The Morning Report

Monday, March 30, 2015

Recent Editions  

INCIDENTS



Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (OH)
Man Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor ARPA And Resource Violations

Early last year, a 28-year-old man drove his 2008 Chevy Silverado truck into the middle of Hopewell Mound Group, a 2,000-year-old earthwork, in order to spotlight deer.  

The driver entered the earthworks from a trailhead with clearly posted, reflective, “No Motor Vehicles” signs. The vehicle became stuck and the rear tires were dug in as deep as the axle, causing archaeological and natural resource damage. In an attempt to free the vehicle, the driver broke off branches from live trees, placed sand and clothing of his and his occupant (his four-year-old daughter) under the tires in a failed attempt to regain traction.

The vehicle was abandoned and was discovered by NPS maintenance staff the next morning. The truck had to be left yet another night until a four-wheel-drive tow truck came and winched it out with great difficulty.

Ranger Gad, the investigating ranger, had been photographing and documenting several previous incidents of off-road vehicle travel, suspicious broken vehicle glass, and litter within the Hopewell Mound Group. The investigation and follow-up interviews identified the driver as the same person who has been violating numerous 36 CFR regulations over the prior three months.

When confronted with photographs of the tire tracks from both locations and footage from the park surveillance camera, the man confessed to having driven into the field on numerous other occasions within the previous months and admitted that he broke his passenger window one of those times when he stopped in the field and tried to throw a can out of his window, but missed and shattered his window.

Park staff and the AUSA charged the driver, Herbert Lawhorn, with a misdemeanor violation of ARPA (16 U.S.C 470 EE (a)) and two 36 CFR violations for destruction of natural resources and littering. Lawhorn recently plead guilty to all charges and paid $1,000 in fines.

[Submitted by Rick Perkins, Chief Ranger]


NEWS AND NOTES



Centennial and Communications Offices
Find Your Park Launch Countdown Underway

Boldly going where the National Park Service has never gone before, the Find Your Park public awareness campaign lifts off this week.

In preparation for the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, the Find Your Park campaign will set the stage for the second century of service by connecting with the next generation of park visitors, supporters, and advocates.

Starting today, www.FindYourPark.com is live, and we will issue a national press release to raise awareness about the campaign launch event in New York City on Thursday. This week’s activities will help set the stage for National Park Week (April 18 – April 26), so now is the time to bring the campaign to life in your own parks, programs, and communities.

Peruse the Find Your Park Toolkit Updates

To help inspire you and build excitement for the NPS Centennial and the Find Your Park campaign, several sections of the Find Your Park toolkit have been updated and posted on the Centennial Office Google site (nextcenturyforparks.org for partners). The updates include:

  • Final creative display materials, detailed production specifications and instructions, and sample templates and guidance.
  • Digital updates with a preview of FindYourPark.com and submission guidelines for Find Your Park Experiences and events.
  • A media and public affairs package with national campaign launch event details, key messages, news release templates, Q&As, National Park week events and ideas, and social media guidance. Many of these communications tools are also available by clicking on the Find Your Park tab of the Centennial Office Google site.

Look for the Find Your Park Logo Addition on NPS.gov

On April 2nd, the Find Your Park logo will be added to the www.NPS.gov homepage and to all park, subject, and organization sites. On park pages, the logo will link to a new park-specific centennial page, and subject/organization pages will link to the NPS Centennial subject site. Read more about these automatic changes.  

Build Momentum With National Park Week Activities

Find Your Park is the theme of National Park Week 2015 (April 18 – April 26). In order to amplify the national campaign, every park and program should share the Find Your Park message in its own unique way, including sending the sample press release contained in the media and events toolkit update on or after March 31st.

Take advantage of the entrance fee free weekend on April 18th and April 19th and National Junior Ranger Day on April 18th to bring new visitors to your parks and programs. Find fun ideas and more information on the Office of Communications InsideNPS page.

Read the Director’s Webchat Transcript and Blog

On March 24th Director Jarvis hosted a webchat with special guest Alexa Viets, Centennial Office coordinator. The discussion focused on ways that parks and programs can engage in the Find Your Park campaign by amplifying their National Park Week activities. You can now access the final video and transcript, and read Jon’s Blog post.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (TX)
Passing Of Robert Espinosa

Robert Espinosa, park ranger and volunteer coordinator at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, died on Tuesday, March 24th, after a courageous battle with cancer.

With a background in retail, Robert began work at the park as the Western National Parks Association’s bookstore manager. He built the store as the place to go for hard-to-find materials of the Spanish colonial period.

In 1998, Robert joined San Antonio Missions as a park ranger, working at Missions Espada and Concepción. He became the park’s volunteer coordinator in 2009. He was responsible for a robust park-wide program as well as a Trails and Rails program on Amtrak’s Texas Eagle.

