The Morning Report

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Recent Editions  

INCIDENTS



Office of Communications
Suspect Identified In Vandalism At Eight National Parks

A 21-year-old New York State woman, Casey Nocket, has been identified as the primary suspect in recent vandalism cases that affect eight national parks in the western United States.

National Park Service investigators have confirmed that images were painted on rocks and boulders in Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park, and Joshua Tree National Park, all in California; Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument, both in Colorado; Crater Lake National Park, in Oregon; Zion National Park and Canyonlands National Park, both in Utah.

Investigators continue to collect evidence of the crimes and conduct interviews and are consulting with the U.S. Attorney's Office about potential charges.

The image in Rocky Mountain National Park was reported to the park and removed in late September before similar images were found in the other national parks. Ice and snow now cover the image at Crater Lake National Park, and it may not be accessible for assessment and clean up until next summer. An image in Yosemite National Park was removed by an unknown person or persons.

If people visiting these parks come upon these images, they should contact the nearest park ranger with information about the image location. Visitors should not attempt to remove the images.

The National Park Service was contacted on October 20th about this vandalism case. The investigation began immediately.

[Submitted by Jeffrey Olson]


Natchez Trace Parkway (AL,MS,TN)
Rangers Investigate Three Fatal Accidents Over One Month Period

Rangers have responded to three single-vehicle collisions with fatalities since mid-September.

  • On Thursday, September 18th, Jamie R. Adams, 41, of Houston, Mississippi, lost control of his vehicle and struck a tree. Adams was not wearing his seatbelt and a toxicology report found a blood alcohol content of .20, much higher than the legal limit.
  • On Thursday, October 2nd, Corrie Carson, 68, of Tupelo, Mississippi, lost control of her vehicle and struck a tree. She was transported to the hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries. The data retrieved from the vehicle's airbag module indicates Carson was traveling well in excess of the posted 40 mph speed limit.
  • On Saturday, October 18th, Deep Bharucha, 26, of Ackerman, Mississippi, was ejected from his vehicle in an accident and was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation has revealed that Bharucha likely fell asleep and was not wearing his seatbelt.

Due to the proximity of the accidents to each other, rangers are increasing patrols in the area and will be performing safety checkpoints to increase seatbelt usage and reduce speeds.

[Submitted by Sarah Davis, Chief Ranger]


NEWS AND NOTES



Fort Scott National Historic Site (KS)
Battle Of Mine Creek Sesquicentennial Event Held

Fort Scott National Historic Site recently partnered with the Kansas Historical Society at its Mine Creek Civil War Battlefield State Historic Site to remember the largest Civil War battle fought in the Sunflower State.

On October 25, 1864, retreating Confederate (CSA) forces under Major General Sterling Price were forced into battle as they attempted to ford Mine Creek with a large wagon train of confiscated war materiel. The rebels had suffered a decisive defeat at Westport, Missouri, two days earlier and were desperately trying to maintain order as they moved south along the Kansas-Missouri border.

Mine Creek became the second largest cavalry battle of the entire war as the CSA rear guard sought unsuccessfully to delay pursuing Union forces. In the battle's aftermath, Price's shattered army made haste for sanctuary in Arkansas and never again threatened Missouri or Kansas.

Had it not been for the successful Union engagement at Mine Creek, the militarized town of Fort Scott, rich in vital supplies, would likely have been attacked. Of note, CSA Brigadier General John Marmaduke, captured at Mine Creek and remaining a prisoner of war until August 1865, was nonetheless promoted to the rank of major general, the last such promotion by the CSA.

With more than 500 people attending the event, which included walking trails to the Mine Creek ford, exhibits by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and several living history groups, the event exceeded historical society expectations.

Fort Scott staff exhibited several reproduction dragoon/cavalry saddles from the pre-Civil War period which helped visitors understand the evolving nature of the most fundamental equipment for mounted troops. They also spoke with visitors about the battle, fighting in the Trans Mississippi Theater, and answer questions about the park.

