With more than 400 separate “units” in the American National Park Service system, there’s lots of opportunity for wild, crazy, and interesting things to happen, and so far it’s been a banner week.
• Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell broke the speed record for climbing the Nose on El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park for the second time in a week. The pair ascended 3,000 feet of granite in 2 hours, 1 minute, and 50 seconds, besting their May 30 record by 9 minutes. Honnold thinks they can break two hours. “Sadly, we got a rope stuck at the top [today] and Tommy had to rap a bit. Cost us a few minutes, I think. But good progress,” Honnold told Men’s Journal.
• It’s probably never a good idea to grab your crotch and pretend to piss on a wall at work. Just sayin’. The top-ranking National Park Service boss, deputy director P. Daniel Smith has apologized. “As a leader, I must hold myself to the highest standard of behavior in the workplace. I take my responsibility to create and maintain a respectful, collegial work environment very seriously. Moving forward, I promise to do better.” Smith is leading NPS because President Donald Trump has not nominated a new director; NPS has been more than 500 days without one. Prior to this, Smith was best known as the NPS employee who improperly allowed Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to cut down 130 trees in the C&O Canal National Historic Park in Maryland because they were blocking his view.
• Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants $12 million to rebuild Glacier National Park’s Sperry Chalet, above, which was destroyed in an ember fire in August 2017. The masonry walls are still standing and they survived last winter’s heavy snowfall.
• An employee at Yellowstone’s Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel was severely injured by an elk cow on Sunday. Charlene Triplett, 51, was off-duty at the time. “The elk was protecting a calf bedded down roughly 20 feet away and hidden by other cars. It’s not known if Ms. Triplett saw the calf or the elk prior to the encounter,” the park staff said. The mother elk reared up on her hind legs and kicked several times with its front legs. Triplett suffered injuries to her head, torso, and back, and was flown to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center trauma center.
• And yikes…an elk attack just happened again, this time to a woman walking between two cabins. Once again it was an elk with a calf.
• The San Francisco area is so expensive even the National Park Service can’t afford to stay there. Its Pacific West Regional Office will save $4 million a year by moving to Vancouver, Washington.