The Morning Report

Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Buffalo NR - AR
Injured Climber Rescued In Difficult Nighttime Operation

On the afternoon of November 30th, BUFFSAR, the park’s search and rescue team, was activated for a high angle search and rescue mission involving a fall in the Ponca Wilderness near the Hemmed-in-Hollow Falls area. 

Camron McLaughlan, 21, of Ozark, Missouri, was free climbing a vertical cliff when he fell from near the top of the approximately 150-foot-high bluff onto a ledge. He fell approximately 25 feet and landed on a ledge that was the size of a large round dining table. His companion ran up the very steep trail to a point where he had cell phone coverage and called for help. 

ICS was immediately put in place, with Ranger Melissa Moses as the incident commander. Members of BUFFSAR were split into squads and positioned themselves above and below McLaughlan. The high angle squad traversed the rim of the canyon along a game trail that mirrors the ledge of the 209-foot-high waterfall. District Ranger Jason Flood rappelled down to him to begin initial treatment while the squad set up the lowering system. 

As the litter reached the victim, litter attendant Logan Tucker had to wedge himself against the cliff face, as the ledge was too small for an additional person. Due to the height of the cliff, additional rope was added to the lowering system using a fisherman’s knot. After packaging McLaughlan, the litter was lowered in a horizontal position approximately 130 feet to a larger ledge and was then converted to a vertical position and lowered the remaining 150 feet through an extremely steep and heavily vegetated slope to the bottom of the bluff.

The litter squad took over the operation from there and began the carryout portion of the SAR. The terrain was extremely steep, with the litter team traversing over two-and-a-half miles of trail with a 1500 foot gain in elevation. Low angle belay systems were utilized on several occasions due to the steepness of the terrain. BUFFSAR brought McLaughlan to the trailhead at approximately 3 a.m. The waiting ambulance took him to North Arkansas Regional Medical Center in Harrison for initial treatment.

Within a matter of a few hours, the weather turned very quickly from a high of 73°F to 33°F, with a wind chill factor of 17°F, and it began sleeting.

This rescue, which occurred entirely at night and with rapidly deteriorating weather, was one of the most technically complex rescues in Buffalo National River's history and serves as an excellent example of interagency teamwork.

In addition to the Buffalo National River protection rangers and BUFFSAR volunteers, groups participating in this operation included Alpena VFD, Arkansas Forestry Commission, Boone County Sherriff’s Office, Carroll County Sherriff’s Office Rescue Team, Compton VFD, Harrison Fire Department, Mennonite Disaster Services, National Park Service Fire Module, Newton County Sherriff’s Office, North Ark Regional Medical Center Ambulance, Tri-County Search and Rescue, and the Steel Creek Campground Hosts. In all, about 60 people were involved in the operation. Hot food and beverages were provided by the Red Cross to the members of the rescue party, who were more than ready after a major exertion and a 30-degree temperature drop.
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Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
New App Advises Visitors On Geyser Eruptions

The largest concentration of active geysers in the world—approximately half of the world’s total— is found in Yellowstone.

You can now discover the natural wonder of the most famous geyser of all, Old Faithful, and other geysers with a free app that you can use during your visit to the park and at home. The new app will help you find out when Old Faithful and five other predictable geysers could erupt.

The app also features a link to a webcam so that you can view live eruptions of Old Faithful and other nearby geysers. The FAQ section provides answers to several of the frequently asked questions that explain how a few geysers can be predicted and other fascinating details about Yellowstone’s geysers.

You can follow the social media feed and see what’s happening in Yellowstone by browsing the park’s Twitter, YouTube and Flickr sites. Because every eruption is different, the app’s photo gallery contains an array of geyser eruption photos.

The NPS geysers app was developed in partnership with Dr. Brett Oppegaard, Washington State University (Vancouver) and University of Hawaii, and the National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park and Harpers Ferry Center. The app was made possible, in part, by a donation from Canon USA, Inc., through the Yellowstone Park Foundation.

The NPS geysers app is now available in the Google Play Store and in the Apple App Store.

[Submitted by Al Nash, Public Affairs Officer]

Padre Island National Seashore (TX)
Thousands Gather For Release Of Cold-Stunned Turtles

On November 28th, members of the public were invited to watch the release of 89 green sea turtles that had been found cold stunned and rehabilitated. 

