The Morning Report

Monday, October 20, 2014

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INCIDENTS



Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Man Convicted Of Aggravated DUI And Attempted Child Abuse

On April 2, 2012, law enforcement rangers and emergency medical personnel responded to a single vehicle rollover accident on the South Entrance Road. 

Upon arrival, rangers discovered a two-year-old boy in the woods who’d been ejected from the vehicle.  The driver was suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.  Both were transported to Flagstaff Medical Center for treatment of injuries relating to the accident. 

The rangers contacted a special agent with the Investigative Services Branch and a joint investigation was begun. A federal search warrant was served and multiple interviews were conducted. 

On July 24th, Virgil L. Jenkins Sr. was convicted of aggravated DUI and attempted child abuse.  He was sentenced to 54 months imprisonment for each offense (concurrent) and ordered to pay various fines and restitution up to $10,000 to the boy and his family.

[Submitted by Investigative Services Branch]


NEWS AND NOTES



Wilderness Stewardship
Federal Agencies Sign Wilderness Agreement

On Friday afternoon, the federal land management agencies that make up the National Wilderness Preservation System signed an agreement that will guide interagency collaboration and vision to ensure the continued preservation of nearly 110 million acres of designated wilderness.

The agreement, entitled "2020 Vision: Interagency stewardship priorities for America’s National Wilderness Preservation System," will guide the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Geological Survey, all under the U.S. Department of Interior, and the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The document outlines interagency work and partnerships with non-government organizations for the management of wilderness. The plan emphasizes three broad themes:

  • Protect wilderness resources,
  • Connect people to their wilderness heritage, and
  • Foster excellence in wilderness leadership and coordination.

The 2020 Vision also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964, which was passed by Congress and led to creation of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

“The character of wilderness is unique because of its combination of biophysical, experiential, and symbolic ideals that distinguish it from other protected places,” said Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. “Wilderness can be a life-changing experience, and it’s part of our mission to preserve wilderness for future generations. Our challenge is to offer this experience to an ever-diversifying public while remaining true to our stewardship mission.” 

By working together, the NPS, BLM, USFWS and USFS and non-government partners have built a model of effectiveness and efficiency that will continue as they meet the goals of wilderness stewardship in the 21st century. During the next five years, the agencies will focus on four priorities:

  • Completing wilderness character inventories across the National Wilderness Preservation System using standardized interagency protocols and institutionalizing ongoing monitoring.
  • Fostering relevancy of wilderness to contemporary society by inspiring and nurturing life-long connections between people of diverse cultures and wilderness.
  • Strengthening commitment to and support of the interagency Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute to foster excellence in interagency leadership and coordination.
  • Conducting climate vulnerability and adaptation assessments across the National Wilderness Preservation System to improved ecological resiliency across broad landscapes. 

These interagency priorities will guide stewardship activities, projects, and events for all agency wilderness programs, the interagency Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, and the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center. The 2020 Vision updates a previous version and incorporates interagency research and management priorities.

[Submitted by Erin Drake, erin_drake@nps.gov, 303-969-2091]

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Yosemite National Park (CA)
Park Hosts World War II Marine Veterans

Yosemite National Park hosted a group of 32 World War II veterans and their families on Thursday, October 2nd.  The visit to Yosemite was part of the group’s annual reunion, which was held this year in Fresno.

The group of veterans was comprised of former Marines whose average age is 92 years old. They represent the remaining survivors of the 1st Marine Armored Amphibian Battalion (www.marineamphiblians.com). The 1st Marine Armored Amphibian Battalion originally comprised of over 830 men who were involved in the last three "super" battles of World War II. 

As part of this first-ever formed battalion, Marines were trained and deployed for combat within five months, with a mission to lead assaults on enemy-held beaches.  These special armored amphibians were created specifically for war in the Pacific Ocean to carryout assaults from sea, across coral reefs, and onto hostile beaches. 

On their trip to Yosemite, the remaining survivors were greeted in Yosemite Valley by a welcoming ceremony with military honor guard personnel and military chaplains at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. The group was then provided a ranger-led interpretive tour of Yosemite Valley by a park ranger who is an Army veteran. 

This was followed by a program which included presentations by several Yosemite park employees who are veterans of the Armed Services and Superintendent Don Neubacher.  A private screening of Gathering of Spirit was then shown for the former Marines and their families.  

Yosemite National Park currently employs approximately 100 veterans, representing all divisions within the park.  These employees represent all military branches; together, they have served in all recent conflicts, ranging from the Korean War, the Cold War and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

This special emphasis program is managed by U.S. Army veteran David Henderson.  This is an active program and the park welcomes several delegations of veterans groups each year.

