Monday, January 9, 2012

Updated Procession Route

The route of Margaret Anderson's procession tomorrow has been changed. Here is the updated route (turn by turn directions can also be found at The News Tribune):

View Larger Map

This will be the last update on this blog before the Memorial Service; however, keep an eye on the Employee Blog in case there are any other last-minute notices.

Protocols for ceremonial events

The protocols for when and how to wear a hat (including a volunteer ball cap), how and when to salute, etc. have been posted on the Employee Blog. If you will be attending the ceremony, please review these protocols in advance. They will be reviewed in person, as well, at the 12:00 briefing for NPS employees in the Memorial Auditorium.

Shuttle Bus Update - Highly Encouraged for Traveling to Memorial Service RSVP by 2:00

From the Memorial Service planning team:

We are strongly encouraging employees to ride the shuttle bus to Pacific Lutheran University. The shuttle bus will have a police escort and will arrive at the auditorium before the procession. Since the bus is arriving before the procession, employees will be able to attend processional ceremonies, including multi-agency pipe bands, rifle team, and mounted patrol. It is expected that traffic will be difficult to maneuver, especially around the time the processional will arrive. Additionally, parking may be full early. Due to these factors, please consider riding the bus--it will reduce additional stress during this emotional event.

Response to the shuttle buses has been low, and we may cancel buses if more employees do not choose to ride. Please contact us immediately if you are planning to ride. Remember, family members and friends are also welcome and encouraged to ride the shuttle.

The shuttle bus for employees will be meeting at 7:00 am and leaving at 7:15 am from the Eatonville Baptist Church to the memorial.

Please contact us:


360-569-6592 (Brandi's line)

We also need to know the amount of people who will be traveling with you and a phone you can be reached from.

The church is located about 3 miles off of Hwy 7/Mountain Highway. Take the Eatonville Hwy West exit. The driveway to the church is on the right just as you go down the hill and enter the town limits. [Here's a link to a map.]

The bus will be leaving Pacific Lutheran University at 5:00 pm to return to the Eatonville Baptist Church.

Volunteers: Please RSVP if you plan to attend the Memorial

I've posted this before, but it's gotten buried in the flurry of other information, so just a reminder: if you plan to attend the Memorial Service tomorrow as a Mount Rainier National Park volunteer, please RSVP to Let us know if you're attending with any family members. That will give us a better sense of how many seats to reserve. Thanks!

For clarity, we will only have room in the Olson Auditorium for staff (including volunteers) and their partners or family members. Members of the public who are not family members of active employees/volunteers will be directed to overflow seating.

Volunteer Q&A for Memorial Service

I received an e-mail this morning asking for specific information on uniforms and other logistics as they apply to volunteers. It's timely and relevant, so I'll post the questions and responses for everyone here:

  • Q: Should we wear our green volunteer cap?
    A: Yes. If the uniform you wear while volunteering includes a hat with a volunteer patch on it, please wear it.
  • Q: If a volunteer does not have a long sleeve shirt, can he/she wear a short sleeve shirt?
    A: Yes. If you have both, please wear long sleeves. If you only have a summer (short sleeve) uniform shirt, it's fine to wear that.
  • Q: Can we wear some layer like dark turtle neck shirt under the volunteer shirt? With short sleeve volunteer shirt?
    A: Yes. Dark layers that match the uniform shirt may be worn underneath either the long-sleeve or short-sleeve shirt for warmth.
  • Q: Can we wear fleece/softshell jackets with sewed-on volunteer patch that we wear during cool weather? If yes, does the color of the jacket matter?
    A: It will probably be too warm in the auditorium for fleece or jackets, and uniformed paid employees will not be wearing outerwear. Jackets of any color should only be worn if you do not own a long-sleeved volunteer shirt, your jacket is lightweight and appropriate for an indoor setting, and you feel that it looks nicer than the alternative. Use your own judgment.
  • Q: How about footwear? Dressy street shoes or field boots (clean)?
    A: Dressy street shoes are preferable if you have them available. Clean field boots are appropriate only if you do not own dress shoes and your field boots look nicer than the alternative.
  • Q: Who are considered current MORA volunteers?
    A: Our volunteers range from current, full-time, and long-term to those who came up for a single visit several years ago as part of a larger group. All are part of our extended "family," and everyone's contribution is deeply appreciated, however small, but lines do need to be drawn due to limited space. If you're a current, recurring volunteer (i.e. you've participated several times in the past year), you're welcome to join us. If not, we'd appreciate it if you'd defer to others. A good guideline is this: if you can promptly name your supervisor at the park, and if they would readily recognize you on sight, you should consider yourself invited.
  • Q: Is the 12:00 pm briefing for Mount Rainier National Park employees and their immediate families for current paid employees only?
    A: The briefing includes everyone who will be seated in the Mount Rainier employees section in the first tier of seats in the auditorium. This includes both paid employees and active volunteers, as well as their families.
Thanks for the questions, and if you have others, feel free to give me a call or drop me a note. I'll be in my office at 360-569-6567 until approximately 4:30 this afternoon.

