The Morning Report

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Recent Editions  


Guadalupe Mountains National Park (TX)
Park Recovers From Heavy Rains And Flooding

Guadalupe Mountains is recovering from the torrential rains that fell on the area between September 12th and September 23rd, causing flooding and damage throughout the park.

During that period, Guadalupe Mountains received 14.93” of rain at Pine Springs, 13.52” at the Pinery, 17.35” at the Bowl, 12.45” at McKittrick Canyon and 10.86” at Dog Canyon, and was forced to close most roads and trails on September 22nd due to flooding. The Pine Springs area of the park so far has received 17.84” this month, breaking last year’s record of 17.10”, which also resulted in closures to most park areas.

Park staff this week assessed the damage to park trails and roads and determined that the Guadalupe Peak, Pinery and Devil’s Hall Trails were safe and passable and could be reopened to the public. The Salt Basin Overlook Trail is open from the Guadalupe Canyon trailhead only. The Pine Springs Visitor Center, Pine Springs and Dog Canyon Campgrounds and Guadalupe Peak Backcountry Campground are open.

All other roads and trails will remain closed to the public until park staff are able to assess and stabilize them. Closed areas will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.

For more information about current road conditions, see for Texas or for New Mexico. For park closure information, visit the park website at

[Submitted by Karl Pierce]

New River Gorge National River (WV)
Rangers Successfully Intervene In Attempted Suicide

On Friday, September 19th, rangers responded to a 911 call concerning a woman threatening suicide and believed to be on a park trail near the town of Fayetteville.

Family members revealed that the woman had a state concealed weapons permit and was known to carry a handgun. A team of three rangers conducted a search of the trail network and soon found the woman seated near a small bridge in a low lying area.

Rangers first established a tactical observation point and moved in and made contact after assessing the situation. A handgun was found in the woman’s purse and was secured.

The rangers determined she had ingested a large quantity of sleeping pills and convinced her to walk with them out to the trailhead. Once there, they were met by an ambulance crew and the woman was transported to a local hospital as an overdose patient. Ranger Nate Freier is the case ranger.

[Submitted by Chuck Noll, Law Enforcement Specialist]


Golden Gate National Recreation Area (CA)
Joint NOAA/NPS Shipwreck Survey Underway

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in association with the National Park Service, has announced a two-year project to better understand the “underwater cultural landscape” of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the adjacent waters of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

For 100 years, from the California Gold Rush of 1849 to the great shipping mobilization of World War II, San Francisco was among the greatest seaports of the day. Into that port came the vessels of the world carrying the commerce of the world, and many of them came to grief because of the frequent fogs, swift currents, and rocky shores of the Golden Gate. It is estimated that over 300 vessels – from Spanish galleons and clipper ships to tugboats and oil tankers – have been lost in the waters of the park and the marine sanctuary.

Using state-of-the-art remote sensing technology deployed from the research vessel Fulmar, NOAA staff have rediscovered lost shipwrecks, better-defined known wrecks, and even discovered previously unknown vessels lying under the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean just offshore of San Francisco Bay.

The effort has been led by James P. Delgado, director of NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Program, and supported by the research of Robert Schwemmer, West Coast coordinator of maritime heritage, and NPS historian Stephen Haller.

To date, the project has led to the rediscovery of the underwater remains of:

  • The steamer City of Chester, which sank after a collision in1888, taking 16 unlucky passengers down with her in spite of the heroic rescue efforts of her Chinese crew,
  • The clipper ship Noonday, sunk in 1863, and
  • A previously unknown tugboat hulk in deep water off the Farallone Islands.

The engines of the Frank Buck and Lyman Stewart have long been visible at low tide to those who hike the California Coastal Trail at San Francisco’s Lands End, but the NOAA survey has brought these ships to life with spectacular underwater imagery.

To view the most recent project imagery, visit the NOAA website at:

To learn more about the shipwrecks of the Golden Gate, visit the NPS website at:

[Submitted by Alexandra Picavet, Public Affairs Specialist]

Geologic Resources Division
Call For Proposals Issued For Mosaics In Science Internships

The Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate has issued a call for proposals from parks for Mosaics in Science diversity internships for the summer of 2015.  Parks interested in applying for a position must submit a postion description by COB November 1st. An application can be found at the "More Information" link below. 

The on-line system to upload position descriptions will be ready for use on October 1st.  Twenty-six or more internships will be chosen that best meet the selection criteria for the Mosaics in Science program. Parks will be notified of the selections by December 1st.

Mosaics in Science provides persons 17 to 35 years old that are typically under-represented in natural resource science career fields (e.g., Latino, African American, Asian, Native American/Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander) with meaningful, on-the-ground, work experiences in the National Park System. The program is administered by the Geologic Resources Division in collaboration with other NRSS Divisons, the NPS Youth Programs Division, and in partnership with The Geological Society of America.