Intrigued, many of those attending the Mine Creek 150th in the morning made the 23-mile trip south to visit Fort Scott.

For more information about Mine Creek, visit:

[Submitted by Bill Fischer]


Northeast Region
Interagency Congressional Briefing Showcases Science Of Sandy

Each year, the US Geological Survey conducts a series of congressional briefings on science-related subjects.  This past summer, as the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy drew near, the USGS approached the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service about holding a joint congressional briefing as a way of showing a broader range of post-Hurricane Sandy work being done by the Department of the Interior than just that of USGS alone. 

This joint congressional briefing was held on September 19th, with the a focus on the "Science Supporting the Department of the Interior's Response" to Hurricane Sandy.

At this briefing, scientists shared critical information that has been used to aid the recovery of the areas  most impacted in the Northeast. Their work is helping to protect our coastal resources and to make communities more resilient against future extreme storms. 

Moving forward, DOI is positioned to help answer questions such as: What locations along the coast are forecasted to be the most vulnerable to future hurricanes? What were the storm impacts to ecosystems, habitats, fish and wildlife? What is being learned about the importance of undeveloped land?

Speakers for this briefing included:


  • Neil K. Ganju –  Research Oceanographer, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Mary Foley – Regional Chief Scientist, Northeast Region, National Park Service
  • Eric Schrading – New Jersey Field Office Supervisor,  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

To learn more about how USGS is combining interdisciplinary science with state-of-the-art technologies to achieve a comprehensive understanding of coastal change caused by Hurricane Sandy, read their new fact sheet: Using Science to Strengthen our Nation’s Resilience to Tomorrow’s Challenges—Understanding and Preparing for Coastal Impacts.

"Educating congressional staff on topical subjects serves broad purposes for agencies," shared NPS Senior Legislative Affairs Specialist Melissa Kuckro.  "Staff who know about and understand the work that agencies are doing can be very helpful in the decisionmaking process as lawmakers determine how to direct the agencies' work and allocate federal resources."  

"This particular briefing provided a great venue for the NPS to get the word out about the critical scientific work that the agency is doing to understand the effects of natural forces in the aftermath of a major weather event," said Northeast Region Senior Scientist Mary Foley.  "It gave the NPS the opportunity to inform congressional staff about the scientific research the NPS does."

This particular briefing gave the NPS, USGS, and the USFWS a chance to share knowledge in a vitally important area and to strengthen relationships among the sister agencies.

[Submitted by Mary K. Foley, Ph.D.]

 More Information...
Oregon National Historic Trail (ID,KS,MO,NE,OR,WY)
Members Of Pawnee Nation Hold Dance At Historic Trail Site

Pawnee Nation tribal members from Pawnee, Oklahoma, performed traditional dances at a public event on September 27th at Alcove Spring Park—a historic site on the Oregon and California national historic trails in Marshall County, Kansas.  

More than 300 people attended the event, which was the highlight of a two-day symposium featuring speakers on tribal history and trails topics, as well as presentations on improvements and events planned for the park. The event was organized by the Alcove Spring Historical Trust, the Kanza Chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association, and numerous local volunteers, with technical and financial support from National Trails Intermountain Region National Park Service, and the National Park Foundation’s Active Trails program.

Special thanks go to the Pawnee Nation tribal members who generously made the trip from Oklahoma to share some of their traditions with the local community and other visitors. The Pawnee used northeast Kansas as a hunting ground, but the arrival of emigrants and settlers in the mid-1800s led to competition for resources. In 1875, the tribe was forced to move to a reservation in Oklahoma. It is unknown when tribal members last visited present-day Alcove Spring Park.