Robert was a quiet man, but always worked hard to ensure that he and the park provided the best service for park visitors and volunteers.

“On one of my first orientation visits, he went out of his way to speak eloquently and thoughtfully about the history of the missions and the surviving surrounding communities,” remembers one of the park’s volunteers. “We were looking at Mission San Juan - meeting the priest and eyeing his gardens when a group of Wounded Warriors on bicycles arrived on scene. Robert was quick to action, and arranged an impromptu discussion about San Juan, and the skirmishes between mission Indians and raiding parties…He engaged those men so quickly — to understand the relevance of history to the present...”

Robert is survived by his wife, Alice, and his children, Laura and Jason. Condolences can be sent to Alice Espinosa, 10515 Braddock, San Antonio, TX 78245.

[Submitted by Lauren Gurniewicz]


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 through March 27th.

NOTE: The House and Senate will be out of session until April 13th.  The next weekly report will be issued on April 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.

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New Public Laws

Nothing to report.

Floor Action

Nothing to report. 


Committee Activity

On March 24th and March 25th, the House Natural Resources Committee (Bishop, R-UT-1) held a markup and approved by unanimous consent the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:

  • H.R. 152 (Jones, R-NC-3), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to enter into an agreement to provide for management of the free-roaming wild horses in and around the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge.  The bill includes a provision to allow the transfer of wild horses from the herd at Cape Lookout National Seashore to the Currituck refuge under certain conditions.  The Department opposed a similar bill in the 113th Congress.
  •  H.R. 373 (Heck, R-NV-3), to direct the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture to expedite access to certain Federal land under the administrative jurisdiction of each Secretary for good Samaritan search-and-recovery missions, and for other purposes.  The bill would require the Secretaries to develop and implement a process to facilitate such missions by qualified organizations.  The Department supported a similar bill, with amendments, in the 113th Congress.
  • H.R. 984 (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.  The trail proposed for study would extend from Niobrara, Nebraska, to Ponca City, Oklahoma following the route taken by Chief Standing Bear and the Ponca people during Federal Indian removal, and their return route from Oklahoma to Nebraska.  The Department supported a similar bill in the 113th Congress. 

On March 25th, the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform (Chaffetz, R-UT-3) held a markup and approved by voice vote the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:

  • H.R. 653 (Issa, R-CA-49), to amend section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the Freedom of Information Act), to provide for greater public access to information, and for other purposes.  Among other provisions, the bill requires Federal agencies to make information disclosable under the Act available in an electronic format and to make available to the public records of general interest on agency operations and activities that have been requested three or more times.  The bill was approved with amendments.  The Department has not taken a position on the bill.
  • H.R. 1531 (Connolly, D-VA-11), to amend title 5, United States Code, to provide a pathway for temporary seasonal employees in Federal land management agencies to compete for vacant permanent positions under internal merit promotion procedures, and for other purposes.  The Department has not taken a position on the bill. 

New Bills Introduced

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

  • H.R. 1531 (Connolly, D-VA-11), to amend title 5, United States Code, to provide a pathway for temporary seasonal employees in Federal land management agencies to compete for vacant permanent positions under internal merit promotion procedures, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 1541 (Grijalva, D-AZ-3), to amend title 54, United States Code, to make Hispanic-serving institutions eligible for technical and financial assistance for the establishment of preservation training and degree programs.
  • H.R. 1621 (Forbes, R-VA-4), to modify the boundary of Petersburg National Battlefield in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 1648 (Lamborn, R-CO-5), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish the Ronald Reagan Birthplace National Historic Site in Tampico, Illinois, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 1651 (Newhouse, R-WA-4), to reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 1721 (Slaughter, D-NY-25), to reauthorize appropriations for the National Women’s Rights History Project Act.
  • S. 873 (Murkowski, R-AK), to designate the wilderness within the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in the State of Alaska as the Jay S. Hammond Wilderness Area.
  • S. 890 (Cantwell, D-WA), to amend title 54, United States Code, to provide consistent and reliable authority for, and for the funding of, the Land and Water Conservation Fund to maximize the effectiveness of the Fund for future generations, and for other purposes.

Upcoming Committee Activity

On April 22nd, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the reauthorization of and potential reforms to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  The hearing will take place at 10 a.m. in room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.  The Department has not been asked to testify.

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

[Submitted by Andrea Dekoter]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Mount Rainier National Park (WA)
GS-0025-9 East District Interpreter (Detail)

Mount Rainier National Park is seeking candidates for a detail of 120 days to serve as the park’s acting East District interpreter.

