The Morning Report

Monday, July 14, 2014

Recent Editions  


Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Lightning Kills Two, Injures Ten In Separate Incidents

Lightning strikes killed two park visitors and injured ten others on park trails in separate incidents this past Friday and Saturday.

Around 1:20 p.m. on Friday, July 11th, the park was notified that a lightning strike had hit a number of visitors on the Ute Crossing Trail, located off of Trail Ridge Road between Rainbow Curve and Forest Canyon Overlook.

Eight visitors suffered a variety of injuries from the strike, with a 42-year-old Ohio woman succumbing to her injuries. Of the remaining seven, two were transported by ambulance and five transported themselves to the Estes Park Medical Center.   

Just before 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 12th, rangers were apprised of a lightning strike that injured four people, also near Rainbow Curve. All were taken to Estes Park Medical Center via ambulance. One of the four, a 52-year-old Nebraska man, did not survive.

The last lightning fatality that occurred in Rocky Mountain National Park was in 2000, when a technical climber was struck on the Diamond on Longs Peak. 

[Submitted by Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer]

Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Twenty-Seven Tour Bus Occupants Injured In Crash

A commercial tour bus carrying 26 passengers and a driver crashed approximately four miles north of Colter Bay Village just after 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 10th. 

Twenty-four people were transported by three Grand Teton ambulances, a Jackson Hole Fire/EMS ambulance and a Grand Teton Lodge Company passenger van to receive medical care at St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming. Two seriously injured passengers were flown to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls via two life-flight helicopters that were able to land near the accident site.

The single-vehicle accident caused the complete closure of Highway 89/287 (both lanes) between Colter Bay and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway for nearly five hours on Wednesday afternoon and evening. 

Motorists traveling between Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks were diverted to Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter Bay Village during the highway closure. Southbound motorists were sent to Headwaters Lodge and Cabins at Flagg Ranch and Grant Village in Yellowstone National Park to wait out the travel delay.

The vehicle wreckage was cleared and Grand Teton rangers reopened the highway at 9:10 p.m.

Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers and Grand Teton National Park rangers are jointly conducting an accident investigation.

The 33-foot-long bus came to rest on its side in the center of the roadway and perpendicular to the traffic lanes. Although the bus did not completely roll over, the impact of the crash caused some level of injury to all 27 bus occupants, making this a mass casualty incident.

The tour bus was northbound on Highway 89/287 en route to West Yellowstone, Montana, through the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park when the accident occurred.

Most patients were treated and released from the Jackson hospital by 9 p.m. Five of the more seriously injured passengers were kept for overnight observation and additional medical care.

The two patients flown to Eastern Idaho Medical Center were listed in fair condition as of Friday morning.

The extensive coordination and partnerships between Grand Teton National Park rangers, EMS providers and other park personnel together with Jackson Hole Fire/EMS providers, Grand Teton Lodge Company employees, Yellowstone National Park rangers, Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers, and the extremely organized and experienced emergency room staff at the St. John’s Medical Center helped to make this mass casualty incident progress efficiently and with success.

[Submitted by Jackie Skaggs, Public Affairs Officer]

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Missing Hiker Found In Kings Canyon

On July 3rd, a 33–year-old Clovis, California, man hiked from Florence Lake into the northern part of Kings Canyon National Park with the intent to climb Mt. Goddard. He was expected to return to his vehicle on July 7th, but by July 9th had not returned home.  Joint search operations were begun on July 9th with Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. 

On July 10th, search operations intensified, with six NPS hasty teams, the parks’ contract Type 3 helicopter, Yosemite NP’s Type 2 helicopter, and an NPS liaison assigned to Fresno County.   

Searchers reached the summit of Mount Goddard (elevation 13,558) and the peak register was found to have an entry left by the missing man on July 5th. On the evening of July 10th, the final team insertion took place around sunset near Davis Lake (elevation of 11,058), about two miles north of Mt. Goddard. 

