The Morning Report

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Recent Editions  


Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ,UT)
Child’s Life Saved Through Prompt EMS Response

On the morning of July 25th, park dispatch received a report of a three year-old found face down in approximately seven feet of water at the rear of a houseboat in Halls Creek Bay. The reporting party said that the child might have been in the water from five to ten minutes and was not breathing or conscious. The three-year-old was not wearing a life jacket on the houseboat when the incident occurred.

Responding rangers were on scene within 20 minutes and found that CPR was already in progress. Rangers took over patient care and transported the child to Bullfrog Marina to meet a park medic to receive advanced life support care. After initial ALS care, the child started to improve. The three-year-old was flown by Classic Lifeguard to a hospital and has since been released.

The extended CPR (over 45 minutes), breathing therapy, and advanced life support measures that were performed by park rangers along with Classic Lifeguard personnel saved the child’s life.

NPS responders included Jesse Benskin, Karol Jones, Noel Rupel, Sean McCaffrey, Valerie Reynolds and Zach Nelson.

[Submitted by Katie Wood, Education Coordinator]

Acadia National Park (ME)
Visitor Seriously Injured When Car Rolls Over Her

On the morning of July 27th, a 38-year-old visitor sustained potentially life-threatening injuries in an accident that occurred on the Park Loop Road near the Champlain North Ridge Trailhead.

Witnesses said that members of a family got out of their vehicle at a scenic pull-off along the road and that shortly thereafter the vehicle rolled backwards towards other vehicles, park visitors, and oncoming traffic. While family members attempted to stop it by pushing against the vehicle’s exterior, the driver attempted to reenter to apply the brakes. 

The vehicle, however, gained momentum due to the steep slope and they were unable to stop it. In the process of attempting to enter the moving vehicle, the driver was knocked to the ground by the open car door and was subsequently overrun by the front wheel. The vehicle crossed the road and came to rest in the ditch and against the base of a cliff. The driver was transported by Bar Harbor Ambulance to a waiting Life Flight helicopter, where she was transported to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine.

Investigating rangers determined that the car’s shifter was not in the ‘park’ position. The driver sustained multiple chest injuries but is in stable condition.

[Submitted by Stuart West, Chief Ranger]


NIFC/NPS Fire and Aviation Management
National Fire/Incident Situation Highlights

National Fire Activity

NIFC is at PL 2. Initial attack was again light on Wednesday. Fifteen uncontained large fires are burning nationwide, up two from Wednesday. Current resource commitments are as follows, with changes from yesterday’s numbers in parentheses:

  • Eight incident management teams (down one)
  • 265 crews (down 8)
  • 10,541firefighters and overhead (down 529)
  • 643 engines (down 56)
  • 72 helicopters (down 8)

Fire Weather Forecast

An upper ridge over the southern and western United States will keep hot, humid conditions across the South while raising temperatures across the West. Scattered thunderstorms will develop across the Southwest from the California deserts to the Texas Panhandle. Other storms will develop and stretch from the Ohio Valley to Florida. Scattered showers and a few thunderstorms will continue over the southern and eastern sections of Alaska. Temperatures will remain warm in the Interior and mild across the north and south.

A NOAA map of today’s critical fire weather areas can be found at:

A NIFC webpage showing the current national significant wildland fire outlook is available at:

NPS Fire Summaries

Glacier NP – The Reynolds Fire has burned 3,170 acres (no change from yesterday’s total). It is 63% contained. Moderate fire behavior is reported. A Type I IMT (Poncin) is managing the fire. For full details, go to the following InciWeb site:

Additional Information

For additional information on all fires, check the following web sites:


Southeast Archeological Center
NPS Joins International Slave Wrecks Project

In May 2015, the National Park Service launched the first research efforts of the Slave Wrecks Project in the Western Hemisphere through a new initiative that will survey, inventory, and assess submerged resources for the very first time at Buck Island Reef National Monument and Christiansted National Historic Site in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

This work will be used in conjunction with investigations on land sites that are all related to St. Croix’s unique history as an epicenter of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Archeologists from the NPS’ Submerged Resources Center (SRC) and the Southeast Archeological Center (SEAC), in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and George Washington University (GWU), are locating and documenting archeological sites associated with the historic trade of enslaved Africans.

Team members, working with park management staff, are using the opportunity to document archeological sites by means of an extensive marine archeological remote sensing survey program. This effort will directly serve park resource management purposes, while affording opportunities for capacity building,  team training, and public outreach and participation for a diverse group of local and national partners (including universities, minority youth outreach programs, and museums) as well as international partners from Africa and the developing world.

So far 5.3 square miles of waters surrounding Buck Island have been surveyed using a marine magnetometer, which identified over 150 magnetic anomalies. An initial investigation of more than 80 of these anomalies revealed the remains of two shipwrecks and multiple historic anchors that may be associated with as many as five other shipwrecks.

