Monday, November 25, 2013
Mount Rainier National Park (WA) Rangers Deal With Two Simultaneous Nighttime Rescues
The rescue of an injured skier in the Panoramic Point area above Paradise on the night of November 21st was made more complex when word came to rangers that a snowboarder was reported lost in the same area.
At 3 p.m., word was received that a 36-year-old skier had fallen down a 200 foot ice field and had severely broken his knee. By the time rangers were able to reach and assess him, waning daylight precluded the safe use of a helicopter as a means of extrication, so rangers began setting up a technical raising.
As they were doing so, it became apparent that to conduct this operation safely, additional outside resources would be needed. Six members of Tacoma Mountain Rescue and six members of Olympic Mountain Rescue, all trained volunteers, responded from various areas around Puget Sound to help conduct the rescue. In the meantime, a tent and sleeping bags were sent up to the site to protect the skier from the elements.
Although skies were clear and calm overnight, temperatures were in the 20’s throughout the ordeal. The laborious task of carefully raising the injured man and sledding him down to Paradise in darkness took most of the night.
Around 9 p.m., while this rescue was underway, the park received a report that a 36-year-old solo snowboarder was lost in the Pebble Creek area above Paradise. The man had texted his girlfriend and reported that he was trying to get back to the parking lot, but that he was unable to do so because of the darkness. This area is on a ridge with steep ice fields and gullies along the way. Freezing weather had created a hard, slippery ice crust throughout the area, and a slip or fall could have proven deadly.
Ranger Kevin Ross, the incident commander for the rescue that was already underway, directed several of the rescue volunteers to begin a hasty search in the area of Pebble Creek. As they searched for the man, they called out his name. Around 12:20 a.m., they got a response.
The snowboarder was found near Pebble Creek. He was cold but otherwise in good condition and was able to walk out to Paradise.
All parties were safely taken off the mountain between 4:30 and 5:00 in the morning. The skier was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Puyallup.
[Submitted by R. Chuck Young, Chief Ranger]
NEWS AND NOTES
Workforce, Relevancy and Inclusion New National NPS Advisory Group Established
The National Park Service has a new advisory group. The Council for Indigenous Relevancy, Communication, Leadership, and Excellence (CIRCLE) serves as a resource for employees of the National Park Service to use to enhance their understanding of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian issues.
The central purpose of CIRCLE is to provide recommendations and guidance to NPS leadership regarding the hiring, retention and improved visibility of America Indian, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians throughout the NPS. This includes but is not limited to guidance on ways to improve NPS’ relationship with tribes, Alaska native corporations, Native Hawaiian organizations and other American Indian groups and organizations through improved communication and appropriate consultation.
CIRCLE will also provide recommendations for creating a more inclusive environment within the NPS by working to ensure that managers and supervisors have the cultural competency skills needed to create a supportive environment for indigenous employees. In addition, CIRCLE will serve as a forum for indigenous employees to come together and support each other through programs and resource sharing.
Join CIRCLE for a webinar on Thursday, December 5th, 2 p.m. EST. CIRCLE’s new leadership committee will be introduced and will talk about ways we can work together to bring NPS indigenous employees into focus on policy and other important issues.
CIRCLE is open to anyone in the National Park Service. Members of the leadership committee represent many aspects of NPS workforce and indigenous affiliations. Members include:
- Otis Halfmoon, Nez Perce- Tribal Liaison, National Trails Intermountain Region
- Alisha Deegan, Arikara/Hidatsa- Facility Operations Specialist, Mount Rushmore
- Dorothy Firecloud, Sicangu Lakota- Superintendent, Tuzigoot National Monument and Montezuma Castle National Monument
- Reed Robinson, Lakota- Superintendent, Devils Tower National Monument
- Albert LeBeau, Lakota- Cultural Resources Program Manager, Effigy Mounds National Monument
- Lloyd Masayumptewa, Hopi- Superintendent, Hubble Trading Post National Historic Site
- Karen Wilde, Muscogee (Creek)/Pawnee- Cultural Liaison, Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
- RoGene White Man, Northern Cheyenne - Budget Analyst, Bighorn Canyon NRA
- Daniel Kawaiaea, Hawaiian- Superintendent, Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site
For information or questions regarding CIRCLE please contact Otis Halfmoon at 505-988-6739 or Otis_halfmoon@nps.gov.