As the helicopter was on final approach to the landing zone, the man was seen lying on the ground approximately fifty yards away.  The search team contacted him and found he had significant trauma to his lower extremities.  He said that he had been injured five days earlier while descending Mt. Goddard, had run out of food, and ultimately crawled toward Davis Lake. 

As sunset approached, potentially grounding the helicopter, the man was rapidly bandaged and carried to the helicopter by hand.  He was flown back to the park helibase, where he was transferred to a Life Flight helicopter for transport to a local hospital.

[Submitted by Tom Parrack, Incident Commander]


Alaska Region
The Bears Are Back

Katmai National Park and have announced that the popular park bearcams are back for 2014.

Each summer, brown bears gather to feed on sockeye salmon in the Brooks River. Eight webcams along or near the Brooks River stream live HD footage revealing the drama of the annual sockeye salmon migration and the dozens of brown bears fishing for them.

“Bears are charismatic creatures that hold enormous appeal with the public,” said Roy Wood, the park’s chief of interpretation. “These webcams allow anyone with an internet connection to watch one of the greatest gatherings of wildlife on earth.”

 “The cams provide remarkable opportunities to gain insight into the survival instincts and behavior of Katmai’s brown bears.”

Bears can be seen along the Brooks River throughout the spring, summer, and fall, but are most abundant at Brooks Falls in July. In June and August, few bears frequent the area. Dead and dying salmon attract many bears back to the Brooks River in September and October.

Throughout the summer and fall, park rangers are available to answer questions about bears through live video chats and in the cam’s comments stream. Viewers are encouraged to get to know individual bears and discover their different strategies for survival and unique dispositions.

Guidebooks about the Brooks River bears are available for free via download. Funding for the setup, maintenance, and operation for the webcams is generously provided by

Watch the webcams now. Visit either the or NPS pages:

[Submitted by John Quinley,, 907-644-3512]

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NPS Alumni
Passing Of Rex Wilson

Rex L. Wilson, 87, retired career NPS archeologist and former chief of the Service’s Interagency Archaeological Services Division, passed away on April 7th in Woodbridge, Virginia.

He was born on June 29, 1926 in Perry, Oklahoma, and adopted at the age of four by Frank and Erma Wilson, who owned a farm outside Aline, Oklahoma. He was an only child.

In 1944, Rex enlisted in the U.S. Navy to serve his country in World War II. He served in the Pacific theater, including the battle for Okinawa.

He married Olivia Susan Ikenberry in 1947 and completed his undergraduate studies at Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma. He was recalled by the Navy to serve stateside in the Korean War and was honorably discharged in 1954.

Rex attended graduate school in anthropology at the University of Oklahoma and graduated in 1957. He then joined the National Park Service as an archaeologist, which took him to positions in Georgia, New Mexico, Wyoming, Virginia, and Arizona before moving to Washington, D.C., where he served as departmental consulting archaeologist.

In 1974, he completed doctoral work in archeology at the University of Oklahoma and returned to Washington, D.C., to serve as chief of the Interagency Archaeological Services Division of the National Park Service. Rex later went on to serve as senior archaeologist for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and chief archaeologist for the Office of Surface Mining.

Rex retired in 1987 and moved to Richmond, Virginia, where he and Susan lived for 18 years before moving to Westminster at Lakeridge. He was active in the Presbyterian Church USA, most notably at Second Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia,  and held numerous leadership positions.

During his career, Rex produced numerous professional publications, the most notable being Bottles of the Western Frontier (University of Arizona Press, 1981) which is considered the definitive resource in this subject. He also authored the book Out East of Aline: An Adoption Memoir (Uncommon Buffalo Press, 2000). This book depicted Rex's life as an adopted child in Depression era rural Oklahoma and has been critically acclaimed by the School Library Journal and the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Rex is survived by his three sons, five grandsons, two granddaughters, and three great-grandsons. Memorial services were held on May 24th in Alexandria, Virginia. At the request of the family, donations may be made to the University of Arizona's Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute online at Under "Designation" select "Other" then type in "McKnight Brain Institute in memory of Rex and Susan Wilson."

