13th National Park Service Director James M. Ridenour

April 17, 1989 - January 20, 1993

Portrait of James M. Ridenour
James M. Ridenour

James M. Ridenour served as director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for eight years before becoming NPS director in April 1989. Less willing than Mott to accept park system additions driven by local economic development interests, Ridenour spoke out against the "thinning of the blood" of the system and sought to retain the initiative from Congress in charting its expansion. He favored alternatives to full federal acquisition of proposed parklands, stressed the importance of working with other government bodies and private entities to protect lands in and outside the system, and sought to achieve a greater financial return to the NPS from park concessions. He departed with the Bush administration in January 1993.