The Morning Report

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Recent Editions  


Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Search Continues For Missing Climber

Search efforts continued yesterday on Longs Peak for Peter Jeffris, 25, of Broomfield, Colorado, who failed to return from a Sunday climb of the mountain.

Search efforts focused mainly below the tree line due to hazardous conditions above 11,500 feet, including extreme winds.  Teams searched drainages leading to the north and east from Longs Peak and employed spotting scopes from a distance to search other areas, including the Ledges and Trough along the Keyhole Route, Kiener's Route and Lambs Slide.  A dog team was used to search from Jeffris’ vehicle, his last known point.  Aerial operations were again not possible due to high winds and gusts. No signs of him have yet been found.

The park’s SAR team was assisted yesterday by the Alpine Rescue Team, Larimer County Search and Rescue, Diamond Peak Ski Patrol, Search Dogs of Colorado and the Colorado Search and Rescue Board.  Park staff have also been working with the US Air Force Rescue Coordination Center on cell phone tracking, but no significant information has been obtained that would influence the search.  There were thirty-two people involved in the overall search efforts again yesterday.

Park rangers would like to hear from anyone who was in the Longs Peak area on Sunday, November 16th.  Please call (970) 586-1204.

[Submitted by Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer]

Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
Woman Sentenced To Jail Term For Marijuana Possession

A woman who was caught with about 260 pounds of marijuana  in her possession in the park has been sentenced in federal court.

Daphne Watkins of Bowden West Virginia, was sentenced to 60 months in jail for possession with intent to distribute approximately 118 kilograms of marijuana and for aiding and abetting.

Rangers contacted Watkins for camping illegally in her recreation vehicle. During the contact, they smelled marijuana and asked her if she had anymore. Watkins responded she had approximately 260 pounds in the back of the RV.

[Submitted by Investigative Services Branch]


Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ,UT)
Quagga Mussels Found Below Glen Canyon Dam

Glen Canyon staff continue to monitor park waters to determine the distribution of quagga mussels, which were recently identified in sampling locations between Glen Canyon Dam and Lees Ferry.  

Mussel larvae (veligers) are passing through the Glen Canyon Dam and low numbers of adult mussels have been confirmed in the Glen Canyon stretch of the river. Managers and research staff remain hopeful that the river current and sediment in the water below the Paria River will restrict how far quagga mussels can expand and colonize downstream.

All boaters and fishermen are being reminded to clean, drain, and dry their boats and equipment after contact with the water in Lake Powell and the Colorado River.

Utah and Arizona state laws require that boat owners decontaminate their vessels and conveyances to avoid the transport of quagga mussels to uninfested waters.  Specific information on state laws for Utah can be found at or for Arizona at

[Submitted by Katie Wood, Public Information Officer]

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Big Bend National Park (TX)
Park Sponsors Lower Canyons Trip For Veterans

In late October, Big Bend National Park rangers guided a special six-day-long, 72 mile journey through the extraordinarily remote Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River along the international border with Mexico to honor a group of veterans.

The trip, called “Activets,” was sponsored by the Big Bend Natural History Association. It is a local program, created and funded by the association and designed to help veterans make the difficult transition from a war zone to everyday life stateside.

The river trips under the Activets program exposes veterans to the natural beauty and splendor that lie within the canyon walls and also the challenges of a wilderness environment itself. In no small part, the river trips also allow these veterans a chance to reflect on and share their experiences with other veterans.

The Activets program is open to former, retired, and current active duty military veterans and includes several veterans who now serve their country as National Park Service rangers.

The Activets program is a fitting place to honor our veterans not only for what they did but for what they continue to do. In some capacity they all continue to serve, including within the ranks of the National Park Service. Today many of these veterans wear the green and grey and are still serving and we thank them for their service.

[Submitted by Michael Ryan, River District Ranger]

Northeast Region
New England Trail Dedicates Southern Gateway Park

The sky was overcast and a blustery wind blew in from Long Island Sound. But there was a feeling of great warmth at Chittenden Park as many New England National Scenic Trail (NET) volunteers and supporters gathered to dedicate the NET’s new Southern Gateway in Guilford, Connecticut.

The dedication event was held to to thank all those who made a significant contribution of time, talent, or treasure to the project. Clare Cain, NET Director of Trail Stewardship for Connecticut Forest & Park Association, described the wide array of community support, funding and participation involved in building the beautiful boardwalk, overlook and trailhead kiosk.

More than $150,000 was raised for the project and over twenty different organizations cooperated, including CT Department of Economic & Community Development, Guilford Foundation, Guilford High School Advanced Woodworking Class, Family Tree Arborists, City Bench, and CNC Software, and William Thompson AIA & Associates.

It was a beautiful morning to walk the boardwalk and gaze out onto the water from the southernmost point of the 215-mile New England Trail.

For more on the New England National Scenic Trail

[Submitted by Charles Tracy,, 617.223.5210]

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Ozark National Scenic Riverways (MO)
Park Honors Veterans With Special Hunt

Ozark National Scenic Riverways hosted its second annual Wounded Warrior Mobility Impaired Managed Hunt on November 8th and November 9th. Seven hunters from around the state participated in the managed deer hunt, which was held in the Big Spring area. 

