The Morning Report

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

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Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
Search Underway For Missing Man

A search is underway for a young man from Georgia who was swept down the Yellowstone River near Tower Junction on Monday evening. 

Three young concession employees reportedly used inner tubes to float the Lamar River on Monday. Floating the river is prohibited by park regulations due to safety concerns.

Shortly after reaching the confluence of the Lamar and Yellowstone Rivers, two of the men got out of the water.  The third man, 22-year-old Darien Latty, was last seen about 7:30 p.m. Monday being propelled downstream by the rushing water, without either an inner tube or life jacket.

Initial search efforts Monday evening failed to turn up any sign of Latty, who is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, 140 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. 

Search efforts were increased Tuesday, with a helicopter, three dog teams, and several small groups of people searching the Yellowstone River corridor from Tower Junction downstream to Gardiner, Montana.  Approximately 50 people had been dedicated to the search effort as of mid-afternoon Tuesday.

[Submitted by Al Nash, Public Affairs Officer]

Wrangell - St Elias National Park & Preserve (AK)
Rafter Dies In Tana River

The Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richards contacted NPS dispatch just after 7 a.m. last Sunday morning with a report of a missing rafter along the Tana River, a large glacial tributary of the Chitina River within the park.

According to the reporting party, Rob Kehrer, a resident of Mat-Su Borough in Alaska, had been thrown out of his pack raft and was last seen by his rafting partner around 1 pm, Saturday afternoon.

Aerial and ground search efforts were carried out by park  personnel in cooperation with the Alaska Air National Guard, pilots from Ultima Thule Lodge, and locally-hired ground searchers. The overall effort included three airplanes, two helicopters, eight ground searchers, and a National Park Service incident command team.

Kehrer’s body was located around 4 p.m. by the crew of the Alaska Air National Guard helicopter. It was two-and-a-half miles downstream from the location where he had last been seen. The body was taken to a hospital in Anchorage.

The Tana River is extremely cold, swift and known for large water and difficult rapids.

[Submitted by Peter Christian]

Saint Croix National Scenic River (WI)
Swimmer Drowns In Saint Croix River

On the evening of August 9th, three swimmers decided to swim to the Wisconsin side of the Saint Croix River and then back to the Minnesota river bank in the area of Landers Landing.  

One of the swimmers, a 28-year-old Minnesota man, slipped under the water on his return swim across the river.  He was not wearing a personal flotation device at the time.  

Rangers White, Trangsrud, Lundin and Christianson responded along with officials from the Chisago County Sheriff's Department. Three boats were deployed in the search for the missing man. His body was recovered later that evening.  

[Submitted by Chuck Carlson, Acting Chief Ranger]


Governors Island National Monument (NY)
SCA And YCC Hit The Bricks On Governors Island

The sun was scorching and the air humid at Governors Island National Monument in New York Harbor this past week, but the conditions didn’t stop the Youth Conservation Corps from making critical repairs to a historic sidewalk on the island.

Twelve YCC workers and two Student Conservation Association crew chiefs learned about historic masonry and Governors Island’s history while leveling and resetting the bricks of a heavily-traveled walkway that runs through the largely pedestrian park. By smoothing the walking surface and removing tripping hazards, the team made the walkway safe for the tens of thousands of people who use it every week while also helping preserve this crucial thread of the park’s cultural fabric.

During their two days on Governors Island, the crew spent hours on the bricks - carefully leveling, checking, and leveling again to make sure that the path would be flat. They had to remove the bricks from damaged areas, dig out the underlying dirt, and then layer new gravel and sand to make a solid base. Once they had tamped down the bed, replaced the bricks, and made sure the surface was level, they locked the masonry in place by sweeping sand into the spaces between the pavers.

The group capped off their hard work by touring Castle Williams to take in the view from the roof and the cool breeze from the harbor. Then at the end of their last day, Governors Island park rangers sent them off to their next project with a bang by loading and firing the park’s cannon.

Next the youth workers take their new knowledge and skills to Gateway National Recreation Area to construct a new hiking trail in Jamaica Bay. Through the rest of the summer, the crew will be traveling around New York City as they work on natural and cultural resource protection projects at the various sites that make up the National Parks of New York Harbor.

