Press Release Oct 23, 2015

National Parks Group Honors Channel Islands National Park Leaders with Stephen T. Mather Award

Stephen T. Mather award presented to Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau and Chief of Natural Resources Management Kate Faulkner.

WASHINGTON, D.C.– National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today presented their Stephen T. Mather award to Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau and Chief of Natural Resources Management Kate Faulkner. First presented in 1984 and named after the first director of the National Park Service, the award is given to individuals who have shown steadfast leadership and persistent dedication to our national parks.

“Russell Galipeau and Kate Faulkner epitomize what it means to be a steward for our national parks,” said Ron Sundergill, Pacific Regional Director for NPCA. “They have shown an unwavering commitment to protecting and strengthening Channel Islands National Park. Their many accomplishments include helping to restore and protect native species, eradicating threats to the Islands’ ecosystem, and establishing full public access to the park by successfully ending a trophy hunting operation that closed 90% of Santa Rosa Island for up to five months each year. National Parks Conservation Association is proud to honor these deserving park leaders.”

During a decades-long battle to address significant impacts from ranching and hunting and restore public access to Santa Rosa Island, Galipeau and Faulkner were instrumental in enforcing a court-approved settlement agreement to rid the island of non-native elk and deer. These species, imported by ranching and hunting groups, caused overgrazing and damaged the island’s native flora. The Channel Islands National Park leaders have also overseen the restoration of native bald eagles and the recovery of the nearly-extinct island fox. Their work to remove threatening non-native species, including rats, ice plants, feral pigs, and sheep, has allowed the Islands’ unique ecosystem to rebound and strengthen.

During his 34 years with the National Park Service, Superintendent Galipeau has long been a leader in the effort to reestablish and maintain the natural and cultural features of the national parks. Prior to becoming Superintendent of Channel Islands National Park in 2003, he served in various roles at Yosemite, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Everglades National Parks.

“I am grateful for this recognition,” said Channel Islands Superintendent Russell Galipeau. “We have always understood that islands are fragile systems and what we needed was community support to protect and restore a very significant ecological resource. More importantly, the Channel Islands serve as a symbol of hope and a place where future generations can learn, explore and recreate well into the future.”

Kate Faulkner’s career as a biologist and natural resources protector for the National Park Service has spanned 35 years of steadfast dedication to recovering and protecting native species and restoring disrupted ecosystems to their natural states. Before joining the leadership of Channel Islands National Park in 1990, Faulkner served as the lead Natural Resource Specialist in arctic Alaska for Kobuk Valley National Park, Noatak National Preserve, and Cape Krusenstern National Monument.

“I am honored to receive this award,” said Channel Islands Chief of Natural Resources Kate Faulkner. “The Channel Islands had a history of intensive commercial uses and ecological impacts. We knew we needed to do better, and with the help of organizations like NPCA and a committed community, we did. Together we ensured that Channel Islands National Park meets the high standards expected of national parks and the National Park Service.”

The Stephen T. Mather Award, endowed by Booz Allen Hamilton, was presented at this year’s 38th annual Ranger Rendezvous in Black Mountain, North Carolina.


About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit