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Reader Survey Day: What National Parks Are On Your 2016 Calendar?

Jan 6th - 19:59pm | Jgarcia

Mammoth Olympic Mount Rainer North Cascades

Jan 6th - 18:57pm | Raphael

It's not a national park, but if you're in California and want to see desert wildflowers, don't overlook Anza Borrego State Park. It's a stunner!

Jan 6th - 17:20pm | R. Wiener

Badlands, Devils Tower Nat. Monument, Little Big Horn Nat. Monument, Yellowstone, Grand Teton.

Jan 6th - 17:19pm | R. Wiener

Badlands, Devils Tower Nat. Monument, Little Big Horn Nat. Monument, Yellowstone, Grand Teton.

Jan 6th - 16:41pm | Rick Farber

I will be going with my brother to Yosemite for 5 days in the spring and MT Lassen NP in the summer. Maybe Channel Islands and Joshua in the spring.

Jan 6th - 14:10pm | Auntsuey

Every park in Utah this summer. Can't wait. 

Jan 6th - 13:31pm | capitolover

Crater Lake, Lassen Volcano, Redwoods, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Arches, Great Smokey Mountain.

Jan 6th - 12:54pm | tomp2

I'm taking a bussman's holiday with my Annual Leave! I hope to get out to Joshua Tree and maybe Mojave & Death Valley this spring, especially if they get lots of rain.  I'm resigned to using AL to do my own science.

Jan 6th - 11:09am | Gila Monster

Freycinet NP Tasman NP Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair NP Mt. Field NP Kalbarri NP Nambung NP Millstream-Chichester NP Karijini NP ... and hopefully some others in Western Australia.

Coalition To Protect America's Parks Asks Colorado National Monument Superintendent To Rule Out Pro Bike Race

Jan 6th - 19:41pm | Mark Skarpohl

Here we go again.  I quite honestly do not see what all the hubbub is about. 

Jan 6th - 11:41am | argalite

I was at Mount Rainier last Summer and we drove though a bike race in the park.  

Jan 6th - 11:18am | Kurt Repanshek

No confirmation yet, Gila Monster. NPS is going through the process and no final decision has been made as to whether the race can go through the park.

Jan 6th - 11:07am | Gila Monster

As far as I know the Tour of Utah has already confirmed that stage one of the 2016 edition will start in "Zion Village", whatever that means (Springdale?).    

National Park Service Fires Highly Valued Superintendent For Refusing New Job

Jan 6th - 17:54pm | Ray Bane

Sorry.  I failed to identify myself and the author to the last post.

Jan 6th - 12:37pm | Folks, the real...

The real issue here is not a single employee.  It is the system that would appear to lend itself to a lack of accountability on the part of upper level management.

Jan 6th - 12:34pm | tomp2

{This was a direct reply to Gila Monster's query about NPS positons being like Foreign Service pack on page 1. "Reply" doesn't seem to link comments.  But now, I'm happy with both Kurt's original post, which didn't have the whole story, and especially with the comments from folks in the know about what went on at Sitka.

Jan 6th - 12:11pm | $$$ for NPS

Does Mary have to repay the 2010-2013 salary and benefits she was awarded when reinstated in 2013?  In 2013, "the U.S.

Jan 6th - 10:32am | Sitka NHP

Mary Miller is not a valued employee, she thought of Sitka NHP as her park.  She wasted millions of taxpayers dollars on stopping projects that she signed off on, her background is in engineering, the project was laid out with blue prints and scales, something she should have great knowledge in understanding.

Jan 6th - 09:07am | Kurt Repanshek

As I understand it, Lee, that is the case now. And supposedly the results are provided to supervisors.

Jan 6th - 09:05am | Lee Dalton

Perhaps part of any supervisor's performance evaluation should include collection of evaluations provided by a large percentage of people supervised by the person.

Jan 6th - 06:21am | The Rest Of The...

There are a lot of terrible federal employees that receive decent performance appraisals. Why do terrible performance receive decent appraisals?  The work that goes into dealing with a bad performer is a full time job and supervisors don't want to deal with it. Therefore, they give the employee 3's-fully successful and walk away.  And supervisors are afraid of being grieved.

Jan 6th - 01:00am | Anonymous with ...

I'm glad this case puts a spotlight on pretext within management directed reassignments.  I hope it also puts a spotlight on how the NPS takes corrective action on conduct and performance problems in superintendents.  For a good case study, read about the problems at Effigy Mounds National Monument involving problems with not one but two former superintendents.

Jan 6th - 00:32am | Another side

Did anyone actually click on the link from the 2010 Juneau Empire article?  It states that: "Last February, the National Park Service dispatched a team of top officials from the West Coast to review Sitka operations. The review found that the work environment at SNHP was characterized by "very low morale."

Jan 6th - 00:16am | Rick B.

Click on the 'contact us' button on the masthead to reach out directly to Kurt.

Jan 5th - 23:08pm | ecbuck

Who said superindent jobs were temporary? Is that some rule? If it is not a rule, it should be.  Any job should be based on performance.

Jan 5th - 22:09pm | Been There Seen That

Nice job Kurt.   Current and former SITK "aggreived" staff - there is a different forum for your concerns....when you cannot get on board, you can leave.  High school has, in fact, ended. Bottom line - performance problems have a process that must be followed if you value due process - NPS did not use that process to punish Ms. Miller.

Jan 5th - 21:27pm | SITK_Anonymous

Kurt Repanshek, you might get more information if you posted an email address or look for retirees to talk.

