Thursday, February 13, 2014
Padre Island National Seashore (TX) Man Sentenced To Jail Term In Smuggling Case
In March, 2013, rangers conducted a traffic stop that resulted in several arrests for immigration violations. Further investigation by rangers revealed that the same group was transporting narcotics through the park.
A multi-agency investigative effort led by rangers ensued. Participating were the Coast Guard Investigative Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Texas Department of Public Safety, DEA, Customs and Border Protection, and the Corpus Christi Police Department.
Two men were arrested in May, 2013, as they again attempted to smuggle marijuana and undocumented aliens through the park. A federal indictment followed, with both defendants pleading guilty.
The primary conspirator, Armando Garcia-Zavala, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute less than 50 kilos of marijuana, and one count of conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens. On January 27th, Garcia-Zavala was sentenced to 46 months in federal custody.
[Submitted by Matthew Rosselot, Park Ranger]
NEWS AND NOTES
Gulf Islands National Seashore (FL,MS) Passing Of Resource Educator Susan Blair
Susan Gayle Faw Faw Blair, 57, resource educator for the park’s Mississippi District, passed away on January 25th at her home in Biloxi, Mississippi, after a year-long battle with cancer.
Susan was born in Perry, Oklahoma, and began her career with the National Park Service at Gulf Islands National Seashore soon after completing a degree in biology. Later, she took an interpretive position with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Leavenworth, Washington, National Fish Hatchery.
Susan married Michael Allen Blair on January 1, 2005, in Las Vegas, Nevada. She came back to work at Gulf Islands National Seashore in 2008 and served as the Mississippi District resource educator, overseeing resource education operations.
Susan is survived by her husband, Michael Blair; mother, Marie Scott; father, Louis Faw Faw, Jr; sister, Sandra Faw Faw; sister, Sharon Luttrell; and many nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
A celebration of Susan Blair’s life will be held at the park’s Pavilion #5 at Davis Bayou in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, on February 23rd from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please bring photos and stories of Susan to share.
To assist the Blair Family in caring for Susan’s beloved dogs please visit http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/in-memory-of-susan/134464.
For personal reflection, please visit the “In Memory of Susan Blair” Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/InmemoryofSusan.
[Submitted by Susan Teel, Chief of Resource Education]
East Coast Areas Many Eastern NPS Offices And Parks Closed Today
Many parks and offices in the East, including the Washington Office and Southeast Regional Office, are closed today due to the impacts of the massive winter storm currently moving up the East Coast.
OPM has closed all federal offices in the Washington area. Although no report has been received on the status of Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta, it presumably remains closed today.
Here’s an alphabetical listing of those parks in Southeast Region that have reported their status to the regional office, with notes on their status as of late on Wednesday – reports from National Capital and Northeast Region are not yet available:
Buck Island Reef National Monument (VI) New Buck Island Park Film Premiers Today
- Andersonville NHS – Delayed employee reporting today, with visitor facilities opening by noon.
- Cane River Creole NHP – Regular operations have resumed.
- Carl Sandburg Home NHS – Closed.
- Chattahoochee River NRA – Operations will resume at noon today.
- Cowpens NB – Closed.
- Great Smoky Mountains NP – Facilities were closed on Wednesday; delayed reporting will likely be in effect today, with delayed reopening.
- Guilford Courthouse NMP – Closed.
- Horseshoe Bend NMP – Closed early on Wednesday; may have a delayed opening on Thursday.
- Jimmy Carter NHS – Delayed employee reporting today, with visitor facilities opening by noon.
- Kennesaw Mountain NB – Closed.
- Kings Mountain NMP – Closed.
- Little River Canyon NP – Delayed opening.
- Moores Creek NB – Closed.
- Natchez NHP – The park will likely reopen at 1 p.m., pending an assessment of the situation.
- Ninety Six NHS – Closed.
- Ocmulgee NM – The park will reopen today, but the opening may be delayed.
- Russell Cave NM – Delayed opening.
- Shiloh NMP – The park is resuming regular operations.
The park’s new film, entitled “Caribbean Gem: Buck Island Reef National Monument,” will premier today.
This ten minute film was made over the course of the past year in celebration of 50 years of protection and resource management at Buck Island Reef. The film highlights the park’s primary resources and the recreational opportunities that the monument provides both on-island and off-island visitors. Buck Island Reef is the first of the three National Park Service units on St. Croix to have a park orientation film of this kind.
The film was produced during last fiscal year by North Shore Productions of Portland, Oregon, in consultation with the Harpers Ferry Center. Some local cinematographers were used in the shooting of the film’s terrestrial and underwater scenes.
The park’s interpretation and education and resource management divisions worked together with the producers to generate a local-eye view of the terrestrial and marine resources at the park. This collaboration required underwater footage of the coral reef and marine garden area, as well as late night footage of Hawksbill turtles laying their eggs.
The film looks back at the severity of the bleaching events during the early 2000s and discusses the new threats to the reef from the Pacific lion fish. The film champions the park’s efforts to eradicate introduced rodents, mongoose and rats, and to successfully reintroduce the St. Croix ground lizard for the first time in at least 250 years. It provides a great overall look at what Buck Island Reef National Monument has achieved and continues to protect, 52 years after President John F. Kennedy established the park in December of 1961.
The premier screening/lecture will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Danish Guinea West India Company Warehouse/Slave Market Building. This occasion will be the first where the film is seen by the general public. It will be distributed to a variety of tourism and promotional venues on and off-island in coming months.
[Submitted by David Goldstein, Chief, Interpretation and Education] More Information...
Geologic Resources Division Soils Program Manager Pete Biggam Has Retired
After 34 years working in soil science, Pete Biggam retired from federal service on January 3rd.
