What's the Word?

An NPS Employee Newsletter - August

What is on my mind . . . a message from Superintendent Frank Dean

I have been thinking a lot about this, trying to put into words how important you all are to the mission we carry out for the National Park Service. Generally stated our mission is to protect and preserve the resources of our parks while enhancing the enjoyment of the public and future generations. That is not a conflicting mandate as many like to believe; but it is a challenging one.

As I write this looking out over foggy overcast skies, it is hard to relate to the wildfires that are vexing some other parks in the west like Yosemite. We may not have literal fires burning in Golden Gate, but we do seem to have figurative “fires” of our own; dog management, traffic and congestion issues, and what is a growing trend across the nation with public distrust or misperceptions of government, including us. Currently there are several new organized communications campaigns trying to cast doubt and dispersions on some of the management and planning efforts that we have been working on for many years. The good news of the completion of the General Management Plan (GMP)- an 11 year process- has been over shadowed by community groups and activists trying to confuse the purpose of the GMP with more detailed planning efforts like dog management and traffic plans. It has caused confusion and community concern where there had been none before. Despite our good work and honest effort to address issues like crowding and parking at Muir Woods, and to restore natural processes with the major restoration of Redwood Creek at Muir Beach, there has been strong public outcry, and even a lawsuit brought to stop progress on planning or building a bus stop at Muir Beach. Much of the misunderstanding has been based on incorrect or biased information being spread by people or groups with specific agendas, and has not been helped by our own limited communication and community engagement with the communities.

Unlike some of the allegations made by some special interest groups, I believe we are working for our mission to protect and preserve with an eye to the future, while helping people enjoy these amazing parks in many different ways today. You all are integral to that effort; whether picking up trash, patrolling the beach, leading children on a walk, working with volunteers, or ensuring our staff gets paid- we are all in this together and we are doing a good job. Thank you!

Author and revolutionary Anais Nin said it well when she said, “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” That applies to us as well as the public.

Going forward, these challenges we face are pushing us to see things from the other perspectives through a stronger effort in Compliance and robust community engagement. But in the end we will have a better outcome.


Frank Dean

Employee Appreciation Event, Wednesday, October 22

Wednesday, Oct. 22nd 2014 at 11:30am-1:30pm

1 Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA

Please plan to attend this fun event scheduled for October 22, at the General's Residence. It will be an indoor/ outdoor fun time for everybody, with food and games. If you have ideas or want to help please contact Laura Castellini at 415-561-4789.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Of Interest

Rebels With a Cause- a film with a message that hits home for Golden Gate

Upcoming Screenings of the film Rebels with a Cause. The film follows the story of the activists who took on developers to save open space and create two national treasures: Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

WHAT: Wild Equity Institute
WHEN: Thursday, August 21, 6:30 PM
WHERE: 474 Valencia St., Ste. 295, San Francisco, CA
Nancy, Kenji and rebel Amy Meyer will attend.


WHAT: Visions of the Wild Film Festival
WHEN: Thursday, September 4, 3:30 PM
WHERE: Empress Theatre, 330 Virginia St., Vallejo, CA
Nancy, Kenji, rebel Huey Johnson and others will attend. Stick around for a Q&A after the screening!

Big Project Milestones

Fort Mason Center Pier 2 Interior Tenant Improvements is nearing completion! The interior space has been undergoing construction for the past year to make way for future tenancy. Michelle Ríos is the project manager. Contact her at michelle_rios@nps.gov for information.

The Fort Point Overlook is also wrapping up in the next few weeks and will provide a connector from the Bridge Plaza to the overlook. Andrea Lucas is the NPS Project Manager. Contact her at andrea_lucas@nps.gov for information.

A new public transit route to Fort Baker (West Marin Stagecoach- South Route 61) is being piloted this year. It is a whole new way for people to visit Fort Baker, the Bay Area Discovery Museum and connect with the ferry in Sausalito. Spread the word! Darren Brown is the project manager. Contact him for information at Darren_Brown@partner.nps.gov

Employee Spotlight

DIVERSITY TIP OF THE WEEK: Individuals Aren't Diverse, Groups Are

From the University of Maryland's Office of Diversity and Inclusion--

Sometimes individuals are referred to as "diverse;" but that term doesn't make sense, because "diversity" is a group rather than an individual characteristic. Individuals, for example, African Americans, sexual minorities and religious minorities, may be "marginalized" or "underrepresented," and to create diverse work groups and classrooms, we need to recruit, hire, admit, and fully engage students and colleagues from such groups. But "diversity" is a characteristic of the collective. Referring to individuals as "diverse" contributes to the notion that some people have "culture" or "identity" while others do not. Yet every one of us has "identity" and "culture." Using precise terminology helps us to make a "diverse" campus feel truly inclusive.

