Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Grand Teton National Park (WY) Lost Skiers Rescued During Major Winter Storm
Three skiers unintentionally ended up in the Granite Canyon backcountry on Friday, February 7th, prompting a search and rescue mission by park rangers the following day during a significant winter storm. Despite a high and rising avalanche danger, park rescuers successfully assisted the three out of the Teton backcountry by 9:30 p.m. the next day.
The threesome left the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boundary from Gate 1 at about 11 a.m. on Friday with the intention of skiing an area called Four Pines, adjacent to the ski resort. They mistakenly skied into Granite Canyon instead and became lost in Grand Teton’s more remote backcountry.
By 4 p.m. Friday, they realized they were lost, so they decided to dig a snow cave and stay put for the night. By Saturday morning, the group was out of food and water and only one of them was carrying an avalanche transceiver. They decided to send a text message to a friend indicating that they were lost and needed help.
Teton County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers received the call for help and notified park rangers at 8:30 a.m. The skiers were able to provide their location by GPS coordinates derived from their cell phone, and, through a text message, rangers determined that no one in the party was injured. Due to high winds and low visibility, a helicopter reconnaissance and rescue was not possible, so rangers prepared for a ground-based rescue.
Rangers spent most of the day weighing options on how to help the trio while analyzing the risk to rescuers. With concerns that the three might not survive a second night in the backcountry, rangers ultimately decided to attempt a rescue. If rescuers had encountered signs of slope instability, or if the avalanche danger had been any higher, they would not have attempted the rescue.
Ultimately, four park rangers departed the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on skis at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and reached the party at 7:30 p.m. The group was then escorted out of the backcountry and back to the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
[Submitted by Jackie Skaggs, Public Affairs Officer]
NEWS AND NOTES
Southeast Region Storm-Related Closures Continue Across Region
Southeast Regional Office and many parks throughout the region remain closed or are newly closed today due to the storm that is bringing snow, freezing rain and ice to many Southern states.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed a state of emergency declaration that includes all counties in the Atlanta area due to extreme winter weather conditions prevailing across central Georgia.
Closed today along with the regional office are Moores Creek, Chattahoochee River, Carl Sandburg Home, Kennesaw Mountain, the Outer Banks Group (Cape Hatteras, Fort Raleigh and Wright Brothers), Little River Canyon, and Russell Cave.
Kings Mountain, Cowpens and Ninety Six were closed on Tuesday and may remain closed today. Natchez Trace plans to open headquarters today, but may remain closed if weather conditions warrant. Cape Lookout may also close if weather conditions degenerate.
[Submitted by Marianne Mills]
Law Enforcement, Security, and Emergency Services IMARS Now Available On More Devices
The Service's Incident Management, Analysis and Reporting System (IMARS) is now available on more devices.
The work of the DOI IMARS team has paid off with the advent of the live database, both full version and mobile, being available on the Citrix portal. This means that government-owned devices have another way to access IMARS, even without the client software installed.
This also means, if working on a NPS network computer, you need not first login to that special IMARS VPN. Information is posted on the IMARS website on how to access this portal.
More information, including how to access IMARS on a government iPhone or iPad, is available by contacting John Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This is a brand new application, so please forward comments and experiences to your IMARS Improvement Council memeber or to John so that we might improve it for everyone.
[Submitted by John Evans, email@example.com] More Information...
Servicewide Call To Action Team Launches Second Phase Of Plan
Among the goals of the Service’s Call to Action plan aimed at preserving America’s special places is one that calls for promoting large landscape conservation to support healthy ecosystems and cultural resources.
As the Service inches closer to 2016, the team working on this action item, called “Scaling Up,” is launching into the second phase of its plan for attaining the goal, which is to help support broader engagement of NPS parks and programs at the large landscape scale. Over the past year, the Scaling Up team, comprised of 24 individuals from different parks and programs, has been working on strategies and tools to assist in this effort.
Why is this important? Our national parks, trails, heritage areas and landmarks reflect the history and cultures of this nation. Increasingly, whether urban or rural or large or small, the preservation of these places depends upon connectivity – linkages with neighboring places and people. Their future depends upon pursuit of shared goals by people working together across large landscapes.
In some respects, partnerships and linkages beyond park boundaries have always been a hallmark of the National Park Service. But the imperative of nurturing these linkages and scaling up partnerships to extend across whole regions, along rivers and trails, and between cities and countryside springs from the increasingly complex challenges of fulfilling the Park Service mission.
The scope of these challenges often transcends governing and property boundaries. The pace of change quickens, as climate change and its effects on land, water, wildlife, culture and people unfold. Land fragmentation, invasive weeds, water quality and availability, the quest for energy, even the survival of languages and stories and cultures all present challenges that extend beyond the boundaries of any individual park or trail.
Building on a history of partnerships, the National Park Service is joining others in partnered problem solving and broadening those partnerships across larger regions, whether in the Everglades ecosystem, the Crown of the Continent, the Chesapeake watershed, or many other locations.
These efforts are hard work, requiring management tools and skills in coordination, mediation, and facilitation of dialogue. They involve knowledge-building to include information at various scales relevant to managing water, adapting to the effects of a changing climate, or protecting wildlife or historic resources. And they require working with partners across large landscapes to develop structures and processes that strengthen dialogue, support shared actions, and enhance coordination. But, we have a history of doing that to build upon.
The Scaling Up team has focused on several initial steps for drawing upon shared knowledge and expertise with large landscape work. The first is launching the Scaling Up toolkit. This online resource identifies:
- Principles: A set of principles that should be considered when working at the large landscape scale
- Authorities: The laws and policies that allow the NPS to work outside of park boundaries
- Existing Initiatives: A list of nearly 100 examples of where the NPS is already working to “Scale Up” by connecting cultural and natural corridors and landscapes
- Resource Library: A set of documents intended to help you get started and encourage you to learn from other best practices
- Ways to stay engaged: From following a blog to signing up for the Scaling Up listserv
A second step is outlining actions for enhancing NPS engagement in large landscape work, including improving connections among NPS staff and the broader national community of practice for large landscape conservation. The Scaling Up team, in collaboration with the NPS Conservation Study Institute, began his effort by convening a workshop at the National Conservation Training Center in December.
The session brought partners from outside the Service together with Scaling Up team members and other NPS staff for two days of intensive work – briefly interrupted by a surprise drop-in visit from Secretary Sally Jewell, who reiterated that DOI efforts in large landscape conservation are a top priority.
Coming out of the workshop (a summary will be available soon), the Scaling Up team is following up on actions in several key areas:
- Communicating a narrative of how NPS has been, and is, involved in large landscape work and sharing that in multiple ways
- Highlighting ongoing efforts in particular large landscapes
- Expanding the Scaling Up community of practice with a clear strategy for engaging staff across NPS parks and programs
- Integrating large landscape conservation principles into the NPS Leadership Skill Set
You can find out more about Scaling Up and follow these efforts at: https://sites.google.com/a/nps.gov/scaling-up/home
[Submitted by Kass Hardy]
Death Valley National Park (CA) GL-0025-9 Protection Rangers (Laterals)
Death Valley National Park is seeking candidates for reassignment as GL-9 protection rangers. These positions require current Level I or II NPS law enforcement commissions.
Death Valley rangers are responsible for a full range of duties including frontcountry and backcountry law enforcement, marijuana interdiction, EMS, structural fire, wildland fire, and SAR. The selectees will be assigned take-home vehicles and have the opportunity for overnight patrols in the backcountry. Applicants must possess strong backcountry, law enforcement, and EMS skills. Current National Registry EMT certification is required. Parkmedic certification is desired but not necessary.
Death Valley consists of 3.4 million acres and is the largest NPS-managed wilderness outside of Alaska. The park is an environment of extremes with elevations ranging from -282 to 11,040 feet and temperatures from 0 to 130 F. While Death Valley is known for its high temperatures, dunes, and dry saline lakebeds, 70% of the park is above 3,000 feet and is home to piñon and juniper forests and bristlecone pines. Death Valley offers recreational opportunities that include backpacking, hiking, running, cycling, and canyoneering. World class rock climbing and mountaineering routes are found to the west of park in the Sierra Nevada, just two hours away.
These are required occupancy positions. Housing will either be at Cow Creek or Stovepipe Wells developed areas. For Cow Creek, basic commodities and dining opportunities are found three miles away at Furnace Creek. For shopping and entertainment opportunities, Pahrump, Nevada (one hour), and Las Vegas, Nevada (two hours), are reasonably close. For Stovepipe Wells, basic commodities are found next to housing. For entertainment and shopping, Lone Pine (1.5 hours) and Pahrump (1.5 hours) are also reasonably close.
If you have additional questions, please contact District Ranger J.D. Updegraff at (760) 786-3293, firstname.lastname@example.org, or District Ranger Jordan Mammel at (760) 786-3295, email@example.com. Interested candidates should submit the following:
- A copy of your most recent performance appraisal
- A current SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action
- A copy of your current NPS Level I or Level II LE Commission
- A copy of your current National Registry EMT certification.
Email your application package to Cathy Tittnich, firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, February 18th.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
GS-0025-12 Law Enforcement Specialist
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is currently recruiting for a GS-12 law enforcement specialist (supervisory protection ranger) position.
This is a complex and challenging position and the park is seeking a highly motivated and experienced person to join its visitor and resource protection team. In addition to typical law enforcement specialist functions (law enforcement training, commission management, oversight of law enforcement procedures, etc.), the person in this position oversees marijuana cultivation interdiction, a challenging program which has successfully curtailed illegal cultivation of marijuana and the associated resource damage in the park.
The law enforcement specialist also oversees the parks’ 24-hour communication center and a legal assistant. The marijuana interdiction program and other aspects of park operations offer the potential for high risk to employees and active risk management is a crucial part of all park operations.
The announcement closes on February 14th. For additional information, please contact Chief Ranger Kevin Hendricks at 559-565-3110.