Pete worked as the Servicewide soils program manager for the National Park Service headquarters office from May, 1999, to January, 2014. During that time, he served as the national soils program manager in the Geologic Resources Division.
Pete worked in cooperation with USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service and partners of the National Cooperative Soil Survey to complete soil resource inventories of over 240 parks and developed information and education products to help tell the story of the value of soil resources to park visitors.
“It's been a pleasure working with you all over the years," he said upon retiring, "and it has been a blast serving as the NPS soils program manager these last 15 years and as the agency contact to the National Cooperative Soil Survey.”
Pete covered a lot of ground in his career. He mapped his first acres with the Idaho Soil Conservation Commission, Wood River soil survey in Gooding, Idaho, in 1980. He went on to earn the coveted National Cooperative Soil Survey Million Acre Mapper Award in 2009.
Prior to coming to the NPS, Pete worked from 1990 to 1999 for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Pete served in the Colorado state office as a staff soil scientist and a regional and state resource inventory specialist for four years, in the West national technical center as a soil scientist for three years, and in the Utah state office as a soil scientist/GIS specialist and Nevada state GIS specialist for three years.
From 1981 until 1990, Pete worked for the Soil Conservation Service in a variety of soil science-related roles at the national cartographic and GIS center; the Lewis-Nez Perce soil survey in Lewiston, Idaho; the St. Joe soil survey in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and the Wood River soil survey in Gooding, Idaho.
Pete got his first exposure to mapping soils on NPS lands as part of a special soil survey to map soils in kipukas in Craters of the Moon National Monument while working on a BLM in south-central Idaho.
Pete has the distinction of having two park soils named after him:
- McBiggam soil - Fine-silty, mixed, superactive, frigid Typic Palexerolls, endemic to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho
- Maggib soil - Medial over sandy or sandy-skeletal, amorphic over isotic Andic Haplocryods, endemic to North Cascades National Park, Washington
In retirement, Pete plans to participate in the Colorado Native Plant Master and Master Gardener Programs hosted by Colorado State University Extension Service and work on his golf game. Pete's email is email@example.com . Pete and his wife Deb plan to stay in the Conifer, Colorado area.
Pete brought one-of-a-kind expertise to the NPS, but the Geologic Resources Division is committed to ensuring that in-progress soil resource inventories are completed and will work with NRSS and other NPS staff to help address specific park requests where possible. For information, contact Hal Pranger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (303) 969-2018.
[Submitted by Harold Pranger, (303) 969-2018] More Information...
Wilderness Stewardship Beth Hahn Joins Wilderness Stewardship Division
The Wilderness Stewardship Division welcomes Beth Hahn to the team as the branch chief for the Branch of Wilderness Science. She will work at the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute in Missoula, Montana.
Beth's interests are focused around ecological issues related to wilderness stewardship at multiple spatial scales - with an emphasis on ecological restoration, wildlife, climate change, and disturbance ecology.
Hahn previously worked for the US Forest Service for six years as a regional wildlife ecologist in the Northern Region of the Forest Service. During that time, she also provided technical support to a variety of natural resource projects to the USFS Office of International Programs, Africa Team. She earned a B.A. in physical geography from Boston University and a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Michigan.
"We look forward to having Beth at the Leopold Institute, where her expertise in wilderness science will be hugely helpful to our park and program staff," said Garry Oye, chief of the Wilderness Stewardship Division.
Beth welcomes the opportunity to discuss wilderness science needs of NPS wilderness managers. You can contact her by phone (406-542-3244) or email (email@example.com).
[Submitted by Erin Drake, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-513-7130]
North Cascades National Park (WA) GS-0025-12/13 Chief Of Interpretation
The North Cascades National Park Complex has issued an announcement for a chief of interpretation and education.
Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details, area information and procedures for applying.
The announcement closes on March 3rd.
Independence National Historical Park (PA)
GL-0025-9 Law Enforcement Ranger (Lateral)
Independence National Historical Park is seeking applications for a lateral reassignment to a GL-9 protection ranger position.
This position is permanent, full-time, with enhanced annuity retirement. Relocation expenses are authorized and will be paid in accordance with the federal travel regulations. Park housing may be available.
Independence NHP is a dynamic and challenging urban park offering the opportunity to live and work in the heart of the Northeast. The park houses many sites, artifacts and buildings that played an integral part in the creation of our nation, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. It offers a variety of challenges associated with icon security, dignitary protection, large scale special events, and management of First Amendment activities.
Independence NHP offers its rangers a unique experience in the National Park Service. There are a wide variety of law enforcement activities in a relatively small area. Duties include but are not limited to making arrests, issuing citations, serving search and arrest warrants, and conducting investigations. Physical security and building checks are also a crucial part of working at Independence NHP. Patrols of park areas, parking garages, roads, buildings, etc. are accomplished by foot, vehicle, and by bicycle.
Philadelphia boasts some of the best preserved historic neighborhoods in the nation, along with world class dining, a vibrant art and theater scene, and numerous outdoor recreation opportunities within close proximity to the park. It has an excellent public transit system that serves outlining communities in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Philadelphia is home to professional sport teams in baseball, football, basketball and hockey. Housing and overall cost of living is considered lower than many other metropolitan areas in the region of comparable size. Philadelphia's central location provides for quick access to other destinations in the region, including Washington D.C., Atlantic City, NJ, and New York City.
For more Information, please contact Supervisory Park Ranger Eli Bowers via park dispatch at 215-597-7077.
Applicants must submit the following:
- Current resume/application
- A copy of your most recent performance appraisal
- A copy of your most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action. No award SF-50’s please.
Applications must be emailed to eli_d_Bowers@nps.gov no later than February 23rd.