Park picks new superintendent

Karen Gustin is the newly appointed superintendent of Olympic National Park, National Park Service regional director Jonathan B. Jarvis announced April 21.

Gustin succeeds Bill Laitner, who retired earlier this year.

Gustin is transferring from her post as superintendent of Big Cypress National Preserve in Ochopee, Fla. She is expected to arrive at park headquarters in Port Angeles in early to mid-July with her family.

“Karen Gustin has shown the ability to collaborate with park users and community groups on controversial issues like off-road vehicle use,” Jarvis said. “I am impressed with her ability to work with partners to accomplish park goals.”

As superintendent of Big Cypress National Preserve, Gustin managed maintenance, interpretation, administration, resource management and ranger operations. She worked closely with community groups on issues ranging from off-road vehicle use to panther management. She oversaw the largest prescribed fire program in the national park system. She also led construction planning for a new welcome center and coordinated a complex lands management program including more than 160 private inholdings.

Gustin has served in leadership roles in national park units from Guam to Alaska. She was superintendent of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from 2001-2004 and spent three years as superintendent at War in the Pacific National Historical Park on Guam and American Memorial Park on Saipan. She was responsible for day-to-day operations of the field office for Katmai National Park and Preserve, Aniakchak National Monument and Alagnak Wild River in Alaska from 1997-1998. In 1994, she began her first superintendent position at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa.

“I am excited to join the staff at Olympic and get to know the fantastic resources of the park,” Gustin said. “I am eager to meet partners and sister organizations that we collaborate with as well.”

Gustin is a graduate of Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in outdoor recreation. She and her husband, Grant, have two children, Keely and Ross. She and her daughter own horses and are avid equestrians.

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