Shenandoah National Park’s new superintendent will wear two hats
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When Shenandoah National Park’s new superintendent comes on board in March, he will be wearing two hats.
Jim Northup, a 32-year veteran of the National Park Service, will also be the superintendent of the nearby Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.
The historical park encompasses Civil War battlefield sites in Frederick, Warren and Shenandoah counties associated with the 1864 Battle of Cedar Creek.
The National Park Service Advisory Commission approved a plan in December to put both parks under the supervision of one person, after the previous superintendents of both parks announced they would be retiring in January.
Diann Jacox, Superintendent of the Cedar Creek park, and Martha Bogle, superintendent of SNP, both retired from the National Park Service on Jan. 3.
Bogle served at SNP for four years, capping a 30-year career that began as a seasonal park ranger at Great Smokey Mountain National Park and included appointments at 10 other parks, including Everglades and Virgin Islands national parks and the Blue Ridge Parkway. She has retired to her home in Asheville, N.C.
SNP public affairs spokesperson Karen Beck-Herzog said Northup’s appointment is not effective until March. In the meantime, the park’s Deputy Superintendent, Jennifer Flynn, is serving as the park’s Acting Superintendent.
Northup has a wide range of experience with the National Park Service, and his appointment as Superintendent of Shenandoah National Park will be a homecoming of sorts – he began his association with the park service as a seasonal ranger at Shenandoah in 1979.
In the years since, he served in various capacities as field ranger, resources management specialist, fire and aviation specialist and interpreter at Grand Teton, Big Bend and Grand Canyon National Parks, Cape Hatteras and Fire Island National Seashores, and Buffalo National River.
Since 2005, he has served as Superintendent of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which preserves historic shorelines along Lake Superior. Prior to that appointment, he served as Chief Ranger at Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
In a National Park Service press release, Northup said he is “delighted and truly honored” to serve as superintendent of SNP and the nearby historical park. “My wife Phyllis and I are both very much looking forward to moving to the area and becoming fully engaged in the communities.”
Beck-Herzog said Northup’s appointment coincides with another change at SNP. Delaware North Companies will be signing a 10-year contract to operate the concessions within the park “by the end of this week,” she said. The contract has been held up due to budget delays in Congress.
The company is expected to be ready to operate when Big Meadows Wayside opens on March 27 and Skyland opens on March 28. Big Meadows Lodge will open for the season on May 15.