The summer internships are fully funded by NRSS and the Youth Programs Division and consist of eleven weeks working in a park or central office followed by a one-week career workshop in Washington DC.  Natural resource science disciplines covered in the Mosaics In Science program include air resources, biological resources, climate change science, geologic resources, natural sounds, night skies, scenic resources, social science, and water resources.  

Examples of projects that are appropriate for the Mosaics in Science Program are shown at the bottom of this announcement. Internships may include natural resources research, inventory and monitoring, GIS and other technologies, and science interpretation and education projects. Multidisciplinary science projects, or those that cross program areas (e.g. interpretation/education, combined with research, inventorying, monitoring) are encouraged.  Mosaics in Science projects must:

  • be structured, rigorous science projects or educational or interpretive projects that use natural resource science as a basis for the materials produced and presented to the public;
  • have well-defined tasks and deliverables, and
  • allow a high degree of autonomy by the intern with a strong mentoring component by park staff.

Selection of the internships will be based on the following criteria. Superior proposals will:

  1. Clearly describe the tasks for one or more natural resource science projects that are properly scaled for  undergraduate, graduate students or recent graduates;
  2. Illustrate that the project(s) can be successfully completed in 2½ to 3 months;
  3. List the deliverables and work products;
  4. Demonstrate the NPS unit’s active involvement in the success of the project (e.g., adequate  project oversight such as pairing the participant with experienced park staff, other researchers, and other interns); and
  5. Identify and describe how the park mentor will provide the intern with valuable opportunities for learning and professional development.

In addition, the availability of park housing and geographic location will be considered secondarily when deciding among otherwise equally-ranked proposals.

Positions will be recruited and advertised by The Geological Society of America from December 1st to January 31st.  Application materials will be electronically distributed by GSA to the park mentor/supervisor who will conduct phone interviews and select a qualified Mosaics in Science participant in February and March.

Examples of projects that are appropriate for the Mosaics in Science program include:

researching the geologic history of a park unit or the distribution of plants or animals; studying migration or breeding patterns of a wildlife species; determining the timing and distribution of plants leafing out (phenology); documenting impacts to natural resources; determining how native cultures historically used natural resources in their everyday lives; using models and data to learn how changes in precipitation affect streams, ponds, and groundwater levels; collecting and analyzing data and historic records as part of a climate change vulnerability assessment; measuring shoreline profiles or analyzing historic photos to document changes in coastal geomorphology associated with sea level rise; researching spatio-temporal travel patterns and visitor use in parks; reviewing and summarizing literature on light pollution impacts to wildlife; collecting and analyzing data on visitor experiences, motivations, and behaviors with respect to natural resources; and researching causes and effects of visibility impairment and acid deposition;

Resource Inventories:
mapping bedrock or surficial geology, caves, glaciers, paleontological resources, or plant or animal species; collecting acoustical data and conducting active listening sessions throughout a park to characterize the park’s soundscape; conducting scenic resource inventories; conducting gap analyses between baseline natural resource inventories;

Resource monitoring:
taking repeat measurements of a natural resource to detect change over time such as surface or groundwater quality, air quality, acoustical measurements; using repeat photography to measure change in natural resources such as the advance or retreat of glaciers or changes to paleontological or other natural resources; monitoring oil and gas operations;

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other technologies:
developing a GIS database, acquiring geospatial datasets, conducting geospatial analysis, modeling, geospatial referencing, and creating GIS-based maps; developing photogrammetric data to support conservation, resource monitoring, and educational initiatives; conducting a viewshed analysis to determine if adjacent development can be seen from key park vantage points; taking SQM-L transects in parks with sensitive nocturnal species to monitor sky brightness, developing and populating a database to support NPS partnership efforts; and

ducation/Interpretation: researching, developing, and presenting an interpretive talk or program that describes the natural resources or natural history of the park, developing park brochures, trail guides, or other educational materials covering one or more natural resource topics; designing a Junior Ranger activity book centered on a natural resource topic; collaborating with scientists and park interpreters to develop interpretive programs that integrate traditional ecological knowledge of local communities with citizen science; linking the park’s natural resources to those found elsewhere in the world; leading stargazing walks and talks; assisting with curating and cataloguing park’s natural resources (e.g, paleontological resources); and developing educational curriculum and activities for a variety of natural resource topics.

[Submitted by Lisa Norby,, (303) 969-2318]

 More Information...
United States Park Police
Awards And Promotions Ceremony Held

On Thursday, September 18th, the United States Park Police held an awards and promotion ceremony.

