The Morning Report

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recent Editions  


Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Missing 13-Year-Old Hiker Found By Searchers

On the evening of July 28th, the parks' trail crew found a missing 13-year-old boy who had been separated from his hiking party while in the Arrow Peak (elevation 12,959 feet) area of Kings Canyon National Park on Sunday, July 27th.

The boy stayed overnight at the trail crew camp until he was airlifted out of the Bench Lake area of the park yesterday morning. Prior to the flight, a park medic evaluated him and found him to be uninjured and in good condition.

Dispatch received a call about the missing hiker from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office around 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon. The hiking party had departed from Taboose Pass in the Inyo National Forest and was headed for Bench Lake and Arrow Peak in Kings Canyon National Park.

A search began later that day. Among those participating in the operation were 25 National Park Service staff from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks who searched by ground and helicopter, conducted interviews, and planned for the next day’s operation. 

Incident operations concluded yesterday with 28 NPS employees involved, primarily in getting the boy to the helicopter landing zone and returning searchers to their normal work locations.

[Submitted by Dana Dierkes, Public Affairs Officer]

Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (NY,PA)
Man Survives Near Drowning In Delaware River

On the afternoon Saturday, July 26th, rangers responded to a non-fatal drowning, often referred to as a near drowning, that occurred at Staircase Rapids.

The victim was a young man who’d entered the water to swim from one raft to another. He was not wearing a life jacket and according to his companions was intoxicated. 

A man in the raft that the victim was swimming toward saw him struggling in the water. He did not know the victim (they had only met that day), but asked others in the raft who did know him if they thought he was alright or needed help. They said that he was okay and that he knew how to swim.

The man in the raft saw the victim's head bob under the water, though, and believed, correctly, that he was in the process of drowning. He entered the water, wearing his life jacket, swam to the victim and brought him to the Pennsylvania shoreline. The victim was conscious but displaying an altered mental state; it is unclear if this was due to the drowning or intoxication or a combination of both.

The rescuer then swam back across the river to the New York shoreline and ran to Kittatinny Canoes' Staircase Rapids base and had them call 911. 

Park protection rangers responded via patrol boat along with local police constables and fire and EMS personnel. Lumberland Volunteer Fire Department's boat was first on scene and took the victim to the ambulance that was waiting at Kittatinny Canoe's base. The victim was transported to Bon Secours Hospital in Port Jervis, where he was treated and released.

The incident is under investigation.

[Submitted by Joe Hinkes, Chief Ranger]

Lake Mead NRA - NV, AZ
Rangers Rescue Kayaker From Lake Mohave

Around 5 p.m. on July 24th, park dispatch received a call reporting that a man was struggling in the water near Nelson’s Landing on Lake Mohave. Rangers responded by boat and found the man floating motionless, holding onto a kayak.

The man said he was trying to swim across to the Arizona shoreline when the wake of a personal watercraft threw him from his kayak. He claimed he became separated from his life jacket, but no life jacket was found. He also claimed he was floating for around 30 minutes and that no bystanders offered to help.

Witnesses said he was floating in the water for between one and one-and-a-half hours and that an individual tried to rescue him, but that he refused assistance. They also said they did not see him wearing a life jacket.

Winds were 10 to 15 mph, creating six- to twelve-inch waves. Attempting to cross the lake while holding on to a kayak with no life jacket available was extremely hazardous to both the man and to boaters operating in the area. The man ended up more than a quarter mile north of his starting location and approximately 300 yards from shore.

Over the course of the preceding three days, three swimmers drowned in the park. None of them was wearing a life jacket.

[Submitted by Christie Vanover, Public Affairs Officer]


Acadia National Park (ME)
Acadia National Park Voted America’s Favorite Place

Acadia National Park has been named “America’s Favorite Place” in a nationwide poll of viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America.

Viewers were asked to nominate their favorite place in America in an online poll earlier this month, and the five finalists were Acadia National Park, Chicago’s Lakefront, Glacier National Park, Gulf Shores, and Lake Tahoe. 

Good Morning America made the announcement on July 24th during a live broadcast in Acadia National Park along the shore of Jordan Pond. 