The release was held on the Gulf of Mexico beach in front of the Malaquite Visitor Center, where over 2,500 visitors cheered and watched the turtles swim out to sea.  Representatives from the National Park Service and other organizations involved in the rescue and care of these turtles assisted with the release. 

A cold stunned sea turtle is one that has become hypothermic due to cold weather. Sea turtles cannot regulate their body temperature, and when the water temperature drops below about 50 degrees Fahrenheit they typically become incapacitated and float to the water’s surface or wash ashore. If not located and protected quickly they often succumb to the elements, predation, or boat strikes.  

During the first half of November, the air and bay water temperatures dropped rapidly in Texas. The 89 were among the nearly 200 juvenile green sea turtles that were found cold stunned, rescued, and rehabilitated by several organizations and volunteers in the state. The green turtle is a threatened species in Texas.

After they were revived and temperatures warmed, the turtles were released into Gulf of Mexico surf waters, where they could disperse to warmer Gulf of Mexico waters further offshore or south.

The Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network, established in 1980, is a national network of volunteers that document sea turtles that are found stranded in the U.S.  Dr. Donna Shaver, chief of the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery, is the Texas coordinator for the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network. 

As Texas coordinator, she maintains the tally of sea turtles found on the Texas coast and provides technical assistance and training to others working in the state with stranded and nesting sea turtles. 

[Submitted by Donna J. Shaver, Ph.D.]

Canaveral National Seashore (FL)
Cold-Stunned Turtles Released From Apollo Beach

On Monday, December 15th, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released 22 Kemps Ridley sea turtles from the beach at Canaveral National Seashore. 

These turtles were part of a group of about 200 Kemps that were rescued off the coast of Cape Cod due to very cold water conditions. The ocean temperature dropped off earlier than normal this year and the turtles were caught before they could migrate south. 

Sea turtles can only handle water temperature above about 62 degrees Fahrenheit.  These 22 juvenile Kemps, weighing between five and ten pounds, were flown to Orlando then transported to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida. 

Canaveral National Seashore’s Apollo Beach district is a preferred release spot for recovering cold stunned turtles because it is close to the temperature and ocean conditions that the turtles should be experiencing at this time of year. 

Kemps Ridley sea turtles are critically endangered and one of the four species that nest in Canaveral National Seashore.  Along with NPS staff about 20 lucky visitors got to participate in the release.

[Submitted by Laura Henning, Chief of Interpretation]

Office of Communications
Cameron Sholly Named Midwest Regional Director

Cameron (Cam) Sholly has been named regional director for Midwest Region.

As regional director, Sholly will oversee approximately 60 national park units in 13 states and a workforce of over 2,000 employees.  The regional headquarters is in Omaha.

“Cam has the right blend of experience to take the helm of the Midwest Region,” said Director Jarvis.  “He is a proven leader and collaborator, with a demonstrated performance record in managing large operations and partnering at all levels.”

Sholly has served as the associate director for the Visitor and Resource Protection Directorate since 2012, overseeing a national portfolio that includes 30 program areas, 850 employees, and a budget exceeding $200 million. 

During his tenure, he has focused largely on improving the NPS safety program, interagency wilderness partnerships, and the quality and consistency of NPS law enforcement training.  His team also completed a wide range of national policies, reduced the NPS regulations backlog, and began a major realignment of the NPS wildland fire workforce to ensure better fiscal and operational effectiveness.

From 2009 to 2012, Sholly was the superintendent of the Natchez Trace Parkway, where he managed the eighth most-visited NPS unit in the country.  As superintendent, he oversaw multiple partnership projects, including a major rehabilitation of the Meriwether Lewis Death and Burial Site. 

He worked closely with Choctaw and Chickasaw nations on a variety of partnerships including completion of one of the largest Native American repatriations in the country.  He also helped energize new economic, tourism, and conservation partnerships with the city of Nashville, and many other state and local partners along the three-state, 444-mile corridor.  Sholly was named superintendent of the year for Southeast Region in 2011.

From 2005 to 2009, Sholly was the deputy associate director for visitor and resource protection in Washington D.C.  From 2002 to 2005, he was the chief of ranger operations in Yosemite National Park.  In 2008, he served on detail as special assistant to the NPS director responsible for a major projects portfolio that included assisting with a new national monument designation and multiple other projects.

“It’s a privilege to be appointed to this position,” Sholly said.  “The Midwest Region has incredible people, parks, and partners.  I look forward to working closely with the Midwest team as we move forward, together, toward the NPS centennial and beyond.”

