The Morning Report

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Recent Editions  

INCIDENTS



Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Body Found On Longs Peak

Early on the morning of Friday, July 25th, a man climbing the Keyhole Route on Longs Peak called the park and notified rangers that he and other members of his climbing group had seen a man’s body below The Ledges. Rangers reached the location just after 10 a.m. and confirmed that the man was dead.

The incident is under investigation, but foul play is not suspected. A Forest Service helicopter assisted with recovery efforts. The man’s body was flown to the helipad at Upper Beaver Meadows and was transferred to the Boulder County coroner's office.  

[Submitted by Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer]


Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Seriously Injured Man Rescued From Backcountry

On the afternoon of July 25th, the park received a cell phone call from a 31-year-old man who reported that he’d fallen an unknown distance while glissading down Gabletop Mountain and had sustained numerous injuries.

The Forest Service helicopter employed earlier in the day for a body recovery from Longs Peak was utilized for aerial reconnaissance. Using cell phone GPS coordinates, rangers were able to determine his general location below Gabletop Mountain; the helicopter’s crew provided his exact location. 

A rescue operation was begun. Four rangers and rescue equipment were flown to Loomis Lake between severe thunderstorms. They then hiked to his location, a steep cirque above the lake at an altitude of around 11,300 feet, arriving just after midnight. The injured man greatly aided in his rescue by moving down a steep band of rock, then down a steep snow field toward the rangers.  

The rangers found that the man was ambulatory, but that he was suffering from life-threatening  injuries. They lowered him 500 feet with ropes and then assisted him an additional 700 feet down steep mountainous terrain to Loomis Lake.  A paramedic on the park's rescue team provided advanced life support throughout the incident.

The man was flown to Beaver Meadows Road, then taken by a Flight for Life helicopter to St. Anthony's Hospital for further treatment.  

Park rescue team members feel this was truly a life-saving mission. The man was fortunate to have cell phone coverage in this remote location, which has very limited coverage.

[Submitted by Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer]


Glacier National Park
Hiker Shoots Bear On Park Trail

A 57-year-old Texas man was hiking alone on the Mt. Brown Lookout trail last Saturday morning when a bear charged him from below the trail. The man used his bear spray on him, then shot the bear with one round from a handgun he was carrying. Indications are that he hit the bear, which then ran away.

The hiker then headed back to the trailhead, encountering a volunteer backcountry ranger on the trail along the way. The volunteer notified park dispatch of the incident.

Rangers immediately closed the trial and began an investigation. They also staffed the trailhead in order to advise other visitors what had happened. Rangers and bear specialists began a search for the bear, which may be either a grizzly or a black bear.

The bear has not yet been found and the investigation is continuing. The trail remains closed.

Park visitors are encouraged to carry bear spray as a deterrent for a charging grizzly bear. No single deterrent is 100 percent effective, but compared to all others, including firearms, proper use of bear spray has proven to be the best method for fending off threatening and attacking bears and for preventing injury to the person and animal involved.

[Submitted by Public Affairs Office]


Cape Hatteras National Seashore (NC)
North Carolina Man Drowns Off Park Beach

Rangers and Hyde County EMS personnel were dispatched to a reported possible drowning a mile-and-a-half north of the Ocracoke pony pens on the afternoon of July 23rd.

A 59-year-old North Carolina visitor had been in the ocean on a boogie board with his daughter. The daughter returned to the beach for a few minutes; when she got back to him, she found him face down in the water. She pulled him to shore and bystanders began CPR.

NPS and EMS responders continued CPR and also provided advanced life support, but could not revive him.

[Submitted by Jon Anglin, Deputy Chief Ranger]


NEWS AND NOTES



Northeast Region
Springfield Armory NHS Hosts 2014 Armory Day

More than 500 visitors participated in the 2014 Armory Day celebration at Springfield Armory National Historic Site on Saturday, June 21st.

Visitors could watch demonstrations and particpate in the park's military encampment, musket firing, and a music and dance performance.

New this year to Armory Day, the park featured a variety of military reenactors, representing conflicts from the War of 1812 to the Vietnam War.

There were blank firings of weapons from the War of 1812, Plains Indian War, and Civil War periods. The firing of a Civil War cannon could be heard throughout the city of Springfield.

[Submitted by Gavin Gardner, gavin_gardner@nps.gov, 413-271-3974]


Yosemite National Park (CA)
Park Hosts Delegations From Six Countries

Yosemite National Park welcomed twelve delegation members representing national parks and protected areas in six different countries over the course of this past month.

Yosemite was honored to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Yosemite Grant on June 30th with representatives from Jiuzhaigou National Park in China, Parque Nacional Torres del Paine in Chile, protected areas in Nepal, and protected areas in Mongolia.

The park was equally honored to welcome representatives from Huangshan National Park in China, Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, and Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany throughout July.  

The delegations’ visits were coordinated through Yosemite’s international affairs program, which is composed of employees from the National Park Service and Yosemite’s park partners. The group’s mission includes developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with parks and protected areas around the world for mutual benefit and contribution to enhanced protected area management.

Yosemite National Park currently has three formal sister park arrangements. These collaborative partnerships with Huangshan National Park and Jiuzhaigou National Park in China and Parque Nacional Torres del Paine in Chile have proven to be an excellent exchange of experience and information on complex issues such as visitor use management and climate change.