To register for the December 5th webinar, please send an email with the subject heading CIRCLE WEBINAR to Sangita Chari, Special Assistant, Workforce, Relevancy and Inclusion at firstname.lastname@example.org, by noon on December 3rd. Please include your name, title, location, email address and phone number in the body of the email. Contact Sangita at 202-354-2203 if you have any questions or concerns.
[Submitted by Sangita Chari, Special Assistant to the Associate Director, Workforce, Relevancy and Inclusion]
United States Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers To Retire
Chief Teresa C. Chambers will be retiring on December 5th after more than 37 years of law enforcement service. On Thursday, November 21st, she sent out the following message to members of the force:
“When, as a teenager, I applied for a position as a police cadet with the Prince George’s County (Maryland) Police Department, it was a decision that would set in motion a career in one of the most rewarding professions I could have chosen in my life. After serving two years as a cadet, I took the oath of office as a sworn police officer on December 5, 1978.
“This year marks the 35th anniversary of that date; and I have chosen it, December 5, 2013, as the day I will retire from law enforcement service. With more than 37 years of total service and more than 16 years as a chief of police, it is time to step into the next chapter of my life. Policing was a calling for me and has been everything I thought it would be – and more; and I wouldn’t trade one day of it for any other profession in the world.
“It has been a privilege to work alongside you in the United States Park Police. What you do here is unique and challenging and makes a difference in the lives of our citizens and those who travel here from foreign lands. As sworn officers, you are hometown soldiers, protecting our homeland, especially our important icons and memorials and those who visit them; as civilians, you provide the support, intelligence, expertise, and the myriad skills necessary to make it possible for the USPP to be successful.
“Thank you for the professional friendships and support you have provided me throughout the time I have known you. I hope that our paths continue to cross in the years to come.”
She can be reached in retirement at email@example.com
Pinnacles National Park (CA)
Climber Appreciation Days Draw Many Volunteers
During the last weekend of October, rock climbers from far and wide descended on Pinnacles National Park to take part in its first ever “Climber Appreciation Days.” Climbers passionate about Pinnacles volunteered their time and muscle to address resource impacts in popular cragging areas.
More than 60 enthusiastic climbers from as far away as Tucson, Arizona, and Boulder, Colorado, lent a hand during the three day event. Together they provided nearly 600 hours of volunteer labor, using fencing and dead and down woody vegetation to close extensive networks of social trails in two climbing spots. The group also built two log retaining walls to prevent erosion in another popular climbing area.
Tom Wilcox and his son, Ian, drove 220 miles from Yuba City, California, to participate in the event and volunteered all three days. Why did they make the three and a half hour journey?
“Pinnacles is our newest national park, a great place to enjoy climbing, and see California condors,” Tom said.
Congress recognized the special nature of Pinnacles, its rock spires, California condors and wilderness character by elevating it from national monument to national park status earlier this year. With its impressive rhyolitic spires and mild winter weather, Pinnacles has long been an outdoor climbing destination for San Francisco Bay area adventurers, including Royal Robins and David Brower. The first climbing guide to Pinnacles was published by the Sierra Club in 1955.
“The Pinnacles has a very special place in my heart not only for its unique beauty and magic,” said local climber Joe Denicola, “but also because it is where I learned to climb.”
During the Climber Appreciation Days, volunteers worked until 3 p.m., after which many took advantage of the autumn weather to climb or hike. The event was such a success that the local climbing community wants to make this an annual event, a way to be stewards and give back to a place with which they have such a deep connection. In the meantime, an especially enthusiastic group has offered to tackle smaller projects sporadically throughout the coming year.
Climber Appreciation Days was a cooperative effort between Pinnacles staff, Mountain Tools, a local retailer of climbing gear, The Access Fund, The American Alpine Club, Friends of Pinnacles, and Paradox Sports, a non-profit focused on providing outdoor experiences for people with physical disabilities.
For more information and photos, click on the link below.
[Submitted by James Bouknight, Trail and Fence Crew Supervisor] More Information...
Golden Gate National Recreation Area (CA) Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center Dedicated
In a moving Veterans’ Day ceremony, the National Japanese American Historical Society and its partners, the Presidio Trust and the National Park Service, dedicated the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center in the very building on the historic Presidio of San Francisco where 58 Nisei soldiers began their schooling in Japanese language skills in the dark, early days of World War II.
