Class of 1967
Chuck began his career as a seasonal park ranger in 1975 at Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments, while completing college at Northern Arizona University. He continued his seasonal work at Montezuma’s Castle and Well National Monuments.
In 1977, he got his first permanent job as a backcountry ranger conducting foot and horseback patrols at Bandelier National Monument. His work there also involved fighting the largest wildland fire in New Mexico history.
In 1978, he transferred to Lassen Volcanic National Park as part of the NPS intake program, participating in extensive training programs at Albright and FLETC. During his tenure at Lassen, he was “forced” to perform ski patrol on a regular basis to provide assistance to park visitors at the concession run ski area.
In 1979, he moved on to Colorado National Monument, where he worked as both a ranger and the park’s first resource management specialist. One significant project required relocating a herd of introduced bison to Badlands National Monument in an effort to help restore the park’s native vegetation.
He moved to Grand Canyon National Park in 1983, one of Chuck’s favorite assignments. While there, he served in three different positions. Initially, he was the park’s backcountry subdistrict ranger, overseeing visitor use throughout the canyon, responding to search and rescue needs on a regular basis, and occasionally “forced” to hike on one of the canyon’s spectacular trails for his living. Next, he served as the river subdistrict ranger, overseeing 20 commercial companies providing river trips as well as the staff who patrolled the 200 miles of the Colorado River that runs through the park.
His third assignment at Grand Canyon was as the park’s management assistant, where he became involved with multiple park planning projects, including the Colorado River management plan and working to bring passenger rail service back to the park. He also served as park information officer, which at the Grand Canyon means dealing with media from around the world. These Grand Canyon assignments would prepare him for the remainder of his NPS career.
During his tenure as superintendent of Capitol Reef National Park from 1991 to 1998, the park developed a forward-thinking GMP that focused in particular on retaining the park’s wilderness characteristics while continuing to allow public access and use. Employee living and working conditions were improved by adding new housing units and modernizing many other existing facilities, and the Friends of Capitol Reef group was created.
Utilizing the park as an outdoor classroom became an emphasis while at Capitol Reef, and a former park residence was converted into the Ripple Rock Nature Center, following a grant from the National Park Foundation. The defining accomplishments of his tenure there involved protecting the values of the southern reaches of the 100-mile-long park from unwanted road developments and winning the Burr Trail lawsuit.
Many positive things occurred during Chuck’s final assignment as superintendent of Crater Lake National Park from 1998 to 2008. The catalyst for much of it was the planning for and celebration of the park’s centennial in 2002. The centennial provided the spring-board to launch the Crater Lake National Park Trust, the park’s distinguished philanthropic group dedicated to fundraising for special park needs. The centennial also helped make possible the creation of the Crater Lake license plate, which has sold nearly 200,000 copies and led to the creation of an endowment fund to support future operations at the park’s new Science and Learning Center.
The centennial also stimulated interest in the creation of the Crater Lake Science and Learning Center itself, resulting in a substantial grant from the Jeld-Wen Foundation. The center opened in the summer of 2006 at a special dedication ceremony attended by numerous special guests and dignitaries, headed by Congressman Greg Walden. A favorite project of Chuck’s, it is his hope that the Science and Learning Center will be transformative in the future of the park and its relations with scientific and educational communities.
Other positive accomplishments include the creation of the "Classroom at Crater Lake" project, with funding from the Crater Lake Trust, so that eventually every child in Oregon will have the opportunity to visit Crater Lake. The trust and other interested groups also played a role in supporting the choice of Crater Lake to grace the Oregon quarter.
Significant improvements to facilities and infrastructure that support and enhance the visitor experience were also made during Chuck’s time at the park. These include the relocation of the Rim Village parking area away from the lake, along with architectural improvements to the Rim Café and Gift shop, which opened in July 2007, the beautiful pedestrian plaza in the location of the former rim parking lot, and the new Annie Creek Restaurant to better serve visitors at Mazama Village.
Also during Chuck’s tenure at Crater Lake, the park succeeded (with much help) in getting a very accurate bathymetric map of the lake, completed in 2001, yielding tremendous insights into the eruption of Mt. Mazama and the formation of the lake. The park completed a new GMP in 2005, replacing a nearly 30-year-old predecessor, and also made significant progress in restoring the natural role of fire into the ecosystem after nearly 20 years of stagnation. In the summer of 2006 the park managed a lightning-caused fire for several months, resulting in the largest acreage fire in park history. Many successes and great projects!
Chuck is initially retiring in Klamath Falls, Oregon, where his wife Maureen is an elementary school teacher and son Wyatt and daughter Audra are students at Klamath Union High School. Son Aaron also works in Klamath Falls, and daughter Chelsea is a student at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
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