Memorial Service details including seating arrangements

A lot of employees, including volunteers, have had questions about seating at Margaret Anderson's Memorial Service tomorrow. Here's the scoop:

Due to limited seating capacity, Olson Auditorium will be reserved for those directly related to Margaret's family or work. This includes the following groups:

  • Margaret and Eric's family
  • Dignitaries
  • Mount Rainier National Park employees (including volunteers) and their families
  • Other National Park Service employees (including off-duty seasonal employees)
  • Affected park visitors (e.g. those involved in the lockdown at Paradise)
  • Pierce County police and fire
  • Law enforcement and fire personnel
  • Representatives from state parks and other federal agencies
Members of the general public will be directed to three overflow areas, two of them on the PLU campus, the third being Rainier View Christian Church, 12305 Spanaway Loop Rd S, Tacoma.

Mount Rainier National Park employees (including volunteers) and family will be seated in the first tier of seats next to the stage, with other National Park Service employees in the second set of seats on risers behind them. Only about 300 seats are available specifically for Mount Rainier National Park staff in the first tier of seats. Numbers in excess of that will be seated at the front of the general NPS contingent in the second tier.

Because space is so limited, we are asking all employees to make sure that those who knew Margaret and her family, or those who were directly involved in the events of last week, have priority in the first tier of seats. Thank you for your cooperation.

Mount Rainier National Park staff should meet at 11:00 a.m. in the Memorial Gymnasium, just east of Olson Auditorium, for a briefing prior to the Memorial Service. We will then be seated as a group just before the service begins. The service is expected to last about an hour and a half, and will be followed by an additional 15-20 minutes of Last Honors which will take place outside the auditorium but which we expect to stream on live video to screens inside the auditorium. Audience members will be dismissed following the Last Honors.

NPS employees are invited to a reception after the ceremony at the Norwegian Heritage Center, a short walk from Olson Auditorium.

For those who are unable to attend, the Memorial Service will be broadcast live on the Internet by Northwest Cable News (NWCN) at KING 5 at NWCN will be broadcasting live to areas of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska.

Bussing available to Anderson Memorial -- RSVP ASAP

I just learned at this morning's briefing that shuttles will be available for employees (including volunteers and family members) to get to the Memorial Service at Pacific Lutheran University tomorrow. Employees are asked to RSVP by 11am (which is only 20 minutes away as I write this, so just do so ASAP) to indicate whether you would like to take advantage of the shuttle service.

RSVP either by e-mail to or by phone to Brandi Stewart at 360-569-6592.

Complicating matters is that as of this writing the pickup locations and times have not been confirmed, although tentatively there will be a shuttle leaving from the Eatonville Baptist Church in Eatonville at 9:30 a.m. Additional stops and shuttles will be added as needed, so when you RSVP, let us know how many are coming and where you'd like to be picked up. We'll accommodate as best we can, and confirm pickup times and locations later this afternoon. Watch the employee blog for the most up to date details:

The shuttle will hopefully arrive in time for Margaret's processional, but in any case will be there in time for the employee briefing at noon in the Memorial Gymnasium. Watch for a separate blog post momentarily with those details. The shuttle will return after the NPS reception, which will follow the Memorial; that timing is also yet to be determined.

