The Morning Report

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Recent Editions  


Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Seriously Injured Climber Rescued From Grand Teton

A climber sustained life-threatening injuries in an apparent fall while attempting to make a solo summit of the 13,770-foot Grand Teton on the morning of Friday, August 8th.

Despite dense clouds and bad weather, rangers were able to rescue Steve Markusen, 60, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, with the support of a Teton Interagency Fire helicopter.

Free climbing alone—without a climbing harness, rope or helmet—Markusen had reached an elevation of 13,300 feet on the Grand Teton and was climbing midway between the Friction Pitch and V-Pitch on the upper Exum Ridge route when the accident occurred. Although unable to recall exactly what happened, he believes he may have been struck by a rock, which caused him to fall or tumble possibly 100 feet down the steep, granite slabs strewn with loose rock that lies above the Friction Pitch. He incurred extensive traumatic injuries during his ‘tumbling’ fall. 

Two climbers in a separate party came upon Markusen, but did not have a cell phone to call for help. They continued to the summit of the Grand Teton, about 400 vertical feet beyond, where they located other climbers with a cell phone and called the Jenny Lake Ranger Station. In the meantime, another party of two climbers encountered Markusen and began to provide first aid as they also placed a 911 call.

About an hour later, while the park’s rescue operation was underway, a third climbing party with four firefighters from Boston, Massachusetts, also came upon Markusen and the two climbers who were assisting him. Two of the Boston climbers had medical training; they stayed with Markusen to provide advanced medical assistance until park rangers arrived. Due to the threat of an approaching storm, all the other climbers continued to the Grand’s summit. 

Because of the cloud cover high on the mountain, a ground-based rescue mission was begun. The helicopter flew seven rangers and a Teton Interagency Fire helitack crew member to the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton (elevation 11,600 feet), which was below the thick clouds. 

From the Lower Saddle, two rangers made a ‘blitz’ ascent with minimal gear to quickly reach the critically injured climber and begin emergency medical care. Four additional rangers carried all the equipment necessary for a possible extended ground rescue. Fortunately, a break in the weather made it possible to short-haul a ranger and a rescue litter to the accident site.

Markusen’s injuries were serious enough to warrant a life flight to Eastern Idaho Medical Center in Idaho Falls, but bad weather prevented the Air Idaho flight. Instead, Grand Teton rangers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics set up a temporary emergency room inside the Jenny Lake Rescue Cache to stabilize Markusen before transporting him by park ambulance to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming. Markusen arrived at the local hospital at 4:20 p.m., over five hours after his fall. 

[Submitted by Jackie Skaggs, Public Affairs Officer]

Hot Springs National Park (AR)
Rangers Deal With Disturbed Camper

On the weekend of August 2nd, Ranger Ryan Howell encountered a 29-year-old man who had come into the Gulpha Gorge campground looking for a place to camp but was confused and acting strangely.  

A routine check on the man’s vehicle revealed that he had a history of violence and a criminal past, including an attempt to murder his father. Howell also learned that he’d just bonded out of jail following an attack on his ex-girlfriend a few days previously. Information was passed along to the entire protection ranger staff warning them of the man’s history.

On Tuesday, August 5th, Chief Ranger John Hughes noticed a hangman's noose hanging from a tree in the man’s campsite.  Rangers Jeff Johnson and Clint Forte and park canine “Saki” responded and spoke to the man. The noose was then taken down from the tree, but it was noted that the man was wearing a large filet knife on his side.

Shortly after clearing the campsite, a 911 call was relayed to park dispatch concerning a man who’d been snake-bitten at his campsite. A second call came in shortly thereafter reporting a man and woman fighting at the campsite. Rangers responded and staged in a safe location to prepare their approach.

Several nearby campers and the  man’s mother notified park rangers that he had been talking of suicide by hanging himself. EMS was staged at this time.

When the man saw rangers in the area, he fled further down Gulpha Creek and out of site. After a couple of hours of searching, he was found underneath a highway bridge and was talked out and taken into protective custody with only a brief bit of resistance. While being loaded into the waiting ambulance, he was questioned as to the location of the large filet knife. He said that the knife had been hidden next to a large rock, where he intended to have a woman accompany him later that night.

