Olympic National Park chief to leave for Alaska

Olympic National Park’s superintendent is leaving for Alaska in January after serving as chief of the nearly 1 million-acre park for nine years.

Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum has accepted a new role as the regional director for the National Park Service in Alaska.

She and her husband, Bob, and their border collie, Jimmy, will move to Anchorage, Alaska, where she will assume her new role on Jan. 16.

The decision on who will serve as the acting superintendent for Olympic National Park in Creachbaum’s absence will be made in the coming weeks, according to Penny Wagner, park spokesperson.

Lee Taylor has served as the park’s deputy superintendent since 2015.

It was a previous trip to Alaska as a young adult that made Creachbaum keen to accept her newest position, according to a press release.

“I first fell in love with Alaska on a trip to Denali as a young adult and became deeply interested in the state’s issues while serving as the NPS Alaska desk officer in Washington, D.C., in 2005,” Creachbaum said in the release.

“I am thrilled to return to Alaska to lead the dedicated team of NPS professionals working to protect millions of acres of diverse and vital wilderness, preserve Alaska’s unique and important human history, and ensure Alaska’s indigenous peoples’ lifeways thrive but also have a central voice in how the NPS carries out our stewardship responsibilities,” the release continued.

She was not available for comment when the Peninsula Daily News requested an interview.

Creachbaum, who became the Olympic National Park superintendent in 2012, has served in the National Park Service for over 22 years. She has overseen more than 15 national parks, 13 wild rivers and a national heritage area, holding leadership positions at national parks in Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona as well as at the 922,700-acre Olympic National Park.

In 2019, she served as the interim head of the Grand Canyon National Park. In the summer of this year, she worked as head of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada.

In 2016, she was invited by Rep. Derek Kilmer of the 6th Congressional District — which includes the park — to be a guest at the State of the Union address.

Creachbaum earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Arizona and a master’s in landscape architecture from Utah State University.