The crew members are high school-aged youth from all over the five boroughs and beyond. The YCC program operates in partnership with the SCA, which provides experienced crew chiefs who guide and supervise the youth.

Click below to see photos of the YCC in action.

[Submitted by Noah Lumsden,, 212.825.3043]

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Tuskegee Institute NHS/Tuskegee Airmen NHS - AL
Junior Ranger Summer Camp 2014 Held

Dreams of flight became a reality for this year’s Junior Ranger Camp participants. This multi-session program, held over the course of the four Saturdays in July, focused on the timeline of Tuskegee and its pursuit of excellence and self-sufficiency.

The camp was delivered in two phases – one at Tuskegee Institute NHS and the other at Tuskegee Airmen NHS.

The first Saturday’s camp was held at The Oaks, the home of Booker T. Washington. Park Guide Vester Marable shared the legacy of Booker T. Washington and how the school he founded grew to become the illustrious University that it is today.  Marable taught the campers how to make Tuskegee red clay bricks, in the same manner that students of institute did back in the late 1800s and early to mid-1900s.

Park Ranger Shirley Baxter continued the second week at the George Washington Carver Museum, teaching the Junior Rangers how to make sheets of paper and about recycling just like George Washington Carver did in his laboratory on the University’s campus.

During the second phase, Park Rangers Christine Biggers and Robert Stewart introduced the Junior Rangers to the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen and how they changed history.  Campers built models of the historic aircraft that the airmen flew during WW2.

On the Last Saturday, 30 Junior Rangers were given the gift of flight over the City of Tuskegee, Tuskegee University and the historic airfields where the airmen trained.

The Junior Rangers truly enjoyed this summer program and the experience sparked interested in agriculture, architecture and aviation. Through the partnership of NPS staff, Friends of Tuskegee Airmen NHS, Inc. and Auburn University’s Aviation Center, the program was successful.

[Submitted by Patricia A. Butts, Management Analyst/Public Information Officer]

Southeast Region
John Slaughter To Head New Parks Group

John Slaughter has been named the superintendent of a recently created park group that includes Cowpens National Battlefield, Kings Mountain National Military Park, Ninety Six National Historic Site, and Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. 

Slaughter has been superintendent of Cowpens National Battlefield & Ninety Six National Historic Site in South Carolina, since June 2011.  He will officially begin his new role on August 24th.

“We are very pleased to have John taking on this new responsibility,” said Regional Director Stan Austin. “He has done an excellent job at Cowpens and Ninety Six for the last three years.  We are confident he will be a great leader for these four park units and look forward to him working with all the employees and partners to continue their efforts.  I also know he will be a tremendous asset working with all the park communities that are so important to preserving and telling the story of these amazing resources.”

Slaughter has 16 years of federal experience, including 13 years with the National Park Service.  His NPS career began when he was selected as the first facility manager at Manzanar National Historic Site, where he transferred from the Department of Defense.  Prior to his federal service, Slaughter served as a chief engineer in the private sector after graduating from San Joaquin Valley College in Fresno, California.

“It is an honor to be selected to serve on this team of outstanding employees, volunteers and passionate partners,” Slaughter said.  “These four National Park Service sites play a significant role in preserving and making relevant the history of a fledgling nation, especially that of the American Revolutionary War battles in the Southern states.  I am excited to have been given this opportunity to leverage the extraordinary commitment and talents of the local communities to reap the long lasting educational and economic benefits associated with heritage tourism."

Kings Mountain National Military Park, Cowpens National Battlefield, and Ninety Six National Historic Site are located in South Carolina.  Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail spans parts of Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.  As part of the National Trails Program, it is a partnership entity and does not own land.

“The consolidation of these four NPS units was done to help ensure financial sustainability, provide more efficient use of resources, and better serve the visiting public,” Austin said.  “The units share historic backgrounds, missions and geographic proximity, and this provides an opportunity to share employees who perform identical or similar functions at each of the parks.”

Prior to his selection as superintendent of Cowpens National Battlefield & Ninety Six National Historic Site in 2011, Slaughter served as chief of facilities operations/project management at Joshua Tree National Park. During his time there, Slaughter participated in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School’s executive potential program.