Alcove Spring was an important landmark for travelers on the Oregon and California trails, as emigrants were often stranded near the spring for days, waiting for flood waters on the Big Blue River to recede. Today, the spring is part of a 240 acre park owned and managed by the Alcove Spring Historical Trust.  It was little known or visited until the early 1990s, when a group of local citizens formed the trust to purchase the land and open the site to the public.

At the park, one can visit the spring to see rock carvings left by emigrants in the 1840s and 50s, view the many visible wagon swales leading down to the historic river crossing, or just enjoy the outdoors on over five miles of hiking trails through woodland and natural prairie. Alcove Spring Park is the largest publicly accessible open space in Marshall County. 

“We’ve managed to, after all these years, hold onto a lot of what sets us apart as American Indians,” said Pawnee Head Chief Junior Pratt, one of the dancers. “We have a very specific land attachment. All of this area here at one time was Pawnee land. Our people lived here, maybe up there on that hill. . .This is also, like my dad was saying, a reminder of where we’re from.”

NTIR administers the Oregon and California national historic trails (designated by Congress as part of the National Trails System) as well as seven other national historic trails and the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. For more information, see these  websites:

[Submitted by Kimberly Finch, kimberly_finch@nps.gov, 801-741-1012 x 121]

 More Information...
Theodore Roosevelt National Park (ND)
Superintendent Valerie Naylor Retires Tomorrow

Valerie Naylor, superintendent of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and general superintendent for the North Dakota Group National Parks, will retire on October 31st.

Valerie started her NPS career at Theodore Roosevelt National Park as a Student Conservation Association volunteer in 1979. She went on to seasonal positions at Theodore Roosevelt NP and Colorado National Monument before landing a permanent job as a park technician with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Success Lake, California, in 1985.

She transferred to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona later that year and then to Badlands National Park in South Dakota as assistant chief of interpretation in 1987.

Valerie served as a district interpreter and then as chief of interpretation at Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River from 1994 to 1999 and superintendent of Scotts Bluff and Agate Fossil Beds National Monuments in Nebraska from 1999 to 2003 before returning to Theodore Roosevelt National Park as superintendent. She also served in detail assignments at Petrified Forest National Park and the Midwest Regional Office in Omaha.

Valerie is the longest continuous serving superintendent in the 67-year history of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. In recent years, she has worked to preserve the North Dakota national parks in the midst of the largest U.S. oil boom in the last 50 years. She received the Midwest Region Superintendent of the Year Award for Natural Resource Stewardship in both 2011 and 2012. In 2013, she received the prestigious Stephen T. Mather Award from the National Parks Conservation Association.

"I have had an entire 35-year career of dream jobs," said Valerie. "I have been fortunate and honored to live and work where other people spend their vacations. I hope to continue to work to preserve our national parks, but from another angle."

Valerie will make her home base in South Dakota but she plans to travel excessively. One of her pursuits is to visit every county and every national park in the country. She is planning international biking, hiking, skiing, and birding adventures while also taking care of her farmland in South Dakota and Montana. She can be contacted at: dakotavagabond@live.com.

[Submitted by Eileen Andes]


Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area (WA)
Chief Ranger Marty Huseman Is Retiring

Marty Huseman, chief ranger at Lake Roosevelt NRA, is retiring on Friday. She's been with the National Park Service since 1982.

Marty started with the NPS that year as a general seasonal at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. She enjoyed operating vehicles off road in places like "No Business" and Charit Creek, and learned how to install concrete boundary posts and construct trails.

She became a YCC crew leader at Obed Wild and Scenic River the next season and led her crew in cleaning old hunting camps and marking boundary. Her proudest moment came when one of her teenagers told her he had been driving with his father when his father attempted to throw an empty soda can out the window. The teenager told his father not to do that, because he would have to come back and pick it up.

In the course of six weeks in 1984, she graduated from college, attended Sylva seasonal LE training, and arrived back at Big South Fork for a nine- month season. She enjoyed hunting patrols and catching deer poachers.

In 1985 she worked as a seasonal at Coulee Dam National Recreation Area. She learned how to boat and caught her first intoxicated boat operator. She took part in an interagency marijuana cultivation raid where the seasonals were sent in first because they were considered to be expendable compared to the permanents.

In 1986 she received permanent status at Cuyahoga Valley NRA as a dispatcher. Being the newest hire, she was assigned to the midnight to 8:00 a.m. shift. After coping with sleep deprivation for seven months, she was able to transfer to the South District as a field ranger, and enjoyed doing resource inventories, patrolling with the local ski patrol, and working with Boy Scout volunteers who cleaned up old fencing and dump sites through the Adopt-a-Dump program.

Marty transferred to Great Smoky Mountains in 1989 and loved backcountry horse patrols. She and another park ranger snow shoed up the mountain to rescue a reporter who violated the closure caused by the government shutdown. They kept him warm overnight and hiked him out the next morning. After a tip was received that two men from Florida were arriving to kill two trophy deer from Cades Cove, she worked as part of a team to catch them after an overnight stakeout and bring them to justice.

She transferred to Big Cypress National Preserve in 1993 and enjoyed swamp buggies, airboats, helo flights and incident command planning for the Secretary of the Interior and Attorney General.

In 1995 she transferred to Lake Roosevelt NRA (formerly Coulee Dam NRA). She supervised the South District ranger operation and also worked as the concessions and lands specialist. She spearheaded a project with the landscape architect to identify over 300 potential encroachments and worked with staff from the park and Bureau of Reclamation to begin investigation and resolution. She began co- instructing the annual two week patrol procedures block for the Skagit Valley College parks law enforcement academy.

In 2004 she transferred to Natchez Trace Parkway as assistant chief ranger. Marty led the effort to move dispatchers from a 'large closet' into a standalone historic house with state-off-the-art equipment. She worked with the interpretive sapecialist to renovate the Tupelo Visitor Center, and planned and participated in the completion ceremony for all 444 miles of the parkway.

She transferred to Grand Canyon National Park in 2007 as the law enforcement specialist. She was project manager for moving dispatch from a cramped location into new construction with state-of-the-art equipment. She led the park through radio narrow banding. Her proudest moment was establishing a rapport with a suicidal man on the South Rim who had a warrant out for his arrest; this resulted in him walking away from the edge and into protective custody.

Marty transferred back to Lake Roosevelt as the chief ranger in 2010. She brought concurrent jurisdiction to the park, and led her team through the aftermath of an officer involved shooting. She engaged in team-building and was interviewed for the parkleaders.com website. Marty led the park through narrow banding, and would not rest until every possible improvement was made to the radio system.

Marty was a founding member of the NPS Honor Guard, and worked with her team for eight years to render honors at the funerals and celebrations of life for the families of law enforcement rangers, firefighters, and a wildlife biologist, and at the dedication of the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. She feels privileged to have been part of the effort to show the survivors of the fallen that their loved ones are given full honors, that they are always remembered, and that as a nation we are deeply grateful for their ultimate sacrifice.

Marty is grateful to have had the opportunity to work with dedicated and talented professionals throughout her career, and to have had the noble mission outlined in the Organic Act. She appreciates those who mentored her, and hopes she has passed that on to the next leaders. She thanks all of her co-workers for their support as they met numerous challenges together, and made a difference for park resources and visitors. Being a park ranger has been the fulfillment of her life-long dream.

Marty thanks her family and friends for their support and understanding as she has moved back and forth across the country several times. She'll be moving back home to Spokane Valley, Washington, to rejoin her spouse Nancy, their two cats and lovely garden. She can be reached at ripramco@earthlink.net, and PO Box 141836, Spokane Valley, WA 99214. She may be travelling to a park near you...

Joshua Tree National Park (CA)
Denise Fuller To Retire On Friday

Denise Fuller has announced her retirement after 31 years of service to the National Park Service. Her last day will be on Friday, October 31st.

