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About Mike_Gauthier

  • Birthday 11/30/1999


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  • Occupation
    Climbing Ranger
  • Location
    Longmire, WA 98397

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  1. I think they're giving them out up at Camp Muir...
  2. That's right - free ice cream. Just say that Gator sent ya?!
  3. Finding success and getting things done in DC, is, well... challenging. So last Friday turned out to be a good day as Senator Cantwell stepped up to the plate and hit the ball for the entire SAR community. I wanted to share the good news, as this was something I had a hand in moving along. Also, a VERY big thanks for Marty Lentsch of Central Mountain Rescue. Senate Passes Resolution Establishing a National Search and Rescue Week WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) honoring our nation’s Search and Rescue personnel by designating May 16 through May 22 as National Search and Rescue Week. The bipartisan resolution was also sponsored by Senators Patty Murray, Mike Crapo, Jeff Bingaman, Barbara Boxer, Mike Enzi, Lisa Murkowski, and Ron Wyden. “As an avid hiker and mountaineer, I take steps to prepare myself and minimize my risk whenever I pack for a trip,” Senator Cantwell said. “But I understand that no amount of preparation can protect you from an accidental misstep or an unforeseen circumstance, and it is often the swift response of trained search and rescue personnel that makes the difference between tragedy and survival. Every day in Washington state and across our nation, these brave volunteers exemplify courage, commitment and compassion in performing their duties. Today, we have passed a small act of recognition for their heroic efforts.” Search and Rescue organizations are composed of paid and volunteer experts in search and rescue and disaster response. They work for military, law enforcement, and civilian organizations. Search and Rescue personnel come from a wide range of skilled backgrounds, including pilots, mountaineers, divers, urban technicians, dog handlers, backcountry horsemen, and snowmobilers. A 2009 study reveals on average, national parks launch 11 search and rescue operations per day. Typically weekends are busiest, and it is day hikers, young men and boaters who are most commonly in need of help. Washington state is home to three of the 58 National Parks in the United States. Early Sunday morning in Washington state, Search and Rescue workers came to the aid of a snowboarder who went missing Saturday afternoon on Mount Hood. Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue volunteers worked through the night and helped Portland Mountain Rescue volunteers finally locate the missing man. And just a few weeks ago, the King County Search and Rescue found an injured mountain biker near Lake Tradition.
  4. It's contagious... Here's a video on Obama's and Salazar's visit to Yellowstone... http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/mr-president-goes-yellowstone
  5. Jeff, I heard about this one from the rangers who responded... It was quite a daring helicopter evac, and everyone was thrilled that your buddy made it! Some folks from the BoAlps were key too.
  6. My sense is that some of these numbers are suspect (like that 20% of those rescued would have perished). Otherwise, this was interesting... Park Service averages 11 searches per day By MIKE STARK (AP) – Oct 19, 2009 SALT LAKE CITY — The ripest recipe for trouble in a national park? Young men hiking on a weekend who make a bad decision or two and end up hurt, exhausted or lost. On average, 11 search-and-rescue operations are launched in national parks every day. While expenses average around $900, the price can easily jump into the thousands of dollars, according to a new analysis of search-and-rescue operations over 15 years. Travis Heggie, an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota who headed up the study, also found that roughly 20 percent of the people who called for help likely would have died if they had not been rescued. Nearly half of the calls for help are for hikers, often for the day, who are caught unprepared, get hurt or sick, or underestimate the wild landscape. "They're coming into what they perceive is a safe environment," said Heggie, a former ranger who once worked on a park service risk management program. The results are similar to an analysis published earlier this year of national parks in Utah, which found young male day hikers were among those most likely to need rescuing. In recent days, rescuers helped a father and son whose ultralight plane crashed in Utah's Zion National Park, pulled three teenagers and one of the boy's mother from a cliff face at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the Utah-Arizona border and launched four separate searches over two days for missing hunters and hikers in Arkansas' Buffalo National River area. Heggie's study, published in the latest issue of the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, was an attempt to quantify the "untold story" of national parks' search-and-rescue operations and see how much they cost. He found more than 65,000 operations in 1992-2007 with expenses exceeding $58 million. The study also said that in 2005, half of the operations were in just five spots: Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park, New York's Gateway National Recreation Area, California's Yosemite National Park, Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park and Nevada's Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The costs vary widely depending on the rescue's difficulty, the terrain and the equipment necessary, he said. In Yosemite, for instance, costs exceeded $1.2 million in 2005 while Zion spent about $139,000. Individual parks pay for operations that cost $500 or less, while regional or national offices pick up higher tabs. "We can't really turn a rotor on an aircraft and not spend over $500," said Dean Ross, branch chief of emergency services for the National Park Service. In recent years, the park service has pushed more aggressively to educate visitors about safely traveling in the parks and the importance of understanding where they're going and bringing adequate water and gear. More difficult, Ross said, is getting people to make the right judgment call when conditions change or they're going into an unfamiliar situation. After someone is rescued, "you'd be surprised how many say, 'I knew that was going to be a bad idea,' " Ross said. In a typical year, rescues include people stranded on cliffs, desert dunes, mountaintops and in the water of manmade reservoirs. Some parks have full-time rescue teams while others rely on park staff with other jobs who have rescue training. In 2007, $4.7 million was spent in national parks across the country looking for lost, stranded or injured visitors, according to Park Service figures. More than 97 percent of searches were successful within 24 hours. Heggie said that, behind hikers, boaters are the most likely to need rescuing, with many of the cases involving alcohol. After high-profile operations, there's often a debate over whether people should be billed for being plucked from the wilderness. The park service doesn't seek reimbursement, partly because it might discourage people from calling for help when they need it. The national park system has 391 sites around the country and attracted about 274 million visits last year.
