The Morning Report

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

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Lake Mead National Recreation Area - NV
Storm Leads To 70 Distress Calls, 11 Rescues

Rangers and other first responders conducted numerous search and rescue operations at Lake Mead yesterday afternoon after a thunderstorm struck the Boulder Basin.

The storm began around 3:45 p.m. and created five-foot waves and reports of eight-foot swells. Park dispatch received more than 70 distress calls from boaters, 11 of whom required rescue.

As of late last night, all had reportedly made it to land, but one group of four remained unaccounted for. Rangers had contact with them and confirmed their GPS coordinates, which were within walking distance of Callville Bay Marina. Rangers made repeated attempts to reconnect with them to make sure they made it to safety, but cellphone calls were not answered.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Search and Rescue conducted aerial searches around the area but could not locate the group. If rangers don’t hear from them by this morning, the search will continue.

A woman in her 30s was rescued around 8 p.m. in the middle of the lake after treading water without a life jacket for more than three hours. She was on a personal watercraft and decided to take her life jacket off to go swimming just before the storm hit. She was rescued, treated and released. Her husband and stepson were rescued earlier in the evening.

The remaining individuals who were rescued were wearing their life jackets. At least one vessel sank and others had to be towed back to the marina.

[Submitted by Christie Vanover, Public Affairs Officer]

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (MI)
Five Kayakers Rescued From Lake Michigan

On the afternoon of June 29th, five teenagers were rescued from the waters of Lake Michigan after being overcome by 25 mph winds and four- to five-foot waves while attempting to kayak approximately eight miles from South Manitou Island to the mainland of the park at Glen Haven. 

A ranger stationed on South Manitou Island received a phone call from a sailing vessel captain who reported picking up three kayakers who were in jeopardy. Two other members of their party were reported missing on the water and had not been seen for two hours.

Rangers and personnel from Glen Lake Fire Department, Leelanau County Sheriff’s Office and the Coast Guard conducted a search and rescue mission in and around park waters. Through joint search efforts, the two missing teens were located approximately one mile off the shore of Glen Haven.  One was found in their boat and the other in the water. 

The two were hoisted from the water by a Coast Guard helicopter and transported to emergency personnel at a boat ramp in Glen Arbor. The sailing vessel transported those on board to a waiting ambulance in Leland Harbor.  

Due to timely reporting, quick actions of responders and interagency coordination, all five teenagers avoided life-threatening injury and only suffered minor to moderate hypothermia.  The water temperature on the surface of the lake was approximately 55 degrees. 

Ranger Jennifer Langel was the incident commander for the park.

[Submitted by Phil Akers, Chief Ranger]


National Interagency Fire Center
NIFC Issues Updated Seasonal Fire Outlook

The National Interagency Fire Center has updated its significant wildland fire potential forecast for the months of July through October.

Here’s a summary of the fire potential by area – maps and additional information can be found in a PDF file available at the “More Information” link at bottom.


Above Normal – Above normal fire potential will persist over much of California, the Northwest and the Great Basin. Southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico will return to normal.

Below Normal – Below normal fire potential will continue for much of the south central and southeastern United States. Below normal potential will also become prevalent across portions of the Northern Rockies and Rocky Mountains.


Above Normal – Above normal fire potential will continue over most of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Above normal conditions could possibly develop across the New England states and in the Four Corners area if short-term weather develops that would support fire outbreaks.

Below Normal – Below normal fire potential will continue over northern Idaho, Montana and portions of Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota. Portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi will also continue to see below normal fire potential.


Above Normal – Above normal fire potential will remain over southern and central California. Northern California, Oregon and Washington will return to normal during this period.

Below Normal – Below normal fire potential will return across much of the Southeastern U.S., except for gulf coastal areas and most of the coastal Atlantic states.
 More Information...
Fire and Aviation Management
Visitor and Resource Protection
Bill Kaage Named Chief Of Fire and Aviation Management

Bill Kaage has been named chief of the National Park Service's Division of Fire and Aviation Management. He succeeds Tom Nichols, who retired on January 31, 2014.

“Kaage’s vast experience at various levels in the organization, his knowledge of the program and all of its partners, and his demonstrated track record in leading at the national level, made him an excellent fit for this position” said Associate Director for Visitor and Resource Protection, Cam Sholly, who announced the selection.

