The Morning Report

Monday, July 28, 2014

Recent Editions  

INCIDENTS



Glacier National Park
St. Mary Visitor Center Reopens Following Repairs

The St. Mary Visitor Center on the east side of Glacier National Park has reopened. It was temporarily closed on Thursday due to damage sustained when the furnace malfunctioned and the water sprinkler system activated. 

Although most services offered there are again available, some parts of the building remain closed, including the auditorium.

Park rangers responded to an alarm at the visitor center around 4 a.m. on July 24th.  The visitor center furnace had malfunctioned and the water sprinkler system had activated. There was water damage to the building and contents, as well as to some of the utilities. 

Contractors and park employees worked all day and most of the night on Thursday to assess the situation, remove office equipment and furniture, remove water, and dry out the area. 

Some park employee offices have been relocated to the park administrative area nearby.  Some drywall, flooring, office equipment, furniture and computers will need to be replaced due to water damage. Some Glacier National Park Conservancy sales items were also affected. 

The furnace may need to be replaced because several of the internal safety mechanisms failed to properly shut off the heat. The park is also considering some possible electrical upgrades to increase safety measures.          

[Submitted by Public Affairs Office]


Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ,UT)
Girl Injured By Boat Propeller

A 12-year-old girl visiting from Israel was struck by a boat propeller and seriously injured on July 23rd.

The injury occurred when she was ejected from the back of a moving powerboat while holding onto an inflatable inner tube. She sustained a severe lower leg injury when hit by the boat’s propeller.

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Classic Aviation responded to the Wahweap main launch ramp. The girl was flown from there to Flagstaff Medical Center.

The incident is currently under investigation by the sheriff’s office.    

[Submitted by Katie Wood, Park Ranger]


Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Former Concession Employee Sentenced For Child Molestation

Over the past few years, special agents with the Investigative Services Branch have conducted an investigation into the repeated sexual abuse of a minor that occurred within Grand Canyon National Park between June 2004 and July 2006. It took several years to bring the investigation to a conclusion.

On August 15, 2013, former park concession employee Ronald E. Gipson, 47, of Daytona Beach, Florida, was indicted by Coconino County and charged with one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child and seven counts of sexual conduct with a minor.  

On July 8th, Gipson pleaded guilty to one count (amended) of attempted molestation of a child and one count (amended) of attempted sexual conduct with a minor. He was sentenced in the Superior Court of the State of Arizona to 15 years in state prison, lifetime probation and lifetime sex offender registration.

[Submitted by Investigative Services Branch]


NEWS AND NOTES



Fort Washington Park (MD)
Kenilworth Holds Annual Lotus And Water Lily Festival

On Saturday, July 19th, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens hosted the 29th annual Lotus and Water Lily Festival. This year’s theme, “Beyond Borders: Showcasing Lotus and Water Lilies as Cultural Icons from Africa and Asia,” explored the significance of aquatic lilies and lotuses in South African and Korean cultures.

This year’s event brought together over 5,000 visitors - more than double last year’s attendance - for an evening that included a children’s art contest, performances, food vendors, and educational programs..

The festival had two stages to showcase entertainment and educational programs. The Lotus Stage featured engaging and dynamic performances from artists representing the Asian and African diasporas, such as the Fairfax Chinese Dance Company, Songheelee Dance Company, Mongezi Lesole’s Dance Project, and Sahel.

From face painting to ranger talks at the nature tent, the event’s activities engaged the entire family. A notable highlight of the day was the fashion show sponsored by the Southern African Community USA.  The Lily Stage featured educational programs like a live raptor program and a program with live reptiles which featured animals local to the DC area. 

Photos and videos of the event can be found at www.instagram.com/lilyfest. Visitors were encouraged to share their experiences on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #lilyfest14. The event was cosponsored by National Capital Parks East, Infinite Possibilities International, the Embassy of South Africa, Modern Buddhism, and the Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

More about the festival and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens can be found at the park’s website: www.nps.gov/keaq.