Denise's journey with the Park Service began in 1979 with an invitation from her college geology professor to visit his family where he worked during the summer. It was Denise's first visit to a national park, Crater Lake, and she volunteered for two weeks working in the library and conducting a children's program in the campground.

She enjoyed working during those two weeks so much that she applied for and was offered a fee collection job the following season. After three seasons there as a fee collector, Denise changed her career path and college major from elementary school teacher to the NPS. She graduated with a bachelor of science in resources from Michigan State University in 1985.

After a few more years as a fee collector, Denise was offered her first permanent job as a clerk/typist with administration at Crater Lake in 1986. Since then, her career has included serving as the chief ranger's secretary at Crater Lake, 1986-1987; dispatcher at Sequoia & Kings Canyon, 1987-1991; supervisory ranger activities specialist at Mesa Verde, 1991-1998; dispatcher and legal assistant at Olympic National Park, 1998-2010; and, finally, lead emergency response coordinator at the Emergency Incident Coordination Center in Shenandoah NP.

Other accomplishments include assisting with the coordination and mentoring at the Colorado Wildfire Academy for several years, coordinating logistics for the NPS involvement during Police Week in Washington D.C, and assisting with the NPS Victim Assistance Program. Denise provided support to the employee association at each park in which she worked, providing organizational and logistical support, baking goodies, and then helped to plan and looked forward to the next event.

Denise will be moving to her home state of Michigan, but plans to travel and visit her many NPS friends and the NPS units she hasn't checked off her list yet. She is still available for party planning, so if you need assistance with that holiday party or a feature film created for a retiree, she can be found at denise_fuller@olypen.com.

If you have any photos or stories to add to her scrapbook, please send them to the above email address.

[Submitted by Karin Messaros]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Virgin Islands National Park (VI)
GS-0025-9 Interpretive Ranger (Lateral)

Virgin Islands National Park is seeking qualified candidates interested in a non-competitive lateral reassignment to an interpretive ranger position. Applications will be accepted from persons with career or career-conditional status in the competitive service.

This announcement is being issued in tandem with a GL-9 protection ranger position. Dual career candidates will be considered. If submitting as dual career couple, please note name of partner in your application materials.

The return rights policy as outlined in HR Bulletin Number 3-8 dated 10/28/03 is in effect for this position. This policy is designed to help attract a larger pool of highly qualified employees to remote areas. It applies to all current NPS career and career-conditional employees who transfer from a NPS unit within the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia to certain remote sites.

Under this policy, employees will be given the opportunity to return to the region they were assigned to prior to transferring to Virgin Islands National Park. To be eligible for return rights, the employee must complete a minimum tour of three calendar years at Virgin Islands National Park, and may elect a possible two year extension. Permanent change of station (PCS) moving expenses will be authorized.

The person selected for this position will be responsible for developing and delivering new interpretive programs using a variety of media. This ranger is responsible for the biannual publication of the park newspaper and developing content for the park web site and developing/coordinating a broad based social media program. She/he is expected to lead a variety of programs on land and in the waters of the park and monument (including hikes, snorkeling and curriculum based education programs), and also serves as the volunteer coordinator for the park.

Virgin Islands National Park is located on the island of St John which is less than 20 square miles in area and has a population of about 5,000 people. There is one bank, a small medical clinic, several local physicians, several smaller markets, a hardware store, two gas stations and many specialty shops and restaurants. The nearby island of St. Thomas is accessible by ferry (20 minutes) and offers an airport, a wider variety of shopping, including bulk food stores, hardware stores and general merchandise shops, hospital, etc. Public and private schools offer pre-kindergarten through 12 grade. Most students on St John commute to St Thomas to attend high school. The cost of living in the Virgin Islands is higher than average costs in cities across the US mainland.