Slaughter has also served in a number of temporary assignments as acting superintendent at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, as well as a budget analyst in the NPS Washington Office’s Budget Formulation Office. He is currently a member of the Southeast Region cultural resource advisory committee. His commitment to promoting heritage tourism throughout the region is evident in his participation in the Southeast Tourism Society Tourism Marketing College’s tourism marketing professional certification program.

Slaughter and his wife, Shannon, reside in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, where she teaches first grade at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School. They, along with their three daughters, Sara, Lilly and Julia, are excited to continue exploring their “patriot heritage” and all that the region has to offer residents and travelers.

John is a member of the Downtown Spartanburg Rotary Club and a dedicated softball coach for the Inman Youth Sports Association, where he was named softball coach of the year this past season.

“This group of NPS sites is destined to have a positive impact in so many areas including building an outstanding team of advocates for this important role in American history. A foundational part of that will be working with employees and stakeholders to “brand” this group with an official name.” Slaughter said.

[Submitted by Bill Reynolds]

Yosemite National Park (CA)
Janet Napolitano Meets With Yosemite Leadership Program Interns

Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, visited Yosemite National Park on Thursday, July 24th, to meet with students participating in the Yosemite Leadership Program and other youth engagement programs.

During her visit, Napolitano participated in an open discussion forum with approximately 40 of the interns and Yosemite staff.  The forum included poetry readings by Yosemite Leadership Program (YLP) interns and Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) participants, a presentation by Sierra Nevada Research Institute staff, and open questions from the audience.

The students had the opportunity to hear Napolitano talk about her education, career, and life experiences, such as in her former position as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. She also discussed her vision for the future of the University of California school system, her views on obstacles for women in politics, and her core leadership values. 

Napolitano specifically encouraged the students to “try a lot of different things, find your passion, and contribute to something bigger than yourselves.” 

Napolitano’s visit also allowed students to share their first-hand experiences with youth engagement programs in Yosemite and how these programs have helped them to achieve their goals.

Vera Reyes, YLP summer internship lead, participated in both the Adventure Risk Challenge and Yosemite Leadership Program and is on track to be the first in her family to graduate from college. Kevin Herrera, YLP summer intern, shared how this program has helped him rediscover his passion for law enforcement and build new opportunities and lasting friendships. Jesus Angel Dolores, previous YLP summer intern, told the group that this program was “one of the greatest experiences of [his] life” and that it encouraged him to feel confident about himself and his potential. 

The Yosemite Leadership Program is a collaboration between Yosemite National Park and the University of California at Merced. The program is designed to educate and inspire environmental advocacy and social change in local youth.

Adventure Risk Challenge is designed to improve academic skills, expose youth to a range of natural environments and wilderness experiences, and inspire confidence to accomplish goals, succeed in high school, and attend college.

The youth programs in Yosemite National Park are managed by the education branch of the interpretation division. 

[Submitted by Ashley Mayer, Public Affairs Officer]

Stephen T. Mather Training Center
Staff Yoga Classes Begun At Harpers Ferry

To find the ever-elusive "work-life balance," NPS staff in Harpers Ferry took Jon Jarvis's and Mike Reynold's suggestion on their recent webchat to heart and started a local yoga class.

Mather Training Center took the lead and joined forces with Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, the Interpretive Design Center and the Appalachian Trail and Visitor Center to hold yoga classes each Tuesday after work.  

The classes have been so popular that they have been expanded to Tuesdays and Thursdays. A local yoga instructor leads participants in a rejuvenating and ultimately relaxing workout.  The Mather lower classroom transforms from one type of education environment by day to another learning environment after work hours.  

When classes are in session, many students join the yoga class.  Visiting students and local employees have praised Mather for providing them the opportunity to physically and mentally find a peaceful state of mind at the end of day.

[Submitted by Demmy Vigil]


Lake Mead NRA - AZ, NV
GS-0810-13 Supervisory Civil Engineer

Lake Mead has issued merit promotion and all source announcements for a supervisory civil engineer.

Click on the links below for copies of the announcements with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

The former closes on August 25th, the latter on August 18th.

North Cascades National Park (WA)
GS-1640-12/13 Facility Manager

North Cascades has issued an announcement for a facility manager.

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 29th.
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Park Planning, Facilities, and Lands
GS-1601-12 Facility Management Systems Program Coordinator

The Park Facility Management Division is seeking candidates for a position as 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.
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