As division chief, Kaage is responsible for the overall leadership, policy and program direction for the aviation, structural fire, and wildland fire management programs for the National Park Service. He will administer a budget that exceeds $90 million in fire and aviation funding for the Service.

“I look forward to representing the National Park Service in my new role," he said. "We have a great team of passionate professionals who care deeply about the mission, what we do, and those we serve.”

Since April 2009, Kaage has served as the chief of the Branch of Wildland Fire, one of the six branches within the division he now leads. As branch chief, Bill led development of the updated wildland fire strategic plan, revision of the National Park Service Wildland Fire Reference Manual 18, and was instrumental in workforce realignment due to reduced wildland fire funding levels.

In the interagency arena, Bill represented the National Park Service on several national groups, including the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, the National Multi-agency Coordinating Group, and the Wildland Fire Executive Council.

From 2005 to 2009, Bill served as the deputy regional fire management officer for operations in Pacific West Region. Prior to this position, he spent nine years as the fire management officer for Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks in California. During his tenure, Kaage focused on building an integrated fire and fuels management program based on resource objectives, park goals and teamwork.

Kaage started his career in 1983 as a firefighter on the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho, progressing up the ranks until he became assistant fire management officer on the Powell District of the Clearwater. In 1994, he moved to Everglades National Park in southern Florida, where he served as the park’s fire management officer.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in the Midwest, Kaage graduated from Beloit College in Wisconsin with a bachelor of science degree in biology. In 1988, he completed his master of science degree in forestry with an emphasis on fire ecology and fire management from the University of Montana.  

Bill and his wife Susan Lamberson have two grown daughters, Emma and Abbie. He is an outdoor enthusiast and is committed to spending time with family and friends, especially when water is involved.

This national office position is located at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), in Boise, Idaho.

[Submitted by Tina Boehle,, 208.387.5875]

 More Information...
Wilderness Stewardship
Garry Oye Announces His Retirement

After 36 years of government service, the last six with the NPS, Garry Oye has announced that he will retire on July 31st. Garry is chief of the Wilderness Stewardship Division, located within the Visitor and Resource Protection Associateship in the Washington Office.

Reflecting on his time as division chief, Garry highlighted several program accomplishments. "Our team moved forward with key initiatives during these past few years," he says. "We placed Wilderness Fellows in parks throughout the country, issued a revised Director’s Order 41 with policy guidance, created a Film Fellows program in partnership with American University & Harpers Ferry Center, published a Wilderness Stewardship Plan Handbook and Wilderness Character Integration Guide, and developed a wilderness-specific issue of Park Science. NPS wilderness and the National Wilderness Preservation System are better off today because of our efforts."

Garry is known for his field-based approach to leadership. His time spent in park wilderness areas with local managers created common vision and purpose. He believes that the stewardship of wilderness is a challenging mission that requires restraint from trammeling, ongoing observations of natural processes, and slowing down to truly learn nature’s lessons.

Garry's continuous goal was to inspire future wilderness leaders to preserve America’s wild places. His technical assistance to parks included proposed bison reintroduction at Great Sand Dunes, border fencing and installations at Organ Pipe Cactus, restoring water flows in the Everglades, Hurricane Sandy’s breach in wilderness at Fire Island, pre-historic mining at Isle Royale, and backcountry planning for Wrangell-St. Elias. Garry was also fortunate to represent NPS on international assignments to Estonia, Mexico and Chile.

Garry began his career with the U.S. Forest Service in 1978 as a wilderness ranger at only 19 years old; the National Wilderness Preservation System was only 14 years old at the time. Garry often says that "in the years to come we grew up together.”

While working on the Clearwater National Forest, he earned his bachelor and master degrees in forestry from the University of Montana in Missoula. Garry held positions on the Nez Perce, Shasta-Trinity and Inyo National Forests, along with seven years as the wilderness coordinator for the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region.  

In retirement, Garry plans to spend his days outdoors and traveling. Garry and his wife Cheryl currently live in Death Valley, but will eventually make it back to their home (base camp) in Bishop, California.

Inspiring landscapes, challenging issues and dedicated wilderness leaders -- great combination. During a recent film project to commemorate the signing of the Wilderness Act, Garry was in Atlanta with former President Jimmy Carter. The President remarked,  “Garry you have the best job in the world.” Garry agreed. 