The ceremony was held at the U.S. Park Police Anacostia Operations Facility in Washington, DC. A total of 22 awards were conferred to recognize Force personnel for their service and continued contributions to the public.  Awards including a Chief’s Certificate of Appreciation, eight Unit Citations, three Chief’s Certificates for Outstanding Police Service, and ten Lifesaving Awards.

Promotions included:

  • Officer Pasquale Tesi, who was promoted to the rank of sergeant in the San Francisco Field Office
  • Sergeant David Williams, who was promoted to lieutenant in the San Francisco Field Office
  • Captain Noreen Schirmer, who was promoted to major and commander of the San Francisco Field Office, and
  • Captain Charles Guddemi, who was promoted to major, Icon Protection Branch.

[Submitted by Sergeant Lelani Woods, Public Information Officer]

Intermountain Region
Jeff Bradybaugh Selected As Superintendent Of Zion

Jeff Bradybaugh, a 32-year veteran of the National Park Service, has been named superintendent of Zion National Park. This marks his return to the park, having previously served there as the chief of resource management and research. He will begin his new assignment on October 20th.

Since October 2010, Bradybaugh has served as the superintendent of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, where in addition to overseeing daily park operations, he has been deeply engaged in transportation-related planning and partnership projects with nearby state, local, tribal and federal agencies.

“Jeff is an effective communicator and manager with a proven ability as a consensus builder with external organizations and groups,” said Regional Director Sue Masica. “He has long demonstrated a deep commitment toward the preservation and protection of our nation’s natural and cultural resources.”

Bradybaugh’s other leadership positions with the NPS include superintendent of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona, acting superintendent at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, chief of resource management and research at Zion National Park, chief of science and resources management at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, and natural resources specialist at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

Before joining the NPS, Bradybaugh worked as a forestry technician for the U.S. Forest Service in Wyoming and a wildlife biology intern for BLM in New Mexico.

“It is an honor to join the staff of Zion National Park, the Zion Natural History Association, our sister parks – Pipe Spring and Cedar Breaks National Monuments, and our concession and transit partners as we approach the National Park Service centennial in 2016 and plan our second century of service to the American public,” Bradybaugh said. “I look forward to continuing the park’s close working relationship with local communities and businesses. Zion National Park is one of the nation's most magnificent natural landscapes, with a compelling cultural history, both of which I am excited to help present to our visitors from around the world.”

Bradybaugh earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries management from South Dakota State University, and a master’s degree in wildlife biology from New Mexico State University. He enjoys kayaking, bicycling, and hiking/backpacking.

As superintendent of Zion National Park, Bradybaugh will oversee the management of more than 148,700 acres, a workforce of approximately 95 personnel and an annual operating budget of more than $7.24 million.

[Submitted by Patricia Turley,, 303-969-2701]

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (CA)
Kerry Olson Selected As Chief Of Interpretation

Kerry Olson has been selected as the new chief of interpretation for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. She currently holds the same position at Lowell National Historic Park, one of NPS' most noted urban park operations.

"Our biggest challenge is reaching out to people who because of urban location, youth or a lack of resources, have had little chance to enjoy their parks and public lands,” said David Szymanski, superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.  “Kerry will be a huge asset. She has the strategic mind, the knowledge of urban and wild, and the people skills to make a difference. She also cares deeply about employees and is devoted to making NPS a great place to work."  

Kerry has 16 years of experience in interpretation, education and volunteer management.  She started her National Park career as a seasonal park ranger at North Cascades National Park Complex, where she later became the district supervisory interpretive. She has also served as the acting youth and volunteer coordinator for the Northeast Region of the National Park Service. Prior to working for North Cascades, Kerry held a number of positions in interpretation for local and regional organizations. 

After finishing her first bachelor's degree in English and advertising, she worked for three years in an advertising agency. Kerry returned to school for a second bachelors in biology concentrating on ecology and evolution before finding her way into the National Park Service. She later worked toward her masters in wildlife biology (ornithology).

“I am excited to join this talented team of park staff, volunteers and partners,” said Olson. “Santa Monica Mountains NRA combines stunning natural history and rich cultural history with a commitment to reaching new urban audiences, which inspires me. I am passionate about the role urban parks play in making the National Park Service more relevant and inclusive to more people. I look forward to working with the staff and through partners and our communities to continue the work of telling this park’s diversity of stories in new ways. “

Kerry is a self-proclaimed bird-nerd, bicycle enthusiast and foodie, who also enjoys backpacking, crossword puzzles, cooking for friends, live music, and adventures—big and small.

Olson’s new assignment begins in late October.

[Submitted by Kate Kuykendall, Public Affairs Officer]