Veteran park ranger chosen as Shenandoah National Park superintendent www.privateofficer.com
Waynesboro VA Feb 2 2013 A veteran of more than three decades with the National Park Service is the new superintendent of Shenandoah National Park as well as Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.
Jim Northrup has served as superintendent of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan since 2005. Pictured Rocks protects the Lake Superior shoreline.Northrup succeeds Martha Bogle as the superintendent of Shenandoah National. Bogle retired Jan. 3 after 33 years with the Park Service.
Shenandoah National Park starts just outside of Waynesboro and extends 105 miles northward to Front Royal. The counties encompassed in the park include Augusta, Rockingham and Albemarle. One of the area’s leading features is the scenic Skyline Drive.
Prior to his work at Pictured Rocks, Northrup served as the chief ranger at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He also has worked as a field ranger, a resources management specialist, an aviation specialist, and in interpretation at Grand Teton, Big Bend and Grand Canyon national parks, Cape Hatteras and Fire Island national seashores, and Buffalo National River.
Northrup holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental education from the University of Maryland and has completed graduate-level work in public administration and in environmental law and policy.
“I am delighted and truly honored to have this opportunity to serve as the superintendent of Shenandoah National Park and Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park,” Northrup said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to working with the dedicated park staff, partners, visitors and the surrounding communities to preserve and manage the natural and cultural resources, the compelling stories and the wonderful visitor opportunities that exist at both parks.”
Said Dennis Reidenbach, the northeast regional director for the National Park Service: “Jim has a strong track record of building and communicating a vision and modeling the best qualities of a 21st century leader.”
While one advocate for national parks describes Shenandoah National as a gem, she said Northrup will face his share of budget and environmental issues.
Pam Goddard of the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association said the federal sequestration could mean a 6 percent to 8 percent cut to the budgets of national parks. She said Northrup will “have to juggle a lot” to manage the resources needed to cover a landscape with 500 miles of trails.
Invasive species also threaten hemlock trees in Shenandoah National, Goddard said.
On the plus side, though, she said the park continues to have a healthy supply of deer, black bears, beavers, otters and other wildlife.
“It’s a wonderful park, and Martha Bogle worked tirelessly,” Goddard said. “But it’s a huge challenge. The park is so big, and the budget cuts are looming.”