Future work will entail surveying additional areas around Buck Island, investigating and documenting the numerous survey targets, and determining if these discoveries correspond to two known slaving vessels that sank in the late 1700s and early 1800s while bringing cargos of enslaved humans into Christiansted. Plans are being developed for a community archeology project at Christiansted National Historic Site.

On June 2nd, the Slave Wrecks Project team announced the discovery of the São José-Paquete de Africa, a Portuguese slave ship that sank in 1794 off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, on its way to Brazil while carrying more than 400 enslaved Africans from Mozambique. The announcement was made at a historic ceremony held at Iziko Museums of South Africa that garnered a high level of US and international media attention.

To date, only a small percentage of the site has been excavated. A selection of artifacts recovered from the São José wreck, including iron ballast to weigh down the ship and a wooden pulley block, will be loaned by Iziko Museums and the South African government for display in an inaugural exhibition entitled “Slavery and Freedom” at NMAAHC, opening fall 2016. Concurrent exhibits are also planned for the Iziko Museums.

The São José’s voyage was one of the earliest in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade from East Africa to the Americas, which continued well into the 19th century. Between 1800 and 1865, over 400,000 East Africans are estimated to have made the journey from Mozambique to Brazil. The ship’s crew and some of the more than 400 enslaved people on board were rescued after the ship ran into submerged rocks about 328 feet (100 meters) from shore. Tragically, more than half of the captives perished in the violent waves, and the survivors were resold into slavery in the Western Cape.

Dr. David W. Morgan, director of SEAC and regional archeologist for Southeast Region, represented the National Park Service in the ceremony in which Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of NMAAHC, and Rooksana Omar, CEO of Iziko Museums, joined in the announcement of the shipwreck’s discovery and the artifact loan agreement.

“Perhaps the single greatest symbol of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade is the ships that carried millions of captive Africans across the Atlantic never to return,” said Bunch. “This discovery is significant because there has never been archeological documentation of a vessel that foundered and was lost while carrying a cargo of enslaved persons. The São José is all the more significant because it represents one of the earliest attempts to bring East Africans into the Trans-Atlantic slave trade—a shift that played a major role in prolonging that tragic trade for decades.”

News of the announcement garnered over 650 million media impressions, including national and international media coverage in the United States, South Africa, Mozambique, Brazil, and Portugal.

A memorial service was held at the residence of Justice Albie Sachs, an internationally known human rights and anti-apartheid activist and long term member of the South African Constitutional Court, to honor the memory of those who perished when the ship was lost, and those who survived but were subsequently sold into slavery.  

As part of the service, a dive team from the U.S., Mozambique, and South Africa symbolically reunited the victims of the wreck with their homeland by depositing earth brought from Mozambique Island—the point of collection for the enslaved forced aboard the São José—in a shell-embroidered basket into the waters at the location of the wreck.

Since 2010, the Slave Wrecks Project has fostered public and scholarly understanding of the role of the slave trade in shaping global history by using maritime archeology as the vehicle for examining enslavement and its far-reaching global impacts. The archeological investigation of slaver shipwrecks and related terrestrial sites, such as markets in which the enslaved were sold, like at Christiansted NHS, maroon sites and encampments, and free black communities adjacent to Christiansted NHS , promises to provide a new perspective to bear on our understanding of the Trans-Atlantic and Indian Ocean trades in enslaved people and on the central role that this process played in constituting the modern world.

This project was conceived as a long-term effort to locate, document, protect, and comparatively analyze sites and locations pertaining to the Trans-Atlantic and Indian Ocean slave trades, in which archeological and archival research seeks to follow the entire arc of the trade from capture and enslavement in areas of origin in Africa, through the arduous journey to and within slave ships (many of which foundered)  to sale at points of destination, and throughout subsequent lives of enslavement characterized by repression, resistance, and ultimately freedom.  Future work intends to also research the important but far less well-known process of the internal slave trade within the United States and between North America and the Caribbean.

As a founding member of the Slave Wrecks Project, the National Park Service and its partners have worked with Iziko Museums of South Africa, the South African Heritage Resources Agency, the U.S. National Association of Black SCUBA Divers, and other partners to provide technical assistance to the nations of Mozambique, Senegal, and South Africa. Over the last five years Biscayne National Park, the Submerged Resources Center, and the Southeast Archeological Center have provided training to several groups of African archeology professionals and students at Biscayne National Park and other parks; provided technical assistance in Mozambique and South Africa; and, in the process, greatly expanded the capacity of archeologists and heritage professionals in these countries to conduct maritime archeology and preservation.

The Slave Wrecks Project looks forward to continuing this work in the U.S. Virgin Islands at Christiansted NHS and Buck Island Reef NM, and engaging meaningfully with their descendant communities and other stakeholders over this complex linkage between past and present.

