New Superintendent Named at Haleakalā
By Wendy Osher
Dr. Natalie Gates was selected as the new park superintendent at Haleakalā National Park on Maui.
Park officials say she will transition to her new duties at Haleakalā in March.
Dr. Gates worked for the past 12 years at Point Reyes National Seashore in California, first as a wildlife biologist, and then as chief of natural resource management.
“Natalie has a strong track record in the protection of native species and ecosystems, said Chris Lehnertz, regional director for the NPS Pacific West region.
“Natalie’s deep respect for diverse cultures and communities and her team building skills will be an asset to Haleakalā National Park,” said Lehnertz.
Dr. Gates fills the post vacated by former superintendent, Sarah Creachbaum, who was named the new superintendent at Olympic National Park in Washington.
Dr. Gates holds a biology degree from Harvard College; a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Cornell University; and a master’s degree in Wildland Resource Management from the University of California at Berkeley.
In accepting the position on Maui, Dr. Gates said, “It will be an absolute privilege to work with the staff of Haleakalā National Park and local communities around it. Haleakalā is home to a treasure of cultural resources, natural resources and wilderness, and I look forward to working hard to preserve them.”
She added, “I plan on being an avid student of Haleakalā – its stories and its vital importance to native Hawaiians.”
Haleakalā National Park is one of the oldest parks in the National Park System. It was established as part of Hawaii National Park in 1916, just weeks prior to the creation of the National Park Service itself. Haleakalā encompasses both rain forests and arid ecosystems in lands ranging from sea level up to 10,000 feet, as well as significant native Hawaiian cultural sites.
Dr. Gates plans to make the move to Maui in the coming weeks with her husband and three sons.
In addition to her service at Point Reyes, Dr. Gates has worked as acting superintendent of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in eastern Washington. She has also completed detail assignments with the NPS Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs in Washington, DC and with the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the NPS Pacific West Regional Office.
In 2009 she was awarded the Pacific West Regional Director’s Award for Natural Resource Management.