This opportunity is available to individuals in the National Park Service at the GS-9 level. It is a temporary assignment beginning in mid-May and extending through mid-September.

The East District interpreter is responsible for:

  • Overseeing the summer interpretive operations for the Sunrise and Ohanapecosh areas of the park.
  • Operating visitor centers at each area and providing informal interpretation opportunities.
  • Scheduling, coaching and reviewing formal interpretive programs including evening programs, ranger-led walks, and junior ranger programs.
  • Supervising and directing the work of 8-10 seasonal employees (including GS-0025-5/7, Geologist-in-Parks, Volunteer-in-Parks). This work includes scheduling, coaching, developing performance plans, and evaluating performance for each employee and volunteer.
  • Assisting with the training of the summer seasonal employees and volunteers.
  • Providing park visitors with informal interpretation and park information.
  • Developing and presenting a limited number of formal interpretive programs.

During this assignment, salary will be paid by Mount Rainier at the same rate as the selectee’s home park. Travel and per diem will be paid by Mount Rainier (lodging provided in park housing with reduced per diem consistent with NPS travel policies).

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:

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

Submit your application materials electronically to nwshro_staffing@nps.gov no later than April 6th. Please include “MORA Acting East District Interpreter” in the subject line of the message.

Please contact Acting Chief of Interpretation & Education Kathy Steichen at kathy_steichen@nps.gov or 360-569-6562 with any additional questions you may have about this developmental opportunity.

Washington Office
GS-0201-14/15 Human Resources Officer

The Washington Office has issued an announcement for a human resources officer.

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 April 17th.
 More Information...
Independence National Historical Park (PA)
GS-0392-6 Telecommunications Equipment Operator

Dates: 03/28/2015 - 04/10/2015

Independence National Historical Park is seeking a candidate to fill a permanent telecommunications equipment operator position.

The Communications Center is a 24 hour, 7 days per week operation providing emergency radio, telecommunication, and primary routine logistical support for the park. Communications personnel operate emergency telephone and radio systems and dispatch necessary personnel to handle criminal incidents, emergency situations, and routine services. 

The announcement closes on April 10th.
 More Information...
San Juan Island National Historical Park (WA)
GS-1640-11 Supervisory Facility Operations Specialist (Lateral)

San Juan Island National Historic Park is seeking candidates eligible for lateral reassignment to the position of supervisory facility operations specialist. The full range of salary under the “Rest of U.S.” pay locality is $58,562 to $76,131 per year.

The person in this position manages the maintenance program for San Juan Island National Historical Park.  Park facilities include eight historic buildings, two cultural landscapes, a visitor center, a maintenance building, two picnic areas, 4.5 miles of paved road, 4 miles of gravel road, 20 miles of trails, public dock, four vault toilet restrooms, and utility and water systems. 

The person selected will supervise two permanent and one or two seasonal employees. Duties include:

  • Plans and schedules work of division.  
  • Facilitates the development, review and implementation of park projects as project manager or COTR.
  • Guides the park’s safety program.
  • Helps plan for and manage park operations and devise and accomplish strategic goals.
  • Prepares and tracks annual work budget for maintenance operation.
  • Uses current facility management systems and practices to plan, implement, and track work (FMSS, etc.).
  • Develops a multi-year strategy for project submissions under various funding sources and successfully positions projects for funding through PMIS.

Work is mostly sedentary in an office setting.  At times, walking, hiking, bombing, bending and moderate lifting are required.   

San Juan Island National Historical Park is located on a 55-square-mile island off the northwest coast of Washington State and is about four hours from Seattle. The park receives approximately 260,000 visitors annually.  It consists of two distinct units - American Camp and English Camp - which are approximately 13 miles apart.  Residents and visitors travel to and from the island by state ferry with service several times a day.  A small commercial airline also serves the island. 

Park headquarters is located in the town of Friday Harbor, which is the county seat and has a population of about 2,000.  The island population is about 7,000 people.  Most routine medical and dental services are available in Friday Harbor but hospital services must be obtained on the mainland.  Grocery stores, gasoline stations and a pharmacy are located in Friday Harbor.  The summer climate is dry and pleasant with daytime temperatures in the mid to upper 70's.  Government housing is NOT available.  The medium home value is $376,000 and the average price for local rentals is $725 per month. 

If you are interested or have additional questions, please contact Superintendent Lee Taylor at (360) 378-2240 ext. 2223 or Lee_Taylor@nps.gov .

Interested individuals should submit the following:

  • A detailed resume
  • Most recent performance evaluation
  • A current SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50 to confirm time-in-grade and eligibility if different/not current)

Application packets may be submitted by mail or email and must be received no later than April 15th.  Email documents to: NWSHRO_Staffing@nps.gov