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Contact: Darlene M. Koontz, 530-595-6102
MINERAL, CA –Darlene M. Koontz, Superintendent at Lassen Volcanic National Park since 2007, announced that she will retire on October 31 after 31 dedicated years with the National Park Service. "The past 31 years have been the best adventure I could ask for. I have met and had the privilege of working with wonderful and inspirational people throughout my career. The National Park Service is a special community, of which I feel lucky to have been a part of for so many years," stated Superintendent Koontz.
As superintendent at Lassen Volcanic National Park, Koontzoversaw the preservation and protection of cultural and natural resources including designated wilderness, 150 miles of backcountry trails including a section of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Nobles Emigrant Trail, 8 campgrounds, 2 visitor centers, 65 housing units, 6 water treatment systems, and 30 miles of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway.Koontz led efforts in the construction of the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, the Lassen Peak Trail rehabilitation, Lassen's first Wilderness and Backcountry Stewardship Plan, and worked tirelessly to bring to fruition a permanent place for youth at the park, the Volcano Adventure Camp, which is slated to open in 2016.
Koontz has served around the countryin places such as Everglades National Park in south Florida as a backcountry ranger and Cumberland Island National Seashore off the coast of Georgia in interpretation and visitor services.She taught at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) for four years in the Behavioral Sciences Division, was a Presidential Appointed Board Trustee for the Valles Caldera National Preserve, andserved as an NPS Bevinetto Fellow in Washington, D.C. assigned to the subcommittee on national parks, historic preservation and recreation and the NPS Legislative and Congressional Affairs office where she was involved in reviewing, analyzing, and drafting bureau legislation.
Koontz, a graduate of the Department of the Interior Senior Executive Service, has been a superintendent for the past 15 years;first at Grant Kohrs Ranch in Montana then Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico and finally closing out her impressive career at Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Throughout her career she has worked with and developed a variety of partnerships in support of conservation, the National Park Service and gateway communities."I will miss many things, but most of all, my National Park Service friends and partners," stated Koontz. "It has been a pleasure working with the Lassen Park Foundation, Lassen Association, cooperating agencies, California Guest Services and park employees during my time here."
Koontz and her husband Chip Davis, himself a retired NPS employee, are looking forward to the opportunity to continue exploring our country's special places, sailing in the islands, going on camping trips with their dogs and enjoying good food and good friends.