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The Morning Report

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

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Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
One Killed, Two Injured In Two-Vehicle Accident

On Friday, January 31st, a park employee called dispatch and reported an accident involving a car and a pickup truck on the South Entrance Road about three miles north of the entrance station.

A 24-year-old woman who was sitting in the back seat of the car suffered fatal injuries; the driver and front seat passenger suffered non-critical injuries and were taken to Flagstaff Medical Center. The driver and passenger in the pickup were not injured.

A winter storm that was producing sleet and snow prior to and during the accident may have been a contributing factor.

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service in coordination with the Coconino County medical examiner and an autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death.

[Submitted by Brandon Torres, Branch Chief of Emergency Services]

National Capital Parks
Man Sentenced Following Drug Dealing Conviction

On February 3rd, Terrin Anderson, 29, of Waldorf, Maryland, was sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by eight years of supervised release for distributing cocaine base and being a felon in possession of a gun.

Between April 14, 2011, and January 30, 2012, ATF and U.S. Park Police agents made eight controlled purchases of cocaine base from Anderson, totaling 308.8 grams. Anderson received a total of $11,000 for the drugs. The drugs were sold in different locations in Prince George’s County, Washington, D.C., and Oxon Hill, Maryland, including on National Park Service lands. 

On June 6, 2013, a search warrant was executed at Anderson’s residence.  Agents seized a pistol.  Anderson had previously been convicted of a felony and was prohibited from possessing a gun.  

The United States Attorney praised the Park Police, ATF, DEA and FBI for their work in the investigation.  

[Submitted by United States Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland]


White Sands National Monument (NM)
Interagency Team Documents Ice Age Tracks

An interagency team of scientists and technical specialists from the NPS, BLM, USGS and DOD joined together last month in an effort to document extremely fragile and ephemeral fossilized footprints with remote imaging technology.

The area of study includes a portion of a Late Pleistocene megatracksite within and around White Sands National Monument. Thousands of “Ice Age” fossil vertebrate tracks and track ways which date to approximately 20,000 years ago have been documented within the White Sands megatracksite.

 The trace fossil assemblage is dominated by proboscidean (mammoth) footprints along with associated camelid (camel-like), undetermined artiodactyl, and large and small carnivore tracks. These fossil tracks are preserved in soft gypsiferous lacustrine and playa lake margin sediments which are extremely fragile, ephemeral, and weather rapidly once exposed.

Monitoring of the fossil tracks preserved within the monument continuously reveals new fossil track occurrences, as well as documents the rapid deterioration of previously recorded fossil tracks. Traditional ground level monitoring and photogrammetry (the use of photography to capture high resolution imagery for remote sensing and analysis) of fossil trackways requires close proximity to the fossil tracks by the photographer.

This close proximity typically results in some ground disturbance and leads to the accumulation of modern human footprint impressions in the soft sediments adjacent to the fossil tracks. This potentially leads to overprinting of fossil tracks and damaging some fossil tracks not initially identified by the photographer on the ground.

In an effort to document the large number and diversity of fragile fossil tracks preserved over an extensive geographic area, an interagency team was assembled to support this project. Paleontologists, resource managers and aviation specialists from the NPS, BLM, USGS and the State of New Mexico worked with the staff at White Sands National Monument in a multi-month project planning effort to support the paleontological field work.

The Department of Defense provided high resolution satellite imagery for the area of the monument encompassing the megatracksite and authorized the BLM flight crew to fly an unmanned aircraft system – specifically, an RQ-16 Tarantula-Hawk (T-Hawk) – in the DOD restricted airspace over the park.

This proof of concept project represents the first time a T-Hawk platform has been used to support paleontological research/resource management. The aerial photography and videography enabled centimeter resolution and geospatial data collection while minimizing impacts and ground disturbances to the fragile paleontological resources. Additionally, use of the T-Hawk Platform represented a significant time savings by covering larger geographic areas and reducing the need for in-depth field reconnaissance. 

Resource protection is also a consideration as the use of the T-Hawk for aerial photogrammetry enabled data to be captured from the air without threatening the tracks through ground disturbances caused by foot traffic. A strategy of aerial and on-the-ground photogrammetric documentation has proven to be very successful for this project.

In addition to the aerial imagery, six of the most unique and best preserved trackways were identified and photographed using ground base photogrammetric techniques. The ground base photogrammetry collected sub-millimeter data (equivalent to a laser scanning) of the entire trackways. The extreme precision of the ground base photogrammetry will allow the tracks to be studied long after they have weathered away and enable the creation of exact 3-D replica models to be produced for future generations to enjoy and study.