If you do not ride the shuttle, parking is being reserved for NPS employees in the Ivy lot just south of the Memorial Gymnasium and southeast of Olson Auditorium. Space is limited, so please carpool.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Occupy Paradise

Here's a set of photos from our first day back open yesterday. Lots of volunteers helping out, both at the Longmire Museum and at Paradise.

"Reflection, seeds of recovery at Mount Rainier"

Volunteers are featured significantly in a multi-page set of articles in The News Tribune today.

Allan and Rose Evans, park volunteers from Graham, met Anderson shortly after she was hired in 2008. “We want to be here,” Rose Evans said. “I think being here honors her.”

National Park Service workers from as far away as Georgia helped run the park, and local volunteers chipped in. Tacoma Mountain Rescue stationed two climbers at Camp Muir and another team in Longmire to respond to search-and-rescue situations. “This place is sacred to a lot of people,” said Scott Schissel, a Tacoma Mountain Rescue volunteer headed to Camp Muir. “It doesn’t matter if you are a climber, a hiker or just somebody who wants to visit a national park; it’s pretty devastating to think something like this could happen in such a pristine and hallowed place.”

Read more here:

Briefing, reception, and parking for Mount Rainier employees

This update for "Current Mount Rainier Employees" is on the Mount Rainier Employee blog:

Prior to Margaret's memorial service there will be a special briefing for Mount Rainier National Park employees and their immediate families at 12 noon. This briefing is for current employees only. The 12 noon briefing will take place at the Memorial Gym (close to the Olson Auditorium where the service will take place). The doors to that facility should be open by 11:00am.
Following the memorial service all National Park Service employees, past MORA seasonals, and current MORA volunteers are invited to a reception in the Norwegian Heritage Center.
I realize that first paragraph is a bit ambiguous with respect to volunteers. I'll try to get some clarification tomorrow. Also:
We are highly encouraging everyone to carpool to the memorial service on Tuesday. Parking is going to be tight. Mount Rainier National Park employees are to park in the Ivy parking lot at PLU.
A campus map can be found here online or here in PDF format. The Ivy lot is bottom center in both maps, just east of the track and tennis courts.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ranger Margaret Anderson Memorial Procession

January 9 update: THIS ROUTE HAS BEEN CHANGED. Click here for the update.

For those wish to watch the procession for Margaret Anderson on Tuesday, it will begin at the Lakewood Fire Station 21 at 9:30 a.m. and proceed to Pacific Lutheran University, arriving about 10:00 a.m. Here is the route:

View Larger Map

Details on when and where employees attending the Memorial should gather, including volunteers, will be released shortly -- hopefully tomorrow (Sunday). I'm taking my first day off tomorrow since the incident, but if I hear word, I'll post it here -- otherwise, look for it Monday morning. You can also keep an eye on the employee blog at

Please also remember to RSVP to if you plan to attend the service, so that we can be sure to set aside enough chairs. If you've already responded to my work e-mail address, I've forwarded those responses to the planning team.

"Mount Rainier reopens after fatal ranger shooting"


"Rangers and volunteers somberly embraced as Mount Rainier National Park reopened to the public Saturday.... 'This is a place to come to be happy,' Allan Evans, a park volunteer from Graham, Wash., said after hugging a ranger who was on duty when Anderson was killed. 'This is what this park is about. This is the first stop to trying to get everything as whole as can be.'"

Nicely said.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Plans set for Margaret Anderson's Memorial Service

At 1:00pm on Tuesday, January 10, dozens of Mount Rainier National Park employees, volunteers, and family members will gather at Olson Auditorium at Pacific Lutheran University to honor the life of their friend and colleague, Margaret Anderson. An Incident Management Team has been working hard this week to choose and prepare this venue for the thousands of people from other agencies and the public who are expected to attend, and it seems like there are at least a dozen issues to solve for each of those thousands of guests. More questions are resolved every day. Here is what we know so far, and what we don't yet but hope to pass on to you soon:

Where, when, and whom
The public service will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 in Olson Auditorium at Pacific Lutheran University. The auditorium holds about 3,000 people and we expect more than that, so there will be "overflows to our overflows," in the words of our team leader. We will not limit attendance; it is "come one, come all."

