The Morning Report

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Recent Editions  


Mount Rainier National Park (WA)
Major Search For Missing Hiker Unsuccessful

On Saturday, July 12th, Edwin Birch, 64, of Tacoma, Washington, set out with his son to hike a 19-mile stretch of the Wonderland Trail. 

Birch dropped his son off at White River and then drove to the Box Canyon trailhead. The plan was for the son to hike south to Box Canyon, with Birch hiking north to White River, crossing paths on the trail midway.  Around 3:30 p.m., father and son intersected on the trail at an elevation of approximately 6,600 feet near Indian Bar, then continued on their respective ways. 

After arriving at the Box Canyon trailhead around midnight, the son retrieved the car and drove to pick up his father at White River. When his father did not appear, he notified park rangers at the White River Campground at 1:30 a.m. 

Formal search operations were begun on Sunday morning and continued for six days. Ground operations included 106 searchers – NPS rangers, volunteers from Bellingham, Central Washington, Everett, Inland, Olympic, Portland, Seattle, Skagit, and Tacoma Mountain Rescue, and rescue dog teams from Everett, Kittitas, and Lewis Mountain Rescue.

Participating in air operations were Northwest Helicopters, CH-47 Chinook aircraft from the 214th US Air Reserve out of Joint Base Lewis McChord, and a FLIR/NVG equipped Blackhawk from CBP’s Marine Division in Bellingham.

The search was concentrated in the drainages surrounding the point last seen and the intended travel route. No signs or clues of Birch's whereabouts were discovered.  On July 19th, the search operation transitioned to a continuous limited search.  All searchers are out of the field.  The park will continue to look for Birch, with rangers checking the area and interviewing hikers as part of their normal patrol duties.

[Submitted by Geoff Walker, IC]

Buffalo National Scenic River (AR)
Seriously Injured Hiker Evacuated From Backcountry

On the evening of July 14th, an 18-year-old Jonesboro, Arkansas, man slipped and fell while attempting to cross a rock gap at the top of Eden Falls off the  Lost Valley trail. He took an initial fall of 10 feet before he was stopped momentarily by a ledge, but the wet conditions caused him to once again slip and fall another 15 to 20 feet.  

His hiking companion lost sight of him after the final fall but was assisted in reaching him by two University of Arkansas students who were also hiking in the area. Due to lack of cellular coverage, other hikers traveled out from Lost Valley to call Buffalo National River dispatch.  

Once the page was received, Buffalo River Search and Rescue (BUFFSAR) team members were mobilized, with the three young men assisting team members with the recovery. BUFFSAR volunteer and EMT Chad Wilt was the first rescuer to  arrive at Lost Valley and was led to the victim’s location in a slot canyon by the two assisting hikers. Although badly injured, the victim was conscious, but couldn’t remember the events of the fall.

Those assisting with the search and rescue efforts were Air Evac, Mennonite Services, North Arkansas Medical Regional Medical Center EMS, Carroll County, Mount Sherman Volunteer Fire Department, and Ponca Volunteer Fire Department.

The teams performed a high angle rescue to bring the victim back along the trail that leads to the top of Eden Falls. He was then evacuated – partly by litter team and partly by all-terrain vehicle and litter trailer – to the trailhead. From there he was transported by ambulance to Compton and then air evacuated to Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri.  

At the time of the report late last week, he was in intensive care but in stable condition. The incident was managed under a unified command system between the National Park Service and the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.

[Submitted by Keith A. Jefferson]


Maggie L Walker National Historic Site (VA)
Park Commemorates Maggie Walker’s 150th Birthday

"She didn't just sit back and wait for somebody else to do what she felt was right. She showed up. She stood up. She fought. And we are a better Richmond, we are a better Virginia, and we are a better America because of it. You do the same. She made a difference and so can you." 

Such was the call to action issued by Virginia Delegate Jennifer McClellan at the park’s commemoration of the 150th birthday of Maggie Lena Walker.

The mission that Maggie Walker set for herself and her fraternal organization more than a century ago – the struggle for a more inclusive and equal picture of democracy – resonates today in our own time, and that connection was the underlying message for Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site’s commemoration of her birth 150 years ago this month.