For more information on "The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations & Government Agencies” be sure to check out this report.

Upcoming events from the Office of Special Park Uses:

In preparation for the Ai Weiwei art exhibit opening on Alcatraz, trained park staff and volunteers are needed to supervise load-in every day until September 26. If you are interested, please contact Noemi_Robinson@nps.gov with your preferred dates and times. Preference will be given to those who can work a full day (08:15 to 18:45) on Alcatraz. Shifts can only be split into half-days. Overtime for this work will be paid by the Office of Special Park Uses. You must have your supervisor's approval in advance.


  • August 23: Motorcycle club event/ Merrie Way parking lot/ 100 participants/ not staffed
  • August 30: Beach soccer tournament/ south end of Ocean Beach/ 300 participants/ staffed

There are many events not mentioned above. You can find a list of upcoming events anytime on the Sharepoint site:

Look for the link that begins oOoOo. The list can be sorted by time or place and is updated every Friday.

HISTORIC FLASHBACK: video from the day the National Park Service opened Alcatraz to visitors

Gem from the CBS Evening News of October 26, 1974.

Here's a historic flashback with Walter Cronkhite covering the opening of Alcatraz under the National Park Service (video below), 1974. Featured are Jerry Rumburg and (then) Eric Mart. If you listen closely, you may notice a bit of ranger lore creeping in-- even on opening day.

—John A. Martini

Alcatraz Opening National Park Service 10261973

Coastal Cleanup Day

Saturday, Sep. 20th 2014 at 9am-12pm

20 locations within GGNRA

RSVP at www.parksconservancy.org/ccd for the specific site you want to work at during that day.

Pitch in and lend a hand! Cleanup and restoration activities will be happening in San Francisco, Marin, and Pacifica. Together we can keep our parks, neighborhoods, and shorelines clean, safe, and healthy for everyone.

Top 10 items we traditionally collect in San Francisco:

1. Cigarettes (#1 by a land slide)

2. Food Containers

3. Plastic Bags

4. Caps/Lids

5. Cups/Plates/Forks/Knives/Spoons

6. Paper Bags

7. Glass Bottles

8. Straws/Stirrers

9. Cigar Tips

10. Plastic Bottles

Tennessee Valley Nature Journal Outing

Sunday, Sep. 28th 2014 at 10am-4pm

591 Tennessee Valley Rd

Mill Valley, CA

Join the Nature Journal Club for a walk down Tennessee Valley, looking for hawks, owls, and other wildlife. We will hike the 1.7 miles down to Tennessee Beach for a potluck lunch (make sure your potluck items are portable). We will then spend the afternoon drawing, and exploring along the coast. For those who are getting started with journaling, I will lead a mini coastal landscape workshop after lunch and be available to help anyone with special needs or interests.

There are bathrooms at the trailhead, but none at the beach. The trail is fairly exposed so a sun hat if it is sunny or a coat if the fog is in will make you happy. The program is open to everyone, no experience necessary, and no registration required. All ages welcome. Learn more about the club. http://www.johnmuirlaws.com/

$20 suggested donation

Snapshot of Visitor and Resourse Protection Activities

Man Rescued by NPS Lifeguards After being Stuck on Cliff for Two Days

On July 24th, lifeguards received a report of a man stranded on the rocks at Dead Man’s Point near Lands End. Lifeguards Dierks and Sumner responded on a rescue water craft (RWC) from China Beach and found a man on the rocks at the base of the cliff. A lifeguard swam to the cliff and climbed up to the victim, who in relatively good health with no injuries. The victim stated he had attempted to climb down the cliff and had slid to the base where he had now been stranded for two days. The man stated he was thirsty and had been drinking ocean water and Gatorade to stay alive. The man was given a lifejacket and the lifeguard swam him out to the RWC. The victim was loaded onto the RWC and returned to shore at China Beach.

