Kevin FitzGerald, deputy superintendent at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, will retire on January 3rd after 34 years with the National Park Service.
Kevin started his career as a seasonal fee collector on the Blue Ridge Parkway. His first permanent job was as a park ranger in the Oconaluftee area of the Smokies. He later served as a district ranger at Everglades National Park, chief of visitor and resource protection at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP, chief ranger at Cape Cod National Seashore and chief ranger of Intermountain Region before returning to the Great Smoky Mountains in his final permanent NPS position. Kevin also served as the acting chief ranger for the NPS in 2002.
In just over six-and-a-half years at the Smokies, Kevin made a significant impact in developing relationships with park gateway communities, partner organizations, and in recognizing the value and importance of each individual employee. The value of each individual was paramount in Kevin’s focus on improving programs for employee health and safety. Kevin played a key role in guiding the largest infrastructure improvement program in the park since the days of the CCC. The America's Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka “Stimulus”) resulted in an investment of over $80 million in capital improvement projects to the Smokies.
Kevin was also instrumental in developing a relationship with the Tennessee State Historic Preservation Office leading to the approval of a memorandum of agreement for the future of Elkmont, developing a partnership construction agreement leading to the completion of the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center, and developing and implementing the concept and plans for the rehabilitation of the CCC era comfort station at Clingmans Dome into a much needed visitor contact station and bookstore.
Kevin also guided the park’s efforts in managing multiple budget and staffing decision processes to address budget realities. Kevin’s hard work, diligence, and commitment to excellence have left an indelible mark on staff and park partners alike. Kevin is a recipient of two Department of the Interior Honor Awards for Superior and Meritorious Service
Kevin and Cyn Slaughter, his wife of 31 years, who were married in the Smokies at the Oconaluftee Baptist Church at Smokemont, plan to eventually relocate to western North Carolina. They can be reached at: email@example.com
A celebration of Kevin’s career is planned for January 12th in Gatlinburg. Information can be obtained by contacting Molly Schroer or Dana Soehn via Google email or at 865-436-1203/1207.