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Contact: Norma Sosa, (760) 252-6102
Todd Suess, a veteran of federal land management agencies in the western U.S., has begun service as Superintendent of Mojave National Preserve.
Suess (pronounced "cease") had been Acting Superintendent of the Preserve since mid-January. He succeeds Stephanie Dubois, who retired as Superintendent at the end of 2014.
Suess comes to Mojave from Olympic National Park in Washington State, where he served as Deputy Superintendent, overseeing park operations involving administration, resource and visitor protection, resources management, interpretation and education, and facilities programs. Olympic National Park is comprised of nearly a million acres in the Pacific Northwest with natural resources encompassing ocean beaches, rainforests, and alpine mountain environments that include nearly 900,000 acres of designated Wilderness.
"It is an honor to be selected as the fifth Superintendent of Mojave National Preserve and to follow in the footsteps of the past leaders of the park," Suess said. "I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know the people of the communities surrounding the Preserve and working with the Preserve staff.My time here so far has been terrific. I'm meeting many new friendly people and beginning to get to know the amazing resources in this part of the Mojave Desert.It is good to be back in the desert environment."
In his 26 years as a manager of public lands, Suess has extensive experience in overseeing wide expanses of wild lands in the desert southwest as Acting Superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park late last year and as a Bureau of Land Management employee in Yuma, Arizona. He shares desert communities' respect for the land and the passion to preserve it for the use of generations to come.
From 2001 to 2010, Suess was Superintendent at Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota, where he developed strong collaborative relationships among the local communities and park staff. Suess had previously worked at Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, both as chief of resource management and as acting superintendent, and in the same capacities before that at Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota.
Suess earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota College of Forestry in 1988. After graduating, he held numerous seasonal positions at various national parks and then worked for the Bureau of Land Management for four years as an outdoor recreation planner in Arizona. He returned to the National Park Service in 1995.
Suess and his wife, Jackie, and their daughter Willow live in Barstow. "The transition to desert living has gone well so far," he said. "We are settling into a new life in Southern California, enjoying the spring weather as we set up our new home and learn what the area has to offer. We are very happy to be here and are anxious to become more active in the local community."
Mojave National Preserve, established in 1994, is vast. At 1.5 million acres, it is the third-largest unit of the National Park Service in the contiguous United States. Located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Mojave provides serenity and solitude from major metropolitan areas. Singing sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, joshua tree forests, desert bighorn sheep, a restored railroad depot, and carpets of spring wildflowers are all found in the Preserve. A visit to its canyons, mountains, and mesas will reveal inspiring vistas, a wide diversity of plant and animal life, and the opportunity to learn about the Preserve's colorful human history at long-abandoned mines, homesteads, and rock-walled military outposts. In the heart of the Mojave Desert, the Preserve protects extensive resources for all to enjoy.