Man and His Dog Rescued from Cliff

On Sunday, August 3rd, 2014, Ranger LaSalle responded to Fort Funston to assist a man and his dog stuck on the cliffs. San Francisco firefighters set-up a rope system and rescued the two from the cliff. The man was issued a citation for creating a hazardous condition by not maintaining control of his dog and for climbing onto the cliff. This is one of 5 dogs and two humans rescued the NPS and San Francisco Fire Department have conducted in one week. An average of 7 to 10 rescues of dogs from cliffs at Fort Funston each year.

Rollover Vehicle Accident

On Friday, July 25th, 2014, Ranger Chan responded to a vehicle on its roof on the eastside of the Baker Barry Tunnel. The driver of the vehicle was found sitting on the curb next to her vehicle. She stated she was driving too fast and had lost control of the vehicle when she exited the tunnel and hit the wall. She was subsequently transported to a nearby hospital by Southern Marin Fire Department for medical evaluation.

Do You Know- Golden Gate national parks is the most carbon friendly park in the west!

Every year we report our green house gas emissions from fuel, electricity, water use, and waste generation. Of the 50 parks in the Pacific West Region, GOGA was #1 in renewable energy consumption in 2013, generating electricity though solar panels on Alcatraz and Building 201 as well as purchasing emission free electricity from Marin Clean Energy. As a Climate Friendly Park we are also working to increase renewable energy generation and purchases and bring awareness industries and the public about the energy and water we use and the resources used in production. The most important thing everyone can do is to properly recycle and compost in order to reduce trash sent to landfills and the associated methane emissions. Here are 7 Strategies to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint!

New Partnership to Invest in Projects that Connect More Americans to the Outdoors

Through the Challenge Cost Share Program, the partners will leverage an investment of nearly $400,000 with matching resources to support local nonprofit projects.

The National Park Service and the Outdoor Foundation announced a partnership to connect more Americans with the outdoors through the National Park Service Challenge Cost Share initiative, a program that leverages public and private funds to support nonprofit projects that focus on the following areas:

  • Urban Outreach: Projects to promote active healthy living, restore or conserve community natural and cultural assets, or promote close-to-home access to recreation within an urban setting.
  • Youth Engagement: Projects to engage youth participants to play, learn, serve, and work associated with National Park Service sites and programs.
  • Connecting People to the Outdoors: Projects to enhance tangible and/or intangible access to the outdoors that provide increased outdoor recreation opportunities.

“A single outdoor recreational activity experience can be very powerful for a child—it can redefine the way they see themselves, build self-confidence, strengthen family connections and promote healthy, active lifestyles—all while instilling a sense of stewardship for special places,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Every conservationist was first a young outdoor enthusiast and enjoyed recreating in our great outdoors. By expanding our longstanding partnership with the Outdoor Foundation, we’re engaging a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards and inspiring people everywhere to connect with their local, regional, and national parks.”

Visit the Challenge Cost Share Program website for more information.

From your Wellness Committee ...

- After serving as Chairperson for the past five years Samantha Pollak has decided to step down from the GOGA Health and Wellness Committee, at the end of this fiscal year. The committee is currently recruiting a new Chairperson as well as new members. If you are interested in joining please contact Samantha directly (samantha_pollak@nps.gov; 561-4966).

- Yoga is now offered in Building 1050 in the Marin Headlands every Tuesday evening! The instructor is Cheryl Kapchan, who leads the weekly Tuesday afternoon yoga class at the Fort Mason gym. If you have any questions about the class in the Headlands please contact Kristen Ward (kristen_ward@nps.gov).

- Dance classes with Joe Costa are back! And this time there is a fun event, at the newly renovated Officer's Club in the Presidio, that the classes will lead up to. Classes are free; we thank Joe for donating his time and talent.

When: Four Thursdays in a row, September 18 and 25, October 2 and 9, 12 - 12:55

What: East Coast Swing, One- and Two-Step Foxtrot, and Charleston

Where: Fort Mason 201, Gym

Event: Friday, October 10; Grand Re-Opening of the Presidio Officer's Club -- Free admission!

Send Your Feedback About this Newsletter!

This newsletter is created by the Public Affairs Office to keep staff updated on the happenings around the parks. If you feel we missed something, want to suggest a story, or have a correction, please email us at alexandra_picavet@nps.gov.