The Morning Report

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Recent Editions  


Natchez Trace Parkway (AL,MS,TN)
Homicide Victim Found In Park

The Leake County Sheriff’s Department and Natchez Trace Parkway, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, are investigating the death of Courtney Cooke, 27, of Leake County.

On the morning of Thursday, July 3rd, rangers discovered Cooke’s body in a vehicle off the roadway near milepost 143 along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Authorities are seeking any information that may aid in their investigation. If you have any information, please contact the Leake County Sheriff’s Department at (601) 267-7361, Crimestoppers at 886-481-8477 or 601-355-8477, or the Natchez Trace Parkway 1-800-300-PARK(7275). 

[Submitted by Sarah Davis, Chief Ranger]

Lake Mead National Recreation Area - NV
Drowning, Near-Drowning Occur On Same Day

Rangers dealt with a drowning and a near-drowning on Lake Mohave on Sunday, June 15th.

The first incident occurred at Cabinsite Point. A 37-year-old man was swimming across the cove there to retrieve an inflatable raft for his daughter when he began to struggle and subsequently disappeared underwater. He was not wearing a life jacket. Local divers who were training in the area recovered his body approximately 40 feet below the surface. CPR was begun, but was ultimately unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at Western Arizona Regional Medical Center. 

Later in the day, rangers received a call concerning a possible drowning at Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mohave. An 18-year-old had swum approximately 50 yards from shore when he began having difficulty in the choppy waters and started shouting for help. He was reportedly submerged for a minute before two visitors on a jet ski pulled him onboard and took him to shore. Witnesses on shore notified the NPS within minutes of the incident. Rangers and medics arrived and were able to successfully treat him. He also was not wearing a life jacket.

[Submitted by Christie Vanover, Public Affairs Officer]

Cape Cod National Seashore (MA)
Visitor Drowns Off Park Shoreline

On the morning of June 22nd, a 27-year-old California man drowned while attempting to swim from a sandbar to shore approximately two miles south of Race Point Beach within the boundaries of Cape Cod National Seashore. 

Rangers, lifeguards and Provincetown fire and rescue personnel responded, took over CPR from other park visitors and utilized an AED, but were unable to revive him. 

[Submitted by Leslie Reynolds, Chief Ranger]

Lake Mead National Recreation Area - NV
Man Falls From Boat And Drowns In Lake

The body of a 36-year-old Las Vegas man who disappeared in the lake near Callville Bay Marina on the evening of Wednesday, July 2nd, was found by divers in 15 feet of water the following afternoon.

The park received the initial call just before 9 p.m. on Wednesday. The caller reported that the man fell off the front of a boat and disappeared underwater.

Rangers and concessions security personnel responded and began an immediate search from the point where he was last seen. The search resumed on Thursday with the assistance of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Search and Rescue Dive Team.

Witnesses reported that the man had been drinking and wasn’t wearing a life jacket. 

[Submitted by Christie Vanover, Public Affairs Officer]


Office of Risk Management
Parks Meet To Address Drowning Issues

Representatives from 13 parks, the US Park Police, Southeast Regional Office, and the Washington Office gathered at NCTC over three days in early June to address the issue of drowning, the leading cause of unintentional fatal injuries to visitors to the national parks.  

Since 2008, more than 350 visitors have lost their lives to drowning-related incidents; there were 62 victims in FY 2013 alone.  The NPS Office of Risk Management sponsored a three-day drowning prevention and water safety training course as part of a new Servicewide drowning prevention program, which represents an agency commitment to reduce drowning in parks by introducing scientific procedures that lead to more targeted, effective initiatives and leveraging the individual and collective experience and knowledge of parks to support common goals. 

Through alignment and mutual support of efforts, member parks hope the incidence of drowning will be reduced more expeditiously than if parks were to continue to work in isolation.  Participating parks include Assateague Island, Cape Hatteras, Chattahoochee, C&O Canal, Delaware Water Gap, George Washington Memorial Parkway/Great Falls, Glen Canyon, Golden Gate, Lake Mead, New River Gorge, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Upper Delaware and Yosemite.

