The Morning Report

Monday, December 29, 2014

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Olympic National Park (WA)
Major Search In Progress For Missing Day Hiker

Yesterday marked the fifth day of an ongoing interagency search for a 60-year-old Port Angeles man who failed to return from a day hike he took in the park last Monday.

Searchers from the park, Olympic Mountain Rescue, Tacoma Mountain Rescue, Clallam County SAR, Jefferson County SAR, and two dog teams from German Shepherd’s Search Dogs continued to search the Olympic Hot Springs area over the weekend.

Jim Griffin, who frequently hikes the two-and-a-half-mile trail to the hot springs, went for a day hike there on Monday, December 22nd. On Wednesday, December 24th, around 10:00 p.m., friends reported Griffin overdue when he did not show up for Christmas Eve dinner.

Three NPS searchers began the search that evening and continued through the night. On Christmas Day, two two-person teams searched for Griffin. Several friends of Griffins, including the reporting party, assisted in the efforts on both Thursday and Friday.

On the afternoon of Christmas Day, Griffin’s day pack was located 50 feet off trail about a half mile from the trailhead. On Friday, eight search groups, including three dog teams, searched until dark. The park also attempted to use Griffin’s dog in the search, but the dog was not able to indicate where Griffin might be.

On Saturday, 21 searchers and two dogs resumed the effort to find him. The search teams completed a grid search within 500 feet of the location where Griffin’s day pack was found. They covered the entire search area in a grid pattern about ten feet apart, but no clues were found.

Park incident team members spoke to a couple on Saturday who had a conversation with Griffin at the hot springs. They believe he left the springs around 4:00 p.m. on Monday, which would mean he hiked back in the dark.

On Sunday, three teams were in the field and were joined by a group of Griffins’ friends. No sign of him was found. The search will be suspended today, but the investigation will continue.

Anyone who was at the Olympic Hot Springs, on the trail, or at the parking lot last Monday is asked to contact park dispatch at 360-565-3115. Even the smallest piece of information might help in the search.

[Submitted by Jacilee Wray, Acting Spokesperson]

Zion National Park (UT)
Trailer Truck Gets Wedged In Park Tunnel

A trailer truck attempting to drive through the Zion Mt. Carmel tunnel from the east side just before 2 a.m. on December 22nd became wedged around the last turn before exiting the tunnel.

The truck driver passed three signs from the Mt. Carmel Junction to the park entrance warning of tunnel size restrictions. Evidence on scene suggests that the truck scraped the top of the tunnel intermittently along its entire 1.1-mile length.  

The truck driver walked out and climbed up above the tunnel until he was able to get a cell phone signal to call for help.  Rangers Rohrbach and See responded and were on scene for several hours working with a tow truck out of Kanab.  The truck was dislodged by removing compressed air and lowering the cab. 

Civil charges are pending.

[Submitted by Cindy J. Purcell, Chief Ranger]


Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park (TX)
Christmas Celebrated With Head Start Students

Continuing a tradition that started nearly 50 years ago, 34 students from the Stonewall Head Start School helped decorate a Christmas tree at the LBJ Ranch on Monday, December 15th.

Staff and volunteers from Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park hosted the students and assisted with making handmade ornaments. Before decorating the tree, park rangers Patrick Pelarski and Diane Kirkendall read Christmas stories and sang carols with the students.

The Head Start program was created in 1965 as one of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” programs. These programs were an essential part of his Great Society initiative, which sought to end poverty and inequality, protect the environment, and rejuvenate cities. The aim of the Head Start program was to help preschool-aged children from low-income families with child development programs.

Head Start prepared children for entering grade school on par with their peers. Lady Bird Johnson served as the honorary chairwoman of the National Head Start program during the Johnson presidency.

Following the presidency, the Johnsons remained active in the program through the Stonewall Head Start School, which at that time was located near his home at the LBJ Ranch. President Johnson was affectionately known to the children as “Mr. Jellybean” because he would pass out jellybeans whenever he came to visit the school.

The Johnsons also invited students out to the LBJ Ranch around Christmas time to decorate a tree at the president’s reconstructed birthplace. Today, children decorate a tree located inside the historic airplane hangar building, which serves as a visitor center for the LBJ Ranch.

Nationally, Head Start has served more than 30 million children since its creation. In 2015, Head Start will mark its 50th anniversary.

Overall, Johnson was responsible for more than a thousand pieces of legislation during his presidency, including the Voting Rights Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Housing and Urban Development Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act, the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act, the Highway Beautification Act, and many others.

President Johnson was also responsible for the creation of nearly 50 units of the National Park Service. During this 50th anniversary of the Johnson presidency, 1963-1969, these parks will help celebrate the legacy of our 36th president, Lyndon B. Johnson. Head Start and these national parks are just a small example of President Johnson’s legislative legacy that continues to this day.

[Submitted by Charlotte McDaniel]

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Climate Change Response Program
NPS Creates Servicewide Climate Change Interpretation Strategy

In early December, NPS staff launched the National Park Service climate change interpretation strategy. Staff from the Interpretation, Education and Volunteer Division and the Climate Change Response Program hosted a three-day workshop with participants representing parks, regions, and programs. 

