What's the Word

Golden Gate's Employee Newsletter- February 2016

A Message from Chris Lehnertz – Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

A friend of mine from Denver recently visited, and while we were out hiking one of GOGA’s park trails she said “It’s so green my eyes hurt!” We have benefitted from the abundance of rain this winter and the park is truly looking hardy. The precipitation is a gift during this El Nino year and may bring relief to parks across California as fire season approaches. You all did a great job preparing the park for the season, responded very effectively with all of the storm systems and king tides that made their way here, and supported one another as we addressed unforeseen challenges. Remember to keep your awareness up as we start to tail off of this cycle – it’s easy to get in a vulnerable spot in the last hour of a job when we’re tired and ready to move on to the next thing. The same is true of seasons, so keep paying attention to the weather forecasts, ask for support if you need it, and go home at the end of your day in better shape than when you started!

Centennial News

The Centennial is well underway now, and if you haven't found your way to "Find Your Park" maybe some of these upcoming events will help.

Program Open Houses: Business Management and Special Park Uses kicked off the series of open houses that will be hosted by each division and program in the park. It is a great way to learn more about what some of your coworkers do and the services we offer.

Junior Ranger Days: There will be a series of Junior Ranger Days held throughout the parks- each with special activities and badges to be earned. Bring your family or friends with kids to participate in these special events. The series will culminate with a big Junior Ranger Day on Crissy Field, May 7, for youth and their families to celebrate and a very special badge they can earn.

SF Library Summer Reading program. More than 30,000 people will participate in this free program that is being offered through a partnership between the NPS and SF Library. The program will start in May and continue into August. More information will come out about this soon.

Volunteer at one of the Day of Service events that will celebrate the Centennial. There is a long list of these events available on the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy webpage.

Volunteers who serve 201.6 or more hours in 2016 are eligible for a commemorative coin and congratulatory letter from the Director.

These are just a few ideas, there are many more. If you have questions please contact Alexandra_Picavet@nps.gov

CBS Sunday Morning Highlights National Parks Throughout the Centennial Year

Projects and Planning Roundup: Marin

Goats Temporarily Joined the Staff at Nike Missile Site.

San Francisco-based City Grazing has let loose 65 goats to eat away blackberry, willow and assorted invasive weeds at Nike missile site SF-88 in the Marin Headlands. The goats' tour of duty is expected to end Feb. 29.

Stinson Beach: February 25 and 26 there will be a 100 ton crane on site to install 7 septic tank units. This crane effort will cause periodic closures of public access to parking and comfort stations. The north and south comfort stations are currently offline. The central comfort station may be impacted for a 3 hour period in the early morning while the crane sets those tanks.

Tennessee Valley Beach reopened after the dry spell. It had been closed as a precaution during the heavy rains earlier this winter while we monitored the small dam right above the beach. We will continue to monitor conditions and if necessary the beach could be temporarily closed again for safety.

President's Day Weekend was very crowded. The mixture of great warm weather and the holiday caused visitation to Muir Woods to stay above 3000 each day of the weekend. Parking lots and overlooks in the Marin Headlands and at beaches were congested and overflowing, especially at sunset.

Service Days. Thank you to all who recently helped at Hands-On Tam in Redwood Creek Watershed in early February. Next big event is Earth Day, April 23.

Projects and Planning Roundup: San Mateo

Milagra Battery Trail Project

The National Park Service and City of Pacifica have announced approval of the Milagra Battery Trail project. The project will construct a sustainable multi-use trail that connects the Connemara neighborhood in Pacifica to Milagra Ridge.

The project has completed Environmental Compliance under both CEQA and NEPA. The final document, including a response to public comments, can be found at the project website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/milagrabatterytrail

The project will begin staging for construction over the next few weeks, working toward completion by the end of summer 2016. Stay tuned for volunteer opportunities during habitat restoration planting days next winter (2016/2017).

Projects and Planning Round Up: San Francisco and Alcatraz

Ocean Beach Sand Backpass is Underway, The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS), will transport excess sand in front of the O'Shaughnessy Seawall (north Ocean Beach) to the erosion hotspot south of Sloat Boulevard (south Ocean Beach) starting today, Tuesday, February 16 through mid-March.

Work will occur weekdays from 6am – 5pm. Southbound traffic on the Great Highway will be detoured to Sunset Blvd. between Lincoln Way and Sloat Blvd.; northbound traffic and Muni bus stops will remain unaffected. To protect public safety, access to the beach will be limited to designated stairwells along the O’Shaughnessy Seawall during work hours. Parking areas at the south end of the O’Shaughnessy Seawall and the overlook parking areas south of Sloat Blvd. will not be available during construction. The parking lot at Sloat will remain open.

A detailed project description and construction drawings can be viewed on the NPS planning website at parkplanning.nps.gov/OB_Erosion

The Overlook Parking Area South of Sloat Closed. Recent wave action caused bluff erosion into the entrance roadway leading into the Overlook parking area South of Sloat (not the parking lot at Sloat) that required our NPS Roads crew to close the parking lot. It is unsafe for automobiles to use this roadway entrance to the parking lot.

