News Release

Superintendent Mark Spier to Retire

Superintendent Mark Spier stands in front of sign for the Resaca de la Palma Battlefield unit.
Superintendent Mark Spier's career with the NPS spanned 43 years.

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News Release Date: September 13, 2019

Contact: Mark Spier, (956) 541-2785

Contact: Daniel Ibarra, (956) 541-2785


Superintendent Mark Spier will retire after 43 years with the National Park Service. He first put on the ranger uniform the summer of 1976 while still in college. It was not that he was necessarily qualified, but because, according to his height and weight listed on his application, he fit a newly purchased uniform for the park’s living history program.

Early Career

Spier went on to work three seasons at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park (AL). He received a permanent appointment at the park in 1978 as a part time Park Technician (Interpretation). Spier earned a promotion to a Park Technician (Law Enforcement) after graduating the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in 1979. Mark Spier served as a Commissioned Law Enforcement ranger for the NPS for 35 years.
Spier went on to work as a Park Technician and Sub-District Ranger at Everglades National Park (FL) and as a District Ranger at Big Cypress National Preserve (FL).  He also served as an Area Ranger at Olympic National Park (WA), as a District Ranger at C&O Canal National Historical Park (MD), and as Law Enforcement Specialist and then Chief Park Ranger at Big Bend National Park (TX).  Spier also served as Acting Superintendent at Chiricahua National Monument (AZ).

During these assignments Spier performed a wide range of visitor and resource protection duties in both front and backcountry settings. He was also an Emergency Medical Technician, wildland and structural firefighter, Search and Rescue team member and instructed a variety of law enforcement training.

Palo Alto Battlefield NHP

In 2009, Spier became Superintendent of Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site and oversaw the transition of the park to a National Historical Park. He facilitated the purchase of the Resaca de la Palma battlefield transferring the ownership of the land to the NPS.  In addition, he managed development of the site into the second unit of the park. This development included the addition of a paved parking area, restrooms and interpretive media. Spier also worked extensively with partners to complete an Environmental Assessment to extend an existing hike bike trail from Brownsville through the park to connect to the City of Los Fresnos.

South Texas Group

In 2014, Spier received the National Park Service Director’s Superintendent of the Year Award for Natural Resource Stewardship for his work in protecting Palo Alto Battlefield and several National Historic Landmarks in south Texas from external development threats. That same year, Spier was selected as Superintendent of the South Texas group including Padre Island National Seashore and Palo Alto Battlefield NHP.

Since that time, he has managed both sites. At Padre Island, Spier oversaw a major Federal Highways project to repave the park roads and parking areas and the construction of a new fee collection station. He guided both parks through the celebration of the 2016 Centennial of the National Park Service and at Padre Island the 40th Anniversary of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle recovery program.

Making a Difference

Mark Spier grew up in Colorado and graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in history.  He and his wife, Lisa, have three daughters.

When asked, Spier said he will always be grateful for some spectacular adventures, working in some spectacular places with some of the most dedicated and professional individuals there are - the men and women of the National Park Service.

Spier went on to recount that one of his daughters while growing up would always ask when he came home, “Did you make a difference today?... and I’d like to think maybe I did”.

Last updated: September 19, 2019

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

600 E. Harrison Street
Room 1006

Brownsville, TX 78520


956 541-2785 x333

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