[Submitted by Erin Drake,, 303-969-2091]

Biological Resource Management Division
Guidance Issued On Protecting Trees From Forest Pests

The National Park Service’s wildland and urban forests, trees of historical significance, cultural landscapes, and ornamental plantings, are threatened by invasive pests and diseases which are spread through global and local pathways. 

For example, two destructive, nonnative forest pests, the Asia long horned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) and emerald ash borer (Agrilius plannipennis), entered North America in wooden pacGuiking material used in cargo shipments from China.  In an effort to prevent further spread and risk to our managed forested lands we can manage the movement of infested firewood.

The NPS Biological Resource Management Division’s Integrated Pest Management Program has identified tools that park and  concessions managers have to protect their forest resources.  The Natural Resource Report Series document “Reducing Ecological Risks Associated with Pests in Firewood-Guidance for Park Managers” is posted on NRSS’ IRMA Portal at: 

The guidance describes how you and your park can protect your forests from potentially infested firewood through state quarantines, firewood regulations, as well as outreach and educational information to educate the public and park staff on this critical issue.

[Submitted by Carol DiSalvo,, 202-513-7183]

 More Information...
Northeast Region
New Navigation Signs Installed at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

Visitors looking for Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park will find new navigational signs to enhance their visit.  Thirteen new signs were recently installed at the park along Route 11 and Interstate 81.  Signs at the Middletown and Strasburg exits of I-81 will bring new awareness about this previously hidden national park unit to interstate drivers.

New interstate signs for both the northbound and southbound exits of exit 298 and 302 are combined with off ramp navigational signs, and visitor facility locational signs along Route 11. While an assortment of signs have been used in the past to highlight Belle Grove plantation or the Cedar Creek battlefield, these new signs are the first navigational aids to be installed since the creation of the National Historical Park in 2002.  The new signage includes the National Park Service arrowhead and is the first phase in creating a unified look for the park.

“Visitors looking for our park will now find it easier to navigate in the area with clear and recognizable signs,” noted Site Manager, Amy Bracewell.  “We also expect increased visitation by drivers along I-81 who did not know we were here until they saw the signs.  This park offers a unique glimpse into the rich history of the Shenandoah Valley and our new signs will help us share this history with more travelers.”

In addition to directing visitors to the park, new park signs also highlight some of the facilities and information centers operated by park partners.  New blue signs direct travelers to the Strasburg Tourist Information Center at the Hupp’s Hill Civil War Park Museum.  Signs along Route 11 in the park also direct visitors to explore the Belle Grove Plantation and the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation headquarters office.  Visitors who are drawn in by the new signs will find a variety of things to do at the park including house tours, ranger programs, educational exhibits, and junior ranger activities.  Travelers are encouraged to stop first at the National Park Service Visitor Contact Station in Middletown (7712 Main Street) for information and an orientation to the park.

[Submitted by Amy Bracewell,, (540) 868-0938]

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park (OH)
Dayton Aviation Holds First Overnight Junior Ranger Camp

There are many different types of units in the National Park Service. One example is the urban setting of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.  As a park located in a city, Dayton’s national park took the opportunity to connect with city kids, providing them a unique experience with parks, and introduce them to natural resources close to home (Call to Action #2 and #5). We connected to these kids through a camping experience called Junior Ranger Camp.

Twelve children, ages 7 to 12, participated in the camp. The two-day camps took place three weeks in a row on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (June 3rd and 4th, 10th and 11th, and 17th and 18th).

Week one: The first campout was held at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center located at the 27-acre Wright Memorial. This site provided a park setting and their first camping experience. Activities included navigating with a compass, making tie-dye shirts, making s’mores, and setting up camp.

Week two: Due to a series of thunderstorms the campout was changed to a two-day, day camp where the kids participated in a stream survey with a MetroPark naturalist and toured the National Museum of the United States Air Force , where they saw 17 acres of airplanes. On day two, the kids learned about woodland critters and hiked the woods of nearby Caesars Creek State Park. 

Week three: Like a young fledgling ready to spread its wings and fly, these twelve finely-tuned junior rangers took on a trip to Mammoth Cave National Park. Armed with camping gear and s’mores, the kids enjoyed a tour of the cave, storytelling, music and hotdogs around the campfire, and a Mammoth Cave junior ranger activity.

