The Federal Coach: Natural ‘Street Cred’: Talking With the Director of the National Park Service

As the director of the National Park Service, Jon Jarvis oversees 20,000 employees, 140,000 volunteers and 394 national parks. With nearly 35 years of service with the National Park Service, Jarvis began his career as a ranger and was later promoted to superintendent positions in both Alaska and Idaho and regional director of the Pacific West Region. April 16-24 marks National Park Week.

What is one of your most memorable experiences during your National Park Service career?

When I was the district ranger at Guadalupe Mountain National Park in Texas, I was approached by a group called “Paraplegics On Independent Nature Trip” who wanted to climb Guadalupe Peak, the highest mountain in Texas, in their wheelchairs. I did my best to sway them from attempting this climb, because it’s not a handicapped accessible trail. It’s a hike with a 5,000 foot gain in the middle of the desert in the summer with sheer drop-offs, so this a tough hike for anybody.

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