[Submitted by Julie Kutruff, District Manager, julie_kutruff@nps.gov, 202-426-5961]


Biological Resource Management Division
Forest Inventory Analysis MOU Signed

The National Park Service has signed a memorandum of understanding with the US Forest Service to renew NPS cooperation with the forest inventory analysis (FIA) program.  The MOU provides guidance for parks wishing to permit FIA plot installation and procedures for the NPS to gain access to both park and nationwide FIA information collected by the USFS and its collaborators.  

The Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate facilitated this agreement, and NRSS staff in Colorado are available to assist parks with decisions to permit installation of plots and with gaining access to FIA data.  Additional USFS assistance on regional data analysis is available through the MOU and typically provides updates on forest health, insect and disease mortality, and trends in forest resources. Specific plot data in parks can provide additional monitoring and trend data.

Information can be obtained through Forest Inventory Data Online (FIDO) standard or custom reports, which can be found at http://apps.fs.fed.us/fia/fido/index.html. Queries or searches can also be run in areas of interest and by survey year. 

The FIA data represent a systematic sample across the country and include information on forest cover, with soils and understory data on a subset of plots. 

FIA traces its origin back to the McSweeney - McNary Forest Research Act of 1928 (P.L. 70-466). This law initiated “… a comprehensive survey of the present and prospective requirements for timber and other forest products of the United States," leading to the first forest inventories starting in 1930.

FIA information can be used in many ways, such as evaluating wildlife habitat, assessing sustainability of ecosystem management practices, and supporting planning or decision-making activities.  More FIA program details are available at: http://www.fia.fs.fed.us/  

For further information contact: Dr. Karl Brown, WASO-NRSS Biological Resource Management Division, Restoration and Adaptation Branch.  970-225-3591; karl_brown@nps.gov

[Submitted by Pete Budde, peter_budde@nps.gov, 970-225-3559]

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Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Division
Lonnie Pilkington Receives Legends Award

Lonnie Pilkington, natural resources program manager at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument, has received a Legends Award from the American Recreation Coalition in recognition of his extraordinary efforts enhancing recreation opportunities connecting people to the outdoors.

Since 1999, Lonnie has spent much of his time engaging the next generation in natural resource stewardship and outdoor recreation activities on National Park Service lands in Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Lonnie enjoys facilitating partnerships with organizations who share the common goal of connecting youth to the great outdoors.

In 2009, he was awarded the Franklin G. Smith award for demonstrating exemplary effort in advancing the workforce enhancement goals of the National Park Service’s Intermountain Region.

Over the years, Lonnie has developed and nurtured numerous partnerships with Native American youth in and around Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. He has been very proactive in engaging a variety of different tribes and nurturing their interest in the outdoors.

The programs are designed not only to engage youth, but also to build marketable skills of the participants so they have opportunities to be outfitters, guides, and leaders in the outdoors industry or in natural resources or parks management.

Lonnie has also been creative in seeking support for his programs and has earned numerous grants to fund his work. Under his leadership, these innovative programs have received challenge cost share grants and, most recently, received a 2013 Active Trails grant from the National Park Foundation, which engaged 29 underserved Native American youth in the outdoors.

Lonnie has partnered with the Native Conservation Corps program to introduce Native American youth (multiple tribes) to careers in outdoor recreation, stewardship, paleontology, rangering, interpretation, and outdoor management.

Between 2012 and 2014, Lonnie and partners secured grants from the National Park Foundation to involve Native American youth in recreation and natural stewardship activities along the San Juan River. These activities included kayaking flat and whitewater, hiking the local gems, desert bighorn sheep research, a USGS aquatic food base citizen science project, and invasive plant control.  These programs enabled youth to develop valuable outdoor living and natural resource stewardship skills while connecting to the great outdoors.

Lonnie received his bachelor of business administration in management from West Texas A&M University and a master of science in rangeland ecosystem science from Colorado State University. Lonnie is married to Susan Pilkington and they are blessed with two beautiful daughters, Kaia and Lyndee.

During Great Outdoors Week this June, the NPS received both Beacon and Legends Awards from the American Recreation Coalition. Delaware Water Gap received the Beacon Award for its innovative use of Instagram and partnership with a local visitors bureau to engage youth and build support for the park. Mojave National Preserve also received a Beacon Award for its law enforcement team’s creative use of mobile technology and off-the-shelf GIS products to map incident reports in real time.

