Monday, February 10, 2014
White Sands National Monument (NM) Unmanned Military Drone Crashes In Park
An unmanned QF-4 drone from Holloman Air Force Base crashed in the park on the morning of Friday, February 7th. No one was injured. QF-4 drones are converted F-4 Phantom fighter jets.
Dunes Drive was closed while staff from the base and from White Sands Missile Range conducted an investigation at the crash site. Access to the sand dunes, picnic areas and hiking trails was restricted until the investigation and cleanup could be concluded.
The park routinely supports missile tests conducted by White Sands Missile Range. It is common practice to close Dunes Drive as a precautionary measure to ensure public safety during missile tests when flight paths include airspace over the monument. The closure of Dunes Drive before last Friday’s missile test ensured that no injuries resulted from this accident.
For a related newspaper article, click on this link.
[Submitted by Becky Wiles Burghart, Chief of Interpretation]
NEWS AND NOTES
Vicksburg National Military Park (MS) Sesquicentennial Of Sherman’s Meridian Campaign Held
Over the first weekend of February, Vicksburg National Military Park staff and volunteers commemorated the 150th anniversary of General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Meridian Campaign.
The campaign was launched from Vicksburg on February 3, 1864, and is seen by many historians as something of a dress rehearsal for Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea” through Georgia later in 1864.
The park held a special program on the evening of Friday, January 31st, to give an overview of the campaign. On Saturday, February 1st, and Sunday, February 2nd, volunteers from six different states joined park staff in giving first person interpretive programs highlighting the role of the Army quartermasters in preparing the troops for the campaign, sailors drawing equipment, and civilian contractors selling mules to the military.
Another highpoint was the portrayal by park staff of a representative of the Western Freedman’s Aid Commission in Vicksburg. That particular organization, one of the largest of its kind, had more staff in Vicksburg and its environs than in any other location besides Memphis, emphasizing the number of freedmen and members of the United States Colored Troops in Vicksburg.
Special exhibits were also prepared in the park showcasing the story of the locally recruited 3rd United States Colored Cavalry. One special item on display is the revolver of General Benjamin Grierson, which is on loan from the National Civil War Museum. Grierson lead perhaps the most successful cavalry raid of the war during the Vicksburg Campaign and also led troops during the Meridian Campaign. All the programs were a great success with a large visitor turnout.
[Submitted by Jake Koch]
Office of the Comptroller Jessica Bowron Named Budget Formulation/Planning Chief
Jessica Bowron has been selected as the chief of budget formulation and strategic planning for the National Park Service.
“I am thrilled to have Jessica on the leadership team here in the Comptroller’s Office,” says Deputy Comptroller Jennifer Madello. “Not only does she have tremendous technical skill, she possesses profound vision and cares deeply about the organization. Her knowledge and insight will be of benefit to both the Budget Office and the Park Service as a whole.”
Jessica began her career with the NPS as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Budget Formulation Office in 2007. During her tenure, Jessica coordinated and provided support in budget formulation for various parks and programs in the NPS and was the Servicewide coordinator for the NPS Scorecard.
Jessica has spent the past four years as a budget analyst with the Division of Fire and Aviation Management at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. She was responsible for providing Servicewide guidance and policy on wildland fire, structural fire and aviation budget execution and evaluation.
“Due to the unpredictable budget situation, the past four years were very challenging, but I’m grateful I had the opportunity to work with and learn from the talented and dedicated people in the fire and aviation programs at all levels of the Service.” Jessica says.
In her new role, Jessica will be responsible for overseeing all budget submissions to Congress and working with the Department of the Interior and Office of Management and Budget to formulate, justify, and submit the annual budget justifications. She will serve as the primary advisor on appropriations hearings; act as the NPS manager on DOI Office of Budget, OMB, Congressional, and White House requirements; and lead internal NPS budget planning and performance management activities.
“Formulating the NPS budget justification is an incredible task, especially in this constrained budget environment,” says Jessica about her new assignment. “I look forward to working with the formulation team to find every opportunity to defend NPS programs and priorities.”
Jessica earned her bachelors in economics and environmental policy from Oregon State University and her M.S. in natural resource economics from the University of Arizona. She began her new position in January.
