National Parks releasing final report on 2012 shooting of Rainier ranger Margaret Anderson

Tacoma News TribuneMarch 7, 2014 

Margaret Anderson

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

More than two years after the shooting death of Mount Rainier law enforcement ranger  Margaret Anderson, the National Park Service is ready to release the board of review’s final report.

A cover memo written by Cam Sholly, the associate director for visitor and resource protection, was posted Friday morning on the NPS website. It stated “the length of time it has taken to provide the report to the field is not acceptable … .”

While the statement said the report has been released, the complete report was unavailable Friday.

Anderson was fatally shot Jan. 1, 2012, on the road to Paradise as she and another ranger stopped a vehicle that skipped a mandatory chain-up checkpoint. Stopped by Anderson just below Paradise, driver Benjamin Barnes opened fire on both rangers, killing Anderson.

Barnes then escaped on foot into the woods. After an extensive manhunt, Barnes' body was found the next day in Paradise River. He drowned while suffering from hypothermia.

The board of review concluded its investigation in 2012 and issued a statement in September of that year saying the incident was unpreventable, praising Anderson for taking action that likely saved lives and recommend changes for national parks.

Those recommendations were included in the final report cover memo:

- Providing formal tactical training and practical training exercises involving high risk encounters.

- Evaluating personal protective equipment.

- Improving park-level mutual aid agreements.

- Improving standard operating procedures.

Chuck Young, Rainier’s chief ranger, told The News Tribune in 2012 the park had started implementing the board’s recommendations.

According to a statement posted at NPS.gov on Friday morning, training information will be provided for the national parks in the coming months.

In the cover memo, Sholly wrote that the park service will “strive to improve our timeliness in releasing lessons learned information.” Sholly wrote “several circumstances led to the delay in releasing the report officially” but said that many of the recommendations are already part of pending training and policy changes.

 

“There are significant shifts that still need to occur with the NPS law enforcement program Servicewide, especially in areas of policy, training, operations, leadership, and accountability,” Sholly wrote. “We will continue to work towards goals that make improvements in all of these areas.”

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