Superintendent John J Donahue Announces Retirement

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Date: September 27, 2017
Contact: Kathleen Sandt, Public Affairs Specialist,, (570) 426-2472

Bushkill, PA- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent John J. Donahue announced today that he will retire from the National Park Service on December 3, 2017, capping off a 38-year federal career that took him to numerous national park units in several different roles.

Prior to his current position, Donahue was Superintendent of Big Cypress National Preserve and Desoto National Memorial in Florida, George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Virginia, and Thomas Stone National Historic Site in Maryland. He has served as Superintendent at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Middle Delaware Scenic and Recreational River since 2003.

Donahue started his career as a permanent employee with the United States as a gardener, first at Cape Cod National Seashore and later at John Muir National Historic Site. He has also served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Fish Wildlife and Parks in the Department of Interior and as an Environmental Specialist in the Washington Office of the NPS. He also held positions as the Chief of Resource Management and Visitor Services at Cape Cod National Seashore and as a Resource Manager at Morristown National Historical Park.

recent years, John led the United States and an international delegation to China on behalf of the National Park Service and attended the World Parks Conference in Australia. In 1999, he was part of a delegation that visited national parks in Haiti to spur tourism and economic development. During his tenure, he has written legislation, regulations, policies, and numerous articles. His areas of expertise include wildlife, cultural landscapes and landscape scale connectivity and restoration.

Superintendent Donahue takes great pride in the relationships he has established with the local elected officials and in leading the park’s efforts to cooperate with partners and neighbors to improve the local area. Through his leadership, the recent stewardship land acquisition program resulting from the Susquehanna – Roseland Transmission Line settlements has essentially connected national recreation area lands to state forests and privately-owned but preserved hunting clubs in PA and across the river to connect with New Jersey state parks and forests creating a large landscape of hundreds of thousands of acres of connected open space only 85 miles from Manhattan and 100 miles from Philadelphia. Another issue of pride for Donahue has been the great relationship established with the Native American Tribes whose homeland includes Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The Native American youth camps and regular consultation and cooperation with the Tribes bring him great joy.

Donahue graduated as a Senior Executive Fellow from the Kennedy School at Harvard in 2003 and the Leadership for a Democratic Society at the Federal Executive Institute in 2008 and 2009. He holds a Certificate in Public Leadership from the Brookings institute completed in 2010. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies (Cum Laude), from the California State University in 1986. In recent years he was commended by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Senate and received a citation for his role in creating Common Waters on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. He also received a Superior Service Award from the Department of Interior.

He has been married to his bride, Sarah Donahue for forty years and has a nineteen year old son, John Vincent Donahue, who attends East Stroudsburg University. They plan to remain in the area and continue hiking and boating in the national park.

For more information on Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area call park headquarters at (570) 426-2452, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm; visit our website; of follow us on Facebook at

Last updated: September 28, 2017

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