As if there wasn’t enough uncertainty swirling around the national parks, Superintendent Woody Smeck announced on Wednesday, May 6, he is leaving Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and accepting a promotion and will assume the duties of a directorship for the National Park Service’s Pacific West Region in its San Francisco office. Regions 8, 9, 10, 12 (Region 11 is in Anchorage, Alaska) with offices in San Francisco, Seattle, and Hawaii include more than 60 national parks in the states of California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, portions of Arizona and Montana, and the territories of Guam, American Samoa, as well as the Northern Marian Islands.
“I wouldn’t feel right about leaving at this time except for the fact that we have such a strong management team in place here at Sequoia-Kings,” Smeck said in a phone interview.
That management team has worked without Smeck at the helm before. Since he came to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in April 2013, Woody has served as interim superintendent on four temporary assignments, twice each at Yosemite and Grand Canyon national parks. Both those parks are part of Smeck’s portfolio of responsibilities in Region 8 at the San Francisco office.
Smeck said the search is on for a new superintendent for Sequioa and Kings Canyon National Parks. For the rest of this month until his departure, Smeck will oversee the reopening of the local national parks.
“We’re already into the process so I’m sure it will be a smooth transition, ” Smeck said.
Smeck also said he plans to continue making his home in Three Rivers with his wife, Karen.