The Morning Report

Friday, October 24, 2014

Recent Editions  


Office of Communications
Investigation Underway Into Vandalism At Multiple Parks

The National Park Service is investigating reports of vandalism – acrylic painting on rocks – in at least ten national parks in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Utah.

Details are not yet available because the case is under investigation, but the vandalism is believed to have occurred in the following parks (asterisks indicate that confirmation is pending at a particular area) – Grand Canyon*, Yosemite, Death Valley, Sequoia-Kings Canyon*, Joshua Tree*, Rocky Mountain*, Crater Lake, Bryce Canyon*, Zion and Canyonlands.

Said a Washington Office spokesperson: “There are forums for artistic expression in national parks because national parks inspire artistic creativity. These images are outside that forum and outside the law.”

The link below is to a representative media report on the investigation.
 More Information...
Zion National Park (UT)
Climber Dies In 80-Foot Fall

A 47-year-old climber from California died in an 80-foot fall on the afternoon of Sunday, October 19th.

Christopher Spencer was hiking with a fellow climber to the base of “Iron Messiah,” a technical 5.10 climb in Zion Canyon near the Zion Lodge which the duo planned to climb together. They were on an approach pitch in easy fifth class terrain when Spencer apparently fell backward, tumbling approximately 80 feet down the steep slope and striking a series of ledges. Spencer was not roped in and was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. 

Rangers were notified of the accident at approximately 11 a.m. via 911 calls placed by his partner and another witness.  Park medics located and reached Spencer by noon. Due to the steep rocky terrain, rangers needed to belay the litter with three attendants down the scree field.  Park medics and a requested Lifeflight medical crew stabilized Spencer during the almost three hour technical evacuation.

Spencer was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center by Lifeflight, where he succumbed to his injuries. This was the eighth climbing fatality in the park since 1983.

[Submitted by Therese Picard, Canyon District Ranger]

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Man Sentenced To Prison For DUI Death

Around 2 a.m. on August 31, 2013, Kings Canyon National Park received a 911 call reporting a single vehicle rollover accident on Highway 180 in the Cedar Grove area of the park.

Responding rangers and park medics found that a 35-year-old North Dakota man had died at the scene and that four other people in the pickup had been seriously injured. Personnel from Yosemite, the California Highway Patrol, the Fresno County Coroner’s Office, and the Sequoia Safety Council also responded.

A cooperative investigation was conducted by Investigative Services Branch agents and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks law enforcement rangers. 

On October 14th, Nicholas Moser, 25, was sentenced to four years and four months in prison for involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol. 

[Submitted by Michelle Fidler, Acting Public Affairs Specialist]

 More Information...


Saguaro National Park (AZ)
Saguaro Holds Aquatic Life Bioblitz

Saguaro National Park held a bioblitz in its Rincon Mountain District on Saturday, October 11th – the first since the big bioblitz it held in 2011.

The event was held at a remote wetland area called the Madrona Pools and focused on aquatic life, particularly invertebrates and microorganisms. 

Participants included the park’s “Cactus Rangers,” a youth group that does service learning projects at the park every month. Among other activities, the Cactus Rangers collected water samples from different habitats.  Then, led by volunteer naturalist Gary Slaten, they used a microscope projected onto a computer screen to search for organisms such as rotifers, diatoms, and single-celled algae. 

One of the most interesting discoveries of the day was an aquatic species of tardigrade (also called water bear) that park staff hope to identify in the coming weeks. 

Although recent heavy rains created flood conditions that reduced the expected aquatic diversity in the rock pools that are locally called tinajas, the event was very successful, with a focus on safety, having fun, and learning about Saguaro’s biodiversity. 

With Geocorp intern Kristan Culbert, the students tested water quality such as pH and other parameters; with Sonoran Desert network scientist Kara Raymond, they identified aquatic insects such as dragonfly nymphs and beetles; with entomologist and retired NPS ranger Richard Hayes, they searched for and photographed a large number of terrestrial invertebrates. 

A series of tropical storms has led to a very green Sonoran Desert and a profusion of insect life. 

This was Saguaro National Park’s first annual bioblitz following its major National Geographic BioBlitz, which was held in 2011.  It was a joint production of the park’s resource management and interpretive staffs, with support from all divisions of the park as well as the Friends of Saguaro National Park, the Sonoran Desert Inventory and Monitoring Network, and the NPS Geological Resource Division.  

The park plans to continue these smaller events annually. In the coming years, the intention is to focus on taxonomic groups in the park that need the most additional information, such as invertebrates, fungi, bryophytes, algae, and others. 

For more information contact Park Biologist Don Swann or Interpretive Park Guide Jeff Wallner.

[Submitted by Don Swann, Park Biologist, and Jeff Wallner, Park Guide]

George Washington Memorial Parkway (MD)
Day Of Service And Remembrance Held On 9/11

George Washington Memorial Parkway hosted Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, over 100 Student Conservation Association alumni, Americorps and Peace Corps volunteers and area students for a day of service and remembrance on September 11th.