NPS camp rangers Leisa Ling, Peter Cole, Ryan Qualls, Casey Huegel, Sam Bowlin, Gregg Smith, Riley Litter and VIP Sarah Lord rotated during the weekly camps to help guide the children during the three week excursions.

The camp concluded with a Junior Ranger swearing-in ceremony with proud parents watching. Each Junior Ranger was awarded a badge and certificate, and left with fond memories of their first camping adventure.

[Submitted by Gregg Smith,, 937.225.7705]


Southeast Region
GS-1640-11 Supervisory Facility Operations Specialist (Detail)

Southeast Region is seeking candidates for a detail of up to 120 days as a supervisory facility operations specialist at Congaree National Park.

This announcement is for individuals who wish to be considered for a temporary detail opportunity up to 120 days. The EOD date is August 24th, but is negotiable.

The detailee will serve as chief of the park’s Facility Operations Division. Congaree National Park preserves the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. The park protects thousands of acres of federally-designated Wilderness, allowing for a variety of opportunities for recreation and solitude. Congaree welcomes approx. 110,000 visitors per year, has extensive educational and outreach programs, and supports a robust research program in cooperation with many local partners. 

The park is located close to Columbia, South Carolina, with a variety of shops, restaurants, recreational and cultural opportunities. Charleston, Charlotte, Greenville and Asheville are all within a short drive. Abundant recreational opportunities are available from the coast to the mountains.

An alternative work schedule is possible.  This is a uniformed position.

Competencies needed:

  • Ability to lead a facility management program to accomplish resource stewardship goals.
  • Ability to manage, supervise and lead an complex facility management program consisting of professional and technical staff, volunteers and other cooperators.
  • Use of financial and business management systems, facility management software system, and project management information systems to manage park inventory and assets.
  • Ability to work cooperatively with other Division Chiefs as an effective member of the park’s management team.

During this detail, the selectee’s salary will be paid by the selectee’s home park. Travel and per diem will be paid by the receiving park. Dormitory style housing will be available for this assignment. This is a detail opportunity and not a temporary promotion. Selectee’s salary will remain the same.  

Interested individuals should discuss the opportunity with their first-line supervisor and obtain concurrence from the Superintendent or Manager prior to applying.  Once approval is obtained, interested individuals should submit a one-page resume detailing work history, educational background, and any special qualifications they might possess. Resumes should be submitted via email to no later than July 18th. 

For further information, please contact park superintendent Tracy Stakely at 803-647-3971 or

Midwest Region
GS-1170-12 Realty Specialist

Dates: 07/01/2014 - 07/14/2014

Midwest Region's Land Resources Division has issued an announcement for a realty specialist. The announcement is open to status candidates (merit promotion and special hiring authorities).

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 14th.

[Submitted by Barb Golden,, 402-661-1642]

 More Information...
Pacific West Region
GS-0025-13 Acting Chief Ranger

Dates: 07/03/2014 - 07/14/2014

An announcement has been issued for an acting chief ranger for Olympic National Park. It closes on July 14th.

This opportunity is available to individuals at the GS-12 level and above who wish to be considered for a temporary detail at the GS-13 level, or a temporary promotion to the GS-13 level. This is a temporary developmental assignment up to 120 days, and you will return to your regular duties at the end of the assignment.

The entrance on duty date is negotiable, although a target date of August 24th is preferred.

The person selected will be responsible for the leadership of approximately 30 employees and the management and direction of complex law enforcement, fee, fire, dispatch, search and rescue, lands and visitor protection programs within the park. Olympic National Park consists of nearly a million acres of which 95% is designated wilderness. The park receives approximately 3 million visitors per year. The chief ranger also serves as a key member of the park's leadership team whose primary function is to cooperatively develop park wide priorities and management and leadership objectives.

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

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

  • A resume, no more than two pages, detailing your work history, educational background, and any special qualifications.
  • An SF-50 reflecting your tenure and current grade level

Submit your application materials electronically to no later than July 14th. Please include “Acting OLYM Chief Opportunity” in the subject line of the message.

Please contact with any additional questions about this developmental opportunity.

[Submitted by Sarah Creachbaum,, 360-565-3004]