October 28, 2011
Hello and welcome to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve's (WRST) website. My name is Rick Obernesser and I am the new Superintendent at WRST.
In order for us to get to know each other better, I invite you to ask me questions, as well as provide comments and feedback about your park via email, Facebook, and/or Twitter. I will do my best to answer your questions within the same week received. I hope you will find our website and social media pages to be a convenient means of sharing your feedback, comments, and questions with me and the park staff.
Wrangell-St. Elias is truly a unique and dynamic park within the National Park System, in addition to being a World Heritage Site. The opportunity for me to work at the nation's largest National Park is both exciting and humbling. During the week of October 2nd, I visited the park for the first time and met with park staff. I also attended the first day of the 2011 Subsistence Resource Commission Meeting in Northway, as well as met with community members and traveled to the town of McCarthy and the Kennecott National Historic Landmark. It was a whirlwind trip but one that gave me a peek into the strong community voices and the many stakeholders involved. I look forward to working with all of you, visiting the communities and people in and around the park in the coming months, and getting to know the issues.
Alaska is a place I have always wanted to live and work, and the opportunity finally presented itself. My wife Pamela, daughter Stephanie, and I will be leaving Washington D.C. around November 20th to begin our journey north. My son Scott will be joining us in the spring. We are all very excited to be moving to the Copper River Valley.
I will be hosting a community gathering at park headquarters early in the New Year so please stay tuned as more details will be forthcoming.
See you at the park soon!
The Alaska Regional Director has written a letter of introduction for Rick. Please click HERE to read her welcome letter.
What Does a Park Superintendent Do?
The Superintendent sets all local policy for the park, based on Department of the Interior (DOI), National Park Service (NPS), and Regional guidance, and interprets regional and national policy in decision making and goal setting.The position approves park and divisional goals and work plans, allocates the park budget as necessary, and sets priorities for all phases of park management.The superintendent leads all planning for the park.
Did You Know?
Danish explorer Vitus Bering, sailing for Russia in 1741, named the majestic St. Elias mountains, including towering Mt. St. Elias (18,008’), for St. Elias, on whose Feast Day (July 20) he made the sighting.