Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent Curt Sauer announced that he will be hanging up his flat hat September 30, 2010 after 35 years of federal service. During his seven years as superintendent of Joshua Tree, Sauer prioritized creating positive relationships and mutually beneficial partnerships with the park’s gateway communities.
Sauer’s career included serving as chief ranger at Olympic National Park, manager for the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, which is part of North Cascades National Park, park ranger at Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain national parks. He also held seasonal positions with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. He came to Joshua Tree National Park as the acting superintendent in 2002 and was appointed superintendent by National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, then the director of the Pacific West Region, on October 6, 2003.
Sauer is a graduate of Colorado State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in park management. In 1988 he was a recipient of the Regional Director’s Award for Excellence. Sauer served on the National Ranger Activities Council from 1997 to 2001, the last two years as chair. He coordinated the Rangers of the 21st Century project, assisted in the implementation of a National Resource Stewardship and Protection Curriculum, and has served on task groups involved with law enforcement and wildland fire policy. In March of 2001 Curt was selected to participate in the Executive Potential Program, which provides training and development experiences in preparation for leadership positions in the federal government.
At Joshua Tree, Sauer was hands-on with the park’s gateway communities and would personally lead tours of the park to increase awareness of park’s benefits and challenges and to encourage stewardship. Sauer oversaw the addition of more than 7,400 acres of privately held land through acquisition or donation to the park, and 36,700 acres of land were upgraded to Wilderness status. Sauer developed and promoted an extensive safety program aimed at reducing accidents and injuries among staff and visitors alike.
In announcing his retirement, Superintendent Sauer said, “I would like to thank local communities, the Joshua Tree National Park Association, park friends groups, and my staff for making the last seven years of my 35-year career absolutely joyful for me.” Sauer will continue to reside in the area.