  7. Ok, so I'm geeking out on this stuff - but if you were in DC, you might do the same. Here is Senator Mark Udall of CO discussing green jobs, and he relates it to his climbing experiences on Denali. Right on Mark! [video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KOtjB4jI8M
  8. Gone are the days of talking about recent climbing accidents... However they are talking about me on the Senate floor!
  9. Here's another opin... Privatize national parks By Casey Jones Tribune Columnist I visited Great Basin National Park last month. If the government cared enough to hand out customer satisfaction surveys, I'd have given it a failing grade. 1) Wildlife - F. There were four measly deer stationed by the campground, and not a buck among them. Worse, they were wild . You couldn't even pet them or pose for pictures. 2) Scenic Drive - F. The view of the valley was often blocked by trees. They need to be cut down, for goodness sake, so people can see nature. 3) Access - F. The road up Mt. Wheeler ends thousands of feet short of the summit. They actually expect you to get out and walk the rest of the way. I didn't drive hundreds of miles to walk. Unfortunately, Great Basin is the rule instead of the exception. Our underfunded national parks system is in deep trouble. We desperately need new and expanded facilities, but, with a maintenance backlog approaching $8 billion, we can't afford to take care of what we've already got. And it's starting to show. For example, Death Valley is barren and in desperate need of landscaping. The falling arches at Arches are screaming for rebar and concrete. And only a dam can slow the erosion that has carved a giant chasm in Grand Canyon National Park. It's the opportunity Republicans have been waiting for. They've already reintroduced "tort reform" and "red menace" into the political lexicon. Now it's time for the return of another GOP buzz word -- "privatize." Folks, we can rebuild the parks, develop them, make them better than before, and it won't even cost $6 million. That's because taxpayers won't be paying the bills. The parks need the kind of tender, loving capital investment and sound fiscal management that only private enterprise can provide. Corporate sponsorship would be a good way to start. I'm thinking Zions Bank Park, Sea World's Capitol Reef, Minute (B)ryce Canyon. Congress could pitch the Lincoln Memorial to Ford Motor Co., Old Faithful to Viagra, Glacier National Park to Frigidaire. But sponsorship alone won't be enough. Economic development opportunities abound on park service property, and we need to take advantage of them. For example, the National Mall in Washington would be a great place for a real mall, an American mall, the kind with a Gap and an Orange Julius. And they wouldn't have to waste millions of dollars replacing the torn-up turf. And why not give the private sector a crack at providing new accomodations? The rustic (i.e. old and rundown) lodges lack satellite televisions, hot tubs, pay-per-view skinflicks -- the kind of amenities companies like Marriott can provide. And, instead of just celebrating nature in the parks, why not celebrate our industrial heritage by giving guests a chance to see industry in action while allowing taxpayers to collect royalties. Commence logging operations. It's one thing to see a redwood tree, but it's a lot more impressive to see one come crashing down. And mining operations. Thar's metals of many colors in them thar hills. And, to keep the green weenies happy, turn Yellowstone into one big geothermal energy demonstration project. Hey, it takes sacrifice to save the world. The Republicans need to do everything they can, and I mean everything, to ramp up revenue. And, if they couch it correctly, they can win Democratic support. For example, charging to use the restrooms. If they called it Paygo, at least the Blue Dog Democrats would sign on. Casey Jones is a member of the Tribune editorial board. E-mail him at cjones@sltrib.com
  10. Hey wait a second, I never said that! And for the record everyone, there were no timers!! They obviously got my comments about biking/climbing at Carder Rock and Great Falls (within an hour) confused with Seneca Rocks!
