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The Morning Report

Thursday, January 23, 2014

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Joshua Tree National Park (CA)
Rangers Respond To Multiple Holiday Weekend Incidents

Last weekend was one of the busiest holiday weekends on record for protection rangers at Joshua Tree due to unseasonably warm weather that brought a high number of visitors to the park:

  • Friday evening – Rangers were called out to a report of a possible dead man in the Sheep's Pass Group campground. They found the body of a 30-year-old man from Kansas City, a probable suicide victim. County deputies and the county coroner are leading the investigation.
  • Saturday afternoon – The park received a report of a possible diabetic emergency on the West Loop Trail near the Black Rock campground. Initial reports were that a woman in her 50s had lost consciousness. Rangers, county fire and ambulance personnel, and JOSAR, the park’s volunteer SAR team, responded. They were preparing for a carryout when the woman hiked out of the backcountry without assistance. She declined transport or further medical treatment. Later on, rangers responded to a motorcycle accident with two injuries a mile inside the park’s west entrance. California Highway Patrol officers lead the investigation; rangers managed the scene without incident during heavy outbound traffic and reduced lane clearance. The accident occurred when the operator failed to negotiate a curve. Alcohol was a suspected cause.
  • Saturday evening – A ranger on patrol in the Jumbo Rocks campground was flagged down and advised of a possible overdue hiker in the Queen Mountain area.  The 34-year-old San Diego man was last seen on the north side of the mountain, about three miles into the park’s backcountry. He reportedly had very little equipment with him and was wearing only light clothing. Nighttime temperatures at the time were around freezing, so rangers rated the search as high priority. JOSAR was called out and a county helicopter was requested. As JOSAR members were hiking in, the crew of the helicopter spotted the man near the point last seen with infrared scopes and hoisted him aboard. He was very cold and slightly dehydrated, but recovered quickly with water and shelter.  The outcome would likely have been much worse had the reporting parties not contacted a ranger.
  • Sunday – Rangers received a report of a hiker who was three days overdue from a trip into the Coxcomb Mountain area. During the search for the missing hiker’s vehicle, rangers also responded to an out-of-bounds campfire which had escaped in Pinto Basin and a report of a child locked inside a vehicle in the Jumbo Rocks campground. The search for the overdue hiker’s vehicle continues.
  • Monday night – Rangers received a call reporting a lost man and five children in the Desert Queen Mine area. They had no food or water and were not prepared for cold nighttime temperatures. They walked out just as responding rangers and a county deputy arrived at the trailhead. 

[Submitted by Jennie Kish Albrinck, PIO]


Point Reyes National Seashore (CA)
Fourth Annual Kids Christmas Bird Count Held

Every year for over a century, tens of thousands of volunteers have taken part in the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC), the longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations – and to help guide conservation action.

This rigorous event often does not include young children, so in an effort to train future generations in this countrywide endeavor, the Point Reyes National Seashore Association, working in collaboration with the National Park Service and Sonoma Birding, held a half-day event for kids on January 11th entitled the Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids).

This year, over 120 participants joined in the event, together counting 68 bird species and over 765 individual birds in various habitats throughout the park. Eight of these species were new to the CBC4Kids bird checklist, including the red-throated loon, the merlin, and the purple finch. After the presentations, the families were treated to an educational visit by Sonoma Bird Rescue, which introduced them to a red-tailed hawk and an American kestrel.

The park offers a perfect outdoor classroom to host this event, as it boasts some of the highest bird diversity and numbers of any NPS area, with sightings of nearly 490 species (over 52% of all North American bird species).

CBC4Kids was spearheaded in 2007 by Tom Rusert and Darren Peterie of Sonoma Birding, who have expanded this program into a North American event that includes events held in Canada. The CBC4Kids was first introduced to the National Park Service in 2011 at Point Reyes National Seashore.

The event brings together all the elements to introduce the next generation of stewards to the

importance of birds in the ecosystem, the tradition of annual bird counts, and the fun of getting families outside to exercise and engage with the natural world.

The event supports several national initiatives, including America’s Great Outdoors, Let’s Move Outside, and Healthy Parks and Healthy People: Bay Area.

[Submitted by John A. Dell’Osso]

Office of Partnerships and Philanthropic Stewardship
National Park Foundation Grant Opportunities Announced

Each year, the National Park Foundation funds grants and programs that meet priorities and critical needs across our National Park System in the areas of youth, community outreach, conservation, and professional engagement.     