Sholly is a U.S. Army veteran and was deployed to Operation Desert Storm.  He is also a six-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol.

Sholly received his master’s degree from Duke University in environmental management with concentrations in economics and law and policy.  He received his bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College of California in management.  He is a graduate of the Harvard University Senior Executive Fellows Program and the FBI National Academy. 

Sholly has been married for the past 19 years to Jill Sholly. They will relocate to Omaha in the spring.  

[Submitted by Jeffrey Olson]

United States Park Police
Captain Keith Rogers Receives Award From Southeast Region

On Friday, November 21st, Captain Keith Rogers was presented with a plaque from Jonathan Pierce, retired Park Police major and branch chief for law enforcement for Southeast Region, in appreciation of his dedication and service to the region.

Captain  Rogers relocated from the Washington, D.C. Field Office to Atlanta to become the regional law enforcement specialist in January, 2012, and recently returned to Washington, where he now holds the position of East District commander. 

[Submitted by Sergeant Lelani Woods, Public Information Officer]

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site (PA)
Edie Shean-Hammond Will Retire In January

Superintendent Edie Shean-Hammond will retire on January 3rd after nearly 39 years of service to the National Park Service.

Shean- Hammond started her career in 1975 as the director of public affairs for the old North Atlantic Region. Her first assignment with the NPS involved dealing with President Gerald Ford's well-publicized trip and fall at the Old North Bridge at Minuteman National Historical Park. Despite that traumatic beginning, she persevered and served in that position until 1995.

In 1995 she moved to Philadelphia with the creation of the Northeast Region and became the director of communications and tourism.

After a year at Independence National Historical Park as deputy superintendent, Shean-Hammond became the superintendent of Hopewell  Furnace National Historic Site as well as Northeast Region’s tourism director.

While at Hopewell, she revitalized the park, accomplishing significant preservation projects, incorporating natural resources and recreational opportunities into the park mission, and, most importantly, creating an open and welcoming environment at the park which brought in diverse individuals and changed the demographics of visitation.

[Submitted by Kate Hammond, Superintendent, Valley Forge NHP]

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (WV)
Gayleen Boyd Will Retire At Month’s End

Gayleen Boyd, administrative officer at Harpers Ferry NHP, will be retiring on December 30th with 42 years of service.

She began her NPS career in 1971 when she was selected to participate in the a Youth Conservation Corps summer program at Harpers Ferry Center. After completing this eight week program, she was hired by the center as a GS-1 park aide to complete a project for the Colter Bay exhibit at Grand Teton NP.

While still in high school, Gayleen worked in other temporary appointments. After graduation she began her permanent career with Museum Operations (today Museum Services) at the center, assisting with artifact conservation in the labs and finalizing conservation reports for parks. In July 1975, Gayleen resigned to spent more time with her six-month-old twin sons.

In April 1976, she returned to the NPS at Harpers Ferry NHP. She has held various administrative positions in the park, including clerk-typist, administrative clerk, technician, and budget analyst.

In 1994, Gayleen became the park's administrative officer, the position from which she is retiring. In 2008, she served as the park's acting superintendent and in 2014 she also served as the acting administrative officer for Catoctin Mountain Park.

"A tremendous amount of institutional experience and knowledge is getting ready to walk out the NPS door,” said Superintendent Rebecca Harriett. “Gayleen's passion and dedication to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the National Park Service as a whole will be greatly missed. Fortunately, I have her phone number!"

Gayleen and her husband, Marvin plan to travel to various national parks across the country. She is looking forward to spending more time with her family, including two granddaughters. When not traveling, Gayleen is also looking forward to having more time to organize years’ worth of photographs, gardening, crafts and putting her house in order.

Marvin and Gayleen will continue to reside in their Kearneysville, West Virginia, home, which they built in 2004. 

Gayleen would love to keep in touch with her NPS family and can be reached by email at

[Submitted by Rebecca L. Harriett, Superintendent]


Pecos National Historical Park (NM)
GS-0303-6 Administrative Technician

Pecos National  Historical Park has issued an announcement for an administrative technician.

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 December 31st.
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Natural Resource Stewardship and Science
Public Affairs Specialist (Detail)

The Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate is seeking candidates for a detail of up to 120 days as a public affairs specialist.

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 December 24th.
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