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Monday, October 30, 2006


Director/Deputy Directors
Flags To Be Flown At Half Staff On Friday

On October 19th, Steve Martin, deputy director for operations, issued the following memorandum, entitled “Lowering of Flags in Honor of Former NPS Director William J. Whalen”:

To honor the passing of former director William J. Whalen, all offices, parks, and regions, with the exception of the National Mall, should lower flags to half staff on Friday, November 3rd.

A memorial service for William J. Whalen III will be held on November 4 at 1:30 p.m. at the Fort Mason Officers Club at Bay and Franklin Streets in San Francisco.

Donations may be made to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Building 201, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123.


Yosemite National Park (CA)
Follow-up On Fatal Climbing Fall

On the afternoon of October 23rd, dispatch received a telephone call reporting a fatal climbing fall. Jim Hewitt reported that he and his partner, well-known climber Todd Skinner, had been working on a first free ascent of the "Jesus Built My Hotrod" route on the overhanging west face of the Leaning Tower. Skinner's fall occurred when he was rappelling. Hewitt told investigators that he had been above Skinner when he fell. As he was rappelling on the low-stretch ropes that they had fixed on the route, Hewitt came to Skinner's Grigri descent device on the rope at the point where he’d fallen. The Grigri had a still-locked carabiner attached which had been connected to Skinner's harness. When Skinner's body was recovered, the belay loop on his harness was missing. The next day, rangers recovered a broken harness belay loop in vegetation at the base of the wall. It was very worn at the spot where the break had occurred. Hewitt later told investigators that Skinner was aware that the belay loop on his harness was in a weakened condition prior to the climb, and that they had talked about its poor condition three days earlier. For further details, click on "More Information" below. [Submitted by Keith Lober, Emergency Services Coordinator]  More Information...

Lake Mead National Recreation Area (AZ,NV)
Boat Fire At Lake Mead Marina

Park rescue personnel, concession employees and Clark County firefighters responded to a vessel fire at Lake Mead Marina on Wednesday, October 25th. A cabin cruiser, located on the B dock, was found to be fully engulfed in flames. Quick action and a two-and-a-half-hour coordinated response stopped the fire from spreading throughout the marina. The marina, located in the Boulder District, has three main docks and moorings for hundreds of vessels. Because of current low water conditions, responders had to haul firefighting equipment 1500 feet down a head walk and out onto the marina. Once the fire was contained, the vessel was cut loose and towed to a location where it was safely extinguished. Due to the quick response and heroic efforts by responders, there were no deaths or injuries and only minimal damage to the marina and surrounding vessels. [Submitted by Mary Hinson, Chief Ranger]

Haleakala National Park (HI)
Kipahulu Area Closed Due To Visitor Safety Concerns

Cumulative effects of the 6.7 earthquake of October 15th and heavy rains on the 17th and 18th led to road closures on either side of the Kipululu area of Haleakala National Park. On October 22nd, the park closed the entire Kipahulu area to visitors. The closure includes the visitor center, campground, the pools at `Ohe`o gulch, and all trails. The closure will continue until visitors and staff can access the park safely. FEMA inspectors declared that the Paihi Bridge and numerous rock outcroppings along the highway on either side of the park’s boundary could collapse at any moment. The Hana Highway is closed at mile marker 45.5, approximately seven miles southwest of Hana town and three miles from the Kipahulu visitor center. The south road (Highway 31) is also closed at mile marker 16 just past the Ulupalakua store. Due to the county and state closure of these roads, there is no safe access to the Kipahulu area. Kipahulu staff are preparing to move into a temporary information station next to the Hana Post Office until further notice. [Submitted by Dominic Cardea, Chief of Interpretation]

Yosemite National Park (CA)
Rescue Of Seriously Injured Rock Scrambler

On Sunday, October 22nd, Valley District rangers and SAR team members responded to a report of a 35-year-old woman who had a rock weighing an estimated 1,000 pounds roll over her while she was scrambling on a talus slope. The woman, who was located about 600 feet above the valley floor in Le Conte Gully, suffered chest, spine and lower leg injuries. The medical team stabilized her and placed her in a litter; she was then hoisted out of the gully by a California Highway Patrol helicopter. The CHP helicopter landed at Ahwahnee Meadow and transferred her to a waiting Air Med helicopter to be taken to a trauma center in Modesto. The entire operation lasted just under two hours. [Submitted by Leslie Reynolds, Valley District Ranger]

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Submission standards for the Morning Report can be found by clicking here. All reports should be submitted via email to Bill Halainen at Delaware Water Gap NRA, with a copy to your regional office and a copy to Dennis Burnett in Division of Law Enforcement and Emergency Services, WASO.

Prepared by Visitor and Resource Protection, WASO, with the cooperation and support of Delaware Water Gap NRA.