Rangers interviewed the man’s mother and learned that he had invited his ex-girlfriend to visit him at the rock next to the creek that night. It is unknown at this time of his intentions, but park staff are concerned that a murder-suicide may have been his plan. Due to his violent behavior, hospital workers asked that rangers standby with the man at the hospital for several hours until his handcuffs could be safely removed. The attending physician ordered him sent to a mental hospital for treatment.

[Submitted by John Hughes, Chief Ranger]


Ellis Island National Monument (NJ,NY)
College Students Engage In Immigration Dialogue

What relevance does a historic site like Ellis Island have for immigrants today? Quite a lot, according to college students participating in the park’s latest facilitated dialogue program.

“Speaking of Immigration” is a program that helps to connect the historic stories at Ellis Island to the experiences of immigrants in local communities today.  Developed by rangers at the Statue of Liberty National Monument, the project is part of the National Dialogues on Immigration, a 20-site effort sponsored by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

The Ellis Island program consists of four visits over the course of a semester that combine interactive ranger-guided tours with facilitated dialogue comparing immigration issues then and now.  Different sessions focus on the process of immigration, assimilation and community, immigrants at work, and citizenship.

This spring, 30 students participated in the park’s dialogue program.  These individuals attend sociology and geography classes at one of the Statue of Liberty’s partner institutions, New Jersey City University (NJCU).  Most of the students have a strong relationship to immigration, being either immigrants themselves or the children of immigrants.  Thus, the program hopes to engender discussions about their personal experiences, while enabling them to understand the larger issues of immigration in both past and present contexts.

“Speaking of Immigration” helps students unpack the feelings they have about immigration in their lives and communities.  The discussions often elicit a variety of perspectives.  For example, when asked about whether immigrants should be required to learn English, one student expressed great displeasure about those who live in “ethnic enclaves” without being able to acquire the English language.  

Another participant countered that since immigrants “come to be free, they should be given the right to be themselves.”  He continued, “Don’t hide who you are.  That’s why it’s ‘We the people.’”

A third student voiced concern that while her mother-in-law has been in the country for years, she still does not speak English and her family has to be responsible for helping her with basic activities, like visiting the doctor.  While ethnic communities offer a “safe place” for newly arrived immigrants, this participant felt miffed that many can still be “isolated in their immigrant pockets.”

Another discussion centered on the citizenship exam.  A student wondered aloud, “What is the exam supposed to test?  Does this test really prove how American I am?”  Another participant who helped her aunt with the citizenship exam remarked, “The test was hard.  You have to study for one hundred questions, they test you on ten questions, and you have to get five correct.  Before helping her to study, I could not even pass the examination.”  

Students led a spirited discussion on the merits of the citizenship process, looking at the “inner meaning” behind the Pledge of Allegiance, the Oath of Allegiance, and the benefits and drawbacks of dual citizenship.

These dialogues illustrate the relevance that Ellis Island still holds today as a space that speaks to the contemporary immigrant experience.  The program with NJCU participants has shown that the topic of immigration continues to evoke visceral and personal emotions.  

The conversations have helped participants reflect on the complexities of immigration and, in turn, develop multiple perspectives.  By connecting the immigrant history at Ellis Island to those immigrants arriving in local communities today, the park can help build on these powerful connections and make immigration an enlivened experience.

[Submitted by Peter Wong,]

Yosemite National Park (CA)
Yosemite Conservancy Receives Director’s Partnership Award

On the evening of Sunday, June 29th, Director Jarvis presented the Director’s Partnership Award to the Yosemite Conservancy. 

Mike Tollefson, president and CEO of Yosemite Conservancy, accepted the award. He was joined at the event by Jerry Edelbrock, vice president of the conservancy, and Philip Pillsbury, chair of the conservancy’s board of trustees. 

The special presentation occurred at a Yosemite Conservancy dinner kicking off the many events that the park conducted on June 30th to mark the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Yosemite Grant.  Yosemite Conservancy received the award for their sustained support of Yosemite National Park through their philanthropic efforts.  