On July 12th and July 15th, the park offered special programs to celebrate the birthday, including a community-based “Common Good Fair” to connect visitors with local community engagement groups working to make a difference in the Richmond area, much in the same way that Maggie Walker made change in her community in her time. 

Programs also included arts projects by local Girl Scouts, the graduation ceremony for an annual Youth Leadership Institute, and a ranger-led bus tour entitled “Maggie Walker’s Richmond” that visited sites associated with her life, including many that have languished or been redeveloped over the last few decades.

The capstone event on Tuesday evening, the 150 anniversary of her birth, illuminated Walker’s life through the words and stories of the people who lived during her time, read by rangers, park volunteers, and Walker’s 16-year-old great-great granddaughter.

With a capacity crowd in the sanctuary of the historic Third Street Bethel AME Church, the program – entitled “’We Cannot Stand Alone’ – A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Maggie Lena Walker” – focused on three pillars of her work: civic engagement, economic empowerment, and education.

To illustrate the continuing relevance of that work, the program also featured remarks by individuals working in those fields today – Virginia Delegate Jennifer McClellan, Ida McPherson, the director of the Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise, and Viola Baskerville, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

The program culminated with a procession from the church to the steps of Maggie Walker’s home, where guests placed 150 flowers, one for each year since her birth.  Initially distributed to visitors as they arrived for the program, the flowers served as symbols and reminders of their individual commitment to a shared goal of community progress -- a powerful tribute to the life and legacy of Maggie Walker.

The programs were included as part of the National Park Service’s “Civil War to Civil Rights” commemorations, taking place on the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement. 

Maggie Walker was born in the Confederate capital during the final year of the war.  Her mother was a free African American working in the home of Unionist spy Elizabeth Van Lew and her father was a Confederate soldier and nurse at Chimborazo Hospital. 

For the next 70 years, Walker’s life and work reflected the challenges faced by African Americans in the South in the post-war years during Reconstruction and Jim Crow.  By managing a large headquarters, running a newspaper, opening a department store, and most importantly, chartering a bank, Walker laid the foundation for a burgeoning black middle class. 

Her work to empower African Americans, women, and children through education, entrepreneurialism, and civic engagement transformed her community and set an example for communities nationwide.

[Submitted by Elizabeth Paradis Stern]

Office of Communications
MOU Signed With Boys And Girls Clubs Of America

Through the years, many National Park Service sites have partnered with local chapters of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to provide youth outreach.

On July 18th, Director Jarvis and Boys & Girls Clubs of America President and CEO Jim Clark signed a national memorandum of understanding that encourages every NPS site and BGCA club to develop joint field trips and programs that encourage outdoor recreation, citizen stewardship and healthy lifestyles.

NPS employees can access a guidebook and other materials related to the partnership at the “More Information” link below.

“This collaboration unites the resources and expertise of two organizations that are committed to youth engagement and development,” said Jarvis. “It will introduce thousands of children to their national parks – magnificent places where they can play, learn, serve, and work outdoors.  This type of personal contact with nature benefits us in so many ways physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.”

Under the agreement, National Park Service sites and Boys & Girls Clubs chapters, including affiliated centers on U.S. military installations worldwide, will leverage their resources to expand the reach of both organizations. They will create joint recreational, educational and developmental programs that emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles.

“Our exciting new partnership with the National Park Service will create many opportunities to expand the educational horizons of the young people at our Clubs,” said Clark. “From hands-on environmental service projects, to behind-the-scenes field trips with park rangers, to apprenticeship programs with the Youth Conservation Corps, the sky ids the limit on the benefits we foresee from bringing together our two great organizations.”

The following members of the GOAL Leadership Academy were instrumental in seeing the national MOU through to fruition – Ernestine White (WASO), Janine Da Silva (NEBE), Katherine Faz (GRSA), Jill Hamilton-Anderson (LECL), Craig Hansen (KNRI), Katherine Cushinberry (CALO), Martin Christiansen (SAHI), and Gloria Lee (FOPU). 

