New Superintendent Named at Assateague Island National Seashore
Contact: Rachelle Daigneault, 410-629-6088
Philadelphia – Deborah "Debbie" Darden has been selected as the new superintendent of Assateague Island National Seashore. Darden has served as the deputy superintendent at New River Gorge National River and the associated Gauley River National Recreation Area and Bluestone National Scenic River since November 2002.
"The cornerstones of Debbie's career are her ability to facilitate complex planning issues, foster productive teams and cultivate successful partnerships," noted National Park Service (NPS) Northeast Regional Director Dennis R. Reidenbach. "These skills will serve the Assateague staff, community and visitors well." While at New River Gorge, Darden developed highly functional partnerships with six gateway communities, multiple user groups, three counties, and the Boy Scouts of America – who will now contribute tens of thousands of volunteer hours to the park annually through their new neighboring campus.
Darden also strategically addressed the park’s backlog of Line Item Construction projects; including some 57 add-ons totaling $16.5 million. She strengthened resource management and planning programs at the park, which led to the successful development of a new General Management Plan (GMP). She managed several complex environmental assessments as part of the implementation phase of this planning effort.
“I am so honored to be selected as the superintendent of Assateague Island National Seashore. I grew up near Padre Island National Seashore, and I love barrier islands and their resources," said Darden. "I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with partners and staff to protect and provide for people’s recreation and learning about this extraordinary place.”
Prior to New River Gorge, Darden served as the chief of resource management and planning at Gettysburg National Military Park, where she also coordinated a landmark partnership effort and managed the development of a significant GMP. She has also held positions at the NPS Northeast Regional Office and the private firm of Black Atkinson Vernooy of Austin, TX.
Darden is a native of Texas and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies and a Master’s in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.
Did You Know?
"You have to go out, but you don't have to come back." Such was the life of a surfman from fall to spring. The forgotten heroes of the U.S. Life-Saving Service rescued numerous shipwreck victims from Assateague's waters. The island was home to 4 Life-Saving Stations in the late 1800's-early 1900's.