Representatives from dozens of agencies will be present, including, of course, the National Park Service and Mount Rainier National Park in particular. All employees, including volunteers, who wish to attend are encouraged to do so.

Should I RSVP?
Employees should RSVP through their supervisor so that we know how many seats to reserve. Volunteers should RSVP by e-mail either to Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher or to the e-mail address that has been set up for this incident, Let us know, too, if you'll be accompanied by a spouse or partner.

The Uniform of the Day
Our goal is to have as many employees in uniform as possible, to honor Margaret. Here are the protocols for various types of employees, including volunteers:

  • Uniformed Employees: The uniform of the day will be the winter service dress uniform (“Class A”) and felt hat, including dress coat (Ike jacket) and tie if available. Employees who do not have a complete Class A uniform may wear their nicest winter uniform. If a uniform is being worn, do not wear any non-uniform items, i.e. blue jeans with park shirt, non uniform hat, belts, shoes, etc.
  • Non-Uniformed Employees: Please wear nice formal clothing, just as you would for any similar event. If you own a nametag, please wear it.
  • Volunteers: Volunteers may wear their normal standard VIP uniform. If you have a nametag, please wear it.
  • Seasonal employees not currently working: Please wear a complete winter uniform including nametag and felt hat, even if you do not have a badge. If you do not own a winter uniform, please wear a complete summer uniform including nametag and straw hat.
How can I help?
We are looking for individuals who are willing to help with a long list of tasks ranging from picking people up at the airport to serving as ushers. Most tasks will still allow for attendance at the Memorial Service if you choose to do so. If you'd like to help, please call 360-569-6515 or -6701 and leave your name and contact information. Identify yourself as an employee or volunteer, and indicate whether you have an NPS or volunteer uniform to wear. Certain jobs, but not all, will be given in preference to those wearing NPS uniforms. We'll pass your offer of help to those who are planning the Memorial Service.
Will the Memorial be televised?
Yes, but the details are still being worked out. We're also trying to arrange for a live "Telnet" broadcast for those in other national parks around the country who are interested in watching.
Will the park remain open?
Yes, at least as far as Longmire. Assistance has been requested from other National Parks to keep open the entrance station, Longmire Museum, park roads, and other services. If you're already a volunteer and would like to help, please contact your regular supervisor to make the offer.

Will employees and volunteers have preferential seating?
Yes, but the details of who will sit where are still being worked out. I'll pass them on as soon as they're available. Please RSVP, as described above, so that we know how many seats to reserve.

Where and when should we show up?
Those details are still being worked out. However, expect to be asked to arrive well in advance of the 1:00 ceremony, in order to receive instructions on where to sit and how to participate in the service.

What will the ceremony include?
Those details are still being planned. The ceremony will follow traditions long established for honoring law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty, but will also include elements that honor Margaret's life and the things that were important to her, including her faith.

I've heard you're looking for photographs?
That's true. We're looking for photos to include in a slide show about Margaret during the service. If you have images to contribute, please send them, as soon as possible, to

What route will the procession follow, and who will be included?
The procession will begin at Mountain View Funeral Home in Lakewood and end at PLU; however, the route and nature of the entourage are still being planned.