On Monday, June 30th, as part of the 150th commemoration, ceremonial golden sledgehammers were swung as the groundbreaking for the Mariposa Grove Restoration Project.  This $36 million landmark project includes a $20 million capital campaign being conducted by the conservancy. The project will remove parking lots, construct trails, and restore natural processes to the famed giant sequoia grove.  

Since 1998, Yosemite Conservancy has contributed over $81 million dollars to fund projects and programs in Yosemite National Park, including annual funding for park programs and projects that have a positive impact on  the visitor experience and foster a better park connection. 

To date, Yosemite Conservancy has completed over 450 projects throughout the park.  Examples of park projects include trail restoration, plant species restoration, wildlife protection (including proposed reintroduction of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep), scientific research, and teaching under-served youth the ideas of conservation and stewardship of national parks.  

Specific park projects completed recently include a redesign of the Tunnel View area, completion of the Yosemite Valley trails project, Lower Yosemite Fall restoration, new gates at Tioga Pass, a redesign of the Olmsted Point Overlook, and many park educational programs .  

The conservancy traces its roots back to the founding of the Yosemite Association in 1923.  This was the first cooperating association within the national park system. 

[Submitted by Scott Gediman]

Denver Service Center
NPS Staff Visit DC Clean Rivers Project

Staff from the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority recently invited several NPS employees to visit a Clean Rivers construction site along the Anacostia River. 

The Clean Rivers Project is a massive city infrastructure and support program designed to capture and clean water during heavy rainfalls before it reaches the District's waterways - the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and Rock Creek.

Associate Director of Park Planning, Facilities and Lands Vic Knox and Acting National Capital Regional Director Lisa Mendelson-Ielmini joined with other NPS staff from National Capital Region, National Mall and Memorial Parks, and Denver Service Center on the tour of the site to gain a first-hand understanding of the magnitude and complexity of the project.

The $3.5 billion project will take 20 years to complete and result in a 96% reduction in combined sewer outfall and flood relief in the area. The installation of a series of 26-foot tunnels will store and convey storm water run-off throughout the city to water treatment facilities before it enters the waterways, greatly improving the water quality of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, Rock Creek, and the Chesapeake Pay. Currently, the tunnel is 1.5 miles long and 140 feet below the city.  The tunnel will be 4.5 miles long when complete.

Three national park sites along the Anacostia River will be impacted by the construction of tunnels throughout the region. Staff from National Capital Parks-East, National Capital Region, and Denver Service Center will be coordinating with DC Water throughout the duration of the project.

“The magnitude of this project is impressive.  The water quality in the District affects the residents, business, and visitors to the area, including our national parks.  The NPS is glad to support DC Water as they work to improve the quality of the area’s waterways,” said Vic Knox.

[Submitted by Lindy Allen,, (303) 969-2588]

United States Park Police
Andrew Goodrich Receives Patriot Award

On June 11th, Andrew Goodrich was awarded the Department of Defense’s’ Patriot Award for his outstanding work in helping recovering military service members acquire professional skills as they transition out of their active duty careers.

The Patriot Award is given to individuals in organizations that make significant efforts to support service members in the various and complex aspects of their military careers. Andrew was nominated for this award by James Pierce, a recovering service member now working as the volunteer coordinator at the National Mall in Washington, DC.

In the same ceremony, Rick Caceres-Rodriguez was awarded a “Statement of Support” for his collaborative work with Andrew on veteran employment issues. 

Andrew designed and is piloting Operation Guardian for the National Park Service. Originally Operation Guardian was the NPS’ response to Department of Defense’s Operation Warfighter, but over time the program has answered the call from the other elements of DoD, the VA and other veteran support organizations.

Operation Guardian is a program designed to equip returning and recovering service members (RRSM) with the professional skills necessary to gain civilian employment. Through Operation Guardian, RRSMs are placed in carefully-crafted internship opportunities that match their personal interests and career prospects.

At present, Operation Guardian has been implemented at the National Mall (Washington, DC), Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (Colorado), and the United States Park Police with a high rate of success.  

The granting of the Patriot Award reenergizes the Service’s efforts at enhancing employment opportunities to the military and veteran community as part of a well-thought-out recruitment and workforce planning strategy.

