The Morning Report

Thursday, July 03, 2014

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East Coast Areas
Outer Banks Parks Prepare For Hurricane Arthur

Parks on the Outer Banks are preparing for the arrival of what is expected to be a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph hour winds tomorrow:

Cape Lookout NS – The park began putting its hurricane plan into effect yesterday in anticipation of the storm’s arrival. Cape Lookout was closed to the public yesterday afternoon at 5 p.m., including the visitor centers in Beaufort and on Harkers Island. Interested parties should call the park at 252-728-2250 or check the park website (, Facebook and Twitter sites for updates.

Outer Banks Group – The Outer Banks Group parks (Cape Hatteras NS, Wright Brothers NM, Fort Raleigh NHS) have all been closed, including the following:

  • All NPS campgrounds – Ocracoke, Frisco, Cape Point and Oregon Inlet – have been closed and will remain closed until further notice. The Ocracoke campground reservation system has been temporarily suspended. 
  • Silver Lake Marina NPS dock.
  • Ocracoke, Hatteras Island and Bodie Island Visitor Centers.
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Previously scheduled evening interpretive programs have been cancelled until further notice.
  • Lifeguard beach operations at Ocracoke, Buxton, and Coquina.
  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. All park special interpretive programs scheduled have been cancelled until further notice.
  • Bodie Island Lighthouse is closed and the climbing reservation system has been temporarily suspended.
  • All park beaches have been closed to off-road vehicles and will remain closed until further notice.
  • The Buxton and Ocracoke off-road vehicle permit offices.

Follow-up reports on the storm’s impacts will appear after the holiday weekend.

[Submitted by Pat Kenney, CALO; Paul Stevens, Outer Banks Group]

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Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Two Backcountry Rescues Conducted On Same Day

Two different backcountry users – one a climber with serious injuries and the other a hiker suffering physical exhaustion – required separate late day rescue missions involving multiple rangers and helicopters on Sunday, June 29th.

At the time the two mountain rescues got underway, rangers were also summoned by Teton County Search and Rescue to assist with a search for missing boaters from an accident on the Gros Ventre River, just east of the park’s boundary.

Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received the first emergency call at 5:55 p.m. from two hiking partners of Xabier Aguirregoicoa, 39, of Spain. Aguirregoicoa’s companions reported that their friend was exhausted and physically unable to either continue walking out of Granite Canyon (a distance of 12 miles) or hike back upslope to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort tram from where their backcountry trip began.

In the first couple of miles, the hiking party missed the snow-covered trail and instead, dropped down a steep intermittent snow and loose rock slope into a rugged area of large boulders and talus. Aguirregoicoa’s partners retraced their route over hard and crusty snow to reach the top of Rendezvous Mountain and make their call for help. They also provided GPS coordinates for Aguirregoicoa’s location, which greatly facilitated the rescue operation.

A Teton Interagency contract helicopter was dispatched to an area just below Cardiac Ridge in upper Granite Canyon with two park rangers on board. Despite erratic winds, the ship was able to land on a patch of snow near Aguirregoicoa. He was assisted across the snowfield to the waiting helicopter for an evacuation to Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache, where rangers assessed his overall health and released him.

Aguirregoicoa was not adequately prepared for the snowy conditions that persist in this area of Granite Canyon. He wore just light hiking shoes and carried only hiking poles, where conditions demanded sturdy hiking boots and ice axes for safer travel.

Shortly after the first alert, Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a second emergency call at 6:30 p.m., reporting an injured climber on the east flank of the 11,618-foot Disappointment Peak.  Angela Lazarte, 27, of Jackson, Wyoming and her partner were climbing in the Lake Ledges area above Amphitheater Lake when she slipped and tumbled over snow and rock before coming to rest in a snow moat near the base of the cliff.  

A second Teton Interagency contract helicopter flew six park rangers to provide emergency medical care and make preparations for a short-haul evacuation. To assist with the rescue, four additional rangers hiked to Amphitheater Lake (9,750 feet) from the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache.