Where can I get more information?
Watch this blog, of course; but there are also several other places to find out about upcoming events, network with others, and even leave messages of remembrance. Here's as complete a list as I'm aware of at this time. Most of these sources are not maintained by the National Park Service.
  • Employee information blog:
  • Employee phone line: Dial 360-569-2211, then 9, for updated employee information.
  • Quick updates via e-mail or text message: Follow the links under Margaret's photo on the park's Intranet page (only available within the park's network) to sign up for these alerts.
  • Email address for questions, condolences, photos, and offers of help:
  • Facebook Memorial Page: In Memory of NPS Ranger Margaret Anderson.
  • Officer Down Memorial Page: Margaret's page is here.
  • Mountain View Funeral Home: Messages of condolence may be left here.
  • Margaret Anderson Memorial Page:
  • Donations: make contributions for the Anderson family in person at any Key Bank branch, or mail them to the Margaret Anderson Donation Fund at P.O. Box 159, Eatonville, Washington 98328.
  • Letters to the family: Notes and letters may be sent to the family c/o Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Ave E, Ashford, WA 9804.
  • Food donations: At Eric's request, offers of food should be coordinated through the Eatonville Fire Department. The contact person at the Fire Department is Mark Quirie at 360-832-6931.
  • Candlelight vigil: There will be a Candlelight Vigil for Margaret on Sunday, January 8 at 5pm at the Eatonville Early Learning Center (Yellow Daycare), at 560 Center Street E, Eatonville, WA 98328.
  • Resources for dealing with your grief: All employees, including volunteers, are welcome to take advantage of our Critical Incident Stress Management Team. The team is available in the Tahoma Woods housing area's community room and Longmire employee lounge from 2-4 pm every day. You may also join us every week day, at least for the time being, for employee meetings at 9am at the Education Center at Tahoma Woods.
  • [Added 6:30 pm:] Donations to the National Park Foundation in Margaret's name may be made here.

Park to reopen with major assistance of volunteers

With our full-time staff still grieving the loss of our friend and colleague Margaret Anderson, we will lean heavily on both volunteers and NPS employees detailed temporarily from other national parks. You'll see a lot of volunteer uniforms at the Jackson Visitor Center and out on the trails. Please thank them for their service if you encounter them, and thank you for your service if you're one of them.

Events have moved rapidly this week, though it hasn't always seemed so from the outside. It's taken a while to nail down the details of our reopening plan, and for the Memorial Service next Tuesday, simply because there are an extraordinary number of details to resolve. For the reopening, at least, we're ready, and for the Memorial, we will be soon. Here's a complete summary of what to expect tomorrow; I'll post details about the Memorial next:

The park will reopen officially at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday January 7.

Visitor Services
All services that visitors could normally expect in the park, with the exception of the sledding hill (AKA "snow play"), will be up and running. The Longmire Museum and Jackson Visitor Center will have normal hours of operation, the National Park Inn will reopen, the gift shop and snack bar at the visitor center will be operational, and public snowshoe walks will go out as usual. The sledding hill will remain closed because we don't have enough staff back on duty to groom it and keep it safe.

Memorial Sites
The makeshift memorial of flowers and candles at the Nisqually Entrance will remain, and people who wish to do so may drop tokens of sympathy off there. However, to prevent a bottleneck at the entrance station, we will encourage visitors to bring items further into the park, to either the porch of the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) at Longmire (the large historic "Administration Building" behind the flagpole, across the road from the Longmire Museum); or to the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise. All three locations, as well as the National Park Inn, will also have a poster board with photos and text about Margaret.

News Media
Local media are expected (and welcome) at our reopening. We will have Public Information Officers (PIOs) at the park entrance, at Longmire, and at Paradise. Employees and volunteers who are contacted by reporters are welcome to speak to them if they feel comfortable doing so, or to politely decline and refer the reporters to one of our PIOs if they do not, or if they get any questions they can't answer.

Volunteers who would be coming up to the park to work anyway are encouraged to continue doing so. Because the coordinator of our Nordic Patrol is currently unavailable, that program is temporarily suspended, at least officially, for this weekend; however, "snow rovers" are welcome to don their volunteer uniforms and come up to help. Please check in at the Longmire Museum at 8:45 a.m. for a special briefing on what to expect and how to answer questions about Margaret.

Thank you all, and have a safe and happy day on The Mountain.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

RIP Margaret Anderson

As all of you will understand, the past week has been insanely hectic.

I fell behind on this blog during the month of December, working hard to meet deadlines for writing grant proposals that were due mid-month. After that, I took a wonderful two weeks off with my family.