[Submitted by Cynthia MacLeod, Acting Superintendent, Great Smoky Mountains National Park]

Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs
Weekly Legislative Activities Report

The Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs puts out weekly reports on hearings, new legislation and other activities on the Hill. This report covers activities in Congress for the week ending July 11th.

In order to obtain the full text of any of the bills that appear below, click on the following link: . That will take you to Thomas, the Library of Congress legislative tracking system. Enter the bill number in the “Search Bill Text” block, being sure to also click on the “Bill Number” option below the block.


New Public Laws

On June 30th, President Obama signed into law S. 1044 (Portman, R-OH), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to install in the area of the World War II Memorial in the District of Columbia a suitable plaque or an inscription with the words that President Franklin D. Roosevelt prayed with the United States on June 6, 1944, the morning of D-Day.  It is Public Law 113-123.

Floor Action

On July 9th, the Senate passed the following bills by unanimous consent:

  • H.R. 1158 (Hastings, R-WA-4), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to continue stocking fish in certain lakes in the North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.  The Department does not oppose the bill if amended.  Senate passage clears the bill for the President.
  • H.R. 3110 (Young, R-AK-At large), to allow for the harvest of gull eggs by the Huna Tlingit people within Glacier Bay National Park in the State of Alaska.  The Department supports with the bill with an amendment.  Senate passage clears the bill for the President.
  • S. 354 (Wyden, D-OR), a bill to modify the boundary of the Oregon Caves National Monument, and for other purposes.  This bill would transfer 4,070 acres of land from the Forest Service to the National Park Service for addition Oregon Caves National Monument and designate the unit as the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve.  The bill would also designate Cave Creek (River Styx) as part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.  The Department supports the bill.
  • S. 247 (Cardin, D-MD), a bill to establish the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, New York, and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Caroline, Dorchester, and Talbot Counties, Maryland, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill with amendments to reconcile the national historical park proposal with the establishment of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument by Presidential Proclamation in March, 2013.
  • S. 311 (Landrieu, D-LA), a bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating sites in the Lower Mississippi River Area in the State of Louisiana as a unit of the National Park System, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill.
  • S. 476 (Cardin, D-MD), a bill to amend the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Development Act to extend to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Commission.  The bill would extend the authorization for the commission for 10 years.  The Department supports the bill.

Committee Activity

On July 9th, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation (Bishop) held a hearing on the following bills of interest to the National Park Service. The Department’s witness on H.R. 3994 was Lori Williams, executive director, National Invasive Species Council; testimony on H.R. 4751 was a statement for the record:

  • H.R. 3994 (Bishop, R-UT-1 ), to improve the control and management of invasive species that threaten and harm Federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the intent of the bill but has concerns about several provisions.
  • H.R. 4751 (Kilmer, D-WA-6), to make technical corrections to P.L. 110-229 to reflect the renaming of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill.

On July 9th, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies (Calvert) held a markup and reported to the full House Appropriations Committee the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations for FY 2015. 

New Bills Introduced     

The following new bills of interest to the NPS were introduced:

  • H.R. 5038 (Kilmer, D-WA-6), to establish the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area in the State of Washington, and for other purposes.
  • S. 2576 (Cantwell, D-WA), a bill to establish the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area in the State of Washington, and for other purposes.
  • S. 2571 (Isakson, R-GA), a bill to adjust the boundary of the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park to include the Wallis House and Harriston Hill, and for other purposes.
  • S. 2575 (Walsh, D-MT), a bill to require the Secretary of the Interior to prepare a report on the status of greater sage-grouse conservation efforts, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 5068 (Clay, D-MO-1), to require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study regarding the proposed United States Civil Rights Trail, and for other purposes.
  • S. 2580 (Isakson, R-GA), a bill to redesignate the Ocmulgee National Monument in the State of Georgia, to revise the boundary of that monument, and for other purposes.
  • S. 2590 (Tester, D-MT), A bill to advance the purposes of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center, and for other purposes.
  • S. 2595 (Klobuchar, D-MN), A bill to revise the authorized route of the North Country National Scenic Trail in northeastern Minnesota and to extend the trail into Vermont to connect with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and for other purposes.