As part of the program, an NPS drowning prevention advisory board (DPAB) has been established.  The group held its inaugural meeting at NCTC on the evening of June 4th.  Advisory board members are: 

  • Joe Hinkes, chief ranger, Upper Delaware;
  • Lisa Hendy, emergency services program manager, Yosemite;
  • Kathleen Sandt, public affairs specialist, Delaware Water Gap;
  • Kevin Hendricks, chief ranger, Sequoia-Kings Canyon;
  • Jeff Clark, chief lifeguard, Assateague Island;
  • Ken Phillips, branch chief for search and rescue, Washington Office;
  • Jennifer Cheng-Dobson, injury prevention specialist, Office of Risk Management, Washington Office; and
  • Sara Newman, deputy chief, Office of Risk Management, Washington Office.

External partners on the board include:

  • Joseph Carro, program operations analyst, Safety Division, U.S. Coast Guard;
  • Pam Doty, national water safety program manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
  • Dr. Julie Gilchrist, medical epidemiologist, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, Center for Disease Control and Prevention; and
  • Dr. Deborah C. Girasek, director, Social and Behavioral Sciences Department of Preventative Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. 

Board members will offer valuable input within their areas of expertise and will provide direct contacts, local resources, and technical assistance in data gathering, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.  The DPAB will support parks in the five primary components of the program –applying scientific methods, sharing lessons, collaborating, creating tools and training, and informing policy. 

For more information about the drowning prevention program, contact Sara Newman at 202-513-7225 or by email at

[Submitted by Kathleen Sandt, Public Affairs Specialist, Delaware Water Gap NRA]

Office of International Affairs
NPS Interpretive Trainers Conduct Workshop In Oman

In early June, NPS interpretive trainers Elizabeth Beavers (Denali) and Paul Ollig (Yosemite) traveled to the Sultanate of Oman to facilitate a highly successful five-day workshop on interpretive skills and techniques for museum guides working for Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Culture.

On May 29th, the pair arrived on the shores of the Arabian Sea under the scorching Middle Eastern sun (temperatures soared to 130F) after traveling halfway around the world to the Oman as representatives of the NPS. Their mission was to share the expertise of NPS interpretation and provide an interpretive skills training for Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Culture museum guides. 

Paul and Elizabeth were recruited by the NPS Office of International Affairs, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution International Museum Professional Education Program and its Office of International Relations, to conduct the five-day workshop in Oman’s capital city of Muscat. 

The Smithsonian has been providing technical assistance and collaboration with the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture for almost three years. Recently, the Ministry requested that the Smithsonian develop a session on interpretive skills for their museum guides. Knowing the excellent reputation of the National Park Service in teaching interpretive skills and techniques, the Smithsonian turned to the NPS to partner on the training for Oman’s museum guides. 

The guides working with Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Culture museums are the front-line personnel responsible for interpreting the cultural and natural heritage of the Sultanate of Oman. They work directly with the public, answering questions and providing tours. Most of these guides, however, have had little or no training in interpretation or guiding. 

Sixteen program participants, representing seven museums, were selected by the Ministry to attend the five-day training. Training participants enjoyed the course and discovered new skills to apply in his or her workplace. Participants demonstrated skills in identifying intangible meanings, emotional connections and creating interpretive themes throughout the workshop. Several participants demonstrated tremendously successful interpretive programs by the last day and many of the others showed progress towards incorporating interpretive elements.

From the trainers’ perspective, it was clear that museum guides in Oman face many of the same challenges to adopting interpretive principles and skills that new-to-interpretation park rangers face in the NPS. It was an inspiring experience to share different cultural perspectives, gain insight into Omani workplace successes and challenges, and discover that meaningful interpretation, when based on universal concepts, is relevant across cultures. 

For more information, contact or

The trip report for this workshop can be found on the NPS Office of International Affairs intranet site.

[Submitted by David Krewson,]

Coronado National Memorial (AZ)
Summer School Students Help Restore Endangered Bat Habitat

During the last week of June, 65 summer school students from Valley View Elementary School participated in a first-of-its-kind field trip at Coronado National Memorial.

