From the Editor: Making history for the parks

I will be retiring at the end of March, and this will be my last issue as editor of Park Science. Since 1994 it has been my professional privilege and personal pleasure to serve as your editor. Jeff Selleck, editor

Making history for the parks

We highlight NPS use of science and the evolution of science-based natural resource management from 1916 to 2016 in a pullout timeline that you will find near the middle of this issue. With this timeline we share insights into the evolution of science as a tool for understanding and managing the resources entrusted to our care. My perspective is that while progress over the last century was uneven, in the last roughly 35 years we have experienced a surge in the use and refinement of scientific tools and processes that aid us in our work, and because of this we are better able to protect the natural resource values of our parks so that people may more fully experience them.

With this issue I too am marking a personal milestone in my career with the National Park Service. I will be retiring at the end of March, and this will be my last issue as editor of Park Science. Since 1994 it has been my professional privilege and personal pleasure to serve as your editor. The idea that national parks are as ecologically undisturbed as any areas in the world intrigued me in my early twenties. I wanted to work for the National Park Service and learn all I could about the parks. Park Science has been all I imagined in this way and more—a chance to think and write about our parks and help others present their work in the best possible manner, to better appreciate the scientific method for all its possible applications, and to feast on publication design considerations to advance science communication for the National Park Service. It truly was a right brain–left brain experience and I have loved it. Each issue was like climbing a mountain, my favorite activity in the national parks when I was an interpretive park ranger earlier in my career. Both endeavors require planning and commitment, critical thinking, the ability to deal with performance anxiety, and fostering a team experience in the execution. Afterward there’s often a huge sense of satisfaction, and then we climb again. Also I am motivated by the power of putting ideas in print. Articles in Park Science join an important body of literature, so it is important to put them together carefully and thoughtfully for the impact they can have now and in the future. To make this contribution to park stewardship has been immensely satisfying.

I will miss the intellectual challenges, creativity, and collaborations of this work, but I am confident Park Science will go on in great fashion. The immediate goal of the Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate is to conduct a review of the journal and develop a strategic plan to guide the publication into the future, and the process to hire a new editor has already begun. You can expect to find periodic updates on the transition on the Park Science website.

Park Science is a superior vehicle for the transfer of knowledge about how research supports management of our parks. This purpose is as relevant today as when the journal began in 1980 and is the main reason for its continued success. Readers, authors, NPS managers and park staffs, international partners, cooperators, contractors, coworkers, and even members of the public have regularly expressed their enthusiasm, support, and encouragement to me for Park Science. Thank you.

As professional resource managers and researchers we deal with change on a daily basis. We are fortunate to have a mission in the National Park Service that is wonderfully utilitarian. Our contributions to this mission are especially important to making a history for the parks that we can all be proud of. In doing our part each day we strengthen the scientific traditions and values that undergird good park management. Carry on.

—Jeff Selleck, Editor

Last updated: March 31, 2022