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Denali Park names new superintendent

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Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 11:48 pm

FAIRBANKS — Denali National Park and Preserve has a new superintendent.

The National Park Service on Wednesday named Don Striker as the new superintendent at the 6-million-acre national park 130 miles south of Fairbanks.

Striker, a 22-year employee at the Park Service, has served as superintendent at New River Gorge National River in West Virginia for the past five years, as well as overseeing the nearby Bluestone National Scenic River and the Gauley River National Recreation Area.

Those parks annually see a combined total of more than 1 million visitors and include four visitor centers and more than 100 access points, while Denali sees 400,000 visitors annually and has only a handful of access points.

Striker replaces former superintendent Paul Anderson, who retired this fall after 11 years as Denali’s chief.

In a news release issued late Wednesday afternoon, the Park Service says Striker has a strong background in both business and resource management. In West Virigina, he was instrumental in improving relationships with state government and local partners, building a large cadre of volunteers, and managing significant construction projects, according to the Park Service.

Striker’s accomplishments over more than 15 years with the Park Service have prepared him well for dealing with the issues Denali is facing, National Park Service Alaska regional director Sue Masica said.

“Denali is a complex park, with many major business and resource decisions coming up,” she said. “Over the next couple of years, the park will be looking at implementing its new road management plan, re-bidding the main concession contract and continuing to work on a variety of wildlife issues with the state of Alaska and others.”

Born in West Point, N.Y., Striker grew up outside Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business with a Bachelor of Science in economics.

Prior to working in West Virginia, Striker served as a special assistant to the comptroller of the National Park Service, as superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, as superintendent of Fort Clatsop National Memorial in Oregon, and comptroller at Yellowstone National Park.

In the news release, Striker said he is “deeply humbled” to be selected as Denali’s new chief. He called Denali National Park and Preserve “one of the country’s most spectacular and iconic parks.”

“My wife, Gretchen, and I are excited to be moving to Alaska, a goal we’ve long held,” said Striker, the father of two sons and a daughter.

Contact staff Writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587. Follow him on Twitter:

@FDNMoutdoors.

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