National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis announced last week that he has selected Stanley J. Austin to serve as the agency’s Southeast regional director. Austin will begin his new duties in mid-July.
“Stan is a proven leader with a track record of innovative problem solving, and I am delighted he has accepted this opportunity to lead our Southeast Region,” Jarvis said. “He brings with him the experience of managing complex and dynamic parks, ranging from wilderness to urban settings, and he will be a valuable member of our senior management team as we prepare for the second century of the National Park Service.”
“I look forward to working with the dedicated staff in preserving the rich and vibrant natural and cultural resources in the Southeast Region,” said Austin. “There are many opportunities to work with partners to discover innovative approaches to park management, and together we will build on past accomplishments to engage in the future of the National Park Service.”
Austin has served as superintendent of Cuyahoga Valley National Park since 2010. He previously served as superintendent at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, as acting deputy superintendent at Yosemite National Park and deputy superintendent for Rocky Mountain National Park.
Austin began his career with the National Park Service in 1978 at Gateway National Recreation as an interpretive park ranger, resource management specialist, and then law enforcement ranger. In 1984 he accepted a position with the Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Water, working first as a program manager and later being promoted to division chief. He also traveled to Japan as a Mike Mansfield Fellow to work with the Japan Environmental Agency. He returned to the National Park Service in 2003.
A New Jersey native, Stan Austin earned a bachelor of science in environmental sciences with a focus on biology from Rutgers University. He has also received a graduate certificate in Natural Sciences (Hydrology) from Duke University.
Austin replaces David Vela, who served as regional director for the Southeast Region from 2008 to 2012.
The National Park Service’s Southeast Region includes nine states — Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky — which are home to 66 national parks that welcome more than 62 million visitors every year. Parks in the region include four of the top 10 most visited parks in the country, including Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Natchez Trace Parkway, and Gulf Islands National Seashore. In addition to overseeing the management of national parks, the regional office provides support to parks and assistance to communities through programs like the Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.