Passing Of Bruce Brownrigg
Robert "Bruce" Brownrigg, 75, a retired NPS employee who worked for both Denver Service Center and Intermountain Region, passed away on February 2nd.
Click on the “More Information” link below for a detailed obituary.
Funeral services were held in Lakewood, Colorado, on February 7th.
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 February 10th.
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.
New Public Laws
Nothing to report.
On February 5th, the House passed by a vote of 268-154, H.R. 3590 (Latta, R-OH-5), to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, and for other purposes. As passed by the House, the bill includes, among other provisions, the text of H.R. 2798, to amend Public Law 106-206 to direct the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to require annual permits and assess annual fees for commercial filming activities on Federal land for film crews of five persons or fewer. It also includes a provision preserving current motorized vessel management in Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The Administration issued a statement opposing the bill.
On February 6th, the House passed by a vote of 220-194, H.R. 2954 (Miller, R-FL-1), to authorize Escambia County, Florida, to convey certain property that was formerly part of Santa Rosa Island National Monument and that was conveyed to Escambia County subject to restrictions on use and conveyance. As passed by the House, the bill includes, among other provisions, the text of H.R. 819 (Jones, R-NC-3), to authorize pedestrian and motorized vehicular access in Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, and for other purposes, and the text of H.R. 3492 (Lummis, R-WY-At Large), to provide for the use of hand-propelled vessels in Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the National Elk Refuge, and for other purposes. The Administration issued a statement opposing the bill.
On February 4th, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (Wyden) held a hearing to consider the following nominations of interest to the National Park Service:
- Rhea S. Suh, to be Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior, and
- Janice M. Schneider, to be Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Department of the Interior.
On February 5th, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs (Young) held a hearing on H.R. 3110 (Young, R-AK-At Large), to allow for the harvest of gull eggs by the Huna Tlingit people within Glacier Bay National Park in the State of Alaska. The Department supports the bill with amendments. The Department witness was Stephanie Toothman, Associate Director, Cultural Resources, Partnerships and Science.
On February 6th, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (Boxer) approved the following bills/nominations of interest to the National Park Service:
- Rhea S. Suh, to be Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior, and
- S. 1077 (Cardin, D-MD), a bill to amend the Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998 to provide for the reauthorization of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network. The bill would extend the authorization of appropriations for the program through fiscal year 2018. The Department has supported similar legislation.
New Bills Introduced
The following new bills of interest to the NPS were introduced:
- S. 1996 (D-NC), a bill to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, and for other purposes.
- H.R. 3992 (Simpson, R-ID-2), to provide for wildfire suppression operations, and for other purposes.
- H.R. 3994 (Bishop, R-UT-1), to improve the control and management of invasive species that threaten and harm Federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior, and for other purposes.
- H.R. 4001 (Miller, R-MI-10), to authorize the Secretary of the Army to carry out certain activities to prevent the interbasin transfer of aquatic invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River, and for other purposes.
- H.R. 4003 (Norton, D-DC-At Large), to designate the Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park comprised of certain National Park System lands, and by affiliation and cooperative agreements other historically significant resources, located in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland, that were part of the Civil War defenses of Washington and related to the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, to study ways in which the Civil War history of both the North and South can be assembled, arrayed, and conveyed for the benefit of the public, and for other purposes.
Upcoming Committee Activity
On February 12th, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (Boxer) will hold a hearing on “MAP-21 Reauthorization: The Economic Importance of Maintaining Federal Investments in our Transportation Infrastructure.” The hearing is scheduled for 10:00 AM in 406 Dirksen. The Department has not been asked to testify.
For additional information, please visit the Legislative and Congressional Affairs Office website at http://www.nps.gov/legal/
[Submitted by Susan Farinelli]
Southeast Region GS-0340-15 Deputy Regional Director (Detail)
Southeast Region is seeking candidates for a detail of 90 to 120 days as deputy regional director. The person selected will be responsible for supervising an array of regional programs, as well as providing leadership to a cluster of approximately 21 parks.
The announcement is structured to allow for an assignment up to one year, provided a need exists and the detailee and home unit are interested and supportive of a longer assignment.
