New monument superintendent to take charge

NATHAN SOUDER

The National Park Service on Monday announced Colorado National Monument's new superintendent, who says he plans to deal with deferred maintenance projects there.

Acting National Park Service Regional Director Chip Jenkins said Nathan Souder will take on the position. He begins Sept. 29, the Park Service said in a news release.

Souder has worked for the Park Service for more than 16 years, most recently as superintendent of  De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton, Florida.

He has worked in Washington, D.C., with the Park Service's Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs, and worked in the Intermountain Regional Office for 10 years in a variety of capacities.

He then moved to Jacksonville, Florida, to serve as one of 10 Urban Fellows in a two-year initiative titled the Urban Agenda, in which the Park Service sought ways to increase relevancy and collaboration, it said in its release.

"Nathan has deep roots providing programmatic support in the fields of interpretation, education, public affairs and budget for western parks that include Colorado National Monument," Jenkins said in the release. "Nathan's outstanding communication, community relations skills, and broad leadership experience will be a great asset to the monument."

Souder said in the release, "Addressing deferred maintenance is a critical focus area of the National Park Service's core mission to preserve parks. I hope to support this effort in my role at Colorado National Monument. Having the opportunity to work with the monument's passionate staff and collaborate with a community that has cared deeply about this place for over a hundred years is a dream come true."

The National Park Service says it has deferred maintenance projects totaling about $12 billion, including about $21 million at Colorado National Monument.

The monument's last superintendent, Ken Mabery, retired at the end of April. Phil Akers, chief ranger at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan and a former chief ranger at Colorado National Monument, has been serving as acting superintendent.

According to the Park Service news release, Souder's family visited many national parks when he was growing up, inspiring him to work at Glacier National Park as a bellman at Many Glacier Hotel.

He then worked the next two summers as a backcountry ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park before graduating from Indiana University.

The release said, "Souder's wife Sarah, and two kids, Elias and Ethan, are thrilled to head back to Colorado and to live on the Western Slope. Having visited the Grand Valley many times, Souder looks forward to serving the staff and people that care so much for this special place.

"He and his family enjoy exploring the outdoors, whether it is looking for fossils, hiking, fishing, or viewing wildlife. His kids are particularly intrigued by the collared lizard found in the area and are very much looking forward to seeing one."

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