Upcoming Committee Activity

On July 15th, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a markup on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations for FY 15.  The meeting is scheduled for 9:00 am in 2359 Rayburn House Office Building.


For additional information, please visit the Legislative and Congressional Affairs Office website at

[Submitted by Susan Farinelli]


NPS Law Enforcement Training Center
GS-0025-12/13 Basic Academy Program Manager (Detail)

The National Park Service is seeking commissioned NPS employees interested in a detail assignment as program manager for the basic academy at the NPS Law Enforcement Training Center.

The detail will be for 120 days, beginning on August 11th. The detailee will be responsible for managing the day-to-day training activities of rangers participating in the Land Management Police Training Program, including coordination of the ranger-specific pre-basic physical efficiency battery (PEB), LMPT class assignments, mentoring and counseling, coordinating efforts with partner agencies (Department of Homeland Security, Department of Interior, etc.), addressing conduct and performance issues with students, and communicating with home parks (overtime, travel, or any issues).

The detailee will serve as the principal advisor to the superintendent, NPS LETC, concerning LMPT curriculum issues or other issues that may arise during the training day. This position requires excellent oral and written communication skills, critical thinking skills, and the ability to produce well-organized, accurate work under short deadlines.

NPS LETC will pay for travel and per diem expenses, salary will be covered by the employee’s home unit.  Employees who would like to be considered for this detail should, after gaining approval with their supervisors, forward a short cover letter and resume to Jill Hawk at, by close of business, July 18th.

For more Information, contact Superintendent Jill Hawk at the above email address or 912-267-3190.

Climate Change Response Program
Climate Change Communication Specialist (Lateral/Detail)

The Climate Change Response Program is soliciting applications from current permanent employees interested in serving on a temporary basis as the program’s communication specialist.  

Types of skills and expertise being sought include but are not limited to the following:

  • Project management
  • Experience in hiring and supervision
  • Experience working with partners and collaborating with a diversity of groups
  • Web content development and social media engagement
  • Developing training tools and facilitating training sessions
  • Graphic design or exhibit design
  • Writer/editor
  • Solid understanding of NPS interpretive principles
  • Ability to synthesize complex science for general audiences

Work products will be supervised by the division chief, who will also determine priorities, overall goals, and timeframes. The person(s) selected will be largely self-sufficient in planning, designing, and managing the projects assigned with a minimum of oversight. The start date is negotiable, but prefer as soon as possible.

The lateral/detail(s) will be located in Fort Collins, Colorado. Travel, per diem and housing will be provided as appropriate. Appointments may vary in length, generally from 90 to 120 days. Applicants with current supervisory authority are being sought. The list of qualified candidates established as a result of this announcement will be utilized through the end of calendar year 2014. This will be a detail appointment only and will not result in a temporary promotion action or pay. This detail offers an excellent opportunity for career development and growth. 

Interested individuals must submit their application package electronically including:

  • A letter of interest, no longer than two pages, that states the relevant strengths the candidate would bring to the position;
  • Written consent from your supervisor;
  • A brief resume or description of the relevant expertise and skills possessed by the applicant (see list above).

Application packages should be received by July 17th and should be sent to Angie Richman (, 970-267-2136 office).

[Submitted by Angie Richman,, 970-267-2136]

Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science
GS-0170-11 Historian (Term)

The Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science Directorate is recruiting for a  historian. This is a term position, not to exceed 13 months.

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 July 24th.
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