Former CRLA Supt: Al Hendricks To Retire In September & In Memoriam Stephen Robinson

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Former CRLA Supt: Al Hendricks To Retire In September & In Memoriam Stephen Robinson Ron Mastrogiuseppe 8/31/12 10:50 AM

CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK

Al Hendricks To Retire In September

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Al Hendricks, the superintendent of Capitol Reef National Park, will retire on September 3rd after 42 years of government service, all with the National Park Service.
Al’s first assignment began in June, 1970, at Mammoth Cave National Park, where he led cave tours and worked briefly as a fire control aid, staffing one of the park’s fire towers.
In March, 1972, Al became the first ranger assigned to the remote Maze District of Canyonlands National Park when Bates Wilson was superintendent. In what he considered a nearly perfect assignment for a young ranger, Al was handed a map, a canteen and the keys to a 4x4 pickup truck, and told by Chuck Budge, the park’s chief ranger, to “go learn the district.”
Other early career jobs followed, with a “split-position” assignment at St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area. In late 1973, after six months in each park, the St. Croix superintendent was able to have the position changed to year-round on the riverway, where Al continued to serve as the South District Ranger.
While completing Law Enforcement Class 14 at the CFLETC in Washington, D.C. in 1974, Al was offered the Old Faithful naturalist position in Yellowstone National Park. Brief, busy summers were paired with dramatic winters in the Upper Geyser Basin. What better daily commute than the mile cross-country ski to the Old Faithful Visitor Center, past steaming hot springs and geysers in a thermal area filled with wildlife?
Al’s management career began in May 1976, when he accepted the area manager position at Jewel Cave National Monument. He was fortunate to be there when Herb and Jan Conn were still actively exploring and mapping into the unknown. His first cave surveying trip with Herb and Jan successfully mapped cave mile 55. Today, over 162 miles of Jewel Cave have been mapped.
Moving from one remarkable cave to another, Al began his first superintendent assignment 31 years ago in 1981, when Western Regional Director Howard Chapman offered him that position at Lehman Caves National Monument in Nevada. He was there at a very fortuitous time, as the movement to establish Great Basin National Park was just picking up steam.
Al worked closely with then Congressman Harry Reid, and NPS Legislative Affairs Office staff in identifying resource values that should be included in the park (bristlecone pine groves, additional caves, American Indian cultural sites, alpine lakes, striking glacial geology, and more), developing boundary recommendations and serving as the NPS on-site representative, leading to park establishment in 1986. Al continued to serve as Great Basin’s first superintendent until 1995, leading the general management plan process and organizing the park infrastructure.
From early 1995 through late 1998, Al served as the superintendent of Crater Lake National Park. While there, he saw the completion of the Crater Lake Lodge restoration and, perhaps just as significantly, he oversaw the nomination and listing of the Rim Village National Historic District. He also completed a critical visitor services plan that identified realistic development needs, leading to a reduction in the facility footprint at Rim Village.
Since November 1998, Al has been the superintendent of Capitol Reef National Park. By necessity, he became an expert on the interpretation of Revised Statute 2477, a Civil War era federal provision providing for state and county right of way ownership across public lands. This occasionally leads to conflict when local governments wish to construct improvements on roads that NPS management plans identify as more primitive. Al cites the current unchanged road status throughout the park, which meets the approved NPS development plan, as one of his major successes at Capitol Reef.
This status was maintained in the face of considerable pressure to change road character which would have changed the visitor experience. Capitol Reef remains a park where one can talk with a ranger, hike a trail, drive a back road, or pick some fruit in an historic park orchard. Maintaining this classic park ambience has been a hallmark of Al’s tenure at Capitol Reef National Park.
 “It has been a privilege and an honor to have been able to help protect the national parks for forty-two years of the Service’s 96 year history,” says Al. “Increasingly, management challenges are often associated with the expectations of the information age. Keeping those expectations in perspective is important. Assuring that the original values of park protection are the priority will be a continuing concern and a significant issue for managers. With an eye on the resources, I am confident that the NPS will continue to preserve what is the best of America.”
Al Hendricks, the superintendent of Capitol Reef National Park, will retire on September 3rd after 42 years of government service, all with the National Park Service.
Al’s first assignment began in June, 1970, at Mammoth Cave National Park, where he led cave tours and worked briefly as a fire control aid, staffing one of the park’s fire towers.
In March, 1972, Al became the first ranger assigned to the remote Maze District of Canyonlands National Park when Bates Wilson was superintendent. In what he considered a nearly perfect assignment for a young ranger, Al was handed a map, a canteen and the keys to a 4x4 pickup truck, and told by Chuck Budge, the park’s chief ranger, to “go learn the district.”
Other early career jobs followed, with a “split-position” assignment at St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area. In late 1973, after six months in each park, the St. Croix superintendent was able to have the position changed to year-round on the riverway, where Al continued to serve as the South District Ranger.
While completing Law Enforcement Class 14 at the CFLETC in Washington, D.C. in 1974, Al was offered the Old Faithful naturalist position in Yellowstone National Park. Brief, busy summers were paired with dramatic winters in the Upper Geyser Basin. What better daily commute than the mile cross-country ski to the Old Faithful Visitor Center, past steaming hot springs and geysers in a thermal area filled with wildlife?
Al’s management career began in May 1976, when he accepted the area manager position at Jewel Cave National Monument. He was fortunate to be there when Herb and Jan Conn were still actively exploring and mapping into the unknown. His first cave surveying trip with Herb and Jan successfully mapped cave mile 55. Today, over 162 miles of Jewel Cave have been mapped.
Moving from one remarkable cave to another, Al began his first superintendent assignment 31 years ago in 1981, when Western Regional Director Howard Chapman offered him that position at Lehman Caves National Monument in Nevada. He was there at a very fortuitous time, as the movement to establish Great Basin National Park was just picking up steam.
Al worked closely with then Congressman Harry Reid, and NPS Legislative Affairs Office staff in identifying resource values that should be included in the park (bristlecone pine groves, additional caves, American Indian cultural sites, alpine lakes, striking glacial geology, and more), developing boundary recommendations and serving as the NPS on-site representative, leading to park establishment in 1986. Al continued to serve as Great Basin’s first superintendent until 1995, leading the general management plan process and organizing the park infrastructure.
From early 1995 through late 1998, Al served as the superintendent of Crater Lake National Park. While there, he saw the completion of the Crater Lake Lodge restoration and, perhaps just as significantly, he oversaw the nomination and listing of the Rim Village National Historic District. He also completed a critical visitor services plan that identified realistic development needs, leading to a reduction in the facility footprint at Rim Village.
Since November 1998, Al has been the superintendent of Capitol Reef National Park. By necessity, he became an expert on the interpretation of Revised Statute 2477, a Civil War era federal provision providing for state and county right of way ownership across public lands. This occasionally leads to conflict when local governments wish to construct improvements on roads that NPS management plans identify as more primitive. Al cites the current unchanged road status throughout the park, which meets the approved NPS development plan, as one of his major successes at Capitol Reef.
This status was maintained in the face of considerable pressure to change road character which would have changed the visitor experience. Capitol Reef remains a park where one can talk with a ranger, hike a trail, drive a back road, or pick some fruit in an historic park orchard. Maintaining this classic park ambience has been a hallmark of Al’s tenure at Capitol Reef National Park.
“It has been a privilege and an honor to have been able to help protect the national parks for forty-two years of the Service’s 96 year history,” says Al. “Increasingly, management challenges are often associated with the expectations of the information age. Keeping those expectations in perspective is important. Assuring that the original values of park protection are the priority will be a continuing concern and a significant issue for managers. With an eye on the resources, I am confident that the NPS will continue to preserve what is the best of America.”
 



