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SAN FRANCISCO - Natalie Gates has been selected as the new superintendent of Haleakalā National Park on the island of Maui in Hawai`i. Dr. Gates has worked at Point Reyes National Seashore in California for the last twelve years, first as a wildlife biologist, and then as chief of natural resource management. She will transition to her new duties at Haleakalā in March.
"Natalie has a strong track record in the protection of native species and ecosystems. She has proven she can solve complicated issues while respecting all the voices in the room," said Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. "Natalie's deep respect for diverse cultures and communities and her team building skills will be an asset to Haleakalā National Park."
Dr. Gates graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Biology. She earned a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and a Master's degree in Wildland Resource Management from the University of California at Berkeley. She has worked in small animal veterinary clinics New York, Hawai`i and California. During her career in the National Park Service (NPS), in addition to her experience at Point Reyes, Dr. Gates has worked as acting superintendent of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in eastern Washington and has completed detail assignments with the NPS Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs in Washington, D.C. and with the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the NPS Pacific West Regional Office. In 2009 she was awarded the Pacific West Regional Director's Award for Natural Resource Management.
Haleakalā National Park is one of the oldest in the National Park System, established as part of Hawaii National Park in 1916, just weeks prior to the creation of the National Park Service itself. It was renamed in 1960 when it was split from what then became Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawai`i. Haleakalā encompasses both rain forests and arid ecosystems in lands ranging from sea level up to 10,000 feet, as well as significant Native Hawaiian cultural sites.
In accepting the position Dr. Gates said, "It will be an absolute privilege to work with the staff of Haleakalā National Park and local communities around it. Haleakalā is home to a treasure of cultural resources, natural resources and wilderness, and I look forward to working hard to preserve them." She added: "I plan on being an avid student of Haleakalā - its stories and its vital importance to Native Hawaiians."
In the coming weeks, Dr. Gates plans to move to Maui with her husband, Courty, their three sons, and their Labrador retriever.