The students, ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade, worked with staff from the Southeast Arizona Group resource management division to plant over 130 baby Palmer’s agaves through a new partnership program.

Coronado recently received a Disneynature IMPACT Grant through the National Park Foundation to help build a relationship with the school garden program in nearby Hereford, Arizona. The funds are helping to collaboratively grow plants for additional habitat restoration in the park, which will benefit declining populations of an endangered species, the lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae).

Coronado hosts a population of several thousand endangered lesser long-nosed bats as they journey over 1000 miles along their annual migration route between Mexico and southern Arizona. The bats stop over at Coronado for several weeks to feed on the nectar of the Palmer’s agave in late summer.

Agave habitat at the park has been degraded by historic overgrazing and impacts related to the US – Mexico border. Greater losses are occurring regionally due to urbanization of the area. The partnership between the park and Valley View Elementary School helps with restoration of this critical food source for lesser long-nosed bats, while also raising awareness among students, their families, teachers, and the community.

[Submitted by Julena Campbell, Chief of Interpretation, Southeast Arizona Group]

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (MI)
Ranger Jim Dal Sasso To Retire

Ranger Jim Dal Sasso is retiring after 40-plus years of dedicated service to the United States, mostly with the National Park Service. For the past 22 years, Jim has been a ranger at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Jim began his career in 1968 with the U.S. Air Force.  After graduating with a degree in park administration from Indiana State University in 1974, he began his NPS service at Coulee Dam National Recreation Area (now Lake Roosevelt NRA). 

From there, Jim traversed the country, working at 22 different NPS units (including Denali, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Tetons, Grand Canyon, Great Smokies, Voyageurs, Everglades and Steamtown) before landing at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. 

Jim has been a staunch defender of the natural resources of Sleeping Bear Dunes and is well known and respected by hunters and anglers alike.  Jim has introduced hundreds, if not thousands, of youngsters to the outdoors through service projects with local high schools and Boy Scout Troops. 

From clearing beaches to removing trash, transplanting trees to repairing trails, many of these youth are now bringing their children to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to share in their love of the outdoors that Jim helped to cultivate. 

To recognize Jim’s dedication and service, all are invited to attend a celebratory picnic on Thursday, July 31st, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Platte River Picnic Area in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  We are also collecting stories, memories and photos of Jim to present to him.  Please email any and all photos and recollections to prior to July 15th.  If you have any questions, please contact Joe Lachowski at 231-326-4822.

[Submitted by Phil Akers, Chief Ranger]

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (WV)
New Americans Sworn In At Naturallization Ceremony

In celebration of the park's 70th anniversary, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park hosted a naturalization ceremony for 28 new Americans on June 30th.

Participants were welcomed by Rebecca Harriett, the park’s superintendent, and by Valerie Tobias, director of the USCIS Pittsburgh Field Office.

After the oath of allegiance was administered, Penny Porter director of the Eastern Regional Office for Senator Jay Rockefeller, offered congratulatory remarks. Jim Getty, portraying Abraham Lincoln, offered words of inspiration and encouragement to the new citizens, including a presentation of the Gettysburg Address. 

"It is an honor to host this special occasion for our newest citizens,” said Harriett. “They have now inherited public spaces, rich in history and supreme beauty. What better place to celebrate their hard work and accomplishments as they become American citizens than in our national parks."

The citizenship candidates from 19 countries were treated to an afternoon reception sponsored by the Harpers Ferry Historical Association with music by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra. 

[Submitted by Rebecca Harriett, Superintendent]


Pacific West Region
GS-1101-11/12 Housing and Property Management Specialist

Dates: 07/02/2014 - 07/25/2014

Pacific West Regional Office is looking for a program manager for the regional housing property and fleet programs. The person in this position will: 