Even though their families were being sent to internment camps as they studied to be battlefield interpreters and headquarters interpreters, these young soldiers met prejudice with patriotism, and, along with their brothers-in-arms in the famous 442nd (“Go For Broke”) Regimental Combat Team, helped lay the foundation for full acceptance of Americans of Japanese ancestry as citizens in the post-war era.
Twenty years in the making, the restoration of the former site of the Military Intelligence Service marks the culmination of a public-private partnership in which federal preservation funds were matched by private contributions to restore the building and create exhibits inside.
Among the many successful rehabilitation projects on the Presidio, this one is unique in that it is the only site where the very people who made the history have returned to present their stories at the very site where the history was made.
Among those making remarks today were Dan Bernal, chief of staff for Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, whose support was instrumental in granting the seed money for the project, Craig Middleton, executive director of the Presidio Trust, and Howard Levitt, director of communications and partnerships for Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The humble former aircraft hangar on the edge of scenic Crissy Field, overlooking the Golden Gate, was crowded with over two hundred military veterans, their families, and community members, who were able to enjoy the new exhibits that speak not only to wartime service, but also to the lessons that the World War II experience tell us about the need for language skills and inter-cultural understanding in today’s world.
[Submitted by Alexandra Picavet, Public Affairs Specialist]
Southeast Region Chief Of Land Resources Jim Strotman To Retire
After a varied career in real estate and land acquisition, Jim Strotman is set to retire at the end of the year.
Jim started his NPS career in 1996 in Naples, Florida, as the chief of land resources for the Land Acquisition Office for south Florida parks (Big Cypress, Biscayne, and Everglades). His efforts there caught the NPS’ efforts up with Congressional expectations for the massive projects and expanded the office from 12 employees to 46.
In 2000, he left to work for the South Florida Water Management District to serve as department director for real estate, engineering and construction, then rejoined the NPS later that year when he moved to Atlanta to become the Southeast Region’s chief of land resources.
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Jim spent his childhood and teen years in both the South and the North, graduating from high school in Pennsylvania. After serving in the Navy in the early 1950s, Jim pursued a college education, graduating from Indiana University with a B.A. in economics and real estate.
In addition to his NPS service, Jim has worked for the states of Indiana, Washington, and North Carolina, multiple other federal agencies, and spent nine years in Germany working for the Army, the Air Force, the Department of State, and Radio Free Europe.
“I’ve never had a bad day in all my years in the workforce,” he says. “I inherited a great staff of Karol Neville, Connie Rousey, Gil Noice, and Tony Marshall, and was able to recruit Nancy Carter, Bonny Wright, DeAndrea Henton, and Annabeth Purcell. With succession in place, I can depart NPS Land Resources in comfort, knowing it will run as smoothly as ever. My time with the NPS has been the best period of my career. I am in my 17th year with the NPS and I can attest there is nothing so American as our national parks.”
Jim is only retiring from the NPS but not at all from a very active life. He hopes to become an investment analyst and is in the final stages of the selection process. If that doesn’t pan out, he will take out his woodworking tools and create new furniture for his vintage home and install a new kitchen.
A retirement party is planned for Jim on December 12th in the Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta. Remembrances can be sent to Jim via email. The party is being coordinated by Karol Neville and Connie Rousey.
[Submitted by Marianne Mills, Public Affairs Specialist ]
Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs Weekly Legislative Activities Report
The Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs puts out weekly reports on hearings, new legislation and other activities on the Hill. This report covers activities in Congress for the week ending November 22nd.
In order to obtain the full text of any of the bills that appear below, click on the following link: http://thomas.loc.gov/ . That will take you to Thomas, the Library of Congress legislative tracking system. Enter the bill number in the “Search Bill Text” block, being sure to also click on the “Bill Number” option below the block.
New Public Laws
Nothing to report.
On November 18th, the House passed by a vote of 388-1 H.R. 2061 (Issa, R-CA-49), to expand the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 to increase accountability and transparency in Federal spending, and for other purposes. The bill would require the Treasury Department to create government-wide data standards for agency financial reports, payments, budget actions, contract reporting, and grant reporting, direct agencies to use those data standards, and mandate that information be published online.
On November 19th, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (Sanders) approved with an amendment S. 1262 (Nelson, D-FL), a bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a veterans conservation corps, and for other purposes. The corps would employ veterans in conservation, resources management, and historic preservation projects on public lands, among other things.