For more information about the shipwreck and the project, see:

Also see these media stories:    


Grim History Traced in Sunken Slave Ship Found Off South Africa, New York Times

Finding a Slave Ship, Uncovering History, New York Times

Smithsonian to Receive Artifacts From Sunken 18th-Century Slave Ship Found ..., Smithsonian

Wreckage from 200-year-old slave ship revealed in South Africa, USA Today

'Humble objects' of a sunken slave ship tell a powerful and emotional story, Washington Post

Archaeologists discover 18th century wreck of slave ship off the South African ..., Daily Mail

Atlantic Slave Ship Artifacts to be Displayed, U.S. News & World Report

South Africa beach service to honour slaves drowned in 1794 shipwreck, The Guardian


Wreck Of A 221-Year-Old Slave Ship Is Confirmed Off South Africa , National Public Radio

Lonnie Bunch finds artifacts for National Museum of African American History and Culture, Tom Joyner Morning Show and Joe Madison Show

702 and Cape Talk: The Sam Cowen Show: Lost Wreckage found, The Sam Cowen Show


South Africa discovery reveals slave ship artefacts, BBC News

Wreck of 18th century slave ship discovered, CNN

Artifacts from a 200 year old Portuguese slave ship unveiled, SABC News
Sunken slave ship memorialised, ENCA

Artifacts from sunken slave ship to be displayed at the Smithsonian, MSNBC

[Submitted by Meredith D. Hardy, Southeast Archeological Center]

Pacific West Region
City Of Rocks National Reserve Landscape Restored

Imagine the year is 1850 and you and your family packed a covered wagon with your possessions and set out, determined to reach California before winter set in. As you take your first steps westward, spring is in full swing and the grass has grown high enough to serve as feed for the oxen. Time passes, day after day walking through the tall grass prairies on the Great Plains of Missouri and Nebraska, and crossing over the rugged mountains of Wyoming and eastern Idaho, then your wagon train reaches the City of Rocks.

The grand landscape of City of Rocks described by the 19th century emigrants is much the same as the one visible today, thanks to a partnership between Raft River Electric (RRE) and the National Park Service (NPS).

The partnership between RRE and NPS to replace the overhead powerline and put it underground has removed the largest modern intrusion from this nationally significant historic landscape. The result of the project is breathtaking.

The first time I drove through the Reserve after the line and poles were removed I was amazed at the change in perspective. Without a line of poles holding my vision I saw the rock formations and the sky in a new way. It is difficult to describe but somehow it felt that the lid of a box was lifted and the view expanded. Visitors to the City of Rocks from now on will never know the poles were there and some returning visitors may have a sense that something has changed but may not even realize that it is the powerline that has been removed.

The project was integral to the mission of the City of Rocks National Reserve, which was created by congress on November 17, 1988 to preserve and protect the California National Historic Trail (CNHT) and the associated landscape. Removing the overhead powerline and poles has made a remarkable impact on the CNHT Landscape. The Reserve has also removed as much fence as possible and kept development to a minimum so visitors experience the CNHT Landscape today as the emigrants did on the California Trail (1843-1882).

The first phase of this project was completed in 2006 replacing a mile of overhead line with underground line. The poles were reaching their 50 year replacement date and it was a perfect opportunity to partner and remove a section of the overhead line from the landscape.

The partnership between Raft River Electric and the NPS involved many people. Reserve staff presented a proposal which the National Park Service Regional and Washington offices approved and funded. The contracting office and administrative staff negotiated the contract and issued the necessary permits. Reserve staff completed the Environmental and Cultural Resource compliance and Raft River Electric and their sub-contractors installed the underground line and removed the overhead line and supporting poles.  

Removing the overhead line restored the landscape but it also provides a more stable power supply. An overhead line would be susceptible to fires, high winds, salt storms, or lightening but these issues are not a concern when the line is underground.

Come visit the Reserve and see the dramatic open landscape and imagine your family in a wagon traveling to California to start a new life. To plan your trip, visit and view our maps, brochures, and guides. 

Fort Scott National Historic Site (KS)
Fort Scott National Historic Site Hosts Blind And Low Vision Students

Blind and low-vision students attending a weeklong Trek Tech resident summer camp at Greenbush Education Center in neighboring Crawford County spent a recent afternoon touring Fort Scott National Historic Site. This is the second time that Trek Tech campers have visited the park.

Following a summer 2014 visit, the experienced seasonal park guide who led the Trek Tech group commented that he felt inadequate in meeting the students’ needs and believed that he learned more from the young men and women than what they gained from him. Thus began a working relationship with Calvin Churchwell, camp administrator and director of the Midwest Low Vision & Technology Center in Joplin, Missouri, to enhance staff skills in working with blind and low vision visitors, as well as to make future site visits more vision-challenged friendly. Mr. Churchwell has more than 30 years’ experience in the field and has worked with some of his now college-aged students since they were preschoolers.

