ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — One month before the start of 2016, which will mark the 100th year of Acadia National Park and the National Park Service, a new superintendent for the only national park in Maine has been named.
Kevin Schneider will become the third superintendent for Acadia in the past 30 years, the National Park Service said Tuesday in a prepared statement. He also will serve, as his predecessors have, as superintendent of St. Croix Island International Historic Site in Calais.
Schneider, who has 19 years of experience working for the park service and since 2011 has served as deputy superintendent of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, will assume his new duties in late January 2016.
“Kevin’s outstanding work in his previous assignments, coupled with his ability to work in partnership with others made him the clear choice for superintendent,” Mike Caldwell, northeast regional director for the park service, said Tuesday in the prepared statement. “His commitment and passion to the National Park Service and its staff, volunteers and partners shows that he understands success for a park as special as Acadia is truly a team effort.”
Schneider already has connections to Maine through his wife, Cate Schneider, who grew up in Bangor and is a University of Maine graduate, the park service noted. The couple will be moving to the Mount Desert Island area with their two young children, Sydney and Connor.
As deputy superintendent at Grand Teton National Park, Kevin Schneider has managed 330,000 acres of park lands, including the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway and the Teton Range, the park service said in the news release.
He began his career in the park service in 1996 on a trail crew at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Since then he has worked in media and public affairs with the service’s office of communications in Washington, D.C.; has been involved in communications outreach and strategic planning and later as acting chief of natural and cultural resources at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; and has held assignments as management assistant at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah and as superintendent at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.
Schneider graduated cum laude from Colorado State University at Fort Collins with a bachelor’s degree in natural resources recreation and tourism and earned a master’s degree in public administration from Montana State University at Bozeman, according to the park service. In 2004, he received the Interior Department’s Superior Service Award and, the next year, he earned an honor award for outstanding service from the Department of Justice’s assistant attorney general.
The new superintendent will take over for Sheridan Steele, who retired earlier this fall after holding the position for 12 years. Steele took over the job in 2003 from previous superintendent Paul Haertel, who led Acadia from 1994 to 2002.
“I am honored to be coming to Acadia National Park and look forward to working with the park’s phenomenal staff, partners and communities,” Schneider said in the statement. “This is an incredible time to be part of Acadia as we celebrate not only the park’s centennial in 2016, but also the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary.”
Before beginning his career as a park service employee, Schneider volunteered through the Student Conservation Association at North Cascades National Park in Washington state, according to the release.
David MacDonald, president of Friends of Acadia, said Tuesday that he and Mark Berry, president of Schoodic Institute, were invited by the park service to participate in the selection process. He said they both believe Schneider’s experience will prove to be a good fit with the rest of the park’s management staff.
“Kevin is going to be fantastic,” MacDonald said. “He’ll bring a lot of good thinking and experience to Acadia.”
Grand Teton National Park, like Acadia, is a high-profile park and, though it is different in many ways, it is facing issues similar to those that have cropped up in Acadia such as traffic congestion, MacDonald said. Increased visitation, a mounting variety of uses in the park, and the threat of encroaching development are other issues that have cropped up in Acadia in the past several years.
Berry said in a separate statement that Schneider “stood out” among several “outstanding” candidates for the job.
“I am confident that park staff, partners and community members will enjoy meeting and working with him, and his experience with partnerships will be a great asset as Acadia enters its second century,” Berry said.
It is the second high-profile appointment among the park’s senior staff this year. Michael Madell, the park’s deputy superintendent who has been filling in as interim superintendent since Steele’s departure, was appointed earlier this year. Madell replaced longtime deputy superintendent Len Bobinchock, who retired last year after serving as Acadia’s second-in-command since 1989.