Section of Lincoln Boulevard Closed for Preventive Maintenance Tree Work

February 22 through March 24, 2016 The Presidio Trust and the Department of Veterans Affairs will prune and remove select trees immediately adjacent to Lincoln Boulevard at the north end of San Francisco National Cemetery. Approximately 20 aged and declining trees will be removed; an additional 30 trees will be pruned. Due to the difficulty of working immediately adjacent to the roadway, the section of Lincoln Boulevard between the cemetery entrance and the intersection with Park Boulevard/McDowell Avenue will be closed to vehicles for the duration of the project: Monday, February 22 through Thursday, March 24. The closure will be in effect seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Alcatraz Cell House Stabilization. Look for the news article about this amazing project in this newsletter.

Parks Academy USA Jobs Bootcamp Was a Big Success Again

The popular Parks Academy training "USAJobs Bootcamp" was held again
on Friday February 5th at Fort Mason. Developed for new park academic
interns, but informative to all, the bootcamp training is held 2-3
times a year and offers insight into the world of becoming a
competitive candidate for federal employment. The class is instructed
by Jenn Flores and Jeff Obirek, and is continually updated with new
information for first-time employment & promotional candidates
including exciting opportunities with the Public Lands Corps hiring
authority, and developments with the new Land Management Workforce
Flexibility Act of 2015.

This "USAJobs bootcamp" opportunity is provided through the efforts of
the Diversity and Inclusion Committee with support from both the GGNRA
and the Parks Conservancy.

Information Gateway for NPS employees

Navigating the world of Human Resources (HR) can be daunting. The large amount of information regarding programs, regulations and forms is often overwhelming. The good news is there's now an excellent tool available that simplifies and consolidates everything needed in one place - the Information Gateway for NPS employees. Whether you're a hiring official, supervisor, new employee or considering retirement, this google site is for you

Deputy Director O'Dell Met With NPS and Conservancy Staff

Meet the newest member of the GOGA extended family . . .

Ayra Diana was born to Jenn Flores and Frank Largaespada on February 5. Mom and baby are doing well.

In the News

When Your Dog Is Free, I Am Not

Huffington Post Loolwa Khazzoom

As a dog owner, you may find leash laws to be anything from unnecessary to unreasonable, especially if you have the sweetest dog to roam the face of the planet. You may think the only reason a dog should be restrained is if it is aggressive, inclined to attack people or other dogs. You therefore may feel entirely baffled why someone would get their panties up in a bunch to see your dog bounding happily across a park, especially when it looks so darned cute doing so.

As someone who needs to stay away from dogs, for reasons that are invisible to the outside observer, I'd like to share some considerations for keeping your dog on a leash, not because it's the law, but because you care about the wellbeing of your fellow humans:

First, some people are afraid of dogs, for a host of reasons, including past trauma. I know of people who were bitten by dogs, as the owners shouted from across the park, "Don't worry, he's friendly!" Of course he's friendly to you. He's your dog. Relationships, and therefore interactions, are contextual. Just as a child might be the loveliest little munchkin ever, to her parents, but a terror to other children on the school playground, so can a dog have an entirely different interaction with the person who feeds him and with a random stranger he encounters.

Second, some people are allergic to dogs, in some cases severely so. Getting a dog's nose or hair on one's clothing can lead to an asthmatic reaction. In case you don't know how crummy that is, hold your breath until your face turns purple, and you'll start to get the gist. This situation is complicated by the logistics of getting into one's car or walking into one's house with clothing contaminated by dog hairs. It's not like you can strip naked before going home. (We have laws about that too).

Third, some people have disabilities - both visible and invisible - that make it dangerous for the fast, abrupt, and unpredictable movement of dogs, particularly on a narrow trail, even if the dogs don't actually make contact. In my own case, after a decade of chronic and debilitating pain - through which I was alternately bedridden, housebound, and wheelchair bound - my body is hypersensitive. So when a dog comes flying at me, my body braces itself, all my nerves fire off, and all my micro-muscles contract - triggering a pain episode that can last for hours, days, or weeks.

On a number of occasions, I enjoyed a perfectly lovely walk or jog, until a dog came barreling at me - following which I hobbled my way back to the car, in pain. That knowledge of how things can go down, in and of itself, exacerbates the fight-or-flight stress response my body goes through, every time an unleashed dog is in my vicinity.

Then there are people who simply don't appreciate being startled by dogs, others who altogether dislike dogs, and still others whose own dogs - especially the teeny-tiny, quivering types - need protection from strange pooches.

The bottom line is that there are many people who need dogs under control in shared space, for health, safety, and/or comfort reasons. I believe it is for these reasons, as well as for reasons related to order, cleanliness, and ecology, that there are leash laws. This reality is no way a commentary or judgment on dogs as a species. We can love and adore dogs in general, and/or love our own family dogs in particular, but not enjoy or feel safe with strange dogs running all over the damn place.

Consider it this way: Dogs sans leashes is kind of smoking circa 1980s.

