The Morning Report

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Recent Editions  


Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (KY,TN)
Assessment Of Damage Inflicted By Major Storm Completed

A large ice storm on February 21st crippled a large portion of the Upper Cumberland Plateau, including Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, following a week of snow and subfreezing temperatures. Snow-covered roads became ice sheets, and trees, branches and power lines were broken by the weight of ice and wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph.  The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency declared a Level II state of emergency.

The park has completed a week-long assessment that has revealed that approximately 80% of Big South Fork’s 125,000 acres have been affected by the ice storm. Storm-related impacts are primarily located south of the Kentucky state line. The enormous number of trees downed by the storm, twisted and stacked upon each other, will require removal from roads and trails in order to allow access. Over 70 miles of park roads and more than 370 miles of trails are impacted.  

Park staff are currently working to open park roads, but will have to wait for a spring melt before addressing the damaged trails.

[Submitted by Niki Stephanie Nicholas, Superintendent]


Denali National Park & Preserve (AK)
Denali Holds Fifteenth Annual Winter Festival

During the last weekend of February, Denali National Park and Preserve and its neighboring communities celebrated the 15th annual Winterfest with a wide range of activities provided by NPS employees, local residents, and community organizations.

Temperatures hovering just below freezing helped induce over 200 visitors to participate in the day’s events at the park. Most of the visitors were from local communities and other parts of Alaska, but some came from much further away, including a small group from China.   

The day’s highlights included free sled dog rides provided by NPS employees using their own dog teams, learning techniques from Fairbanks ice carver Larry Moen and trying them out on the discarded pieces, visiting a Denali mountaineering ranger’s “campsite” to see how those park employees live and work while on “the mountain”, and making s’mores at a historic roadside ranger patrol cabin while visiting with one of the park’s sled dogs not out on patrol.

Only three activities (ski events and snow block sculpting) had to be cancelled due to poor snow conditions. The park’s largest concessioner, Doyon-Aramark Joint Venture, provided free refreshments – hot soup (two kinds), reindeer hot dogs, hot drinks, and desserts, another popular draw.

Snow began falling at 3 p.m., painting the landscape in a fresh blanket of white and reminding everyone why winter is our favorite season here.  

More photos are on the park’s Facebook page –   

[Submitted by Kris Fister, Public Affairs Officer]

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Parks Host Winter Skills And Wilderness EMS Course

A three day training course focusing on winter skills and wilderness emergency medical services was held in mid-February at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. 

The course attracted a very diverse group of 25 participants, including rangers from Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Devils Tower, Crater Lake, Lava Beds and Zion. Other park partners who participated included the Sequoia Natural History Association, June Lake Ski Patrol, Inyo County Search and Rescue, and Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. 

Instructors included rangers and three emergency room doctors from Fresno Community Regional Medical Center who are directly involved in the NPS Parkmedic program.  Topics included winter equipment and travel, navigation, survival, wilderness and improvised EMS techniques, high altitude illness, fractures, sprains, dislocation management, and hypothermia. 

An overnight camping trip originally planned for skis was hampered by minimal snow in the southern Sierra. The training was moved to the Mineral King area of the park at 8,000 feet, allowing for more time to conduct EMS scenarios, including a wilderness mass casualty drill with eight patients for ten responders. Due to a very high demand, it is anticipated that the course will be offered again next year.

[Submitted by Jason Ramsdell]

Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park (VA)
Chief Ranger Keith Kelly Has Retired

Keith Kelly, chief ranger at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP, retired on February 28th with 30 years of service to the National Park Service.

Keith started his NPS journey in 1983 as a summer intern at Great Smoky Mountains National Park during his senior year of college. Until that summer he was not sure what his career choice would be, but, according to Keith, he realized from that experience the NPS and its mission would be where and how he would devote his career.

Following graduation, Keith worked at Guilford Courthouse NMP as a seasonal LE ranger and then went on to become permanent at Delaware Water Gap NRA in 1985. In 1987, he transferred to Catoctin Mountain Park and in 1990 to Carlsbad Caverns NP. Keith spent the years between 1995 and 2001 as district ranger at Joshua Tree NP and from 2001 to 2004 as a district ranger at C&O Canal NHP. In December of 2004 he became chief ranger at Fredericksburg.

Keith was a firearms, NLTA, and EMS instructor for many years.  He served on the SER SET and worked numerous details throughout his career. Some of the most memorable were the 1988 Yellowstone fires, Fair Saint Louis, the Cattle Barron’s Ball at San Antonio, and the Civil War 150th. He served as incident commander for the latter, which included the anniversaries of the Battles of Fredericksburg (2012), Chancellorsville (2013), and Wilderness/Spotsylvania (2014).

Keith’s career highlights were the multiple opportunities he had to accompany scientific expeditions, orientation trips, and NPS documentaries into Lechuguilla Cave.   

“It has been a great ride and I can’t imagine doing it any other way,” he said. PThe opportunities and the memories that the NPS provided to me are countless and the sunsets remain beautiful.“  

Keith will retire to Utah to be with his fiancée, Alta Blietz, who works at Zion NP. They both enjoy traveling and visiting as many national parks as possible. Keith finds great joy in having his son Jack, a freshman at Virginia Tech, accompany them whenever he can on their many trips.   