The plan is designed for a broad community of practice from front line interpreters and interpretive managers to partners, concessionaires, volunteers, facilities and maintenance personnel, resource managers, superintendents, science communicators, digital and social media creators, and green team members.

The workshop marked a milestone in three of the NPS's Climate Change Response Strategy (goals 12, 13, and 14). Creation of the plan addresses a high priority action of the servicewide Climate Change Action Plan 2012-14.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy identified the NPS plan as an example of how agencies are increasing climate literacy in a factsheet entitled “Lifting America’s Game in Climate Education, Literacy, and Training”. 

The factsheet, released ib December 3rd, announces the launch of that office's new climate education and literacy initiative “to help connect American students and citizens with the best-available, science-based information about climate change.” 

The fact sheet, which highlights examples from 25 agencies and education groups, states that the NPS is “equipping National Park Service employees with climate-relevant resources.”  It goes on to say that the plan will “…better serve the employees, volunteers, partners, and concessionaires who engage with the more than 270 million individuals who visit the bation's 401 national oarks annually” and will “assist NPS interpretive managers and practitioners in the creation and delivery of effective climate-change messages in the programs and exhibits across all national parks.”

The climate change interpretation strategy development team is interested in hearing your input on the needs, challenges, and opportunities of communicating climate change. Watch for a call for information from the CCRP in mid-January, and respond with your ideas.  

Contact Laura Sturtz ( for more information. 

[Submitted by Laura Sturtz,]

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (MO)
Park Joins In USO’s Annual Holiday EXODUS Program

Staff from the park’s education and interpretation division assisted the United Services Organization of Missouri’s annual holiday EXODUS program earlier this month. 

This year’s program served approximately 5,000 servicemen and women traveling for the holidays from Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri through Lambert – St. Louis International Airport.

Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. on December 20th, interpretive ranger Melissa Corsaut and community outreach coordinator Bob Dietrich welcomed service members as they arrived at the airport and issued 300 annual military passes and four access passes to disabled veterans. 

The park also provided its Gateway Arch blocks and touch table artifacts to provide information on the park to the service members during their stay at the airport. 

An Arch block building challenge was issued by the Marines to the Army engineers in attendance.  The Army engineer teams came up short and the Marines went undefeated for the event.

[Submitted by Bob Dietrich, Community Outreach Coordinator]

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (MI)
Four Long-Time Employees Retire This Month

Four long-time employees of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - Pam Baker, Bill Magli, Jack Roberts, and Brenda St. Martin - will retire this month.

"The National Park Service is fortunate to have a large number of highly dedicated employees, some of the most dedicated in public service," said Superintendent Mike Pflaum. "This certainly includes Pam, Bill, Jack and Brenda."

Ranger Pamela Baker serves as the National Park Service manager at the Interagency Visitor Center in Munising. Pam began her service at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in 1984 as a volunteer. She began her federal career at Isle Royale National Park in 1989, and transferred to Pictured Rocks in 1990 as an information receptionist. Pam is well known among Pictured Rocks visitors as the face of the National Park Service.

William Magli, the park's automotive mechanic, has maintained the lakeshore's fleet of motor vehicles, boats, and small engines since his arrival in July 1993. Bill started his federal career in 1984 at Death Valley National Monument in California and Nevada. Four years later, he transferred to Blue Ridge Parkway, located in North Carolina and Virginia. Magli served in the U.S. Army, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. 

John "Jack" Roberts, a maintenance worker, began his federal career with service in the U.S. Army. He joined the Pictured Rocks staff in 1993, serving as the lead maintenance person in the lakeshore's Grand Marais District.  

Brenda St. Martin, the superintendent's secretary, has been at Pictured Rocks since August 1980. She began her NPS career as a clerk-typist for the ranger division. Brenda's time at the lakeshore has spanned most of its evolution from developing park to the established national park it is today.

"We have been very fortunate that Pam, Bill, Jack, and Brenda have been part of the Pictured Rocks team," remarked Pflaum. "These four dedicated employees have contributed over 110 years of their life's work to the mission of the Service and the federal government. We thank them and offer our congratulations for a job well done."

[Submitted by John Kacich,, 906-387-2607 x210]

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Fort Scott National Historic Site (KS)
Chief Ranger Kelley Collins Is Retiring

As 2014 draws to a close, so too does the active NPS career of Kelley Collins, Fort Scott’s chief ranger and chief of interpretation and resource management.

Kelley earned a degree in natural resource management (parks and recreation) from Kansas State University in 1981, then began federal service as the first seasonal interpretive park technician at the Corps of Engineers’ Pomona Lake recreation area south of Topeka, Kansas.

Kelley continued in that same role the following year with the National Park Service at Homestead National Monument of America before beginning her permanent path as a park rechnician at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis.

Returning to Homestead, where she became a park ranger, Kelley earned a law enforcement commission that she held until her retirement.