On the morning of New Year's Day, one of our law enforcement rangers, Margaret Anderson, someone many of our volunteers know well as a colleague, was murdered during a traffic stop near Paradise. Other rangers were shot at and narrowly escaped injury and death. The gunman fled, armed, on foot through the snow. The Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise was locked down, and 125 visitors plus more than a dozen NPS and Guest Services employees, including three volunteers, were essentially trapped for 15 hours until they were able to be evacuated under cover of darkness in the middle of the night. The park was closed to the public. A massive manhunt began, involving multiple agencies including the Pierce County Sheriff's department, FBI, Washington State Patrol, US Forest Service, and several others--more than 200 people all told. About 24 hours after the shooting, the body of the shooter was discovered facedown in the Paradise River above Narada Falls.

As of this writing, the park is still closed, and will not reopen until Saturday, January 7. Park staff are devastated by Margaret's death, and it will take time to rebuild enough law enforcement, visitor center, general maintenance, and snow plow staff to reopen. Three national-level NPS teams are on hand to help out.

A memorial service will be held for Margaret on Tuesday the 10th at Pacific Lutheran University. A candlelight vigil is being organized by community members at the Eatonville Early Learning Center at 5:00pm on Sunday the 8th. Our public information teams are busy making sure that a significant amount of the media focus is on Margaret and her family, with tributes to her character and heroism, and her passions for service, the natural world, and Mount Rainier.

All of this is preamble to say that volunteers have played, and will continue to play, a vital role in this incident and its aftermath.

Volunteer Ed Hunds stands watch at the JVC.
On a typical weekend, volunteers are an important part of our team at Paradise. On New Year's Day, volunteer Ed Hunds was working at the Jackson Visitor Center, and Jim and Carol Miltimore were patroling trails. When the visitor center went into lockdown, Ed and Carol helped coral visitors and keep them occupied. They helped other staff members with Junior Ranger programs and kept people informed as best they could. Jim headed up the mountain to round up people who were out skiing and snowshoeing. They shared a traumatic experience with their NPS colleagues and with total strangers.

The manhunt and aftermath have not involved many volunteers per se, mostly because such an intense operation tends to rely primarily on those who are most deeply embedded in the agency and therefore already have the resources and connections necessary to act. The Incident Management Team is highly trained and, frankly, amazing in their ability to step in and work with a grieving family, arrange law enforcement honors for Margaret's body, arrange a memorial service for several thousand people, and other otherwise-impossible tasks.

Volunteer John McCarthy tells visitors at the Nisqually
Entrance that the park is closed.
This is not to say that volunteers have been forgotten -- far from it. Volunteers have been and continue to be welcome at the daily staff briefings at 9am at the Education Center. Resources for park staff are also available to volunteers to help deal with the trauma of this event. Volunteers are at the forefront of discussions about employees to include in the memorial service, and details about their role will be forthcoming on this blog site and by other methods. And volunteers will play a role in the park's reopening. Volunteers will help staff visitor centers and, as we get back up to speed, resume regular services like ski patrol.

This is a time when a member of our National Park Service family has been claimed by the most brutal and unfair violence. Our NPS family includes many, many volunteers, and I want to make sure all of you know that you're considered part of us. The best way to honor Margaret and her passion for Mount Rainier is to restore the Mountain to its proper role as a place of refuge and strength, both for the larger community and for us.

We will never be the same. Margaret will always be part of our history. But we can heal, with time, and our Mountain can help. Thank you all for your role.


Employee blog:
Officer Down Memorial Page:

An unofficial memorial page, not associated with NPS, has been set up on Facebook -- search for Margaret Anderson.

Donations (in lieu of flowers) can be made for the Anderson family, including her husband Eric and her two daughters, at any Key Bank. Checks may be mailed to P.O. Box 159, Eatonville, WA 98328.

Letters of condolence can be sent c/o Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Ave E, Ashford, WA 98304. E-mails can be sent to MountRainierInfo [at]

Adendum (January 6, 2012):

Since this entry was written, I've learned of several other volunteers who were in the park on New Year's day. These include Bill Marsh, who sprang into action rounding up spplies for law enforcement officers and served as a liason for emergency and law enforcement vehicles from other agencies arriving in the park. Carol Berry assisted visitors at Longmire who were turned around by the incident. And Evan Escamilla, whose name many of you will recognize as our 2010 summer Volunteer Coordinator, assisted at the Jackson Visitor Center after he and a friend had spent New Year's Eve at Camp Muir. Thank you to all who helped out.