Kay Rohde, Chief Interpretive Ranger At Lake Mead NRA to Retire on September 30 44-07

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Date: September 20, 2007
Contact: Roxanne Dey, 702.293.8691

Longtime National Park Service Ranger Kay Rohde, currently the Chief of Interpretation at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, will retire with 31 years of service on September 30, 2007.

Although she is retiring from the NPS, she will be opening up the next chapter of her career working in the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming. As many of her co-workers and friends already know, Rohde is also an ordained Episcopal Priest. "I am looking forward to finding exciting ways to blend the needs of the NPS to fulfill its mission with working with young people in faith-based communities. It’s all about taking care of our world," said Rohde.

Rohde relocated to Lake Mead NRA in June of 1989 when she accepted the Chief of Interpretation position. During her 18+ years at the park, she built up the Interpretation Program and oversaw the building of a major environmental education effort that reaches thousands of students annually. Rohde has also been active working with other agencies and partners developing a variety of education programs. She led the interagency efforts on Interpretive Programs for the California Desert as part of the Desert Managers Group. She also lead initial efforts at developing an environmental education strategy for Southern Nevada involving federal, state, and local agencies.

"Kay Rohde has been an important part of the management team at Lake Mead NRA. The programs she put in place will continue to grow and touch the lives of many students outside of the park, and the many visitors who come into the park, for many years to come. We wish her well in the next phase of her career and life in Wyoming. We know she will approach her new position with the same passion and expertise she has always brought to Lake Mead," said Superintendent Bill Dickinson.

NPS Pacific West Regional Director Jon Jarvis said, "Kay is part of the great tradition of National Park Interpreters. She has that innate ability to connect well with people. To listen. To find the strength and positive values in all of us. We hope her retirement is as fulfilling as all the park visitors have found her interpretive programs!"

The Eureka, California native first became involved with the National Park Service while she was a senior in high school. Her civics class sat in on the public hearings for the proposed Redwood National Park, which were held in her high school auditorium. She went on to attend California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA, where she obtained her undergraduate degree in Recreation Administration.

In 1974, she began her career with California State Parks and was a member of the first staff at the newly dedicated Lake Perris State Recreation Area near Riverside, California. Rohde worked the entrance station and on the boat patrol.

She also worked as an NPS Volunteer at Rocky Mountain National Park for two winters (1974 and 1975) in the park dispatch office. Rohde worked as a seasonal park technician interpreter at Jewel Cave National Monument, South Dakota where she led cave tours and was introduced to sport of "caving."

Rohde then accepted a seasonal park technician position at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico in 1976. Her duties included: roving cave trails (self guided tours at that time); developing and presenting Bat Flight Programs; leading lantern tours at New Cave (an undeveloped cave in Slaughter Canyon); and also led guided hikes on the surface (Chihuahuan Desert).

From October 1976 to February 1977, Rohde worked as a park volunteer at Carlsbad Caverns. She worked with the cave specialist, researching and initiating the first "cleaning" -- the removing algae -- of cave formations.

She became a permanent Service employee as a park technician at Carlsbad Caverns in 1977. Rohde also worked as a Radon Technician and Assistant to the Cave Management Specialist at Carlsbad Caverns. Her duties included taking radon (natural radiation emitted by rocks) readings in cave, assisting with cave exploration, monitoring resources, and mapping, etc. She developed a Special Project proposal for a cave clean-up crew. She supervised a small crew of folks who removed algae, dust, old construction fill, and other debris.

In 1977, Rohde was selected for Ranger Intake Program and was assigned to Everglades National Park in Florida. While there she worked on a variety of Interpretive Programs and environmental education. She also did several details with the park Resource Management program doing work in fire management and wildlife monitoring, among other duties.

She did a short stint for three years (1979-1982) at Shenandoah National Park. Her work included working on energy initiative projects performing facility energy surveys, and interpretation programs focusing on energy-conservation initiatives. She was reassigned to the park permanently at the end of the summer as the North District Naturalist.

From 1982 to 1989 she accepted a position as Assistant Chief of Interpretation at Wind Cave National Park. In that capacity, she supervised the day-to-day interpretive operations that included: a full schedule of cave tours, evening programs in campground, guided hikes, and the environmental education program. She also began the cave management program, drafted the cave management plan, and initiated cave inventory program using students from NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and local caving groups. She also served as the resource advisor during major construction projects in cave. This work included replacing asphalt trails with concrete and replacing the lights in the developed area of the cave.

Kay Rohde’s son Alex is currently enrolled at University of Nevada, Reno and he just completed his first summer season as an Interpretive Park Ranger at Yosemite National Park.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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