Moving to Death Valley National Park in 1987 as a supervisory park ranger, Kelley spent four years at Scotty’s Castle, where she initiated an innovative living history program still in operation today. She then began her long tenure at Fort Scott in 1991, where, as a true generalist ranger, she has overseen management of the site’s tallgrass prairie and museum collection, development of the park’s law enforcement program, and  expansion of interpretive, educational, and living history activities. 

Kelley has led numerous planning efforts at the park, served on the Midwest Region SETT, and on special law enforcement details. She has also stepped in to serve as the park’s acting superintendent on numerous occasions. She is especially proud of her work geared toward youth – the park’s Junior Ranger and education programs, the Trailblazer day camp, and yearly youth internships were all established with her guidance.

Kelley’s community involvement, particularly with Kiwanis, has led to leadership on many civic projects.

Following retirement, Kelley and husband Ed plan to remain actively involved in the local community. She also looks forward to more time in her garden and volunteering to assist with many of Fort Scott’s programs that she originally developed. Until the New Year, Kelley can be reached at

Those interested in sharing stories or photos relating to Kelley’s NPS career that can be included at her retirement potluck luncheon are encouraged to submit such to Park Ranger Barry Geertsen at And those who can attend to congratulate Kelley in person are encouraged to come to Fort Scott for the noon luncheon in the site’s Grand Hall on Saturday, January 17th.

[Submitted by Bill Fischer]

Mount Rainier National Park (WA)
Lou Whiteaker Is Retiring

Lou Whiteaker, plant ecologist at Mount Rainier National Park, will be retiring on December 31st after more than 27 years of government service.

Lou received his masters in botanical sciences in 1978 from the University of Hawaii, which resulted in the first vegetation map of the Crater District of Haleakala National Park. 

Lou worked for the cooperative parks study unit and did research in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park mapping and monitoring populations of introduced invasive plant species in the park. Lou also worked in Haleakala National Park and participated in several other NSF-funded research projects on the Islands. 

While in Hawaii, Lou and his wife Deb started a family; with their daughter Kamaria and son Gavin, they built a house adjacent to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Lou officially began his National Park Service career in 1987 as a botanist in Everglades National Park.  In 1990, Lou and his family moved to Klamath Falls, Oregon, where Lou served as the resource area lead botanist for the Bureau of Land Management.  While in Klamath Falls, Lou was the cofounder and first president of the Pacific Northwest Exotic Pest Plant Council (now the PNW Invasive Plant Council).

In 2008, Lou returned to the National Park Service and accepted the plant ecologist position at Mount Rainier National Park.  Lou’s accomplishments at Mount Rainier include implementation of the hazard tree plan and participation in the development and implementation of North Coast and Cascades Network Inventory & Monitoring vegetation monitoring protocols.

Lou oversaw the park’s vegetation restoration program, recording a high of 130,000 plants planted in a single year.

Please join us in congratulating Lou on this momentous occasion.  Planning for a retirement celebration will be announced in January.

[Submitted by Roger Andrascik, Chief, Natural and Cultural Resources]


Pacific West Region
GS-0025-12/13 Acting Chief Ranger (Detail)

Dates: 12/22/2014 - 01/05/2015

Olympic National Park is seeking candidates for a detail as the park's chief ranger.

  • Detail - This opportunity is available to National Park Service permanent employees at the GS-11 level and above who wish to be considered for a temporary detail.
  • Temporary promotion - This opportunity is available to National Park Service permanent employees at the GS-11 or higher who wish to be considered for a temporary promotion to the GS-12 or GS-13 level.

This is a temporary developmental assignment up to 120 days. The person selected will return to his/her regular duties at the end of the assignment.

The announcement closes on January 5th. The EOD date is negotiable, although a target date of February 8th is preferred.

The person selected wiill be responsible for the leadership of approximately 30 employees and the management and direction of complex law enforcement, fee, fire, dispatch, search and rescue, lands and visitor protection programs within the park. Olympic National Park consists of nearly a million acres of which 95% is designated wilderness. The park receives approximately 3 million visitors per year. .

During this assignment, for those on detail (already at the GS-13 level or above), salary will continue to be paid by the selectee’s home park or office at the same rate, unless otherwise negotiated. For those on temporary promotion (currently at the GS-11 or 12 level), salary will continue to be paid at the same rate by the selectee’s home park/office, with the promotional difference paid by Olympic National Park, unless otherwise negotiated. Travel and per diem will be paid by Olympic National Park.

If you are interested in this developmental assignment, you must discuss this opportunity with your first-line supervisor and obtain concurrence from your manager prior to applying. Once approval is gained, you should submit:

  • A resume, no more than two pages, detailing your work history, educational background, and any special qualifications.
  • Most current SF-50 reflecting your tenure and current grade level (non-award)
  • Endorsement letter from supervisor.

Submit your application materials electronically to no later than COB January 5th. Please include “Acting OLYM Chief Opportunity” in the subject line of the message.

[Submitted by Wendy Little,, 360-569-6521]

Rock Creek Park (DC)
GS-0560-9 Budget Analyst (Detail)

Rock Creek Park is seeking candidates for a budget analyst detail.

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 January 12th.
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