Former Colorado National Monument Superintendent, Yellowstone and Grand Teton Spokesperson Anzelmo Receives Prestigious National Parks Award

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   October 14, 2011
Contact:   David Nimkin, National Parks Conservation Association, Senior Director of the Southwest Regional Office, 801-521-0785, dnimkin@npca.org
Jeff Billington National Parks Conservation Association, 202-419-3717, jbillington@npca.org


Former Colorado National Monument Superintendent, Yellowstone and Grand Teton Spokesperson Anzelmo Receives Prestigious National Parks Award

WASHINGTON, DC — The nation’s leading voice for our national parks, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), today awarded former Colorado National Monument Superintendent Joan Anzelmo the Stephen T. Mather Award, endowed by Booz Allen Hamilton, for her commitment to preserving the integrity and open access of the park for all visitors.

Anzelmo served as the superintendent at Colorado National Monument from May 2007 until her retirement from the National Park Service (NPS) in July of this year. Previously, she served as chief of public affairs for Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and as chief of public affairs for the entire NPS. During her last year as superintendent at Colorado National Monument, she was faced with the difficult decision of denying a permit for a stage of a proposed professional cycling race to take place in the park. She based her decision on NPS policy, concern for the negative impacts to the park’s natural and cultural resources and the fact that a private, commercial sporting event would have shut down the park for most of a day to the visiting public.

“Joan is a true champion of the parks and she has spent her career upholding the key tenets of our National Parks, that they remain equally accessible to all people and that everything possible is done to preserve them for our children and grandchildren,” said NPCA Southwest Regional Office Senior Director David Nimkin. “Throughout her career, from Yellowstone and Grand Teton to her time spent in Washington, DC, she has exemplified the spirit of Stephen Mather. Her actions in the last year at Colorado National Monument, in preventing the overt commercialization of the park by a privately-sponsored competition, despite personal attacks and political maneuvering, are merely the latest examples of her dedication to the principles the National Parks System is built upon.”

NPCA Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Craig Obey presented the prestigious award at the annual Association of National Park Rangers Conference in Williamsburg, VA on October 14, 2011.

“Joan is exactly the type of person we want in charge of our national treasures,” Obey said. “Her determination and dedication to our parks cannot be swayed, and she has had the courage to stand up to pressure from powerful, connected interests. Throughout her career she remained focused on the proven policies and science that she knows are needed to retain the character and spirit of the National Park System for the future.” 

Retired Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Bob Barbee, who Anzelmo served under during her time in that park, praised her for the commitment she showed toward the park system throughout her career.

"In a career spanning 42 years, it is rare to work with someone whose caliber matches Joan Anzelmo,” Barbee said. “She is a top flight professional who conducted her career with honesty, wit, aplomb and resolve. Her principled dedication to the values embodied in the national parks is unrivaled — and when faced with pressures to compromise those values, Joan can be counted on to hold the line."
Following the leadership she showed during the 1988 Yellowstone National Park fires, Anzelmo became a nationally acknowledged expert in crisis communications and subsequently was dispatched to some of the country’s most complex wild land fire situations and other national emergencies. In May, 2010, she was assigned to the Unified Area Command for the National Park Service in response to the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Anzelmo is the recipient of numerous awards including two of the Department of the Interior’s highest honors, the Superior Service and Meritorious Service awards and has been honored in Congressional Record and White House commendatory documents.

"I am deeply humbled to receive the National Parks Conservation Association’s Stephen Tyng Mather Award,” said Anzelmo. “This award, named after the first director of the National Park Service and the agency whose work I devoted my life to, is the honor of a lifetime. I am so grateful to have the National Parks Conservation Association as a steadfast partner and leader in helping to protect our nation's most precious natural and cultural resources and serve the vast visiting public to America's national parks."

First presented in 1984, NPCA’s Stephen T. Mather Award is named after the first director of the National Park Service Stephen T. Mather. Those who receive the award have shown steadfast leadership and persistent dedication to our national parks. The award is endowed by Booz Allen Hamilton.

Mather Award Winner Joan Anzelmo2

 

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