility management for Great Smoky Mountains National Park since 2008.

“We are very proud to have Charles join our Southeast leadership team as superintendent of Andersonville,” said Regional Director Stan Austin.  “He has served many parks in the region in various capacities and has a broad base of knowledge and experience.  We know he will work hard to strengthen the park’s bonds with local community leaders and other stakeholders.”

Sellars began his National Park Service career in 1985 as a temporary engineering draftsman at the Blue Ridge Parkway.  In 1986 he accepted a permanent position with the parkway as an engineering draftsman, and in 1988 he became a civil engineering technician.  In 1996 he became the maintenance mechanic supervisor within the parkway’s Pisgah District.

In 1998, Sellars moved to Bandelier National Monument as chief of facility management.  He returned to Blue Ridge Parkway in 2000 as the Ridge District facility manager. In 2002 he moved to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area as the chief of facility management.

Sellars moved to the Outer Banks Group of North Carolina in 2004 to take the position of chief of facility management.  In that role he managed facility operations at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Wright Brothers National Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.  In 2012 Sellars served as the acting superintendent of Fort Donelson National Battlefield and National Cemetery.

“I consider it an honor to be selected as the superintendent of Andersonville National Historic Site,” Sellars said.  “I look forward to working with the park staff, volunteers and partners in continuing to preserve the stories of all American prisoners of war, and to honor the sacrifices of all veterans as we care for the National Cemetery.”

Sellars, his wife Pam and their two children will move to the Sumter County, Georgia, area in November. He enjoys camping, reading and spending time with his family.

[Submitted by William F. Reynolds, Assistant Regional Director]


Governors Island National Monument (NY)
Art Installation Illuminates Castle Williams On Governors Island

When artist Daniel Kukla approached the Governors Island staff about a art installation he was proposing as part of the annual month-long 4Heads art festival on Governrors Island in September, he was already a fan of the National Park Service. In 2012, he did a stint as an artist in the park at Joshua Tree National Park in California and became quite taken by the landscapes we preserve and the people who help preserve them.

Kukla's idea was fairly easy to visualize as he described it: "The piece is quite simple. Only 24 mirrors set at angles to catch the sunlight and cast back a sunspot on to the building. As the sun travels across the sky the spots cast on the facades gradually travel in an arc over time. I carried this out project in Joshua Tree in 2012 and the park visitors really enjoyed it as not only is it visually striking, but it allows the view to stop and think about the passing of a day."

So with a few days of sunlight, he tinkered with the installation finally illuminating Castle Williams, one of the park's two War of 1812-era harbor fortifications with reflected light from an array of mirrors. The name of the installation was "24 Mirrors" and ran through the month until the end of the island's public season on September 28th.

[Submitted by Michael Shaver, mshaver@nps.gov]

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CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Southeast Region
GS-0340-13/14 Superintendent

Southeast Region has issued merit promotion and all source announcements for a superintendent for Shiloh NMP.

Click on the links below for copies of the two announcements with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying:

Both close on October 16th.

Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (KY,TN)
GL-0025-9 Protection Ranger (Lateral)

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is seeking qualified candidates interested in a non-competitive lateral reassignment to a protection ranger position. Applications will be accepted from applicants with career or career-conditional status in the competitive service.

This is a lateral reassignment for a commissioned ranger into a special retirement covered position. The person selected will be responsible for independently performing law enforcement duties, including detection, investigation, apprehension, and prosecution under applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

In addition to law enforcement, the person selected will also be required to perform a wide array of “traditional ranger” duties, including back country hiking/horse patrols, river/lake boat patrols, wildland firefighting, search and rescue, emergency medical services and various resource protection activities. 

The person in this position will be required to occasionally work nights, weekends, holidays, and will be subject to callouts.  A take home vehicle will be authorized within a specified response time to the duty station.  Big South Fork is a field training park in conjunction with Mammoth Cave National Park and Cumberland Gap National Historic Park.  Park management is supportive of training and details for employee development.  Opportunities exist to lead program specialty areas in ARPA, EMS, SAR and MOCC. 

Big South Fork NRRA is located on the Cumberland Plateau and spans both Tennessee and Kentucky approximately 60 miles north of Knoxville, Tennessee.   Annual visitation at Big South Fork is approximately 600,000 visitors per year with a land base of 125,000 acres.  The park offers numerous opportunities to hike, run rivers, rock climb, mountain bike, hunt, fish, and motor-recreate and are abundant in the park and the surrounding area.   Government housing is not available but housing is the surrounding area is available with a low cost of living.

Interested individuals should email the following documents to Supervisory Park Ranger Noel Mays at noel_mays@nps.gov or mail the documents to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Attn: Noel Mays, 4564 Leatherwood Road, Oneida, TN 37841:

  • A resume detailing work history and experience, educational background, and any special qualifications or training they might possess.
  • A copy of the most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action showing current federal career status (Non-Award SF-50)
  • Verification of a valid NPS Law Enforcement Commission (picture omitted)
  • Copies of Wildland Fire Red Card, EMS Qualifications,  All Hazard Qualification Card
  • A copy of most recent performance appraisal
  • A list of professional and personal references, including contact info

Application packages from qualified candidates must be received or postmarked by October 15th. Please list in the subject line of the email: BISO GL 9 LE Ranger Lateral.

For additional information about the position, please contact Chief Ranger Randy Scoggins at 423-569-2404 ext. 263 or Randy_Scoggins@nps.gov or Supervisory Park Ranger Noel Mays at 423-569-2404 ext.260 or Noel_Mays@nps.gov