  • Manage funds for construction, rehabilitation and professional service contracts which include approving and recommending funding for design, construction, housing rehabilitation, obtaining funding approval from WASO, etc.
  • Formulate the national policy recommendations for a variety of issues related to the NPS Housing Program.
  • Provide guidance and advice to park housing officers and superintendents on required occupancy policies, review changes in park required occupancies and recommend approvals or disapprovals to Regional Director.
  • Participate in the prioritization of housing projects on both the regional and national level.
  • Review and consolidate the annual rollup of the Housing Income & Expenditures report from all the PWR parks with housing and ensuring its accuracy with the actual PWR budget reports as required by WASO.
  • Review all PWR park Housing Needs Assessments (HNA) and Housing Management Plans (HMP) for compliance with service wide and regional policies, directives and guidelines.
  • Provide technical advice and assistance in the planning, development and implementation of a comprehensive property management program for real and personal property exceeding $1 billion in value.
  • Provide guidance, support and technical assistance to parks related to fleet policy, procedures and software programs.
  • Administer fixed assets program of the Service within the region and supervise the maintenance of property accountability practices and record keeping.
  • Provide guidance and advice on major inventory classifications, property utilization, protection, accountability and disposal.  Advise park property personnel, division chiefs, and superintendents throughout the Region on correct procedures for property management and initiating actions for managing personal property.
  • Coordinate the completion of seven annual personal property reports to be completed by all parks and offices within the region.  Make periodic on-site appraisals to evaluate property management activities and advise management and others on technical aspects of property management.
  • Coordinate periodic training for park and regional staffs on property management and accountability, as well as the Financial and Business Management System (FBMS) access and usage.

This position can be located either in Seattle or San Francisco, and applications are due through USAJOBS by July 25th.

A copy of the announcement can be found at the link below. For more information, contact Steve Mitchell at 415-623-2286.

[Submitted by Steve Mitchell,, 415-623-2286]

 More Information...
Pacific West Region
GS-0401-12 Fire Management Officer (Detail)

Dates: 07/08/2014 - 07/18/2014

Lassen Volcanic National Park is seeking qualified NPS applicants interested in a non-competitive detail/temporary promotion of up to 120 days as the parks fire management officer.  A selection will be made as soon as possible.

The FMO's responsibilities include planning, program direction, coordination, and evaluation of a Lassen’s wildland fire program, providing primary fire duty officer support, providing leadership and direction to subordinate staff, and providing fire management oversight to all personnel. Supervisory duties will include performing administrative and human resource management functions.  The person selected will participate in division chief meetings and provide briefings to the superintendent and park staff as well as the regional office and fellow Klamath Network FMO’s and various interagency partners.

Park headquarters is in Mineral, California, located approximately 50 miles east of Red Bluff and Redding, California, and approximately 30 miles west of Chester, California. Summers are warm with average highs in the low 80's; winters are cold with temperatures in the teens and twenties at the 5000 foot elevation.  Lassen Peak has the highest known winter snowfall amounts in California. There is an average annual snowfall of 660 in (1,676 cm), and in some years, more than 1,000 in (2,500 cm) of snow falls at its base altitude of 8,250 Ft.   

During this detail/temporary promotion, base salary will continue to be paid by the selectee’s home unit. Travel and per diem will be paid by Lassen, as well as the difference in pay should the selectee be temporarily promoted and all premium pay.  Temporary quarters will be provided by Lassen.

Candidates must currently possess the following:

  • Have held, or currently hold the NWCG qualification for Task Force Leader (TFLD).
  • Currently hold, have held, or will be able to obtain NWCG certification as Incident Commander Type 3 (ICT3), OR; Prescribed Fire Burn Boss Type 2 (RXB2), prior to the closing date of this announcement.
  • Have completed, or will be able to complete the NWCG training course M581, Fire Program Management by the closing date of this announcement.

Interested individuals should email the following documents to the Human Resources Office by July 18th:

  • A resume detailing work history, supervisory 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)
  • Most current version of Incident Qualification and Certification System (IQCS) Master Record or equivalent documentation which verifies you meet the required NWCG qualifications for this position. 
  • A list of professional and personal references, including contact info
  • A brief memo of support from your immediate supervisor

Application packages from qualified candidates must be electronically received in the Human Resources Office by COB on July 18th. Please send application packages via email to   Please list in the subject line of the email:  LAVO FMO 120 day detail

For additional information about the detail and the position, please contact Darlene Koontz, park superintendent, via or 530-595-6101.

[Submitted by Darlene Koontz,, 530-595-6101]