“The competition was fierce,” said show host Robin Roberts. “Each of GMA’s favorite places finalists received tons and tons of votes, but, in the end, one stood out from the rest:  Acadia National Park, the crown jewel of Maine.” 

More than 60 people were on hand to cheer on the park as their favorite place in America. 

“We are proud and excited for Acadia National Park to have been named America’s Favorite Place,” said Superintendent Sheridan Steele. “This designation recognizes the park’s extraordinary scenic beauty and opportunities for hiking, biking, and paddling.  We owe a big thanks to our many partners for helping us protect the park’s resources and maintain visitor facilities.”

From its rocky coast to granite mountaintops, Acadia’s landscape offers spectacular scenery for visitors and a home for a great variety of plants and animals.  The park’s 48,000 acres protect mountains, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, and dozens of islands along Maine’s central coast.  At 1,530 feet, Cadillac Mountain is the centerpiece of the park and the highest point on the east coast of the United States.  Visitors to Acadia have endless opportunities to enjoy historic hiking trails, carriage roads, and scenic drives.   

GMA’s segment on the announcement of Acadia as “America’s Favorite Place” can be viewed on the ABC website at  

For photos of Acadia National Park, please visit the park’s web page at

For more information on Acadia National Park, please call 207-288-3338 or visit the park’s web page at

[Submitted by John Kelly]

Kings Mountain National Military Park (SC)
Passing Of Debra Duffie

Debra R. Duffie, a maintenance worker at Kings Mountain National Military Park, has passed away following a two-year battle with cancer.

Debbie began her NPS career at Kings Mountain in 1985 as a seasonal laborer and eventually gained her permanent status in 1988 as a tractor operator. She was later promoted to maintenance worker. 

Born in Kings Mountain, she was the wife of Oliver "Dean" Duffie and the daughter of Steve Turner and the late Joanne Turner. She worked for Kings Mountain National Park for 28 years and was a member of Hopewell Baptist Church.

In addition to her husband and father, Debra is survived by two sons, Cameron Jake Duffie, and wife, Hanna, and Cody Ryan Duffie and wife, Erica, both of Blacksburg; one sister, Joey Crawford, and husband, Doug, of Blacksburg; two grandchildren, Paislie Jade Duffie and Parker Jake Duffie., 

Funeral services will be held today at 11 a.m. at Hopewell Baptist Church with Rev. Eddie Bolin officiating. Interment will follow at the Grover, North Carolina, Cemetery. 

Memorials may be made to Hospice Care of South Carolina, 1612 North Limestone Street, Gaffney, SC 29340.

The Book of Memories is available at

[Submitted by Christopher Revels]

Ozark National Scenic Riverways (MO)
Ranger Marty Towery Retires Today

Big Spring District Ranger Marty Towery retires today.

Marty began his park career as a seasonal Big Spring maintenance employee during the summer of 1981 and through the years worked as a motor vehicle operator, boat operator, heavy equipment operator, and carpenter.  He also work as a fire control aide during spring and fall from 1988 through 1991 and was assigned to numerous western wildfires.

In 1991, after graduating from a seasonal law enforcement training academy in North Carolina, he served his first season as a law enforcement ranger.  After working one season in Yellowstone National Park (1992), he came back home to Van Buren and became a permanent protection ranger in February of 1993.

Throughout the years, Marty has received several special achievement awards and an exemplary act award and was presented a valor award by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and President Bill Clinton for his actions in rescuing a drowning man in 1999.

As a firearms instructor, firearms armorer and motor boat instructor, Marty has trained many park staff over the years and helped keep their skill sets sharpened to handle anything that came their way. 

Marty will retire as the Big Spring District Ranger, a position he served in for 12 years. 

Retirement plans include hunting, fishing, relaxing poolside, gardening, farming, gunsmithing, and playing guitar as a member of the Non-Lethal Tactics band. 

“I have many fond memories of serving the public, helping people in need and trying to protect the Ozark National Scenic Riverways’ outstanding resources,” he says. “I have had the privilege of working with some wonderful people during my tenure here.  Many co-workers, past and present, are now some of my closest friends, and I feel honored to have known and worked alongside them.”

