Acting Smokies Superintendent says goodbye

Acting Superintendent Cindy MacLeod (on the left) says goodby to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She’s the second acting superintendent the Smokies has had. She writes:

Clay Jordan will be the acting superintendent in the park and will continue in that role until the permanent superintendent arrives in the park.

Working with you in Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer has been a highlight of my NPS career.  I have loved everyplace I have been in my 34 years, I must add, and it is inspiring to know that so many men and women are dedicated to the mission of the NPS. Thank you for teaching me about your work here, sharing your passion with me, demonstrating that the Great Smokies are in good hands, letting me play a part in the stewardship of such a treasured and storied national park.

I love the rocks, the waterfalls, the wildflowers, the critters large and small, the views, the structures, the trails, the trees, the fields, the history, the smells and sounds.  The clouds, mists, sun, and rain, too! You, the people of the park – volunteer, partner, career, temporary – are the heart of it all.  I’ve listened to you on the park radio; I’ve sat in meetings with you; I’ve hiked with you; I’ve enjoyed park programs with you; I’ve agonized with you over setting priorities for funding; I’ve rejoiced over new hires; I’ve mourned with you over losses of park staff in tragic circumstances; I raided the museum collection to spruce up the superintendent’s office; I planned with you for the Centennial of the NPS; I’ve offered perspective on contentious issues; I’ve tried to challenge assumptions in order to make sound decisions; I’ve urged you to listen carefully to each other; I’ve tried to keep safety at the forefront everyday; I’ve felt privileged to serve as your superintendent.

Please continue to work together to protect the resources and provide for their enjoyment.  Our mission has inherent conflicts but we shouldn’t with each other – we need to identify how we and our partners can multiply the good effects of what funding we have and make the best possible steps forward in creating more good stewards and in being good stewards for perpetuity.  As Pedro Ramos said as he left, there are challenges ahead.  I agree that one of the most important things we can do is to continue learning about the cultural and natural resources, their interplay and their evolution, and we need to anticipate threats and needs in order to be prepared to manage effectively.

Thank you again. I look forward to seeing any one of you again in Philadelphia, the Smokies, or where ever our paths take us.  Best of luck to you – enjoy 2015 and our Centennial year.  It’s a great time to be in the NPS!

It’s a great letter but the park needs a permanent superintendent.


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