[Submitted by Stephan Nofield, Stephan_Nofield@nps.gov, 202-354-6922]


Department of the Interior
Interior Museum Hosts “See America” Exhibition

The Department of the Interior Museum is hosting a “See America” exhibition, presented by the Creative Action Network and the National Parks Conservation Association. It opens today and continues into October.

Featured in this temporary show are 50 posters by 46 different artists depicting natural,  cultural and historical sites across the United States. The posters are part of a growing online collection of more than 600 images submitted to the Creative Action Network by more than 185 artists worldwide.

The Creative Action Network organizes crowd-sourced art campaigns around a variety of topics. Inspired by artwork created for the United States Travel Bureau by New Deal-era artists in the late 1930s, the contemporary “See America” series reimagines the theme for a 21st-century audience. The set encourages tourism and invites viewers to appreciate and reconnect with America’s treasures.

For this venue of “See America,” the Interior Museum has selected imagery representing sites in 37 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, DC—from scenic rivers and national parks to historic trails and state forests. Visitors will also see travel ephemera from the 1930s and 1940s, plus travel guides produced by the Federal Writers Project in the same time period.

Guests may also watch a 35-minute film entitled, “Artists at Work.” Originally directed by Mary Lance in 1981, this film narrated by Morgan Freeman was the first to focus on the visual art programs of the New Deal and includes interviews with ten original New Deal artists.

“See America” joins the Interior Museum’s ongoing exhibition, “POSTERity: WPA’s Art Legacy & America’s Public Lands” which explores the history of silk screened promotional posters created by New Deal artists specifically for the National Park Service from 1938 to 1941.

 “When viewed together, these two exhibitions truly showcase the breadth and diversity of creativity that became a hallmark of the New Deal and continues to this day,” says Tracy Baetz, the museum’s curator.

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 25th.

In order to obtain the full text of any of the bills that appear below, click on the following link: http://thomas.loc.gov/ . 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.

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New Public Laws

Nothing to report.

Floor Action

On July 22nd, the House passed by voice vote the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:

  • H.R. 2430 (Pascrell, D-NJ-9), to adjust the boundaries of Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park to include Hinchliffe Stadium, and for other purposes.  As passed, the bill limits any NPS ownership of the stadium to a preservation easement, as recommended by the Department.  The Department supports the bill but has concerns about certain provisions included in the bill.
  • H.R. 3802 (Lynch, D-MA-8), to extend the legislative authority of the Adams Memorial Foundation to establish a commemorative work in honor of former President John Adams and his legacy, and for other purposes.  The bill would extend the authority, initially enacted in 2001, until December 2, 2020.  As passed, the bill addresses the disposition of excess funds after the memorial is built or if the authority for the memorial lapses. The Department supports the bill.

Committee Activity

On July 23rd, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks (Udall) held a hearing on the following bills of interest to the National Park Service.  The Department’s witness was Christy Goldfuss, Deputy Director, Congressional and External Relations:

