In February, I was selected as Deputy Regional Director for Science & Resources Management for Interior Regions 3, 4, & 5 of the National Park Service (NPS). In this new capacity I’ll be working with all parks and park superintendents and their respective staffs within the MN/Lake Superior and OH/Lake Michigan Zones (states of IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, & WI). My new duty station will be operating from the NPS Regional Office in Omaha, NE. My family and I expect to relocate later in the summer prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year.
Some highlights of my time at the MNRR:
- Developing the charter and launching the inaugural of the FOMNRR in July 2016 coinciding with the NPS centennial anniversary;
- Developing and rolling out the Park’s new visitor and educational film in 2018 coinciding with the MNRR 40th anniversary;
- Resolving the Goat Island impasse that resulted in the island coming into the Park domain upon completion of the management plan for the island in August 2018;
- Securing funding support through the Land & Water Conservation Fund for the acquisition from willing sellers the James River Island (59-Mile District) and Sanctuary Island (39-Mile District) parcels;
- Establishing set-aside areas within the MNRR corridor that will assure representative segments will forever be protected as part of the Missouri River Recovery Management Plan/EIS, which was completed in 2017;
- Development of a new standardized sign plan culminating in new entrance and highway alert signs along SD highways, and hopefully soon in NE;
- Establishment of the new lower Niobrara River access and visitor use area in cooperation with NDOT, NEGP, & FOMNRR; and,
- Securing base funding support in 2021 to stand up the Park’s first ever Visitor & Resource Protection/Law Enforcement (V&RP/LE) Program.
My hope is some of these accomplishments will lay the foundation for a new era of Park management. In 2021 the Park will see seven new employees, or 70% of the workforce come on board, including a new superintendent to be appointed, and new program managers within the disciplines of V&RP/LE, Interpretation, Education & Outreach, and Science & Resources Management. Additionally, a Park Ranger Protection and Outdoor Recreational Planner will also be hired. I wish these new incumbents and the friends group the absolute best of continued success in advancing the mission of