[Submitted by Kari Cobb, Yosemite Public Affairs Officer ]


Shenandoah National Park (VA)
Three Generations Of Rangering Come To A Close

Ranger Dixon D. Freeland retired last July from his duties as North District Ranger at Shenandoah National Park.

Freeland’s retirement marks the end of a family tradition of 100 years of collective service to the NPS. He followed both his father, Dixon B. Freeland, and grandfather, Edward Dixon Freeland, into the profession.

Dixon started his NPS career in National Capital Regional Office. After gaining permanent status, he went to work at Independence NHP, Shenandoah NP, Everglades NP, Biscayne NP, and Glen Canyon NRA. Freeland then returned to Shenandoah and worked there from 1997 to 2014, where he worked in all three districts and eventually became the North District Ranger.

Freeland is most proud of his work to combat poaching in the park, and was dedicated to protecting the resource and making sure that his employees returned home safely every day.

Dixon’s father and grandfather also worked hard to protect resources at assignments, spanning parks and offices that included Yosemite, Carlsbad Caverns, Wind Cave, South Florida Parks, Grand Teton, Shenandoah, Lassen Volcanic, Bryce Canyon, Great Smoky Mountain, Colonial, Blue Ridge Parkway, Saratoga, WASO Legislative Affairs, Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania, Manassas, George Washington's Birthplace, and Roosevelt/Vanderbilt.  

Both Dixon and his father continue to reside in the Page Valley of Virginia. Dixon’s wife, Christine Freeland, continues to work for the NPS as a facility management specialist for Shenandoah NP.

[Submitted by Dan Stark, Park Ranger, Grand Teton NP]


Biological Resource Management Division
USFS Forest Health Advisory System Reports Now Available

Loss of forest cover can have far-reaching impacts to the full range of natural, cultural, and visitor services within national parks. Healthy forests not only provide a beautiful setting for our outdoor activities, they are at lower risk for catastrophic wild fires, and are more resilient to changes in climate, and insect and disease attack.

However, as our nation’s forests grow older and more dense, they are at greater risk of attack and new invasive pests can become established. Fortunately, the USFS has developed projections which can identify tree species at risk well ahead of time. Armed with this and other local information we can be proactive about protecting and restoring our forests to a healthy state.

A Forest Health Advisory System (FHAS) web application was developed as the result of a partnership between USFS' Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team (FHTET) and the NPS Biological Resource Management Division (BRMD) to provide customized summaries for individual park units.  

FHAS provides a tool that can inform assessments of forest ecosystems and potential management opportunities while providing a landscape context for forest health and management issues.  Depending on local needs, these summaries can support:

  • Prevention and suppression activities for integrated forest pest management
  • Forest restoration efforts
  • Ecosystem resiliency management
  • Short and long term monitoring efforts
  • Fuels and fire management
  • Social, economic, and ecosystem services
  • Climate change research and management
  • Identification of potential wildlife habitat

If you would like to learn more about the partnership and anticipated applications of these products, please contact Pete Budde (peter_budde@nps.gov).

[Submitted by Pete Budde, peter_budde@nps.gov, 970-225-3559]

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Aztec Ruins National Monument (NM)
Four Corners Parks Host Pueblo-Maya Cultural Exchange

A cultural exchange hosted by Aztec Ruins, Chaco Culture, Mesa Verde and communities in the Four Corners brought together indigenous Pueblo and Maya youth for a week of place-based learning.


The cultural exchange participants made it clear that communication involves a lot more than words.  Between August 15th and August 21st, ten indigenous Maya youth from the Yucatan and Guatemala joined a group of fifteen Pueblo students for a week of cultural exchange, exploration and friendship. 

Despite a language barrier, the participants immediately found ways to relate, from sharing traditions to playing games late into the night.  A few of the students were already close from previous exchange experiences in the Southwest and Mexico.  Now all participants are exchanging photos and notes over Facebook. 


The theme of “Science of Place” incorporated traditional concepts for water management, engineering, home construction, and agriculture.  At Aztec Ruins National Monument the group harvested crops in the Heritage Garden and repaired a section of ancient wall with an archeologist.  They also shared traditional dances and songs with the public during a presentation in the Great Kiva. 

On a day trip to Mesa Verde, the students took a very special tour of the alcove sites.  Over lunch at picnic tables nestled in stands of pinioon and juniper, they gave presentations on water and pottery.


The gift of rain welcomed the students to Chaco Culture.  In two days they toured the major sites, discussed naked-eye astronomy, explored the engineering behind kivas, and shared ideas about corn in different cultures. 

“These students are dignitaries,” said Superintendent Larry Turk, “We are honored they travelled so far to share their culture.”


