Naylor to retire as TRNP superintendent
The superintendent of Theodore Roosevelt National Park will retire from her post at the end of October. Valerie Naylor, who has headed the park for more than 11 years, said her last day will be Oct. 31. An Oregon native, Naylor said she'll move o...
The superintendent of Theodore Roosevelt National Park will retire from her post at the end of October.
Valerie Naylor, who has headed the park for more than 11 years, said her last day will be Oct. 31.
An Oregon native, Naylor said she’ll move on to civilian life in her home in South Dakota, but intends to remain connected to North Dakota and particularly the issues and challenges facing the park, which has been surrounded by the Bakken oil boom development.
“The park is very special to me. I’m never going to stop trying to preserve it, just from a different place,” she said.
During her tenure at the park, she guided a multi-year process to reduce the elk population using volunteer sportsmen and women, who hunted hundreds of female elk within the park, with the elk meat donated to tribes and food pantries around the state.
She has also helped negotiate oil well placements and other development to protect the park visitor experience from noise, flaring and odor.
Naylor’s first park job was at the park as an intern 35 years ago, and she said it’s an interesting twist of fate that both her first and last association with the National Park Service were at the same place, first in the bottom rung position and then as superintendent.
She said an interim superintendent will be appointed in her place, while a search is underway by the regional office to find a permanent replacement. She said superintendent positions are usually filled from within the National Park Service, though it’s possible someone from another agency could qualify.
She oversees both the North and South Units of Theodore Roosevelt, the park’s Elkhorn Ranch site where Roosevelt’s 1880s era cattle cabin was located, and the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site near Stanton.