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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NPS Announces Name of New Superintendent for SMMNRA

BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN

David Szymanski has been selected as the new superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service.  Szymanski will be replacing Woody Smeck, who recently transferred to Yosemite National Park after serving as the park's superintendent for ten years.
“David is an excellent leader, manager and supervisor,” said Pacific West
Regional Director Chris Lehnertz in a press release. “David excels in maintaining and developing sophisticated partnerships with all entities, which will be instrumental in continuing to shape the future of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.”
Szymanski has experience dealing with a patchwork park system. He currently serves as the superintendent of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, which consists of 1824 acres in Washington and 1421 acres in Oregon, with the two extremity sites a two-hour drive from each other. The SMMNRA is a 150,000 acre patchwork of state, federal and local public land intermixed with private property extending through Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
According to the press release, Szymanski has 19 years of experience working with communities, parks and protected areas, including 14 years with the National Park Service.  Szymanski has served at Everglades National Park,
Voyageurs National Park and as a Bevinetto Congressional Fellow, where he
spent a year working on the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks.  In the
1990s, Szymanski spent two years working in the newly established national
park system of Madagascar.
“I am very excited about working with our neighbors, partners and park staff in the Santa Monica Mountains,” Szymanski said. “I look forward to joining them in their mission to sustain the mountains and serve all residents of greater Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.”
Szymanski and his wife Elaine have two elementary school children who love
being active outdoors.  When time allows, he enjoys competing in masters cycling events. His duties as superintendent will begin in the fall of 2012.
The SMMNRA is described as the largest urban national park in the country. It is one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, and preserves the rich biological diversity of more than 450 animal species and 26 distinct plant communities.  FI:  www.nps.gov/samo

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