The cultural exchange wrapped up with experiences at Acoma and Laguna Pueblos, the homes of many of the Pueblo participants.  Laguna community members hosted a feast for the youth participants, organizers, National Park Service staff, and tribal government representatives.  Two of the Maya attendees led a calendar ceremony after the dinner.  The ceremony honors the ancestors and included the naming of both Maya and Pueblo ancestral sites.


Numerous partners organized and supported the cultural exchange, including Western National Parks Association, Friends of Chaco, the National Park Service (Youth Partnership Programs), Native Pathways, Indigenous Education Institute, and The Cultural Conservancy.  This was the third Pueblo-Maya cultural exchange, and plans are already in the works for future events.  Organizers hope to include indigenous Hawaiian participants and youth from other parts of Mesoamerica in the future.


Past participants have pursued higher education in anthropology and linguistics, and some are already professionals in the field of cultural tourism.  Youth say the exchange fosters cultural pride and encourages them to learn from each other how best to preserve their culture and share it.    

[Submitted by Lauren Blacik, Chief of Interpretation, Aztec Ruins]


Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NM)
Volunteers Remove Pounds Of Lint From Cave

Most of the 380,000 people who visit the park each year would be surprised to learn about the amount of lint and debris they unintentionally leave behind during their hikes into the Cavern.  

For 26 years, volunteer “lint pickers” have come to Carlsbad Cavern to remove lint from trails and fragile formations. The annual “Lint Camps” have been very successful due to the dedicated volunteers who call the caverns home for a week each year in October.  

This year, 22 volunteers from all over the US came together to collect lint from formations in the cave. At the end of their work week they had collected an amazing 51 1/2 pounds of lint, investing over 447 volunteer hours in the effort.

The Lint Camps began in 1985, although gathering of statistics did not begin until 1988. Over the last two-and-a-half decades, 386 volunteers have collected 495 pounds of lint from the cave and invested over 8,000 hours of work.

It’s tedious and time consuming work. Without the effort of groups like the Lint Pickers, staff at the caverns could not protect the resource as effectively. The park is very thankful to the volunteers for their dedication and hard work protecting this beautiful underground resource.

[Submitted by Valerie Gohlke, Public Affairs Specialist]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Badlands National Park (SD)
GS-0025-14 Deputy Superintendent

Badlands National Park has issued an announcement for a deputy superintendent.

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

For more information, contact Eric Brunnemann at 605-433-5280 or eric_brunnemann@nps.gov.

It closes on November 14th.
 More Information...
Cape Hatteras National Seashore (NC)
WG-5716-10 Engineering Equipment Operator (Detail)

Cape Hatteras National Seashore is currently seeking applicants interested in a 120-day detail/temporary promotion to the position of engineering equipment operator. 

There are two positions to be filled.  One is located on Hatteras Island in the Buxton, North Carolina, section of the park.  The second is located on Ocracoke Island.   All en-route travel and salary costs will be covered and park housing will be provided during the work assignment, although no meals and incidental expenses will be authorized while staying in the park.  The detail will begin in November.

The person selected will:

  • Operate one or more types of heavy equipment (grader, bulldozer, loader, backhoe, etc.) to excavate, backfill, grade, or level earth to rough specifications on such projects as roads, trails, construction sites, parking lots, drainage ditches, etc.  Operates in heavy sand and over and around sand dunes.
  • Operate dump trucks and tractor trailer vehicles to transport heavy equipment, haul supplies, materials, topsoil, fertilizer, etc.
  • Perform scheduled maintenance and adjustments on above equipment as well as routine repairs.
  • Adjust attachments for proper positioning and working order, making adjustments, usually without stopping the power unit or equipment.
  • Serve as crew leader on assigned projects with one to six workers.

For details about the position in Buxton, please contact Shelly Rollinson, Shelly_Rollinson@nps.gov or 252-475-9605. For more information on the position on Ocracoke Island, please contact Adam Collins, Adam_Collins@nps.gov  or 252-475-9705.  Additional information about the park can be found on the park website http://www.nps.gov/caha.

Interested individuals should discuss this opportunity with their supervisor and obtain concurrence prior to applying. Please submit the following information electronically to Larissa Estlow, HR Specialist, (Larissa_Estlow@nps.gov) by COB Friday, October 31st:

  • Brief resume – please detail your work history and any additional qualifications that would apply to the duties of this position
  • SF-50 showing current grade and title
  • Brief statement explaining your interest and qualifications for this detail. Please confirm in this statement your desired location (Buxton or Ocracoke) and supervisor’s approval (with name and contact information) for this detail if selected.