SCA hosted a picnic lunch for volunteers, followed by remarks from Superintendent Alex Romero, SCA President and CEO Jaime Matyas, Americorps Director Bill Basl, SCA Urban Treehouse Coordinator Justin Duncan, and Secretary Jewell. 

The September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance is the culmination of efforts originally launched in 2002 by the 9/11 nonprofit MyGoodDeed with wide support by the 9/11 community and leading national service organizations. This effort first established the inspiring tradition of engaging in charitable service on 9/11 as an annual and forward-looking tribute to the 9/11 victims, survivors, and those who rose up in service in response to the attacks.

AmeriCorps was founded in 1994 with the goal of engaging Americans in service. AmeriCorps members are active in addressing issues like education and youth, veterans and military families, disaster preparedness and response, economic opportunity, health and health education, and environmental stewardship. This year’s 20th anniversary celebration and events are a time to reflect on what AmeriCorps has been able to accomplish and to look ahead to what it will achieve in the future.

On September 12th, President Obama held a ceremony at the White House to lead a simultaneous, nationwide swearing-in of AmeriCorps members in every state, replicating the first pledge ceremony by President Bill Clinton on September 12, 1994.

The pledge event recognized the extraordinary accomplishments of AmeriCorps over the past 20 years and kicked off another year of high-impact national service for 75,000 AmeriCorps members serving coast to coast.

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail (CA)
Anza Trail And Latino Outdoors Hike To Mark Hispanic Heritage Month

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail partnered with Latino Outdoors for a September 27th hike in the San Francisco Bay Area to mark both Hispanic Heritage Month and National Public Lands Day.

Melissa Avery, a Bay Area Regional Coordinator for Latino Outdoors (and an active blogger at, helped organize the two-hour interpretive hike to share the story of the Bay Area’s settlement by Spanish colonists in 1776.

Climbing the hills of the East Bay along the Anza Trail, the families on the hike were able to make out the same landscape formations sketched by a diarist of the Anza Expedition.

The trail’s panoramic views of San Francisco Bay provided an excellent backdrop for a talk about the history of the area. Anza Trail Park Ranger Daniel Sanchez described how the arrival of Spanish colonists was a dramatic catalyst for change to the region, for the Native peoples, the ecology, and the development of California society.

Saturday’s bilingual event was the Anza Trail’s first partnership with Latino Outdoors and is part of the trail’s efforts to link the legacy of America’s Spanish colonial history with the rich diversity of California today.

Latino Outdoors, a volunteer organization that links communities with nature and conservation, has partnered on programs with other NPS units. To learn more about the quickly growing organization and its regional coordinators throughout California and Texas, visit or follow them at

[Submitted by Hale Sargent,, 415-623-2344]

 More Information...


GS-0303-5 Visitor Services Assistant (Lateral)

Curecanti National Recreation Area is soliciting resumes from those interested in a lateral reassignment to a permanent visitor services assistant position.

The person in this position serves as a frontline representative of the park, providing the highest quality visitor services, collecting and accounting for fees at the visitor center, providing informal interpretive services both in the visitor center and field settings, presenting brief interpretive talks at the visitor center, and serving as the lead for executing all aspects of the Red Rock Canyon Wilderness permit lottery for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

This position requires a great deal of telephone use; the Elk Creek Visitor Center acts as the park switchboard, is the year-round primary source for phone information for both Curecanti and Black Canyon, and operates a somewhat intense tour reservation system through the summer months.

The work schedule will vary over the course of the year with late fall, winter, and spring being almost exclusively visitor center-based with summers being balanced between visitor center shifts and field shifts. This is a uniformed position that may require working weekends and holidays year-round. 

The duty station for this position is Curecanti National Recreation Area, located 16 miles west of Gunnison, Colorado.  The park encompasses three reservoirs, including Blue Mesa Reservoir, the largest body of water in Colorado. The park is at over 7,000 feet in elevation and features sagebrush hills, deep forested canyons and high desert plateaus. There are abundant outdoor recreational opportunities in the area, including flatwater and swiftwater boating, fishing, abundant hiking trails, cross-country and downhill skiing, and world-class mountain biking. Gunnison has a population of approximately 5,000 and includes most grocery, shopping, and medical services.

Relocation expenses are authorized. This is a non-furloughed position. Government housing may be available through a bid system. There may also be dual career opportunities available.

If you are interested in a lateral reassignment at the GS-5 level, please submit an application or resume, a copy of your most recent SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action), and a copy of your most recent performance appraisal to Brant Porter, 102 Elk Creek, Gunnison, CO 81230. Applications must be received by COB on November 12th.

Application packages can also be faxed to (970) 641-9114. Please do not email application packages.

If you have further questions about the position, contact District Interpreter Brant Porter at (970) 641-2337, extension 206.

Midwest Region
WS-4749-10 Maintenance Mechanic Supervisor

Dates: 10/23/2014 - 10/30/2014

A job opportunity announcement has been issued for a maintenance mechanic supervisor at Hot Springs National Park.

Please click on the link below to access the job opportunity announcement with full details on duties, area information and procedures for applying.

This announcement closes on October 30th.

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

 More Information...