Mark Hardgrove Named Virgin Islands National Park Superintendent
Contact: Outer Banks Group, 252-473-5860
(ATLANTA) August 8, 2007 -- The National Park Service today announced that Mark Hardgrove has been selected as the new Superintendent of Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument. According to Southeast Regional Director Patricia Hooks, Hardgrove will assume his new responsibilities on September 2, 2007.
"Mark brings tremendous experience in park management and park operations to his new assignment, Hooks said. “He has been a successful park manager for 17 years and has an impressive track record of community involvement, working with park partners, stakeholders and elected officials."
Hardgrove, a 35-year veteran of the National Park Service (NPS) and a native of Bethesda Md., has served as the Deputy Superintendent at the Outer Banks Group of Parks (Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Wright Brothers National Monument, and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site) in North Carolina, for the past six years. He succeeds Arthur Frederick, in the top post at Virgin Islands, considered to be one of the park system’s most pristine areas. Frederick transferred in September 2006 to become Deputy Regional Director in Atlanta.
Hardgrove started with the NPS in the Washington, D.C. area working at various posts, including the C&O Canal National Historical Park, George Washington Memorial Parkway, the NPS Special Events Team, and National Capital Parks East. Some of his other assignments include serving 11 years as Deputy Superintendent at San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico and eight years at Big Cypress National Preserve in south Florida. Hardgrove has also served as acting Superintendent at Cumberland Island National Seashore and Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. He was acting Superintendent at Virgin Islands National Park during recovery operations after Hurricane Marilyn in 1995.
"I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to work with the community, concession operators, stakeholders, partners and staff of the Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument," Hardgrove said. "Millie and I really look forward to living and working in such a prized and beautiful community. We have missed the Caribbean since our transfer from Puerto Rico to work on the mainland."
Hardgrove is married to Milagros (Millie) Flores Roman, a historian and cultural resource manager for the NPS. Mark and Millie have four children, Hillary 23, Damien 22, Amanda 21, and Tamara 17.
In his new role as Superintendent of Virgin Islands National Park and Coral Reef National Monument Hardgrove will oversee two parks known throughout the world for their breathtaking beauty. Virgin Islands NP covers approximately three-fifths of St. John, and nearly all of Hassel Island in the Charlotte Amalie Harbor of St. Thomas. Within its borders lie protected bays of crystal blue-green waters teeming with coral reef life, white sandy beaches shaded by seagrape trees, coconut palms, and tropical forests providing habitat for more than 800 species of plants. To these amazing natural resources, add relics from the Pre-Columbian Amerindian Civilization, reminders of the Slavery era and the Subsistence Culture that followed during the 100 years after Emancipation - all part of the rich cultural history of the park and its island home. Hardgrove will oversee a staff of approximately 70 and an annual operating budget of more than $5,200,000.
Did You Know?
In the 1700s, Ocracoke Inlet was one of the busiest inlets in the East. It was one of the few navigable waterways for ships accessing inland ports such as Elizabeth City, Edenton or New Bern. It was here that Blackbeard the pirate found the inlet's heavy shipping traffic ripe for easy pickings.