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 February 19th.
Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
GL-0025-9 Protection Ranger (Lateral)
Yellowstone National Park is seeking qualified candidates interested in a lateral transfer into a permanent subject-to-furlough GL-9 protection ranger position in the Bechler area of the park. The position is currently programmed for 4 PPs off each year (two in the spring and two in the fall), but is only guaranteed for 13 PPs of work per year should the budget situation change.
The Bechler area is in the remote southwest corner of Yellowstone. There is no roadway connecting to the rest of the park, only backcountry trails; it is accessed through Idaho from the town of Ashton. This part of the park is nicknamed the “Cascade Corner” because it contains the largest concentration of waterfalls in the park. Visitor use is primarily backcountry, with the exception of the ranger station area and the Cave Falls scenic overlook area, which lies at the end of a Forest Service access road.
All Yellowstone National Park rangers participate in the full spectrum of frontcountry and backcountry emergency service operations, including law enforcement, SAR, EMS, and fire. The Bechler position offers unique opportunities to develop and maintain a broad set of traditional ranger skills. The park is seeking a ranger with experience in wilderness management and resource protection.
Extended hitches in the backcountry in grizzly country are required, along with stock use, including backcountry trail riding and horse and mule packing, and bison hazing via horseback. It is not uncommon for a ranger in the Bechler area to hike or ride up to 20 miles to get to a patrol cabin.
Winter skills such as backcountry skiing, winter survival, and avalanche prediction and rescue are necessary. Additionally, the selectee must possess the physical ability and skill set to snowmobile in extreme backcountry conditions through deep powder while in pursuit of violators on faster snowmobiles in remote areas of the park. Winter temperatures can be as low as -40 F. Because the Bechler area shares a boundary with the USFS in Wyoming and Idaho, rangers typically work closely with other federal, state, local law enforcement, EMS, and SAR cooperating agencies.
This is a required occupancy position, but the type of housing and exact location are undetermined at this time. Efforts will be made to accommodate the selectee’s needs, but housing is limited. The applicant’s permanent domicile will be in the West District housing area adjacent to West Yellowstone. In the summer, the ranger’s housing is located in the Bechler Ranger Station area, which is 24 miles east of Ashton. Over 12 miles of this road is gravel/dirt, but can be driven using two-wheel-drive vehicles during the summer months. During the shoulder seasons, the road is difficult without four-wheel-drive.
The ranger selected will be expected to change duty locations in the winter from the Bechler Ranger Station area to West Yellowstone. The town of West Yellowstone offers options for churches, schools, grocery stores, and other amenities. Medical care is limited to a small, unreliably staffed clinic.
Permanent GL-0025-9 candidates who currently possess a Type I or Type II NPS law enforcement commission are eligible to apply. Applicants must also be currently certified at the EMT-Basic level, at a minimum. Interested persons should email the following documents to the Yellowstone Chief Ranger’s Office.
- OF-612, Optional Application for Employment; resume; or equivalent. Please include all experience, training and/or education related to the position.
- Copy of most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action showing current federal career or career-conditional status.
- Verification of a valid NPS Law Enforcement Commission
- Copy of your current National Registry EMT-B (or higher) certification (card)
- Copy of most recent Performance Appraisal
- A list of professional and personal references, including contact information
Application packages from qualified candidates must be electronically received in the Chief Rangers Office by COB on February 18th. Please send application packages via email to Lisa_Helms@nps.gov. If necessary, applications can be faxed to 307.344.2104, but email is preferred.
For more information regarding this position, please contact the Bechler District Ranger Dave Ross at 406.581.2204 or via email at Dave_Ross@nps.gov.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (MI)
GS-0499-4 Student Trainee (Biological Science Technician)
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is recruiting for a student trainee (biological science technician).
This position is not to exceed one year in duration. The announcement is open only to current NPS student interns.
Click on the link below to go to the job announcement and to apply online. This announcement closes on February 16th.
For information about the position, please contact Biologist Amanda Brushaber at 307-739-3666. For information on how to apply, please contact HR Assistant, Michele Hofer at 330-657-2370 x 302.