The 3-D models will allow millions to enjoy the tracks virtually or in person with no resource damage, truly leaving no trace and protecting the actual location of sensitive fossil localities.  This project provided an excellent opportunity to compare the benefits and limitations of the two methods. The use of photogrammetry will likely yield opportunities for other resource management and interpretation applications, and support long term resource preservation. 

Several manuscripts will be developed for publication to describe these important fossil tracks and the technology and methodologies that were used in their documentation. The monument staff is very excited to be able to roll the new findings into comprehensive interpretive planning, development of interpretive media, wayside exhibits, and hands-on activities and 3-D manipulatables.

For information regarding the T-Hawk platform and any of the techniques discussed, please contact Jim Traub, at or 208-387-5931.

[Submitted by David Bustos, White Sands NP, and Vincent L. Santucci, Geological Resource Division]

Interpretation/Education Division
National Park Trust School Contest Underway

In honor of Kids to Parks Day, the National Park Trust is hosting a Kids to Park Day national school contest to help teachers and students visit their local parks.

The contest is student-centered – students write grants detailing why a particular class or maybe a school should receive a monetary award to visit a park on Kids to Park Day.

This national contest is open to all schools in the United States (grades pre-kindergarten through 12). Students can submit proposals to fund a KTP event at a park or public land/waterway in their community. Park scholarships up to $1,000 will be awarded to winning entries. 

The deadline for entries is Friday, February 28th.

[Submitted by Holly Fisher-Hickman,, 202-354-2188]

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Lake Mead National Recreation Area (AZ,NV)
Park Installs 600 More Solar Panels

Lake Mead National Recreation Area continues to “Go Green” with the addition of photovoltaic systems that both ensure energy conservation and provide shade to government vehicles.

More than 600 PV panels were installed on the tops of three shade structures in an administrative area parking lot. These panels generate energy by absorbing sunlight that is transferred to solar energy that can travel through electrical circuits to power electrical devices.

The 10,205 square feet of panels produce a total output of 158.6 kilowatts, which power the Lake Mead maintenance warehouse, the Interagency Communications Center and other nearby offices in Boulder City.

"This was a great project for a couple of reasons,” said Bruce Nyhuis, chief of the park’s maintenance and engineering division. “It demonstrates the National Park Service commitment to renewable energy. The new PV system will offset approximately 35 percent of the total energy used in our warehouse complex. Secondarily, this project has the added benefit of providing shade for vehicles, which really helps keep the interior of our vehicles cooler in our climate, as well as protection from sun damage."

Lake Mead NRA continues to make green goals. PV panels were added to the renovated visitor center and native plant nursery in 2013. Single-stream recycling bins are being added throughout the park, and the park’s Green Team is promoting recycling, composting and other environmental goals.

The construction project was funded by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act. The contractor for the project was SunWize, a sustainable energy contractor out of San Jose, California.

[Submitted by Taylor Nunley, Public Affairs Assistant]

United States Park Police
Park Police Confer Awards In January Ceremony

On January 16th, Deputy Director Peggy O'Dell and Acting Chief of Police Robert MacLean presented 63 awards to United States Park Police officers and civilians.

The awards included four unit citations, six chief's certificates, and seven lifesaving awards. 

[Submitted by Sergeant Lelani Woods, Public Information Officer]

National Mall and Memorial Parks (DC)
Patriot Award Presented To Volunteer Program Manger

Jenn Kays, the volunteer program manager for National Mall and Memorial Parks, was recognized recently for her work with the Operation Guardian/Wounded Warriors Program by the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve organization. Army Staff Sergeant James Pierce (park ranger/VIP coordinator) nominated Jenn for the Patriot Award.

An employee serving in the National Guard or Army Reserve or the spouse of a Guard or Reserve member may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for support provided directly to the nominating Service member and his or her family. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measures, including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.

James joined the National Mall and Memorial Parks VIP team in July, 2013, fulfilling his dream of becoming a park ranger. He wanted to recognize Jenn for her personal and professional efforts to assist him with his transition back to the civilian world. Her coaching and mentoring in the National Park Service mission and the park's volunteer program has helped him acclimate to his new position and become part of the NPS family.

[Submitted by Brian Hall,]


Zion National Park (UT)
GS-1101-11 Revenue And Fee Business Manager

Zion National Park has issued an announcement for a fee and revenue business manager.

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 February 14th.
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Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (OH)
GS-0199-5 Student Trainee (Archeological Technician)

Hopewell Culture NHP is recruiting for a student trainee (archeological technician), not to exceed one year.  The announcement is open only to current NPS student interns.  Click on the link below to go to the job announcement and to apply online. 

For information about the position, please contact Chief of Resource Management Bret Ruby at 740-774-1126.  For information about how to apply, please contact HR Specialist Gail Purifoy at 330-657-2370 X311.
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