  • H.R. 412 (Tsongas, D-MA-3), to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the main stem of the Nashua River and its tributaries in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for study for potential addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill with amendments.
  • S. 1189 (Menendez, D-NJ), to adjust the boundaries of Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park to include Hinchliffe Stadium, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill if amended to limit any NPS ownership of the stadium to a preservation easement.
  • S. 1389 (Gillibrand, D-NY) and H.R. 1501 (Jeffries, D-NY-8), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument in Fort Greene Park, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, as a unit of the National Park System.  The Department supports the bills with amendments.
  • S. 1520 (King, I-ME), and H.R. 2197 (Pingree, D-ME-1), to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the York River and associated tributaries for study for potential inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.  The Department supports the bills with amendments.
  • S. 1641 (Rockefeller, D-WV), to establish the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the objective of establishing the Appalachian Forest NHA but recommends that Congress pass national heritage area program legislation before designating any new national heritage areas.  The bill also extends the authorization of funding for the Wheeling National Heritage Area and the National Coal Heritage Area until 2017; the Department supports authorizing an extension until such time that the NPS has completed an evaluation and report on the accomplishments of the area and the future role of the NPS; and until national heritage area program legislation is enacted. 
  • S. 1718 (Warner, D-VA), to modify the boundary of Petersburg National Battlefield in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and for other purposes.  The bill would expand the boundary of battlefield by an additional 7,238 acres, and also provide for a one-acre land exchange with the Department of the Army to accommodate a security perimeter fence at Fort Lee Military Reservation.  The Department supports the bill.
  • S. 1750 (Flake, R-AZ), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture to enter into agreements with States and political subdivisions of States providing for the continued operation, in whole or in part, of public land, units of the National Park System, units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and units of the National Forest System in the State during any period in which the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture is unable to maintain normal level of operations at the units due to a lapse in appropriations, and for other purposes.  The Department strongly opposes the bill.
  • S. 1785 (Alexander, R-TN), to modify the boundary of the Shiloh National Military Park located in the States of Tennessee and Mississippi, to establish Parker's Crossroads Battlefield as an affiliated area of the National Park System, and for other purposes.  The bill would add three battlefield sites to the boundary of the park and authorize the affiliated area.  The Department supports the bill.
  • S. 1866 (Markey, D-MA), to provide for an extension of the legislative authority of the Adams Memorial Foundation to establish a commemorative work in honor of former President John Adams and his legacy. The bill would extend the authority, initially enacted in 2001, until December 2, 2020. The Department supports the bill with amendments.
  • S. 2031 (Baldwin, D-WI), to amend the Act to provide for the establishment of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in the State of Wisconsin, and for other purposes, to adjust the boundary of that National Lakeshore to include the lighthouse known as Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill with amendments.
  • S. 2104 (Flake, R-AZ), a bill to require the Director of the National Park Service to refund to States all State funds that were used to reopen and temporarily operate a unit of the National Park System during the October 2013 shutdown.  The National Park Service needs legislative authority in order to make these payments.
  • S. 2111 (McCain, R-AZ), to reauthorize the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. The bill would extend the authorization of funding for the NHA until 2030.  The Department supports authorizing an extension until such time that the NPS has completed an evaluation and report on the accomplishments of the area and the future role of the NPS; and until national heritage area program legislation is enacted.
  • S. 2221 (Levin, D-MI), to extend the authorization for the Automobile National Heritage Area in Michigan.  The bill would extend the authorization of funding for the NHA until 2030.  The Department supports authorizing an extension until such time that the NPS has completed an evaluation and report on the accomplishments of the area and the future role of the NPS; and until national heritage area program legislation is enacted.  The Department also recommends renaming the heritage area as the MotorCities National Heritage Area.
  • S. 2264 (McCaskill, D-MO), to designate memorials to the service of members of the United States Armed Forces in World War I, and for other purposes. The bill would redesignate Pershing Park in Washington, DC, as the National World War I Memorial. The Department supports the bill with amendments.
  • S. 2293 (Baldwin, D-WI), to clarify the status of the North Country, Ice Age, and New England National Scenic Trails as units of the National Park System, and for other purposes.  The Department does not object to the bill.
  • S. 2318 (Gillibrand, D-NY), to reauthorize the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Act.  The bill would extend the authorization of the Commission until 2030. The Department supports authorizing an extension until such time that the NPS has completed an evaluation and report on the accomplishments of the area and the future role of the NPS; and until national heritage area program legislation is enacted.  The Department also supports an amendment to transition the management of the Corridor from the Commission to a local coordinating entity.
  • S. 2346 (Coons, D-DE), to amend the National Trails System Act to include national discovery trails, and to designate the American Discovery Trail, and for other purposes.  The Department recommends that the committee defer action on the bill.
  • S. 2356 (Heller, R-NV), to adjust the boundary of the Mojave National Preserve.  The bill would transfer Preserve lands to the Bureau of Land Management in exchange for mitigation lands, to facilitate the construction of a high-speed rail line.  The Department supports the bill with amendments.
  • S. 2576 (Cantwell, D-WA), to establish the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area in the State of Washington, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the objective of establishing the NHA but recommends that Congress pass national heritage area program legislation before designating any new national heritage areas.
  • S. 2602 (Cantwell, D-WA), to establish the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area in the State of Washington.  The Department supports the objective of establishing the NHA but recommends that Congress pass national heritage area program legislation before designating any new national heritage areas.