The National Park Foundation (NPF) is currently accepting applications for three grant opportunities -- A Ticket to Ride, Active Trails, and America’s Best Ideas.  Below you will find brief summaries, application procedures, and deadlines for each grant. For additional information, please contact Carolyn Hill, NPF director of grants and programs, at 202-354-6471 or

Active Trails

The Active Trails program promotes healthy living by literally getting people out and active, on trails, whether through hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, or volunteering, and provides opportunities to develop a community engagement platform through restoration work, recreational activities, and large-scale events.  The Active Trails program aligns with Healthy Parks/Healthy People initiatives and with National Trails System goals, which, leading up to its 50th anniversary in 2018, encompass increasing public awareness, building and enhancing trails, and enhancing management capacity by federal agencies.

Applications due: Friday, March 7th.
Grant Information and pdf Application
Online Application

Park Stewards

The Park Stewards program enables high school teachers and students to explore the relevance national parks have on their lives and to become engaged in the long-term stewardship of parks, sites, and trails. Through the program model, high school teachers and park rangers team up to develop curriculum and service-learning activities that tie to the national park and applicable state standards. The curriculum and service-learning activities are then implemented throughout the year.  Through service-learning activities, students apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills (in addition to physical skills as appropriate) to address genuine needs of the park.

Applications due: Friday, March 14th
Grant Information and pdf Application 
Track One Online Application:  For applicants who have not previously been selected for a Park Stewards Grant.
Track Two Online Application:  For applicants who are building on or expanding their existing Park Stewards program.   

America's Best Idea

The America’s Best Idea grants program is meant to engage diverse audiences in meaningful and relevant ways with national parks and inspire participants to become stewards of our National Park System. The original goal of the program was to capitalize on the 2009 Ken Burns film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, as a catalyst for connecting under-represented audiences with their national parks. This program has evolved into a successful model for national parks to engage multi-cultural, multi-ethnic groups of all ages, and to inspire future stewardship of our national treasures. At its core, it is a community engagement program with an emphasis on underserved youth.

Applications due: Friday, March 21st
Grant Information and pdf Application
Online Application

Click on NPF Grants and Programs for information on all foundation grants and programs, including Parks Climate Challenge, Web Ranger, African American Experience Fund, Impact Grants, Electronic Field Trip, American Latino Heritage Fund, and Transportation Scholars.

The National Park Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service, enriches America’s national parks and programs through private support, safeguarding our heritage and inspiring generations of national park enthusiasts.

[Submitted by Office of Partnerships and Philanthropic Stewardship,, 202-354-2182]

New Ebey's Landing NHR Reserve Manager Hired

The Trust Board for Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve in Washington has announced the hiring of Kristen Griffin as its new reserve manager.

Kristen is currently Spokane City/County historic preservation officer, a position she has held since 2008. There she plans, directs and manages the historic preservation program for Washington State’s second largest city and surrounding county, working closely with rural and urban property owners, tribes, neighborhood associations, nonprofit organizations and local, state, and federal officials.

Prior to her work in Spokane, Kristen was park historian at Sitka National Historical Park and historian and archaeologist for Denali National Park in Alaska. Earlier she served as museum manager for Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka. She also currently serves on the board of directors of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

"The trust board is absolutely delighted to have Kristen’s strong historic preservation expertise and broad experience collaborating with a wide range of partners just like we have here in the reserve," said Lisa Meserole, chair of the trust board. "Her knowledge of the National Park Service is a terrific bonus as well. The trust board voted unanimously to hire her, and we look forward to her arrival within the next month."

Kristen was born, raised and educated in northwest Washington, including Island, San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom Counties. She holds a master of arts degree in anthropology-archaeology and a B.A. in anthropology, both from Western Washington University.

[Submitted by Carol L. Castellano,, 360.678.6084]

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National Capital Region
GS-0399-5 Student Trainee (Visitor Use Assistant/Fee Collection)

Dates: 01/20/2014 - 01/24/2014

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is seeking candidates from the Pathways internship program for a student trainee position as a visitor use assistant (fee collection).

Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

It closes on January 24th.


[Submitted by Dafina Williams,, 202-619-7230]

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National Capital Region
WG-4701-5 Student Trainee (Maintenance Worker)

Dates: 01/20/2014 - 01/24/2014

Wolf Trap National Park is seeking candidates from the Pathways internship program for a student trainee position.

Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

It closes on January 24th.

[Submitted by Dafina Williams,, 202-619-7230]

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