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SAN FRANCISCO - Kathy Billings has been selected as the new superintendent for Death Valley National Park in California and Nevada. Kathy is currently the Superintendent at Kaloko-Honokōhau and Pu`uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Parks in Hawai`i. She will begin her new position in mid March. She replaces former superintendent Sarah Craighead, who left in November to become superintendent at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.
"Kathy's breadth of experience will be a great asset for the park," said Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. "Her background managing many different types of parks makes her an excellent choice to oversee the varied and complex issues at Death Valley."
During her career of 29 years, Kathy has worked and lived at national parks located in all four deserts of the United States, including Big Bend National Park in the Chihuahuan Desert; Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert; Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in the Sonoran Desert; and Great Basin National Park in the Great Basin Desert. She has served as superintendent at USS Arizona Memorial (now World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument), Great Basin National Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and Pecos National Historical Park.
Kathy and her husband Dick are originally from Southern California. Kathy holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
The largest national park in the United States outside of Alaska, Death Valley is well known for its extremes, especially in temperature and elevation. The park recorded the highest temperature on record anywhere in the world, 134 degrees Fahrenheit, in 1913. Within its borders is the lowest point in North America at Badwater, 282 feet below sea level, only a few miles away from the summit of Telescope Peak, rising to over 11,000 feet. The park is also widely recognized for its colorful landscapes, and for its equally colorful history. More information about Death Valley National Park is available online at www.nps.gov/deva.
"I am humbled and thrilled to be offered the opportunity to work with the community and staff of Death Valley," states Kathy. "It is exciting to return to the desert and continue to learn about the desert environment, diversity of the resources and incredible culture of the area. I look forward to joining the park team in advancing the stewardship vision for Death Valley National Park."