On July 24th, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation (Bishop) held an oversight hearing on "Threats, Intimidation and Bullying by Federal Land Managing Agencies, Part II".  There was no request for a Department witness. 

New Bills Introduced     

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

  • H.R. 5171 (Calvert, R-CA-42), making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes.
  • H.J. Res. 120 (Butterfield, D-NC-1), approving the location of a memorial to commemorate the more than 5,000 slaves and free Black persons who fought for independence in the American Revolution.

Upcoming Committee Activity

On July 29th, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation (Bishop) will hold a hearing on the following bills of interest to the National Park Service. The hearing is scheduled for 10:00 AM in 1324 Longworth. The Department witness for NPS-related bills will be Dr. Stephanie Toothman, Associate Director, Cultural Resources, Partnerships and Science:

  • H.R. 445 (Dent, R-PA-15), to authorize a National Heritage Area Program, and for other purposes;
  • H.R. 1785 (Reichert, R-WA-8), to establish the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area in the State of Washington, and for other purposes;
  • H.R. 4119 (Johnson, D-GA-4), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the West Hunter Street Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and for other purposes;
  • H.R. 4901 (Bishop, R-UT-1), to maximize land management efficiencies, promote land conservation, generate education funding, and for other purposes;
  • H.R. 5086 (Fortenberry, R-NE-1), to amend the National Trails System Act to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study on the feasibility of designating the Chief Standing Bear National Historic Trail, and for other purposes;
  • 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; and
  • 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.

On July 30th, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining (Manchin) will hold a hearing on S. 1049 (Heller, R-NV) and H.R. 2166 (Heck, D-WA-10), to direct the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture to expedite access to certain Federal lands under the administrative jurisdiction of each Secretary for good Samaritan search-and-recovery missions, and for other purposes.  The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 AM.  The Department is submitting a Statement for the Record.

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For additional information, please visit the Legislative and Congressional Affairs Office website at http://www.nps.gov/legal/

[Submitted by Melissa Kuckro]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Office of Communications
GS-1035-15 Supervisory Public Affairs Specialist

The National Park Service is recruiting for the position of assistant director of communications, duty-stationed in Washington, DC. The vacancy announcement closes on August 6th.

The person in this position will lead the Office of Communications, conduct the public messaging program within the NPS, and serve as the internal expert to NPS management on the formulation and articulation of an overall communications plan integrating NPS program issues.

For a full list of duties, qualifications, and other information, see the vacancy announcement (below) on USA Jobs.

[Submitted by Jamie M. Barnes, jamie_barnes@nps.gov, 303-985-6851]

 More Information...
Midwest Region
GS-0170/0190/0193/0401/0408-13/14 CESU Research Coordinator

Dates: 07/24/2014 - 08/06/2014

Midwest Regional Office is currently recruiting for a cooperative ecosystems study unit (CESU) research coordinator. The duty station is at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

Full details on duties, area information and procedures for applying can be found in the job opportunity announcements posted on USAJobs.  The announcement numbers are MWRC-14-MP-0176 and MWRC-14-OC-0177.

Closes: August 6th.

[Submitted by Barb Golden, barbara_golden@nps.gov, 402-661-1642]


Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
GS-0170/0190/0193/0807/0808-11 Cultural Resource Specialist

Rocky Mountain National Park is currently advertising for a cultural resources specialist. 

This is an interdisciplinary position. Professional fields of study/expertise must be pertinent to the park's resources/themes.

Applications are being accepted from:  Current and former NPS status eligibles and applicants eligible for non-competitive appointment/placement.  This includes current Pathways interns who have completed the education component and are in the 120 day non-competitive conversion period.  You must submit proof of this eligibility with your application.

The announcement can be found at the link below. Questions regarding the position may be directed to Kathy Edwards at 970-586-1313. 
 More Information...