Jan 5th - 20:07pm | Ray Bane

Some respondants speculate that Superintendent Miller probably deserved her involuntary transfer and the Park Service had ample reason to fire her - even if her official performance evaluations were stellar.  I do not personally know Ms Miller, but I have read available reports of the case and am familiar with the process.

Jan 5th - 19:37pm | Another of thos...

Writing articles about personel issues within the government is going to be fraught with the inherent difficulty of only hearing part of the truth.  They should be avoided unless very thoughroughly researched.  There are layers to this story, the NPS is not without flaws on this issue but they are not what is highlighted.

Jan 5th - 19:28pm | MikeC

wrong.  they are not temporary assignments.

Jan 5th - 19:27pm | Alfred Runte

"In my opinion, repeated seasonals and term positions for permanent needs in NPS are abusive." I couldn't agree more, tomp2. But there it is--the new American workplace. 5 percent unemployment? Hah!

Jan 5th - 19:09pm | Kat M

Who said superindent jobs were temporary? Is that some rule?

Jan 5th - 19:09pm | Alfred Runte

I keep remembering when I was a "personnel problem" for the NPS. Good Lord! Did I not go through a week of "rehabilitation" for what I was saying in my talks? When Michael Frome got word of it, he wrote it up, much to the consternation of the brass. So did I. The book is called YOSEMITE: THE EMBATTLED WILDERNESS. What is the battle? For the integrity of the park.

Jan 5th - 19:01pm | SwampDoctor

You are hearing from staff with ties to Sitka. It would nice if there wasn't a need for anonymity, but the NPS can be vindictive. Firing a superintendent is carried out by regional director(s), deputy regional directors and the like, so challenging the official story risks the wrath of very high-level NPS managers.

Jan 5th - 18:56pm | Julie Northrip

A superintendent position is a permanent one. There are term positions that are usually for a year or two but I have never heard of a term superintendent. When a term position ends, s/he is out of a job unless another position opens up, s/he applies and is accepted. The NPS doesn't move people around. I've never heard of a situation like this one.

Jan 5th - 18:53pm | CJDillon

I do not know the specifics of this case, or persons involved, but I was an NPS employee for 35 years and a superintendent for 20 of those years. Lateral reassignments (lateral means no promotion or demotion) are legal and all federal employees are susceptible to such reassignment.  

Jan 5th - 18:39pm | ecbuck

While I tend to believe Rest of the Story et al (given the circumstances), I agree with Kurt.  If you are going to cast aspersions, you should at least back them up with facts.  Even if you don't want to identify yourself, it would lend more credibility to your accusations  

Jan 5th - 18:35pm | The Rest Of The...

Kurt-I see where you could be easily confused. The documents that you have read would make one think she was wrongfully removed.  However, following the typical NPS MO, they failed their leader up.  This is the way the NPS typical deals with poor senior managers. But Mary didn't play right and forced them to remove her. Which then got themselves into a pickle.

Too Many Yellowstone Bison Means 600-900 Will Be Culled

Jan 6th - 15:21pm | sharon firestenberg


Native American Tribes To Pursue Bear Ears National Monument With President Obama

Jan 6th - 10:25am | COH

It won't be under Tribal control, it will be a National Monument - under federal control, as are all National Monuments.

Op-Ed | New National Parks For The Next Century

Jan 6th - 09:42am | Michael Kellett

Hi Drew, You are quite right. I was trying to provide only a sample of the full range of potential parks, because there was not enough space to provide an exhaustive list for each category. I was born and raised Michigan and now live in Massachusetts, so I am well aware that more national parks are needed in those region, as well as the Southeast.

Jan 5th - 21:53pm | drew hanson

The author's statement, "One of the highest priorities should be to create new national parks near major metropolitan areas and in regions of the country with few large national park units -- the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest" is one with which many would agree.

Former Effigy Mounds National Monument Superintendent Pleads Guilty To Theft Of Artifacts

Jan 6th - 09:16am | NPS Lover

"[M]ore than meets the eye" indeed. This is a symptom of how NPS has for decades used the Midwest Region as a place to put incompetence out to pasture. There are many dedicated and incredibly talented staff in Midwest Region but the concentration of bad apples is not representative of NPS as a whole.

Jan 6th - 02:27am | Rick B.

I would hazard a pretty good guess that any NPS Cultural Resources staff member, whether archeological, curatorial, or other discipline.... winces when this affair is mentioned, and prays to whatever gods and goddesses that they never get tainted by such a snafu.

Jan 6th - 01:39am | KentuckyHiker

Jan 5th - 23:40pm | d-2

The newspaper articles stated "what is more to this story," and that is that the Native American groups assumed that the Superintendent objected to the principles of the "Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act." AKA Public Law 101-601.  Obliquely, that is what the state archaeologist is actually talking about when he says above 

Jan 5th - 19:28pm | Rick B.

Was he also in place when the desecration of the mounts occurred?

Jan 5th - 18:41pm | Katrina Monroe

Good Grief.....who ARE you?  Of course there  is more to the story.  What are you, like 12 years old?  Do you seriously believe every printed word?  If you are so interested in this case ( enough to comment "disgusting and pathetic" ) perhaps you should read more than one source.

National Water Trail Designated In Kansas, New Visitor Center Dedicated At Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Jan 6th - 02:36am | Cindy

You are an awesome blogger. This is one of the best blog I had visited so far. Hope to read more post from you in the future. Keep it up. God bless.

Musings From Mesa Verde National Park By Candlelight

Jan 5th - 22:39pm | Lee Dalton

NEWSFLASH! Just learned that the next Open House is scheduled December 8, 2016.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide

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