Prior to the no-smoking laws throughout the United States, those with asthma, chemical sensitivity, and allergies were de facto barred from restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and even airplanes. "It's the job of smoke to travel," a smoker I interviewed for an article remarked many years ago, indicating that where there was a lit cigarette, everyone in the vicinity was affected, regardless of designated smoking/non-smoking sections.

Similarly, where there is a dog off-leash, everyone in the vicinity is impacted - not only by a dog actually charging at us, but by the possibility that it might. To avoid the consequences that may follow, and the anxiety of the dealing with the situation entirely, numerous people have stopped going to city parks and trails or, alternately still go but walk along the sidelines, on guard and on edge.

In my own case, when I see your dog running around off-leash, I go to a different part of the park, or I leave the park altogether. You may not realize you are affecting me, because - having to stay away from dogs-on-the-loose - I cannot get close enough to you to ask you to please put a leash on your dog. Besides, half the time, I have noticed that you are not even carrying a leash.

As an alternative to outright defying leash laws, dog owners can take a beloved pooch to any number of dog parks, designed for those who want to set their own dogs free or who want to personally enjoy the exuberance of other people's dogs. Perhaps there are not enough dog parks in your city - a perfectly valid critique. In that case, there is the option of petitioning a city for more such parks. While that action may be a royal pain, the alternative of your dog-liberating, law-defying rebellion is this:

When your dog is free, I am not.

Full story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/loolwa-khazzoom/when-your-dog-is-free-i-am-not_b_8994996.html

It’s Spring- Time to Prevent Tick Bites

Before you going out to the field to work or if on your own time to hike or mountain bike make tick bite prevention part of your outdoor plans.

Protect Yourself from Tick Bites

One of the more important measures you can undertake to protect yourself from ticks is to know where to expect ticks. Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not fall from trees. The Western Black-legged tick (The tick in California that spreads Lyme disease.) lives in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or grassy areas. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants in tick infested areas. Ticks are easier to spot against light-colored clothing. Tuck your shirt in to your pants and tuck pant legs into boots or socks.

When possible, walk in middle of trails, avoid contact with vegetation.

Inspect your clothing and exposed skin for ticks when outdoors in likely tick habitats. Ticks may attach anywhere on the body, but on fully clothed persons they often attach to the scalp, behind an ear, or to an arm or leg. Pay particular attention to these areas when examining yourself or others.

The Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health recommend that you consider the use of repellents when working outdoors. Products containing permethrin are effective but should only be applied to clothing. Products containing the active ingredient DEET may be applied to the skin and clothing. If government funds are being used to purchase repellants, NPS policy mandates that you obtain the approval of the park Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coordinator before making any purchase.

For additional information on tick-borne diseases and future trainings contact Bruce Badzik at 561-2893 or Bruce_Badzik@nps.gov or your Employee Safety Committee representative.

California State Parks Season Jobs Open

Have family or friends who want a new adventure? Check this out:


Ever wanted to work on an island and ride a boat to work every day. Want to live in a dorm with a few like-minded folks living the dream on Angel Island? Want to help new visitors experience a State Park for what might be their first time ever? NOW is your chance!

Angel Island State Park is accepting applications for the 2016 summer season for the following positions:

Most jobs are 1500 hours, 9 months of work March-November.

DOCK AIDE ($10.43-$13.31 per hour)

Work outside on the dock talking to visitors. Make someone’s day by welcoming them to the island on the bay!

Duties include: Greet visitors, hand out maps, answer questions, visitor trip planning, boat loading and queuing, collect fees, camper check in, monitor restrooms, minor maintenance and clean up, support emergency response. Uniform required. Dorm housing may be available (Only $80/ month). Drug testing required if participating as a USCG deck hand.


Guide visitors through a National Historic Landmark.

Duties include: staff United States Immigration Station and other sites, answer questions, school group tours, monitor building, monitor restrooms, open and close building, collect fees, staff dock, support emergency response. Uniform required. Dorm housing may be available (Only $80/ month). Drug testing required if participating as a USCG deck hand.

MAINTENANCE AID ($10.28 - $13.38 per hour)

Work outside in a beautiful park making it even more beautiful for all the visitors!

Duties include: Clean restrooms, answer visitor questions, drive to work locations, light landscaping including mowing, assist with complex projects including construction, plumbing, road work. Uniform and driver’s license required. Dorm housing may be available on island ($80/ month). Drug testing required if participating as a USCG deck hand.

SENIOR PARK AIDE, Office Assistant ($12.04 - $13.31 per hour)

Help with the back office duties to keep the park running smoothly!

Duties include: Copying, filing, answering phones, collecting fees, accepting checks, tracking payments, assisting with paying bills, Microsoft Office spreadsheets and word processing documents, email correspondence, maintaining accountable document logs, general office work. Dorm housing may be available on island (Only $80/ month).


Please complete a standard state application form (STD 678). Download one at:


Please be sure to indicate on the application which jobs you would be interested in.

Mail to:

Angel Island State Park, Hiring

P.O. Box 318

Tiburon, CA 94920

Or email: