Two National Park Service employees in the state were recently honored by Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. Dr. Jon Riedel and Steve Gibbons are based in Sedro-Woolley.
Riedel, geologist at North Cascades National Park, has won one of the 2012 Pacific West Regional Director’s Awards for Natural Resource Management. Riedel won the award for natural resource management.
The press release announcing the awards said Riedel was recognized for three significant accomplishments. First, he led the team that, over the course of four years, developed the Stehekin River corridor implementation plan and environmental impact statement. The planning effort uses the best available science to protect natural and cultural resources, support the private community of Stehekin, and establish sustainable administrative facilities – all while continuing to provide recreational experiences for the public.
Second, he developed the landmark North Cascades glacier monitoring program. The program, in its 20th year, has set the standard for glacier monitoring in the National Park Service and is at the forefront of understanding the impacts of climate change on the North Cascades ecosystem, said the news release.
Third, he has served as a teacher and mentor. He uses his extensive professional knowledge to serve as an informative and entertaining instructor for youth and adults. He also inspires youth to consider science-based careers through his work with the North Cascades Institute, including the nationally renowned Cascades Climate Challenge.
Steve Gibbons, National Park Service Pacific West Region natural resource specialist, received the award for professional excellence in natural resources. Gibbons was recognized for two significant accomplishments.
First, during his 20 years as the Pacific West Region National Natural Landmarks coordinator, he has successfully collaborated with National Natural Landmark managers to earn matching grants totaling more than $380,000 and accomplish over 35 projects that include interpretive exhibits, trail improvements, restoration projects, weed control, evaluation reports, signage, and informational books and brochures.
Second, as co-coordinator for the Pacific West Region threatened and endangered species program, he has provided effective leadership and vision for the protection of federal and state-listed species managed in and near national parks.
CREWS REMOVE LOOKOUT
The Kloshe Nanitch Fire Lookout, north of U.S. Highway 101 about 20 miles northeast of Forks in the Olympic National Forest, was removed last week.
The building was closed to public access several years ago when engineers determined that it was not structurally sound. Earlier this fall, vandals entered the building and broke several windows and tore off safety railings. That, combined with deterioration of the structure, resulted in irreparable damage.
The structure was built in 1997 and was a replica of the original cupola structure constructed in 1917. The lookout site was later moved to the North Point Site in the 1940s.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office Chain Gang removed the structure by hand over a three-day period
The lookout and surrounding area has long been a popular picnic destination for visitors. It provides views of Mount Olympus, the Sol Duc Valley and Lake Crescent. The Kloshe Nanitch Trail No. 882.1 remains open, and plans are already under way to build an observation deck where the fire lookout used to be. The deck is expected to be completed next summer.
New kids CD features national park songs
“Songs for Junior Rangers,” a new National Park Service CD, features 20 fun tunes about national parks. The songs contain lyrics about national parks that are designed to both entertain and educate children.
The songs cover a variety of subjects, including elk in “Wapiti Hoppity,” caving in “Spelunka Funka,” glaciers in “Frozen Bulldozin” and Mount Rushmore in “Four Presidents.” Music styles include hip hop, reggae, blues, jazz, rock, zydeco, funk and polka.
Performers include park rangers, Navajo singer/songwriter Krishel Augustine, the a cappella group Committed and the Grammy-nominated children’s group Trout Fishing in America.
The CD is available from eParks.com. the cost is $9.95, plus shipping. You also can preview three of the songs – “Humps, Hooves, and Horns,” “La Gran Garza Azul” and “Run Fish Run” on YouTube.
September 2011 196,242
Despite good weather throughout the region, September’s total recreational visits were more than 5 percent off the same month last year. One of the contributing factors could have been the closure of Stevens Canyon Road after Labor Day weekend. For the park’s busiest three-month season (July-September), visitation was 700,506, the second-lowest count in the past five years.
September 2012 417,768
September 2011 380,517
Difference 9.79 percent
Year-to-date 2012 2,463,254
Year-to-date 2011 2,601,906
Difference -4.9 percent
A 59.4 percent increase in the number of visitors to the Mora area of the park (up to 45,058), along with increases in visits to the Elwha and Quinault districts boosted the park’s total recreation visits in September. It was the best September total in more than five years. Despite the good month, the yearly total is behind last year’s count and is the second-lowest in the last five years.