National Park Service Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin announced yesterday that Mark H. Woods has been selected as the next superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Woods has been the superintendent of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park since January 1997. He is scheduled to report to his new assignment in late September.
Woods,53, is a career National Park Service employee who began his career in 1980 as a seasonal interpreter in South Carolina. In addition to his 16-year tenure as superintendent at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Woods served as superintendent at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in Greensboro, N.C., and as acting superintendent at Virgin Islands National Park and the Natchez Trace Parkway, which spans Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. He has also served several times in the Southeast Regional Office - once as the Associate Regional Director for Natural/Cultural Resource Management and Partnerships, and twice as a Deputy Regional Director.
Woods moved up through the National Park Service ranks as a park interpretive ranger,a resource management/law enforcement ranger, a chief ranger, and superintendent or several park units. His other assignments include parks such as Ninety Six National Historic Site in South Carolina, Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina, Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Tennessee, and Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia. His career also included employment with the South Carolina Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism.
Woods was recognized with the National Park Service's Superintendent of the Year Award in 1997 for outstanding leadership in the field of resource management. In 2004 he received the National Park Service Sustained Park Accessibility Achievement Award, and in 2005 he received the "Take Pride in America" Federal Land Manager Award.
Woods has extensive experience in gateway community planning, major facility design and construction, land acquisition planning, protection of viewsheds, wilderness management and general management planning.
A native of South Carolina, Woods received a bachelor of science degree in sociology from Lander University in Greenwood, S.C. in 1982, and has completed studies at Texas A&M University, and the University of California at Davis. He and his wife Ginny have three children, Maggie, Mark II, and Grayson, and a granddaughter, Abbie.
"I look forward to joining the staff and many partners of the Blue Ridge Parkway as stewards of this outstanding national treasure, and to make its history and beauty come alive for a new generation of Americans" Woods said. "The Parkway has dramatic stories that are only surpassed by its stunning beauty. It is an ever changing landscape that is simply awe-inspiring."
Hiking in the Smokies