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Mary Gibson Scott, superintendent of Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway today announced her retirement from the National Park Service (NPS), marking the end of a dedicated career in public service that spans 33 years. Superintendent Scott's last day in the office will be November 8, 2013.
Scott became superintendent of Grand Teton and the JDR Memorial Parkway in May 2004. As part of the NPS' Senior Executive Service (SES), Scott was one of just ten top level park managers—and the only female—with similar appointments across the National Park System, which numbers 401 units. Scott is the third longest-serving superintendent in Grand Teton's history, and first female to fill the park's top position.
During her NPS career, Scott served in park management positions at Santa Fe (former NPS Southwest Regional Office) and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, at Golden Gate, Santa Monica Mountains and Channel Islands in California, at Gateway in New York, and at Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. She also worked on planning and development projects in Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona. In 2010, Scott served as acting regional director for the NPS Intermountain Region Office in Denver, Colorado, where she provided oversight for 91 units across eight states from the border of Canada to Mexico.
During her tenure at Grand Teton, Scott brought several major projects to completion, totaling almost $150M. These included: construction of the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center (2007); design and construction of over 14 miles of multi-use pathways, totaling $14.4M (2008-2013); and construction of 32 residential units at Moose and Beaver Creek at a total cost of $17.6M (2011-2012). Scott also secured $23M in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funding to renovate the Moose HQ campus. This project reduced the built environment by 8,160 square feet. Under Scott's leadership over the last 10 years, Grand Teton has addressed a total of $90.6M in deferred maintenance through project dollars. An additional $43M has also been secured for future projects such as the rehabilitation of Moose water and wastewater systems, the design and construction of Phase 3 & 4 pathways including the Ditch Creek crossing, and the resurface of over 10 miles of Highway 26/89/191.
Scott advanced several critical land acquisitions during her tenure at Grand Teton. She worked with the senior associates of Laurance S. Rockefeller to complete the conveyance of the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve property in 2007 (1,106 acres), and she oversaw the opening of the LSR Preserve Center in 2008. Scott also negotiated an agreement with the State of Wyoming to purchase 1406 acres of state lands within the park (worth $107 million) and finalized the purchase of a 40-acre subsurface mineral parcel at a cost of $2,000 (2011) and an 86-acre parcel of school trust lands for $16 million (late 2012). She has been actively working with the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management and State of Wyoming to secure purchase of the remaining 1,280 acres of school trust lands within the park at a cost of $91M. In addition to the Wyoming school trust lands, Scott helped complete the purchase of several other private land parcels within Grand Teton. The total acreage added during Superintendent Scott's tenure equals 1,286 acres.
Scott directed and provided oversight on well over a dozen NEPA and planning efforts. These included: the Bison & Elk Management Plan/EIS (2005, 2007); Winter Use Plans, which resolved snowmobiling litigation within Grand Teton and the JDR Memorial Parkway (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009; the Colter Bay Visitor Services Plan/EA (2012); and Snake River Management Plan (2012, 2013). Through support of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, she recently helped launched the Jenny Lake Renewal Project, a $13 M public-private partnership project designed to renovate the single-most visited location in the park. This project will also highlight the 2016 NPS Centennial. Scott also launched the start of a major planning effort which will address several resource protection and visitation issues within the Moose-Wilson Corridor that spans from the Murie Ranch to Granite Canyon Entrance Station.
Of special note, Scott initiated and facilitated an extensive planning process that resulted in the first-ever comprehensive environmental impact statement for the Jackson Hole Airport, the only commercial airport in a national park. The Jackson Hole Airport Agreement Extension/EA (2005) and JH Airport Agreement Extension/ FEIS (2010) represented a multi-year process that produced a suite of mitigation measures for protection of park resources, and established a framework for their achievement. Work continues on a wildlife hazard management plan for the JH Airport with support from the FAA.
From 2008-2010, Scott served as chairperson for the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee, which includes federal land managers from national parks, national forests and national wildlife refuges across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She just stepped down as chair of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, a multi-jurisdictional organization focused on the successful recovery and conservation of grizzly bears across a 22-million-acre natural area that spans three states (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming). Scott also served on the National Leadership Council: a representative body of managers from the National Park Service that meets to achieve alignment, consultation, and coordination regarding significant issues facing the NPS.
With representatives of Argentina, Scott recently forged a sister park relationship with Los Glaciares National Park, the largest national park in the country. She also served on the St. John's Medical Center Foundation board.
During her lengthy NPS career, Scott has earned the Department of the Interior Superior Service Award (2003). Her award citation read, "For career-long leadership in support of the preservation of resources of this nation's national parks, and diligence in serving the visiting public, Mary Gibson Scott is granted the Superior Service Award of the Department of the Interior." Scott also earned the 2008 Intermountain Region's Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resources Award. Just recently, Superintendent Scott was recognized for her exemplary leadership in addressing environmental issues and concerns and given the Fran Mainella Award for sustained and innovative achievement by a woman in management of North America's natural, historic or cultural heritage during a George B. Hartzog, Jr. Environmental Awards event at Clemson University in South Carolina.
Scott consistently supported her NPS staff and various park partner organizations. She often praised her NPS employees and credited her success to the hard work and dedication of an outstanding and committed work force. Throughout her tenure at Grand Teton, Scott worked with one guiding principle and a thought-provoking question, "Is it in the best interest of the Park?" Those words are written on a plaque that hangs above her office door at the park's headquarters building in Moose, Wyoming.
Last updated: February 24, 2015