After preliminary conversations over several months, Calvin brought three blind or low vision students to Fort Scott this past spring for a staff training session that was open to our VIPs and local business people. Besides the candid two-way discussion of how to meet blind and low vision visitor needs, Calvin demonstrated samples of the amazing array of technology available to the visually impaired. While understanding the requisite need for hands-on tactile experiences, attendees also learned how to “audio describe” through word pictures what those with vision take for granted.

The workshop was of such value that park staff encouraged Calvin and his students to present at the May 2015 Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area partners’ meeting in Butler, Missouri; the presentation was a huge success and will have great implications for improved blind and low vision accessibility at sites across the 41-county heritage area spanning the Kansas-Missouri border.

These events were followed up by another site visit in which the park’s interpretation staff walked the site with Calvin and several students who provided practical tips on how to better describe the many stops included in park tours. The staff is working on pre-positioning living history props at select locations in order to provide better tactile learning opportunities.

Another project initiated at the March 2015 meeting was for the students to take our print unigrid site brochure and several of our site bulletins and make them audio translatable via QR codes for the handheld technology that many blind and low vision people carry with them.

Staff and students will meet next month to examine and refine their preliminary efforts, which complement the Braille Fort Scott unigrid provided by Harpers Ferry Center earlier this year. The new partnership is clearly paying dividends far beyond those anticipated.

Working in concert with the blind and low vision students is but one effort to make Fort Scott more universally accessible. Reproduction period arm chairs and settees have been purchased and placed in many of the buildings to provide resting places for those with mobility impairments. We are also working on an accessible routes plan that will make the national historic landmark more mobility-friendly while best maintaining historic viewsheds and site integrity. New exhibits will have audio description, and work on a smartphone App has been initiated to provide virtual access to upper level furnished rooms and exhibit space that remain off-limits to those with severe mobility challenges.

While the US Army gave no thought to accessibility when Fort Scott was built in the 1840s, by partnering with a wide array of NPS staffers, heritage area friends, contracted experts in the field of accessibility, and Calvin Churchwell and his blind and low vision students, the park looks forward to being better able to welcome more diverse visitors to the site to help us celebrate the NPS Centennial in 2016, the 175th anniversary of the establishment of Fort Scott in 2017, and beyond.

For more information on the Midwest Low Vision & Technology Center, visit

For more about the Trek Tech camp and campers, watch local TV news clips at

[Submitted by Bill Fischer, Acting Chief of Interpretation & Resource Management]

Grand Canyon National Park Fire and Aviation
Lead Helitack And Paramedic Eric Graff Wins National Award

Tenacious. Diligent. Innovative. These attributes are only a few of the reasons why Eric Graff, Lead Helitack and paramedic at Grand Canyon National Park, received the inaugural Tom Clausing Aviation All Risk Programs Award.

This national award, named in honor of former Grand Canyon Paramedic Tom Clausing, “recognizes an individual or organization who shows exemplary qualities in the area of all risk services.” Tom Clausing worked at Grand Canyon for six seasons, striving to advance Grand Canyon’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the relationship of rangers, firefighters, and pilots. Tom lost his life in a helicopter crash in Flagstaff, AZ while providing care to an injured firefighter. The award that bears his name honors anyone who, like Tom, works tirelessly to improve provider skills and further aviation hazards programs.

Currently the Lead Helitack at Grand Canyon, Eric Graff works with coworkers, rangers, and pilots to ensure the highest level of patient care while managing risks and maintaining efficiency throughout missions. Eric also established an interagency course for fireline EMS resources in the Southwest. This program ensures that EMS providers can work safely in the harsh environment of a wildland fire while effectively providing care to firefighters. With his expertise as an NPS paramedic and helicopter manager, Eric also played an important part in developing the new Medical Incident Report, found in the 2014 Incident Response Pocket Guide and the new ICS-206 Wildland Fire, Medical Plan form.

Eric has saved several lives in his career and will save many more by teaching and sharing his skills. Jay Lusher, Grand Canyon’s Chief of Fire and Aviation feels strongly that Eric “characterizes the Tom Clausing Aviation All Risk Program Award in all aspects of his actions.” This is a well-deserved award for the humble, competent, and hardworking Eric Graff.

[Submitted by Emily C. Davis,, 928-638-7609]


Fossil Butte National Monument (WY)
WS-4749-5/6 Maintenance Worker Supervisor

Fossil Buttes National Monument has issued an announcement for a maintenance worker supervisor.

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

For job information, contact Acting Superintendent Brad Shattuck at or (307) 877-4455 x 22. Visit for more information.

It closes on August 11th.
 More Information...