Superintendent announced for national park

Natalie Gates has been named as the new superintendent of Haleakala National Park.

She has worked at Point Reyes National Seashore Park in California for 12 years. First, she was a wildlife biologist and then chief of natural resource management.

She will begin a transition to her new duties at Haleakala in March.

“Natalie has a strong track record in the protection of native species and ecosystems,” said Chris Lehnertz, the National Park Service’s Western Regional director. “She has proven she can solve complicated issues while respecting all the voices in the room.

“Natalie’s deep respect for diverse cultures and communities and her team-building skills will be an asset at Haleakala National Park.”

Gates replaces former park superintendent Sarah Creachbaum, who left the park in November to work at Olympic National Park in Washington state. Matt Brown has been serving as Haleakala’s acting superintendent.

“It will be an absolute privilege to work with the staff of Haleakala National Park and local communities around it,” Gates said in an announcement of her appointment. “Haleakala is home to a treasure of cultural resources, natural resources and wilderness, and I look forward to working hard to preserve them.

“I plan on being an avid student of Haleakala – its stories and its vital importance to Native Hawaiians.”

Gates graduated from Harvard College with a degree in biology. She earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and a master’s degree in wildland resource management from the University of California at Berkeley.

She has worked in animal veterinary clinics in New York, Hawaii and California.

During her career with the National Park Service, in addition to working at Point Reyes, she has served as acting superintendent of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in eastern Washington and has completed detail assignments with the park service’s Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs in Washington, D.C., and with the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the service’s Pacific West Regional Office.

In 2009, she was awarded the Pacific West Regional Director’s Award for National Resource Management.

Haleakala National Park was established as part of the Hawaii National Park in 1916, just weeks before the creation of the National Park Service itself. It was renamed in 1960 when it was split from what then became the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.