  11. Got this is my in box today... Stampede Trail rescue was teen's 2nd this summer Published: August 26th, 2009 10:34 AM Last Modified: August 26th, 2009 04:42 PM Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. Don Carroll, one of the two seasonal hotel employees rescued Monday on the Stampede Trail after a hike to the "Into the Wild" bus near Denali Park, admits he had been rescued earlier this summer, wearing only a hoodie and jeans, after getting lost on another hike. (That time, he guided rescuers to his location with a phone text message.) "If police see me (hiking) in the woods, they're going to arrest me," Carroll, of suburban Chicago, told the local daily paper. "The chief ranger said that I am a dumb fuck and he's not going to come looking for me anymore." In his latest escapade, Carroll says, he and friend Jia Long He got lost and separated from their gear after visiting the abandoned bus made famous in the book and movie "Into the Wild," about vagabond Chris McCandless' death from starvation in the bus in 1992. Carroll and He avoided "starvation" over the weekend by eating berries. Carroll adds in his defense that he did a lot of hiking in the park this summer that did not require his rescue.
  12. Regarding "Fee-Free" weekends... They were very successful this summer, in the fact that visitation rose substantially.
  13. I'm curious what others think of this opinion in the SF Chronicle. OPINION It shouldn't be cheap to experience national parks By Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle Columnist When Barack Obama was 11, his mother and grandmother took him and his half-sister Maya on the most American of family vacations - a road trip that included Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. Recently, Obama passed on that gift as he took his wife, daughters Malia and Sasha - as well as Maya and her family - on a four-day trip to two of America's most breathtaking national parks. "It was nice the entire family was there," National Park Service spokesman Gerry Gaumer noted - not just the immediate family, but the extended family. "Rather than a presidential visit, it seemed more like a vacation." Cynics may observe that the geyser and canyon photo ops provided middle-American balance to the Obamas' summer vacation, a weeklong retreat on the tony Martha's Vineyard. Who cares? It's always a plus when elected officials spend time in an environment where mountains dwarf their accomplishments, they can't dictate what happens in front of them and the wildlife is indifferent to their status. According to some reports, visits to America's 391 national parks - the list also includes Washington's National Mall and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area - are down, and couch-potato syndrome is to blame. Gaumer produced statistics that show, yes, visits were down to 274 million last year from highs of 287 million visits in 1999 and 1987, but they've also risen, as park attendance is "cyclical" and subject to changing travel patterns. Some things don't change in Yellowstone. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer had some sage advice for Obama on his trip to Old Faithful. As the Democratic governor told The Associated Press, he advised Obama "to watch his kids' faces and not the geyser, and you will never forget the expression on their faces when that thing goes off." The same can be said for a teen's first look at a moose with two calves or a toddler's sighting of a mountain goat at the side of Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road. For adults, there is the quiet pleasure of watching time stand still as the sun sinks behind a snow-kissed ridge. Enough already. I can write about sights and sunsets for only so long. So I move to the familiar territory of policy dispute, this time: How should Americans pay to maintain the parks? The National Park Service annual budget is around $2.3 billion - with a mere $186 million coming from entrance and campground fees, according to the NPS' Brandon Flint. Many parks are free. The most expensive parks charge a per car fee - e.g., $25 at Yellowstone for a week. Seniors can get a lifetime pass for $10. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar launched the system's first fee-free weekends this year. The last of three ended Sunday. The idea was to give financially strapped families some economic relief - and as far as that goes, the idea worked fine, although a purist would argue that the parks should be charging more for the sort of destinations people spend a lot to reach, not less. Entrance to Yellowstone should cost a family more than a night at the movies. As for the lifetime senior pass, it's a boondoggle and should be eliminated. Let retirees pay what parents with young kids have to scrape together. I don't think many families would complain. For one thing, they'd be too relaxed. Contact San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@sfchronicle.com.