In its second year, the wounded warrior hunt has grown to include additional hunters, as well as additional sponsors and volunteers who wanted to help provide this special opportunity to honor our veterans. 

 “We are pleased to offer this recreational opportunity in honor of individuals who have sacrificed so greatly for our freedom,” said Bill Black, the park’s superintendent.  “I’m proud of the efforts put forth by our National Park Service staff and the outpouring of support from the local community to make this an unforgettable experience for our veterans.”

The hunt is designed to provide an opportunity for service members to have an experience that they normally would not be able to have. For many, the hunt means so much more than harvesting a deer; it is a complex healing experience from the inside-out. Many memories and lasting friendships were made not only by the hunters, but also by Ozark NSR staff and volunteers who participated in the hunt throughout the weekend.

Hunting within Ozark NSR is authorized by the park’s enabling legislation; however hunting in the Big Spring area has been restricted since the days when it was a state park wildlife refuge.  This managed hunt will help improve the overall health of the deer herd, which has grown to a level that could have negative impacts on the population and park resources. 

[Submitted by Dena Matteson, Public Information Officer]

Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs
Passing Of Ronald Emery

Ronnie Emery, a tribal historic preservation officer and tribal government liaison for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., passed away on November 6th.

The following obituary appeared in the November 9th edition of the Rapid City Journal:

Ronald James Emery, Wanbli Ska, journeyed to the Spirit World on Nov. 6, 2014.

Ronald James Emery was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, on Oct. 5, 1964, to Charles Edward Emery (Old Agency, Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota) and Marie Janis Emery, (Kyle, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota).

Ronnie came at life straight on, with energy and dedication. When he was a little boy, he would run out of the house with just his shorts on to get outside and get to playing. When he was a young man, he earned his black belt in karate. He went to Haskell Indian Junior College and earned his B.A. at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.

At Durango, he was on the BIA hotshot firefighting crew, and he learned to love the Rocky Mountains. He was best friends with the Wyatt brothers, Jeff, Lee, and Andy, and he played bass guitar in various bands, including Hoover’s G-String, and opened for bands such as Molly Hatchet. He was always bumping into famous people, and just enjoyed visiting, Patrick Swayze, Blues Traveller, and famous bass players. He was an avid Washington Redskins football fan and enjoyed going to games. He once said he wanted his headstone to read, “See you in the next life…don’t be late.”

Ronnie married Deana Gipp in 1994, and she was the love of his life. (She was the princess of Haskell—her Dad, Jerry, was the Dean). They had four children, D. Max Emery, Veronica Emery, Dominic Emery, and Michael Reynolds, and though he and Deana later divorced, they stayed in close touch and loved their children deeply and shared the issues that arose as the children grew. Most recently, Ronnie adopted his grandson Tavian as his own very special son, on behalf of his daughter Veronica, who passed tragically on Oct. 26, 2014, from natural causes.

He is survived by two older brothers, Rick (Tonja) Emery and Randy Bernard Emery; three sisters, Roxane Gale Emery (Michael) Holmes, Robin Janis Emery, and Jamie Nicole Emery, his uncles, Tom (Michelle) Allen and Jim (Elaine) Emery; aunts Carol Emery and Marie Emery; numerous Janis and Emery cousins, nephews, nieces, and innumerable friends across the United States.

"Ronnie” was his beautiful Momma’s baby.

Ronnie spent his adult career working as a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and NPS Tribal Government Liaison for the National Parks Service in Washington, D.C. He loved his work, especially returning federal land to Indian tribes. For example, he worked on the Miccosukee Reserved Area Act, which recognized the Everglades Miccosukee Reservation lands that they owned from time immemorial. He worked on the Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act, which recognized the Shoshone’s lands in Death Valley National Park and their uplands in California, which they owned from time immemorial. He helped restore Smokey Mountain lands to the Eastern Band of Cherokee from North Carolina. Ronnie awarded National Park Service grants of audio and video equipment to help them establish tribal preservation programs for native language, oral traditions, and cultural activities. He trained Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and gave grants for tribal historic preservation for 28 years.

He was working with the Oglala Sioux Tribe to make the Badlands South Unit into the first Tribal National Park. President Brewer said of his passing, “That’s tragic news. Ronnie was one of our own. He had a good heart and my deepest sympathy to his family.”

Ronnie was well known in Washington. Kurt Luger, Great Plains Indian Gaming Association said, “Ronnie always had a genuine smile for everyone, his mind was full of native cultural lore, and I always admired his unique outlook and helpful ways.”

Ronnie loved his children and grandchildren. He lived for them and he sought to teach them Lakota culture. On Thursday, he went to Falling Rock just outside Rapid City in the Black Hills to say prayers for his beloved daughter, Veronica Rose Emery. He was with his boys, when he twisted his ankle, stumbled and fell to his death.

Visitation will begin at 5 p.m. today at Rooks Funeral Home in Eagle Butte, SD. An all-night wake will begin at 1 p.m Monday, Nov. 10, at the Catholic Hall in Kyle, SD.

