NPS Morning Report: RIP

NPS Morning Report
A portion of the last edition of the NPS’ Morning Report, published August 31, 2015.

The National Park Service is discontinuing what became an institution over the last several decades. Their “Morning Report”, produced every week day, published its last edition on August 31, 2015. Many NPS employees, retirees, and people from outside the agency read it religiously.

For almost 30 years it was a summary of all kinds of incidents in the parks, and especially concentrated on storm impacts, major law enforcement actions, injured or killed park visitors, and fires on NPS lands.

It will be replaced by a list of news releases. The NPS explains that is an improvement because it is searchable.

The Morning Report was created, edited, and nurtured tirelessly by Bill Halainen, who early every morning combed through numerous incident reports and edited them into a very readable format. At one point, in the summer Mr. Halainen was providing a recurring chart that showed trends of firefighting resources that were committed nationally to fires — something the NIFC National Situation Report does not do.

Wildfire Summary, 5-day trend, August 16, 2012 by NPS
An excerpt from the August 16, 2012 NPS Morning Report.

There are at least three reasons why the NPS is killing the Morning Report. Mr. Halainen is retiring — a second time. He first retired from the NPS in 2007, but continued writing the Morning Report on a contract basis until two days ago. But in September he retired for real. Another reason is, we have been told that the number of incident reports available to the Morning Report have decreased by 50 percent compared to how many were submitted in the 1990s. And thirdly, the NPS is not interested in funding an editor for the report.

Below is an excerpt from the April 24, 2015 Morning Report, breaking the news about the Halainens’ retirements:


“Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA)
Cathy And Bill Halainen To Retire

Cathy Halainen, budget technician for the resource management division at Delaware Water Gap NRA, and Bill Halainen, a retired NPS employee who edits InsideNPS and the Morning Report, will both be retiring in September.

Cathy will bring to a close 20 years with the park’s Division of Resource Management and Science, where she has been responsible for almost all administrative functions for divisional staff. Before working for the National Park Service, she worked in a similar capacity for several colleges (the University of Massachusetts, Brandeis, and William and Mary) and government contractors, principally McDonnell-Douglas.

Bill worked as an interpretive and protection ranger, program manager and management assistant in various parks and offices from 1974 to 2007, during which time he created and edited the NPS Morning Report. He also became editor of InsideNPS in 2002, and continued editing both publications via contract after his retirement from the Service in 2007. He’s edited and published about 6,900 editions of the Morning Report since 1986 and about 3,000 editions of InsideNPS.

They will continue to reside in northeast Pennsylvania for now, but are considering a move to western Massachusetts.

(Editor’s note: In light of Bill Halainen’s “second” retirement, a transition plan will be developed in regards to the InsideNPS homepage and the Morning Report. Additional information will be forthcoming early this summer.)”

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

5 thoughts on “NPS Morning Report: RIP”

  1. The Morning Report was a great thing and was a pleasure to read. It did what the NPS was unable to do and provided a great source of information about events across the NPS. Bill was not always politically correct and ruffled some feathers along the way but he was a damn good reporter and organizer and was often able to inject humor and common sense. Internal communications had always been a weak spot with the agency and MR was a godsend. Good luck Bill and thanks to WFT for letting us know.

  2. This Parkie is going to miss the old standby! Thanks, Bill and Cathy, for keeping it alive all these years.

  3. I don’t think too many non-Parkies were aware of this “Morning Report” but I enjoyed immensely over the years and I’m sad to see it go! But I wish Bill and Cathy a fabulous retirement!


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