He would love to remain in touch with all of his NPS friends and he can be reached at

[Submitted by Lucy Lawliss, Superintendent]


Centennial Office
GS-0301-11/12 Partnership Specialist

The Centennial Office in Washington has issued an announcement for a partnership 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 March 11th.
 More Information...
Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
GL-0025-9 Protection Ranger (Detail)

Grand Canyon National Park is seeking a full performance permanent protection ranger for a 90 to 120 day detail to the North Rim District. 

Several detail opportunities may be possible, depending on the number of applicants and dates of availability. The desired starting date is May 15th upon opening of the North Rim. Grand Canyon will pay all travel and per diem costs. Base salary is negotiable.  Applicants must possess a NPS Level 1 commission and current EMT certification.

The North Rim District receives approximately 400,000+ visitors annually, primarily from mid-May to the end of October. There is a campground, historical districts, a major concession operation with 225 overnight accommodations, 230 concession employees, a grocery store, post office, liquor establishment, gas station, and mule ride concession.

North Rim rangers are involved in the full range of visitor and resource protection activities during the busy summer season, including law enforcement, emergency medical services, structural and wildland fire, and search and rescue incidents.  The ranger will work in both the frontcountry and backcountry settings and patrol the park by foot, patrol vehicle, and UTV.  This is an outstanding opportunity to work in one of the largest visitor and resource protection programs in the Service and to experience a wide variety of visitor and resource protection situations.

Qualified employees, with supervisory approval, should send an updated resume, most recent performance appraisal, and a current SF-50 to North Rim Supervisory Ranger Jamie Westenfelder at  by COB on March 16th.  For questions, please contact Jamie at 928-638-7876 or Law Enforcement Specialist Laura Van Inwagen at 928-638-7813 or .

Yosemite National Park (CA)
GL-0025-9 Protection Ranger (Lateral)

Yosemite is recruiting for several permanent law enforcement rangers – career-seasonal (LTFT), both required occupant and non-required occupant. There is the possibility of management assigned housing for the non-required occupant positions. Please state in your application package which housing situation you will consider, or if you would like to be considered for both.

Yosemite National Park encompasses 748,000 acres in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range of California.

Yosemite Intercept performs as a narcotics team to eliminate marijuana cultivation within Yosemite National Park, prevent future cultivation efforts from taking hold, develop and maintain confidential informants, eliminate narcotics sales within Yosemite National Park housing areas, and assist outside agencies and partner parks with narcotics related incidents. 

Intercept educates park employees, partners, and the public about resource damage resulting from marijuana cultivation and how they can help prevent further damage.  Intercept assists the districts and neighboring agency partners by performing boundary and anti-poaching patrols during the hunting season.  Intercept accepts special assignments and missions at the discretion of park leadership.  Intercept rangers may also be involved in all-hazards programs such as emergency medical services, search and rescue, structural and wildland fire suppression.

Intercept is based out of the Wawona District, which is located in the southern third of the park and is within a reasonable driving distance to full-service towns and metropolitan areas including Oakhurst (30 minutes) and Fresno (75 minutes). The community of Wawona includes the Wawona Hotel and Golf Course complex, stores, gas station, a K-8 elementary school, county library, and approximately 300 houses of intermixed federal and private ownership.

The Valley District has a permanent population of approximately 1,500 residents, with visitation as high as 15,000 visitors per day during the busy summer months. Visitor and resource protection in the Valley District is a true all-risk operation, with staff specializing in law enforcement, investigative services, marijuana cultivation interdiction, emergency medical services, search and rescue, structural and wildland fire. Collateral duties may include serving as a field training ranger, park medic or paramedic, or membership on the park’s special response, technical rope rescue, swift water rescue, and/or helicopter rescue teams.

A market, stores, restaurants, church, day care center, and elementary school are all located within Yosemite Valley. Small towns, including Mariposa and Oakhurst, are approximately a one hour drive away, and large metropolitan areas including Fresno and Merced are two hours away.  Additional park information can be found at: .

Yosemite is seeking professional, team-orientated rangers interested in working in an all-hazard law enforcement ranger position with other dedicated professionals. For more information regarding this position contact Yosemite Intercept Supervisory Park Ranger Kenny Barend at 209-770-0483or email ( and Valley District Ranger Jack Hoeflich 209-372-0228 ( ).

To be considered for this position you must currently be a GL-9 law enforcement Rangerr and you must submit the following:

  • A resume which includes your commission level and number;
  • Your most recent SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action) indicating current grade and step;
  • A copy of your most recent performance appraisal.  

Send your complete application package to Yosemite National Park’s Human Resources Office, Attention: Cyndi Mattiuzzi, PO Box 700-HR, El Portal, CA 95318.

You may email your application package, if you are sending it via secure government email, to: . You may also fax your application package to (209) 379-1934.

Applications must be received in the Human Resources Office no later than March 16th.  If you have questions regarding the application process, please call Cyndi Mattiuzzi at (209) 379-1806.