[Submitted by Kathy Kupper]

 More Information...
Southeast Region
Regional Office Closed Due To Power Outage

The Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center, which houses Southeast Regional Office, will remain closed for the balance of the week due to an ongoing power outage. The regional office will therefore remain closed as well, with employees either on administrative leave or teleworking if appropriate.

GSA is working to restore normal building operations and minimize further disruption.

[Submitted by Marianne Mills]

Pacific West Region
Kevin Hendricks Selected As San Francisco Maritime Superintendent

Kevin Hendricks has been selected as the new superintendent for San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. He is currently the chief ranger at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  

Hendricks will begin his new position in September, succeeding former superintendent Craig Kenkel, who recently became superintendent at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

“Kevin has great passion and respect for maritime resources,” said Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz.  “He is a proven leader who will continue the proud tradition of partnerships and innovation at San Francisco Maritime.  He is well prepared for success in this position and we are delighted to welcome him to the San Francisco Bay Area!”

With a career in the National Park Service spanning nearly 30 years, Hendricks’ responsibilities have covered a wide variety of issues, such as managing public use and visitor services, wilderness management, wildland firefighting, emergency services, law enforcement, and fee collection.  

In his role as a member of senior management teams, he has collaborated on a variety of complex park issues, including international sister park relationships, risk management and mitigation, interdisciplinary planning, policy development, and private lands issues.  He has also served on, and chaired, the National Wilderness Leadership Council.  

Hendricks served as the acting superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park in 2010-11, where he dealt with a number of challenging issues such as development of renewable energy sites adjacent to the park.  With much of his time spent in large parks of the western states, Hendricks says that he is eager to oversee the different types of resources at San Francisco Maritime.

“I’ve had a life-long interest in ships, sailing, and the stories of those who went to sea or made their living on the water,” said Hendricks. “I’m extremely excited about this opportunity to lead such an important park in such a great city, and I look forward to working with the staff, the community, and the park partners to protect and promote our rich maritime history.”

Hendricks earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1984.  After working as a volunteer in bear management at Yosemite National Park, he became a temporary ranger at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in 1986.  

His permanent career with NPS started in 1989 as a park ranger at Fort Pulaski National Monument in Georgia.  He then worked at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada and Arizona, and at Olympic National Park in Washington before moving into his current position at Sequoia and Kings Canyon.

A California native, Hendricks currently lives in Three Rivers, California, with his wife, Nancy, who works as the environment protection specialist for Sequoia and Kings Canyon.  He and Nancy travel extensively in their free time. 

Hendricks also enjoys a variety of outdoor pursuits, including hiking, kayaking, and sailing.  A novice but passionate sailor, he has crewed in Pacific Northwest races, crossed the South Pacific in a 36-foot sloop, and enjoys casual sailing with friends.  Hendricks remarked, “I’m excited about experiencing the Bay Area sailing scene.”

Lowell National Historical Park (MA)
Park Participates In Civics Day For Elementary School Students

Lowell Public school third graders had the opportunity to learn how their community works during the inaugural district-wide civics day on Wednesday, June 4, 2014.  The students got the opportunity to visit numerous public institutions from Lowell City Hall to Pollard Memorial Library, from the police and fire complex and post office to Lowell National Park’s visitor center.

Lowell Civics Day gave students the opportunity to become more aware of different aspects of their community and become more aware of how local, state and federal government has an impact on the life of the community.

While visiting Lowell National Historical Park’s visitor center, located in the heart of downtown Lowell, each student got a "Passport Book” – a miniature version of the NPS Passport book. The “passport” introduced and provided a few fun facts about the greater National Park Service. Students stamped the passports with the Lowell National Historical Park stamps.

Students then joined Rangers Resi Polixia, Emily Levine and Charly Chea in fun and participatory activities and dialogue about Lowell NHP and their national park service stories.

[Submitted by Philip S. Lupsiewicz]

 More Information...


Southeast Region
GS-0025-15 Superintendent

Southeast Region has issued an announcement for a superintendent for the Outer Banks Group, which includes Cape Hatteras NS, Fort Raleigh NHS, and Wright Brothers NM.

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 August 11th.
 More Information...