Park housing may be available for one or both candidates. For additional information about these positions, please contact Deputy Superintendent Jayne Schaeffer at 340-776-6201 x 240 or by email jayne_schaeffer@nps.gov

Interested individuals should email the following documents to Vanessa_Taliaferro-Robinson@nps.gov or mail the documents to Virgin Islands National Park, ATTN: Vanessa -Taliaferro-Robinson, 1300 Cruz Bay Creek, St John, VI 00830:

  • A resume detailing work history and experience, educational background and any special qualification or training they might possess.
  • A copy of the most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action showing current federal career status (Non-Award SF-50)
  • Verification of a valid Level I NPS Law Enforcement Commission (picture omitted) (Protection position)
  • A copy of most recent performance appraisal
  • A list of professional and personal references, including contact information.

Application packages from qualified candidates must be received or postmarked by Monday, November 17th. Please list in the subject line of the email: VIIS GS 9 Interpretation Ranger Lateral.

Virgin Islands National Park (VI)
GL-0025-9 Protection Ranger (Lateral)

Virgin Islands National Park is seeking qualified candidates interested in a non-competitive lateral reassignment to a protection ranger position. Applications will be accepted from persons with career or career-conditional status in the competitive service.

This announcement is being issued in tandem with a GS-9 interpretive ranger position. Dual career candidates will be considered. If submitting as dual career couple, please note name of partner in your application materials.

The return rights policy as outlined in HR Bulletin Number 3-8 dated 10/28/03 is in effect for this position. This policy is designed to help attract a larger pool of highly qualified employees to remote areas. It applies to all current NPS career and career-conditional employees who transfer from a NPS unit within the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia to certain remote sites.

Under this policy, employees will be given the opportunity to return to the region they were assigned to prior to transferring to Virgin Islands National Park. To be eligible for return rights, the employee must complete a minimum tour of three calendar years at Virgin Islands National Park, and may elect a possible two year extension. Permanent change of station (PCS) moving expenses will be authorized.

The person selected will serve as a commissioned ranger in a special retirement covered position. He/she will be responsible for independently performing law enforcement duties, including detection, investigation, apprehension, and prosecution under applicable laws, rules and regulations, and will perform a wide array of "traditional ranger" duties, including backcountry hiking, ocean boat patrols, search and rescue, emergency medical services and various resource protection activities. Work will be performed on a variable schedule, including nights, weekends and holidays and the ranger will be subject to callouts.

Virgin Islands National Park is located on the island of St John, which is less than 20 square miles in area and has a population of about 5,000 people. There is one bank, a small medical clinic, several local physicians, several smaller markets, a hardware store, two gas stations and many specialty shops and restaurants. The nearby island of St. Thomas is accessible by ferry (20 minutes) and offers an airport, a wider variety of shopping, including bulk food stores, hardware stores and general merchandise shops, hospital, etc. Public and private schools offer pre-kindergarten through 12 grade. Most students on St John commute to St Thomas to attend high school. The cost of living in the Virgin Islands is higher than average costs in cities across the US mainland.

Park housing may be available for one or both candidates. For additional information about these positions, please contact Deputy Superintendent Jayne Schaeffer at 340-776-6201 x 240 or by email jayne_schaeffer@nps.gov .

Interested individuals should email the following documents to Vanessa_Taliaferro-Robinson@nps.gov or mail the documents to Virgin Islands National Park, ATTN: Vanessa -Taliaferro-Robinson, 1300 Cruz Bay Creek, St John, VI 00830:

A resume detailing work history and experience, educational background and any special qualification or training they might possess.

  • A copy of the most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action showing current federal career status (Non-Award SF-50)
  • Verification of a valid Level I NPS Law Enforcement Commission (picture omitted) (Protection position)
  • A copy of most recent performance appraisal
  • A list of professional and personal references, including contact information.

Application packages from qualified candidates must be received or postmarked by Monday, November 17th. Please list in the subject line of the email: VIIS GL 9 Protection Ranger Lateral.