  14. Below is a link to the Senate Confirmation hearing on Obama's Nomination for the Director of the National Park Service, Jon Jarvis. You may recall that Jon was once the Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park (and Wrangell St Elias). Though not necessarily a 'climber,' Jon has summitted Mount Rainier twice and was very familiar with climbing related issues at Mount Rainier. Interestingly, Senator Mark Udall, who is the Chairman of the National Park Subcommittee, has climbed extensively. For example, Sen. Udall has summitted Denali via the Cassin, climbed the SE ridge of Mt. Foraker, and summitted Dhaulagiri. Perhaps more than ever, there are people familiar with climbing and rescue related issues who are working in important places in DC. Isn't that cool? The video starts off slow - so here are the high points: 13:52 Hearing begins with introduction by Sen. Bingaman. 18:35 Senator Cantwell introduces Jon Jarvis (see her text below). 47:30 Jon Jarvis reads his statement (see his text below). 52:37 Senators begin with questions. Most of the questions are directed to Jon Jarvis and the NPS, and they are about hot topics like guns in parks, snow-machine use in Yellowstone, and helicopter tours at Crater Lake. Link to the Energy and Natural Resources video archive of Senate Confirmation Hearings on National Park Service Director Well, it's not 12,800 feet on Liberty Ridge during a rescue, but I was there behind the dais with the Senators. What an interesting year to be in DC. ~ Mike Statement of Senator Maria Cantwell July 28, 2009 Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bingaman and members of the Committee, I’m honored this morning to stand in support President Obama’s nomination of Jon Jarvis to serve as Director of the National Park Service. It is a position that one of our late Committee Chairmen, Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, called “the greatest job in America.” There are only a few souls as talented, enterprising, or experienced as Jon Jarvis to take the reins and move our park system forward into this next century. Mr. Chairman, our national parks say what we’re about as a nation. They embody our values and our heritage. Our national parks system is the envy of the world. At the same time, our park system faces a range of challenges--from the impacts of climate change, to billions in deferred maintenance, to the imperative of creative partnerships, to the mandate to welcome people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, and classes to the wonders of our natural places. It’s for all of these reasons that Jon Jarvis is so eminently qualified. As a trained biologist, Jarvis moved up through the ranks of the Park Service from his first days as a Park Ranger on the National Mall during the 1976 Bi-Centennial. Mr. Jarvis’s career includes stints as chief of natural and cultural resources at North Cascades National Parks in Washington state, and superintendent at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, at Mount Rainier and at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska. Mr. Jarvis distinguished himself within the top ranks of superintendents nation-wide by constant innovation, open dialogue with gateway communities, and delivering project results. The largest project in the Pacific West is the Elwha River Restoration project, a robust and complex plan to remove two hydro electric dams and restore 70 miles of river to salmon runs within Olympic National Park. Long delayed and over budget, Mr. Jarvis brought the project back into the National Park System, assigned an entire new team, updated costs, briefed Congressional appropriators, sought and gained the support of the National Park Service leadership and got the entire project back on track. Mr. Jarvis has also been a tremendous ambassador for Park’s gateway communities, building relationships that are so essential to the success of our park system. For example, at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, Mr. Jarvis reached out extensively to the rural communities of the Snake River Plain. He helped reconnect the park to community leaders that had been “disenfranchised” by the Monument’s establishment. In his seven years at the Regional Director of the Pacific West Region, the largest in the Park Service, Mr. Jarvis as distinguished himself as a leader within the National Park Service. Mr. Jarvis has been able to set a vision and guide the Region as a whole all while consistently managing the complex issues around the 58 Park units of the Pacific West Region. These issues have ranged from: - forest fires, typhoons, volcano eruptions, floods, - 54 million visitors, and - the unfortunate fatalities that come with wild land recreation When faced with complex natural resources issues, Mr. Jarvis actively engages the scientific community. In 2004, he orchestrated a series of regional workshops on climate change with top scientists in the field. Mr. Jarvis set the standard that the Pacific West Region would lead in environmental sustainability. As director of the Pacific West Region, he ordered that his 56 parks be carbon neutral by 2016, when the agency celebrates its centennial. And for the second year running, the Region purchased enough photovoltaic systems to more than offset all Regional office travel for the year, and parks are producing 700,000 KiloWatts of green power, enough to operate 18 small parks for a year. Mr. Jarvis has also developed a long standing trust relationship among western Native American tribes. Trusted to speak the truth and be sensitive to Native American concerns, Mr. Jarvis recently facilitated the first comprehensive agreement between the eight tribes affiliated with Olympic National Park. Mr. Chairman, our nation is fortunate to have such a qualified nominee to lead the National Park Service. Jon Jarvis’s experience and vision perfectly align with the charge of the “greatest job in America.” Thank you. Statement of Jonathan B. Jarvis Nominee for Director, National Park Service Before the U. S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources July 28, 2009 Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Murkowski, and Members of this Committee. I am truly honored that President Obama and Secretary Salazar have demonstrated their confidence in me by nominating me to lead the National Park Service (NPS). If confirmed, I pledge to work closely with the Secretary, with Members of Congress, with our many partners, and with the public, in the stewardship and enjoyment of our national