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National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
National Center for Cultural Resources

National Park Service

Responding to
the September 11 Terrorist Attacks
Janet A. McDonnell
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The National Park Service:
Responding to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
McDonnell, Janet A., 1952The National Park Service : responding to the September 11 terrorist attacks /
by Janet A. McDonnell.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. United States. National Park Service. 2. September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001.
I. Title.
SB482.A4M338 2004
973.931--dc22
2004026454
Cover: U. S. Park Police patrol New York Harbor after the attacks.
Inside cover, Maj. Tom Wilkins, U.S. Park Police, holds the American flag
during rescue operations at Ground Zero.

The National Park Service:

Responding to
the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

Janet A. McDonnell
National Park Service
Department of the Interior

iii

Table of Contents
Preface ...................................................................................................... vii
Introduction ............................................................................................. x
I. National Park Service’s Initial Response ........................................... 1
Main Interior Building, Tuesday, September 11, 2001 ............ 1
Continuity of Operations ......................................................... 4
Park Closures ............................................................................ 8
Support to the Department of the Interior ............................ 11
Conclusion ................................................................................ 13
II. National Capital Region .................................................................... 15
U.S. Park Police Headquarters ................................................ 15
Securing the White House, Monuments, and Memorials..... 17
Motorcycle Unit ....................................................................... 18
Aviation Unit ............................................................................. 19
Evacuation of Cabinet Officials ............................................... 24
Traffic Management ................................................................. 25
Additional Park Police Missions ............................................. 26
Park Rangers Respond ............................................................. 26
National Mall ............................................................................ 29
Catoctin Mountain Park .......................................................... 30
Conclusion ................................................................................ 31
III. New York City ................................................................................... 33
U.S. Park Police New York field office .................................... 33
Manhattan Sites........................................................................ 36
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Monuments ...... 46

iv

The National Park Service: Responding to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

Gateway National Recreation Area ......................................... 55
Conclusion ................................................................................ 58
IV. Incident Management ...................................................................... 61
Convening Incident Management Teams ............................... 61
Incident Management System ................................................. 64
Delegation of Authority ........................................................... 65
Role and Activities of the Type 1 Team .................................... 66
Type 2 Incident Management Team—Northeast Region ....... 70
Conclusion ................................................................................ 73
V. Challenges .......................................................................................... 77
Communications ...................................................................... 77
Coordination ............................................................................ 80
Funding ................................................................................... 85
VI. Aftermath ......................................................................................... 89
Impact on Parks and Visitors .................................................. 90
Shortage of Law Enforcement Personnel ............................... 95
Multi-region Coordination Group ......................................... 101
Conclusion ............................................................................................... 107

Notes......................................................................................................... 111
Oral History Interviews........................................................................... 123
Photo Credits ........................................................................................... 125
Index ......................................................................................................... 126

Table of Contents

v


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