On November 20th, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining held a hearing on S. 1341 (Tester, D-MT), a bill to modify the Forest Service Recreation Residence Program as the program applies to units of the National Forest System derived from the public domain by implementing a simple, equitable, and predictable procedure for determining cabin user fees, and for other purposes.
On November 21st, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation (Bishop) held a hearing on the following bills of interest to the National Park Service. The Department’s witness was Bruce Sheaffer, Comptroller.
- H.R. 915 (Kennedy, D-MA-4), to authorize the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs, and for other purposes. The Department supports the bill.
- H.R. 3286 (Daines, R-MT-At Large), to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to reimburse States that use State funds to operate National Parks during the Federal Government shutdown, and for other purposes. Six states donated a total of $3.6 million to operate certain national park units during the recent shutdown; $1.6 million in unexpended funds were returned to the states. The Department’s testimony stated that statutory authority was needed to reimburse the states for the $2 million of donated funds that were spent.
- H.R. 3294 (Young, R-AK-At Large), to establish a streamlined process through which a State may claim authority over and responsibility for management of Federal lands located in the State without claiming ownership of the land, and for other purposes. The bill would allow require the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to enter into agreements with states to manage Federal lands if certain conditions are met. The Department strongly opposes the bill.
- H.R. 3311 (Stewart, R-UT-2), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to enter into agreements with States to allow continued operation of facilities and programs that have been determined to have a direct economic impact on tourism, mining, timber, or general transportation in the State and which would otherwise cease operating, in whole or in part, during a Federal Government shutdown that is the result of a lapse in appropriations, and for other purposes. The Department strongly opposes the bill.
- H.R. 3492 (Lummis, R-WY-At Large), to provide for the use of hand-propelled vessels in Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the National Elk Refuge, and for other purposes. Due to the late notice of the bill’s addition to the agenda, the Department did not testify on it but plans to send a statement for the record.
On November 21st, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee (Wyden) approved the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:
- S. 782 (Casey, D-PA), a bill to amend Public Law 101-377 to revise the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park to include the Gettysburg Train Station, and for other purposes. The boundary addition would also include 45 acres in the Plum Run area. The bill was amended to reference an updated map and make other technical changes. The Department supports the bill.
- S. 995 (Boozman, R-AR), a bill to authorize the National Desert Storm Memorial Association to establish the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial as a commemorative work in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes. The Department supports the bill.
- S. 1044 (Portman, R-OH), a bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to install in the area of the World War II Memorial in the District of Columbia a suitable plaque or an inscription with the words that President Franklin D. Roosevelt prayed with the United States on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The Department supports retaining the Commemorative Works Act as the vehicle for siting and designing the plaque or inscription.
- S. 1252 (Sanders, I-VT), a bill to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the Missisquoi River and the Trout River in the State of Vermont, as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. In testimony, the Department recommended deferring action on the bill until the study for the area is completed.
- H.R. 1033 (Holt, D-NJ-12), a bill to authorize the acquisition and protection of nationally significant battlefields and associated sites of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 under the American Battlefield Protection Program. The bill adds authority to protect battlefields associated with those two wars to the program for protecting Civil War battlefields. In testimony, the Department supported increasing the program’s authorization from $10 million to $20 million annually. The committee amended the bill to clarify the bill’s prohibition on using funds authorized by the program for lobbying, but did not increase the funding authorization.
New Bills Introduced
The following new bills of interest to the NPS were introduced:
- S. 1719 (Warner, D-VA), a bill to modify the boundary of Petersburg National Battlefield in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and for other purposes.
- S. 1742 (Kaine, D-VA), a bill to temporarily suspend the collection of entrance fees at units of the National Park System and the National Wildlife Refuge System.
- S. 1750 (Flake, R-AZ), a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture to enter into agreements with States and political subdivisions of States providing for the continued operation, in whole or in part, of public land, units of the National Park System, units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and units of the National Forest System in the State during any period in which the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture is unable to maintain normal level of operations at the units due to a lapse in appropriations, and for other purposes.
Upcoming Committee Activity
Nothing to report.
For additional information, please visit the Legislative and Congressional Affairs Office website at http://www.nps.gov/legal/
[Submitted by Melissa Kuckro]