parks. My father was in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the depression and he, like so many other young men of the time, connected deeply with the forests and streams of this great nation and instilled that passion in me and my brother as kids. We were raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, backed up against national forest land where we hunted, fished and roamed. I knew from that time I wanted to pursue a career related to the protection and enjoyment of the outdoors. I graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1975 with a degree in Biology and immediately took a road trip across the country, camping in many of our great national parks, like Yellowstone, Glacier, and Olympic. From that trip forward, I was hooked on the National parks. In 1976, I was hired by the NPS to staff the Bicentennial Information Center here in Washington, helping to host the millions who came to celebrate their nation’s birthday. I spent the following winter with President Jefferson in his Memorial. Often alone there for hours, with the wind howling across the Tidal Basin, I absorbed his writings inscribed on the wall including excerpts from the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, From that time to this moment that I sit before this Committee, I have devoted a career to the National Park System which I believe embodies these principles: The cultural parks of our country are the places where civic engagements, often confrontational, occasionally bloody, have shaped who we are as a people: Selma to Montgomery, Brown versus Board of Education, Manzanar Japanese Internment Camp, the Statue of Liberty, and Flight 93. These are parks where we learn not only of the people who left their marks on our future, but through this intimate contact, we learn how to take the next generation to a higher and better place. The natural parks of our country, in addition to their intrinsic beauty, stand as testimony to this nation’s willingness to impose self restraint. For example, President Abraham Lincoln set aside Yosemite during our civil war because perhaps he knew our country would need such places for healing. The 391 units of the National Park System are a collective expression of who we are as a people, where our values were forged in the hottest fires. They are an aggregate of what we Americans value most about ourselves. They also deliver messages to future generations about the foundation experiences that have made America a symbol for the rest of the world. And of course our great parks are places we pursue happiness, as a respite from a fast paced and congested world. In my thirty-three years with the NPS, I have met thousands of visitors on the trail. They smile, they offer greetings, and most are not looking at their Blackberries. I have served as a field park ranger in the most classic sense: delivering interpretive talks, working the information desk, conducting search and rescues, riding horse patrol, and ski patrol. I have fought fires, trapped bears, forded glacial rivers, rappelled off cliffs, made arrests, and helped thousands of visitors have a great experience in their parks. In my first 26 years of service in the NPS, I was an interpretive ranger, a protection ranger, a biologist and Superintendent in seven parks in seven states. For the last seven, I have served as the Regional Director for 54 national park units in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands of Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. My wife and I have moved nine times and lived in rural west Texas, the Snake River Plain of Idaho and if confirmed, I will be the first Director to have ever served in bush Alaska. In each place, I have always worked hard to become a contributing member of the local community and have encouraged my staff to do the same. Gateway communities and parks have an important relationship that needs to be grown through mutual respect and cooperation, particularly when tourism is an essential part of the economy. I do not need to tell you of the challenges before us: the economy, climate change, connecting urban kids to nature, the concerns over obesity, and a concern about a loss of cultural literacy. I believe that the National Park Service has a role and a responsibility in each of these. As Regional Director in the Pacific West, I set high standards for the parks to achieve environmental and financial sustainability. We instituted programs to reach out and connect to the urban youth of the Los Angeles basin and the central valley of California. We studied and learned that we can attract the public to the parks for their health benefits and have pioneered cooperative efforts with partners in the health and fitness community. We facilitated good science and began to interpret the changes we could link to climate change. And we worked through our community assistance programs to help gateway communities to achieve both preservation and economic goals. In each case, the extraordinary employees of the National Park System responded to these goals with energy and enthusiasm. Throughout my life long connection to national parks, a constant source of inspiration has always been the extraordinary employees of the National Park Service. They formed my second family along many paths of my career. It is with all of them in mind that I find the personal confidence to take on the daunting task of leading the agency in these very challenging and complex times. The employees of the National Park Service do great work every day across the nation, whether preserving places, cultures, flora, fauna and vast natural ecosystems or giving flight to the imaginations of millions of park visitors exploring a given park. At times the men and women of the National Park Service are asked to do difficult, dangerous and nearly impossible work. I am proud to be one of them. Wallace Stegner said: National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst." Never in its 200 years has this nation needed the National Park System more. It stands as a collective memory of where we have been, what sacrifices we have made to get here and who we mean to be. By investing in the preservation, interpretation and restoration of these symbolic places, we offer hope and optimism to the each generation of Americans. If confirmed, my pledge to you and to the American people is that I will bring all my energies to be the very best steward of America’s best places and America’s best idea. Thank you.
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