High winds ultimately prevented the helicopter from completing a short-haul evacuation. Instead, rangers resorted to placing Lazarte into a rescue litter and lowering her over steep, snow-covered slopes until they could carry her via wheeled litter—a distance of five miles—over an intermittent snow-covered and rocky trail to the Lupine Meadows trailhead. The rescue operation took over 10 hours to conduct; it did not conclude until 5 a.m. Monday, June 30th. A park ambulance met the rescuers and transported Lazarte to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson for further care. Lazarte was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, which may have prevented a head injury.

[Submitted by Jackie Skaggs, Public Affairs Officer]

Natchez Trace Parkway (AL,MS,TN)
Body Of Missing Man Found In Park Creek

Rangers and detectives from the Spring Hill Police Department are investigating the death of a 47-year-old Spring Hill resident whose body was found in a park creek on June 28th.

A “be on the lookout” message concerning the man was sent out on June 27th, as he hadn’t been seen since the previous day. On June 28th, rangers found his vehicle in the Sweetwater Branch parking lot and launched a hasty search. His body was found in the creek.

The initial investigation indicates that he died as a result of an accidental slip and fall. 

Agencies assisting with the recovery included Murray Regional EMS and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

[Submitted by Sarah Davis, Chief Ranger]


Climate Change Response Program
NPS Report Confirms Climate Change In National Parks

A new report authored by the National Park Service confirms that climate change is happening in America’s national parks and in some cases in rapid and concerning ways. 

These changes will have implications for what visitors see and experience in national parks and will require new approaches to the protection of natural and historic resources within parks.

“This report shows that climate change continues to be the most far-reaching and consequential challenge ever faced by our national parks,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.  “Our national parks can serve as places where we can monitor and document ecosystem change without many of the stressors that are found on other public lands.”

In a newly-published article, Climate Exposure of US National Parks in a New Era of Change, National Park Service scientists William B. Monahan and Nicholas A. Fisichelli studied climate data of the last 10 to 30 years as compared to the historical range of variability from 1901 to 2012 from 289 national parks. 

They found that temperatures are now at the high end of the range of temperatures measured since 1901. This is true across several temperature measurements, including annual average temperature, average temperature of the winter months, and average temperature of the summer months.  The data also point to changes in precipitation patterns over time. 

These findings are consistent with previous research by the National Park Service, as well as other national and international reports including the recently released National Climate Assessment.

Grand Canyon National Park is one example of an area with significant natural resources that has recently experienced extreme high average temperatures compared to its historical patterns.  Warmer temperatures and extended drought are a direct threat to endangered species, and impacts the wildlife’s source of drinking water such as seeps and springs in the canyon.

Historic sites are not immune to the impacts of climate change.  At Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, increased temperatures and hydrologic changes have the potential to alter the natural and manmade resources of the park.  These effects could include landscape changes that will affect access to and the structural integrity of bridges, locks, lock houses, culverts, dams, and monuments.  Increased occurrences of severe storms, flooding, and other unpredictable weather, and changes in growing seasons will affect vegetation and the animals that depend on that vegetation.

In June, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell toured Jamestown Island and hosted a roundtable discussion with scientists and experts on the impacts of climate change on cultural resources at Virginia’s Historic Jamestowne, part of Colonial National Historical Park, and across the region.

“Beyond benefiting public health and the economy, the President’s Climate Action Plan and other Administration efforts to cut carbon pollution will greatly benefit the parks, refuges, other public lands and cultural resources entrusted to the Department of the Interior on behalf of all Americans,” said Jewell. “Through sound science and collaboration, we need to examine how we can help cultural and natural resources adapt to climate change and become more resilient to its impacts.”

With an eye on the approaching National Park Service centennial in 2016, the report highlights the need to provide up-to-date scientific information to park and neighboring land managers, and for sufficient climate science to be disseminated to the general public so that parks are positioned to protect their resources for future generations.  Park managers will be increasingly challenged to develop management strategies to help park resources adapt to climate change, and how best to accomplish the task. 

“Studies like this are critical to inform national park managers and visitors alike about their local climate impacts so they can take proactive steps to address climate change,” Jarvis said.  “Although the National Park Service alone cannot reverse the climate changes highlighted in this report, communicating these impacts with our 275 million annual visitors can make a difference.”

The international, on-line scientific journal PLoS ONE, highlighted this analysis in a new collection entitled “Responding to Climate Change,” in which it shares recent research focused on solutions to manage our resources in a changing climate.

A copy of the original article online at

[Submitted by Mike Litterst and Angie Richman]

Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division
Air Tour Data Report For 2013 Now Available

Almost 80,000 air tours were conducted in 2013 over 48 units of the national park system and abutting tribal lands, not including air tours over Alaska parks or flights over the Grand Canyon, according to reports submitted by air tour operators and compiled by the Natural Sounds & Night Skies Division. A summary of the 2013 data is available at http://inpniscvsp05:39904/sounds/Planning/Forms/AllItems.aspx

Most tours, approximately 95%, occurred at seven NPS units:  National Parks of New York Harbor, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Haleakala National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. While the Northeast Region and the Pacific West Region hosted the greatest level of air tour activity, operations were concentrated over only a few parks. In contrast, there was less activity in the Intermountain Region, but there were significantly more parks over which air tours occurred.

This is the first time that detailed information about air tour activity has been obtained for the majority of NPS units. Amendments enacted in 2012 to the National Parks Air Tour Management Act (NPATMA) of 2000 require commercial air tour operators conducting air tours over national park units to begin reporting their activity to the Federal Aviation Administration and the NPS. These new reporting requirements came into effect for calendar year 2013. While Alaska and the Grand Canyon are specifically exempted in NPTMA, air tours and reporting requirements for Grand Canyon are addressed in separate legislation.

With the submission of the 2013 reports, the agencies now have recent data about the extent of commercial air tour operations over national park units. This information will assist the agencies in implementing other requirements of NPATMA, including prioritizing efforts to develop voluntary agreements to protect park resources and visitor use.

[Submitted by Vicki Ward,, (970) 267-2117]

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Valley Forge National Historical Park (PA)
Voices Of Valley Forge Summer Workshop Series Underway

The Voices of Valley Forge workshop series, launched on June 26th with a sketching and writing workshop at the Muhlenberg Brigade area, continued on June 28th with the performances of poetry and song by students and families at an open microphone session in the park’s Education Center. 

The series is designed to uncover stories often not present in the traditional historical narrative.  Place-based workshops in literature, music, dance and art and help visitors, park neighbors, teachers and students find personal relevance in the park experience through multiple perspectives.

This second annual series of exploratory workshops features park staff, Teacher-Ranger-Teachers, guest speakers, educators, authors, historians, poets, and performers who inspire participants to share in the stories of our nation’s foundation and celebrate the contributions of our diverse communities.

On Thursday, June 26th, participants learned about the history of Valley Forge and the daily life of Continental soldiers with Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Eileen Hutchinson and NPS interpretive rangers on an interpretive walk. 

Patrick Sullivan, Valley Forge maintenance staff member and artist, led a charcoal sketching program to inspire creative writing, using charcoal from the fireplaces in the soldiers’ huts.  The children and their families wrote “sense-sational poems” about what they experienced through their senses to illustrate their drawings. 

During open microphone spoken word poetry day on Saturday, June 28th, student authors performed dramatic readings of their original poetry inspired by American history and critical contemporary issues.  Five gift cards, provided by The Encampment Store, the park’s non-profit partner, were awarded as prizes. 

Taking advantage of the open microphone philosophy, family members, ages preschool through adult, performed a cappella solos ranging from pop to opera as demonstrations of the country’s heritage preserved through music.  Chief of Interpretation Rhonda Schier shared an original poem and drawing about Valley Forge, and Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Eileen Hutchinson performed an original song. 

On Saturday, July 12th, historical re-enactor and musician, Joe Becton, will use a variety of techniques to demonstrate the struggle for African inclusion in the Continental Army and General Washington’s role in creating an all-black regiment at Valley Forge.

On Saturday, July 26th, participants will experience three interpretive performances by West Chester Dance Works that are inspired by the history of Valley Forge. Phil Richard, a storyteller for Historic Philadelphia, Inc., will offer dramatic storytelling and a musical performance on his bass recorder.

On July 31st, Frank Murphy will present little known stories of George Washington during the time of the Revolution. Murphy is a teacher, historian, and author of the children’s history book, George Washington and the General’s Dog.  Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Renee Jacobs will partner with a Chester County librarian to host a discussion of Reading Olympics book, Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson.  

The event continues in the evening with a teacher reception so that educators can learn about park resources that empower teaching and join our education network.  Frank Murphy will share his research and his writing methods with the teachers during the event.  

On Saturday, August 2nd, educator, historian, and author of the children's book, Patriots of African Descent in the Revolutionary War, Marion T. Lane will share the story of her ancestor, Issac Brown, and his experience as a sergeant in General Washington’s Continental Army at Valley Forge.

Following Dr. Lane will be Malfalda Thomas-Bouzy, cultural ambassador, choreographer & dancer, who will lead an interactive session of dancing and drumming to demonstrate how the rich heritage of African storytelling, music, and song survived from one continent to another and became sources of strength and courage from colonial to contemporary eras. 

The Voices of Valley Forge team is grateful to the park partners who share the vision and the passion to honor the many cultures of our country through literature, and visual and performing arts: The Encampment Store, The Friends of Valley Forge Park, The Legacy of Love Foundation, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, Valley Forge Alumnae Chapter, Historic Philadelphia, Inc, Once Upon A Nation.

[Submitted by Rhonda Buell Schier, Chief of Interpretation and Education]

Southeast Region
Lieutenant Jessica Sharpe Honored For Excellence

Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin presented Lt. Jessica Sharpe, a Public Health Service consultant in Southeast Region, with the U.S. Public Health Service Achievement Medal for her work in 2013.

Specifically, Jessica worked closely with Virgin Islands National Park staff to tackle deficiencies in the management of a wastewater treatment plant, which became inoperable before the issues could be addressed. Jessica developed action plans for problem assessment with a goal of bringing the system back in use while complying with disposal requirements.

As a result, a project manager was assigned to document the system, provide staff training, assist with system operation, implement necessary changes, and optimize overall efficiency for wastewater treatment.

An Atlanta native, Jessica has served as a Public Health consultant with the NPS since August, 2012 and has earned a reputation as a leader who is willing to take on issues that the Service has wrestled with for years.

“I’m proud of the team effort at Virgin Islands to make real progress toward solving a decade-old problem that improves the quality of life for residents, visitors, and the fragile environment on St. John,” she says.

Regional Director Austin echoed the praise for her work: “Water resources are near and dear my heart so I am particularly pleased that Jessica didn’t shy away from a complex situation and has truly made a difference. She’s shown technical expertise and a dedication to her duties that really shines a light on the tremendous work our Public Health Service partners do for us on a daily basis.”

[Submitted by Marianne Mills,, (404) 507-5613]

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Fort Larned National Historic Site (KS)
Youth Photography Workshop Held

Fort Larned National Historic Site hosted a photography workshop for young adults on Saturday, June 21st. 

The park received a grant from the Golden Belt Foundation to cover the costs of enlarging, mounting, and displaying photos taken during the workshop. 

A professional photographer led the workshop with a field trip in and around nine historic buildings and parade ground. All 30 participants found creative inspiration through the lens of a camera. 

[Submitted by Ellen Jones]


Healthy Parks Healthy People Program
Five Healthy Parks Healthy People Detail Positions

The National Park Service Healthy Parks Healthy People program is seeking applicants for short-term detail assignments, NTE 120 days, with five openings – policy analyst, business plan development lead, communications liaison (two positions), and partnerships coordinator.   The specific positions and details are described below. The start date(s) for these positions are expected to begin on or about July 15th, but the dates are flexible. The application deadline is July 11th.

Healthy Parks Healthy People detail positions will be focused on specific projects:

  • Policy Analyst – The person in this position will be responsible for representing health promotion aspects pertaining to the revisions of NPS Public health Policy, Directors Order 83. More information can be found at this google drive link.
  • Communications Liaison, 1 –The person in this position will serve as a liaison to WASO Communications, and AD Communications, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support promotion of the 2nd Healthy Parks Healthy People International Congress and EXPO that is being co-hosted by the NPS and CDC in Atlanta, July 2015. More information about the conference can be found via this conference website.
  • Communications Liaison 2 – The person in this position will serve as the primary point of contact in preparing for and supporting the successful migration of the Healthy Parks Healthy People website to the content management system.
  • Business Plan Development – Te person in this position will be responsible for planning and scoping activities to prepare for the development of a Healthy Parks Healthy People business plan. This position will coordinate activities in collaboration with the NPS Comptroller’s office. One trip to DC is anticipated.
  • Partnerships – The person in this position will assist with coordinating activities associated with Healthy Parks Healthy People partnership development with a focus on partnership development in conjunction with the 2nd Healthy Parks Healthy People International Congress and EXPO in Atlanta in 2015. In addition, this position will develop a Healthy Parks Healthy People Partnership MOU template that can serve as the basis for agreements with national partner organizations.