In Memoriam;   Stephen Robinson 
 
U.S. Office of Special Counsel announces corrective and disciplinary action settlement in whistleblower retaliation case concerning public safety
 
U.S. Office of Special Counsel
Washington, D.C.
May 12, 1999
 
U.S. Office of Special Counsel
For Immediate Release - 5/12/99
Contact: Jane McFarland
(202) 653-7984
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today announced the favorable settlement of two complaints filed with it by Mr. Stephen Robinson and his wife, Amelia Bruno, longtime seasonal employees of the National Park Service (NPS), against NPS. Mr. Robinson made protected disclosures concerning tour boat safety at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. Mr. Robinson complained to OSC that the NPS had violated the Whistleblower Protection Act when it failed to rehire him for seasonal summer work at Crater Lake. His wife complained that she had also been denied employment as a direct result of her husband’s disclosures.
Under the terms of the settlement, Mr. Robinson and Ms. Bruno will receive full corrective action, including backpay, and the NPS will suspend their former supervisor for thirty days. Prior to the settlement, during OSC’s investigation into their allegations, the NPS reassigned their former supervisor, the Park Superintendent, out of Crater Lake Park.
Beginning in the summer of 1992 and continuing through the summer of 1996, Mr. Robinson and Ms. Bruno held seasonal appointments at Crater Lake, Oregon. In the summer of 1996, Mr. Robinson made protected disclosures when he notified park officials and his Senator about safety issues associated with Crater Lake’s tour boat operation. Mr. Robinson’s concerns included insufficient training and lack of certification for boat operators, lack of safety equipment, unreliability of boat engines and improper operation of boats in inclement weather. When Mr. Robinson and Ms. Bruno attempted to return to Crater Lake for the 1997 season, they were unable to obtain employment at the park. They were again denied employment at Crater Lake for the 1998 season.
Mr. Robinson and Ms. Bruno first contacted OSC in April 1997, alleging that because of Mr. Robinson’s protected whistleblower disclosures, Crater Lake Park officials blacklisted them and denied them employment and housing for the 1997 season. When OSC’s investigation revealed strong evidence that Mr. Robinson and Ms. Bruno were denied employment in retaliation for Mr. Robinson’s disclosures concerning the safety of the tourist boats, the NPS fully cooperated with OSC in obtaining corrective relief for them and the disciplinary action against their former supervisor.
Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan said that she was pleased by both the corrective and disciplinary remedies agreed to by the Park Service. “The Park Service’s decision,” she said, “should send a clear message to its employees that there’s a price to be paid for retaliating against whistleblowers.” Kaplan said that “the offending supervisor not only got transferred out of the park, but he will also serve a suspension without pay.” Kaplan said she appreciated “the cooperation of the Park Service in resolving this matter based upon OSC’s investigative findings.”


Ron Mastrogiuseppe, Director
Crater Lake Institute
http://www.craterlakeinstitute.org
541-810-3944