Catholic and Lakota traditional services will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the Catholic Hall, after which he will be taken back to Eagle Butte for Burial and graveside services at Eagle Butte Cemetery. He will be buried next to his daughter, Veronica.

Rooks Funeral Home is entrusted with the arrangements. An online guestbook is available at

[Submitted by Elaine Hackett]

Golden Gate National Recreation Area (CA)
Sam Eddy To Retire At Month’s End

The most seasoned law enforcement officer in the Department of the Interior is retiring. After 45 years in federal law enforcement, Sam Eddy, former U.S. Park Police officer and current park ranger, will retire at the end of November.

Sam started his career in federal law enforcement with the USPP in 1969, where he was stationed in downtown Washington D.C. in District 2. Sam then worked the C& O Canal towpath and in 1974 transferred out to San Francisco with the first group of Park Police officers working the Presidio.

Twenty years later in November of 1994, Sam retired from USPP and started the next day as a ranger in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Sam has spent the last 20 years in Golden Gate National Recreation Area serving as a law enforcement ranger, EMT, rescue boat operator, defensive tactics instructor, field trainer, rescue swimmer, and search and rescue technician.

One of Sam's proudest moments came recently when he and another ranger saved a park visitor with CPR – one of three CPR saves in his career. The visitor made a full recovery and returned to thank the rangers for their service.

Sam Eddy's career has spanned five decades with various duty stations, both with the U.S. Park Police and National Park Service. Throughout his federal service, he has helped countless citizens and no small number of his coworkers on the street and in training through his instruction and leadership.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area's Division of Law Enforcement and Emergency Services extends its best wishes for Sam in his future and a heartfelt thanks for all that he has done in his career with the National Park Service.

[Submitted by Chad Marin, Deputy Chief]

Denver Service Center
Mike Eissenberg Selected As Technical Branch Chief

Mike Eissenberg has been selected as the chief of Denver Service Center’s Technical Branch.  He will oversee quality assurance, technical support, compliance and permitting for DSC design and construction projects. 

Mike has been acting in this role since Bruce Warneke retired in June. Previous to his acting role, Mike was a technical specialist for sustainability for the Denver Service Center.

“Mike is a great choice to lead the DSC Technical Branch.  Mike is a long-time technical leader and his professionalism and commitment to quality will serve him well in this role,” said Sam Whittington, Denver Service Center's director.

Mike has worked for the NPS for 23 years, with most of the time spent at the Denver Service Center and in the Intermountain Regional Office.  He joined DSC’s technical branch in 2007 as the technical specialist for sustainability.  His expertise in sustainable building practices is well regarded throughout the NPS and DOI.

“I am honored to be selected for this position. I look forward to representing a group of people who are leaders in their technical fields,” said Mike. “I plan to continue to strengthen the relationship between the technical branch and the other divisions within the Service Center.”

Mike holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee and is a licensed engineer and a LEED accredited professional.  Mike has two grown kids and lives in Evergreen, Colorado with his wife.  He enjoys biking, hiking, and fixing broken things.

[Submitted by Lindy Allen,, (303) 969-2588]


Point Reyes National Seashore (CA)
GS-0025-9 Protection Ranger

Point Reyes National Seashore has issued an announcement for a protection ranger.

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 December 3rd.
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Washington Office HROC Classification Branch
GS-0201-9/11/12 Human Resources Specialist (Detail)

The Washington Office HROC’s Classification Branch has posted an announcement for a detail of up to 60 days for a human resources specialist (classification).

It is open to current career/career-conditional NPS HR specialists. The duty station is in Lakewood, Colorado.

The anticipated start date is November 30th.

For the first 30 days of the detail, the Human Resources Operations Center Classification Branch will pay travel, lodging, and per diem for Lakewood, Colorado

During the second 30 days of the detail, the selectee will return to his or her official duty station and continue to perform HROC classification duties to complete the detail.  The detail may be extended (if needed) with the agreement of the chief of classification and the selectee’s official supervisor.

A "detail" is a temporary assignment to a different position for a specified period of time.  While on detail, the employee continues to hold his/her official position, including status, grade, and pay.  At the end of the temporary assignment, the employee returns to the official duty station.

The announcement is open through November 24th. Interested candidates should have approval from their official supervisors and submit the following via email by the closing date to

  • Current resume
  • Most recent SF-50 (non-award)
  • Letter of interest
  • Endorsement letter from supervisor

Interested candidates should have some basic understanding of classification principles but don’t necessarily need to have experience in classification.  It is expected through this detail you will gain valuable experience in classification through mentoring and on the job assignments.

The classification branch provides Servicewide classification determinations and final classification on series, title, and grades for all NPS positions up through GS-15 and all Federal Wage System and other pay plans. The selectee will review classification actions and provide guidance on difficult issues such as positions that contain mixed-series duties and other contentious actions, and will make recommendations to clarify conflicting or confusing guidance or to alleviate potential or existing problems, such as misunderstandings about procedures for documenting and reporting information from desk audits.

The selectee will also be responsible for planning, developing, and carrying out position classification operations.  Interested candidates must have one year of Human Resources experience that provides sufficient understanding of the classification process and discipline.