Work products will be supervised by the Healthy Parks Healthy People chief, based in the Service’s Office of Public Health. Detailees are expected to be largely self-sufficient in planning, designing, and managing the projects assigned with a minimum of oversight. Skilled candidates, with demonstrated experience in filling these positions from any division or rank within the NPS will be considered. The start date is negotiable, but preferably as soon as possible.

The Office of Public Health will reimburse salary for these details. The details will be located at the applicant’s current assigned work location and will not involve travel, unless otherwise specified. Positions will vary in length, generally from 60 to 120 days. This will be a lateral appointment only and will not result in a temporary promotion. These details will create an excellent opportunity for career development and growth, as well as opportunities for senior staff  to make a meaningful contribution to advancing key aspects of Healthy Parks Healthy People work.

Interested individuals must submit their application package electronically including:

  • A paragraph stating your interest;
  • A brief resume or description of the relevant expertise and skills possessed by the applicant (see list above);
  • Time frame you are available;
  • Written consent from your supervisor.

Application packages should be received by July 11th and should be sent by email to Diana Allen (202-360-6251,

Pacific West Region
GL-0025-9 Protection Ranger (Lateral)

Dates: 06/27/2014 - 07/15/2014

Lassen Volcanic National Park is seeking applicants interested in a non-competitive lateral reassignment to a permanent protection ranger position at the GL-9 level.

The person selected will serve as a Level 1 commissioned ranger responsible for performing law enforcement and emergency service duties, including:

  • Detection, investigation, apprehension, detention, and prosecution under provisions of applicable laws, rules, and regulations enacted to insure the protection and safe use of park resources;
  • Educates the public about the park's resources;
  • Provide emergency medical services and performs search and rescue;
  • Provide preventative search and rescue (PSAR) education to visitors and employees.

The person in this position will serve as one of four permanent field law enforcement rangers working in the park. Work will be performed independently in a 106,372-acre federal park with exclusive and proprietary jurisdiction that receives approximately 400,000 visitors per year. Ranger staff responds to more than 400 incidents per year. 

This is a full-time permanent position. 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 ft 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.   Limited housing is available for rent in Mineral. Government housing may be available. Cost of living is moderate. Public schools are limited in Mineral with only preschool through sixth grade available.  There are a variety of education institutions located in Red Bluff, Redding, and Chester, California. Community colleges are available in Red Bluff and Redding, Ca.

Candidates must currently possess a Type I NPS law enforcement commission in order to be eligible. Applicants must also be currently certified at the EMT-Basic level, at a minimum. 

Interested individuals should email the following documents to the Human Resources Office by July 15th:

  • 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)
  • Verification of a valid NPS Law Enforcement Commission (picture omitted)
  • Copy of your current National Registry EMT-B (or higher) certification (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 electronically received in the Human Resources Office Office by COB on July 15th. Please send application packages via email to   Please list in the subject line of the email:  LAVO GL 9 LE Ranger Lateral

For additional information about the detail and the position, please contact Ranger Operations Supervisor Ronald Martin at 530-595-6155 or

[Submitted by Ronald Martin,, 530-595-6155 ]

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve (CO)
GS-1603-6 Facility Services Assistant

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is seeking to fill a term facilities services assistant position for 13 months, with extensions possible for a total of four years.  

The position will be full time during the busy summer season and go to part time (schedule flexible) during the winter months.  Responsibilities include FMSS, CESS, PST, PMIS and myriad other duties, including researching and purchasing for the facilities branch and helping keep the park operating smoothly.  

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

Contact Chuck Tomkiewicz at 719-588-8090 for more information.

It closes on July 14th.
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