[Submitted by Faye Walmsley]

Ozark National Scenic Riverways (MO)
Ranger Rick Drummond To Retire

Alley Spring District Ranger Rick Drummond will be retiring from the National Park Service today. He has been with the NPS since 1975.

Rick began his park career as a seasonal employee during the summer of 1975 and continued to work summers until he was selected permanently into a law enforcement ranger position in 1979. 

The only time he was away from Ozark National Scenic Riverways was during the winter of 1978, when he worked at Everglades National Park.

With service of over 39 years, Rick has been the longest-serving protection ranger at the park since its establishment in 1964.  Highlights of his career include his eight-year involvement in the D.A.R.E. program to keep youth away from drugs; big special event team assignments; performing boat rescues and patrols after Hurricanes Ike and Hanna; being stationed in Washington D.C. after 9/11; and assisting on wildfires on the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Idaho.  

“I will miss making personal contacts with our park visitors especially at the campgrounds.” He says. “It was a personal quest of mine to try to talk and visit with all the campers.  Those contacts have led to some lifelong friendships.”   

Immediately after retirement, Rick will be heading to Alaska for much deserved R and R.  He is staying in the Van Buren area, where he will be marketing Purple Boundary Tape. 

[Submitted by Faye Walmsley]

Law Enforcement, Security, and Emergency Services
Harry Yount Award Nominations Solicited

Nominations are now being sought for the 21st annual Harry Yount awards.

If you know a ranger who embodies the standards displayed by recipients of this award – initiative, professionalism, imagination, perseverance, competence, creativity, resourcefulness, dedication and integrity – be sure to submit a nomination for her or him.

This peer recognition award is given to a ranger whose overall impact, record of accomplishments and excellence in traditional ranger duties has created an appreciation of the park ranger profession on the part of both other rangers and the public.

Two points should be kept in mind in submitting nominations:

  • The Harry Yount regional and national park ranger awards are not intended to be solely lifetime or length-of-service awards.  Rather, they are intended to recognize individuals who meet the established award criteria whether at the beginning, mid-term, or end of their careers.
  • Eligibility for the awards is extended to any NPS employee who meets the criteria.  The award is not limited to law enforcement park rangers only.

Following are some of the particulars.  Full details and copies of the needed forms can be obtained by clicking on “More Information” below:

  • Nominations are to be submitted directly to the NPS Awards Nomination Portal no later than August 31st.  Because this is a peer nomination process, no supervisory approval is needed.
  • You may nominate deserving rangers who work in regions other than your own.
  • Each region will select a regional honoree who will receive a plaque and a cash award.

The national honoree will be selected from the seven regional honorees and will receive a cash award and a bronze bust of Yount during a ceremony in Washington D.C. next spring.

[Submitted by Travis Poulson]

 More Information...
Everglades National Park (FL)
Park Receives Keeper Of The Light Award

Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin recently presented Everglades National Park with the "Keeper of the Light Award" for its efforts to restore and interpret one of the nation's best preserved relics of Cold War history, built during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Although Everglades National Park was primarily established to protect wildlife, park managers responded to the gravity of the situation by issuing the U.S. Army a permit to build the missile base within the park. In 1966, 'A" Battery moved to the permanent missile site, HM-69, inside Everglades National Park.

The missile base was turned over to the park in 1979, and after its potential was championed by local veterans it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. In 2009, the history of the Nike Hercules Missile Base HM-69 was interpreted to the public for the first time.

Austin made special note of the extensive coordination and partnerships developed by the park with the Department of Defense, the Nike Veterans' Group, the South Florida National Parks Trust, the Nike Historical Society, Miami Dade County Police, and the George T. Baker Aviation School, which refurbished a 9,000 pound missile shell (pictured). It was delivered to the park with much fanfare in October, 2012, in time for the nation's 50th commemoration of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Congratulations go to Ryan Meyer, Leon Howell, Kirk Singer, and the park's Pine Island staff for creating an outstanding program about Cold War history in south Florida.

[Submitted by Mary Plumb, Public Affairs Specialist]