[Submitted by Rick Caceres-Rodriguez]


Gulf Islands National Seashore (FL,MS)
GS-0025-11 Supervisory Interpretive Ranger

Gulf Islands National Seashore has issued an announcement for a supervisory interpretive ranger.

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 August 22nd.
 More Information...
Thomas Edison National Historical Park (NJ)
GL-0025-9 Protection Ranger (Lateral)

Thomas Edison National Historical Park is seeking applicants interested in a non-competitive lateral reassignment to a permanent protection ranger position at the GL-9 level.

PCS funding is available. The target EOD date is early October.

This is a lateral reassignment for a Level I commissioned ranger into a special retirement covered position. The person selected will be responsible for independently performing law enforcement duties, including detection, investigation, apprehension, and prosecution under applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

This job also presents an opportunity to be part of a team serving visitors and protecting one of the most valuable, extensive and varied collections in the National Park System. It is a great job for someone who is interested in working with varied, complex and critical museum security initiatives, significant structural fire protection programs and systems, and visitor and employee safety programs. 

There are opportunities to develop leadership skills, provide training, research and develop SOPs and enhance resource protection skills in a fascinating historic setting.  Numerous other duties occur daily and as assigned. There are also opportunities to train and work with other national parks and law enforcement agencies in the area.

The person selected for this position may also serve as a commissioned park ranger at Morristown National Historical Park in Morristown, New Jersey, as necessary.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park is located in West Orange, New Jersey. The park preserves Thomas Alva Edison's laboratory complex, including his library, machine shops, and chemistry lab, his estate Glenmont, including a 29-room Victorian mansion and outbuildings and 400,000 artifacts and 5 million documents. West Orange is a suburban community 10 miles from Newark, NJ and 15 miles from Manhattan, NY. The area offers a wide range of cultural, recreational, and educational opportunities. Public transportation is available. (There is a short walk from the bus stop to Edison estate, Glenmont.) Rents in the area are high.

Interested individuals should email the following documents to the Human Resources Office by August 22nd:

  • A resume detailing work history, supervisory experience, educational background, and any special qualifications 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 Type I NPS Law Enforcement Commission (picture omitted)
  • A copy of most recent performance appraisal
  • A list of professional and personal references, including contact info

Application packages from qualified candidates must be received in the Human Resources Office by 11:59 pm EST on August 22nd. Please send application packages to secure fax number 570-426-2498 or via email to Please list in the subject line of the email: EDIS GL 9 LE Ranger Lateral

For additional information about the position, please contact Chief Ranger Alexander Whitten at 973-736-0550 Ext. 15 or or Assistant Superintendent Theresa Jung at 973-736-0550 ext.50 or

Park Facility Management Division
GS-1601-13 Facility Management Systems Program Coordinator

The Park Facility Management Division has issued an announcement for a facility management systems program coordinator.

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 August 22nd.

Natural Resource Stewardship and Science
GS-0301-9 Staff Assistant (Detail)

The Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate is seeking candidates for a detail or temporary promotion of not to exceed 120 days as a staff assistant.

It is open to all permanent NPS employees. The directorate will pay travel, lodging and per diem. The start date is negotiable.

The major duties include but are not limited to the following:

  • Planning and coordinating administrative functions on behalf of the Associate Director to facilitate efficient day-to-day office operations.
  • Reviewing, routing, tracking, and preparing incoming and outgoing correspondence in accordance with all established policies and procedures.
  • Maintaining the associate director’s calendar, scheduling meetings, and reserving conference room space as needed.
  • Making all necessary travel arrangements to include processing travel authorizations and vouchers.
  • Assembling information in advance of meetings as required by the Associate Director.
  • Receiving visitors and phone calls, determining the nature of requests, and directing callers to appropriate staff.
  • Maintaining confidential records and files.

The announcement is open through August 20th.

Interested candidates should have support from their official supervisors and submit the following via email by the closing date to with the subject line:  NRSS Detail Opportunity – Staff Assistant, Washington, DC:

  • Current resume
  • Most recent SF-50 (non-award)

For additional information, please contact Jennifer Wyse, senior advisor and legislative liaison, at 202.208.4272 or