Yosemite is also collaborating with representatives from parks in Nepal, Tanzania, and Mongolia and intends to establish formal relationships with these parks.

Yosemite’s leadership team has tasked the international affairs working group with creating sister park relationships with at least one park on each continent by 2016. The group is currently exploring potential relationships with parks in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Yosemite looks forward to all that will be learned through continued and future collaborations. 

[Submitted by Ashley Mayer, Public Affairs Officer]


North Cascades Complex - WA
Kelly Bush Announces Retirement

After nearly thirty years of dedicated service to National Park Service, Kelly Bush, district ranger for the park’s Wilderness District, will retire on July 31st.

Kelly initially worked at North Cascades in 1979 as an SCA volunteer.  After a decade of seasonal wilderness rangering while attending college and working with the Washington Department of Wildlife, Kelly decided to commit herself to the National Park Service. 

In the early part of her career, she worked in the Rocky Mountain Regional Office as a clerk typist and at Olympic, Mount Rainier, Saguaro, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks.  In 2003, she was hired as the district ranger for the Wilderness District in North Cascades – for her, a dream job.

Kelly’s service at North Cascades has been characterized by a devotion to wilderness resource protection and management and visitor safety and access.  Under her leadership, backcountry camps have sustained their wilderness character.  Their numbers, size, and well defined boundaries are such that visitors can gain access to many stunning areas of the park without being overcrowded or intruding excessively on wildlife communities.

By implementing the park’s two-tiered quota system, Kelly effectively balanced safe access to some of the West’s great peaks with visitor demands and environmental needs. 

Her strong commitment to visitor safety has also been demonstrated by the dozens of challenging search and rescue operations that she’s led and participated in over the years in the rugged Cascade Mountains. Through Kelly’s dogged determination, she was able to establish a highly successful short-haul program that has enabled more efficient and timely rescues, resulting in reduced human suffering and lives saved.  

Kelly’s high level of service has been recognized outside the park as well.  She was twice awarded the Pacific West Region’s Harry Yount Park Ranger award recognizing excellence in rangering and recently the Director’s Wes Henry National Wilderness Stewardship award for significant contributions to wilderness preservation.

After retirement, Kelly will continue living in her beloved Skagit Valley with her partner Russ, a retired NPS carpenter. She can be reached at kellybush510@gmail.com.

[Submitted by Kinsey Shilling, Chief Ranger]


Air Resources Division
YCC Assists Scientists In Park Mercury Study

Over a two-day period in late June, staff from the Air Resources Division teamed up with resource managers at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and the San Luis Valley Youth Conservation Corps to collect dragonfly nymph samples for mercury analysis.

This field work was part of a collaborative effort between the NPS and citizen scientists, who are largely responsible for the sampling effort. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is one of more than 45 parks participating in a NPS-wide study of mercury in dragonfly nymphs.

The San Luis Valley YCC collected 40 nymph samples, a feat the park would otherwise have been a challenge to have completed. To date, more than 270 citizen scientists have contributed over 1,800 hours towards the NPS-wide study.

The US Geological Survey will analyze the samples and results will be compared to data from participating NPS units across the nation.

“It’s a win-win effort," said Colleen Flanagan Pritz, coordinating ecologist from the Air Resources Division. "Parks get data on mercury and citizen scientists gain an understanding of diverse dragonfly populations and the impact humans can have on the environment.”

In addition to helping NPS scientists learn more about mercury contamination in the national parks, these efforts engage citizen science groups with park ecosystems, fostering bonds between parks and the surrounding communities. Other project partners include the University of Maine and The Schoodic Institute.

Understanding mercury contamination is important, as elevated levels of mercury can impact both wildlife and human health. Elevated levels of mercury exposure may result in reduced foraging efficiency, survival, and reproductive success in wildlife, and cause damage to the brain, kidneys, and the developing fetus in humans.

Because they are aquatic-dependent organisms, dragonfly nymphs act as a surrogate for harmful mercury levels in aquatic systems and fish. During their immature phases (up to five years) dragonfly nymphs may accumulate detectable mercury levels in their bodies, making them a good measure of mercury contamination.

For more information on the citizen scientist study of mercury in dragonfly nymphs, visit NPS-ARD to access a collection of results, educational tools, and how to get involved.

Article by:

  • Brendan Davidson, University of Colorado Denver, NPS Air Resources Division Intern
  • Phyllis Pineda Bovin, Biologist, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Contributor

[Submitted by Brendan Davidson, brendan_davidson@nps.gov, 303-987-6944]


Colorado National Monument (CO)
Regional Director Visits Western Colorado Parks

Intermountain Regional Director Sue Masica visited the staff and resources at Colorado National Monument on July 17th and July 18th.

Critical issues at this park include its proximity to a growing and urban population in Grand Junction, Colodado, and access issues along the four-mile public right-of-way portion of 23-mile historic Rim Rock Drive and throughout the park.  

After leaving Colorado NM, Masica visited Black Canyon of the Gunnision NP and Curecanti NRA.

[Submitted by Lisa Eckert, Superintendent]