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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New National Park Service NCNST Superintendent Named

Wade Vagias
Wade Vagias in 2004 (photo from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette )

from a news release of the National Park Service

Wade Vagias, currently the acting Management Assistant at Yellowstone National Park (NP) in Wyoming, has been named the new Superintendent for Ice Age and North Country National Scenic Trails (NST), headquartered in Madison, Wisc. He replaces Tom Gilbert, who retired from Federal service in May. Vagias will take this new position effective January 1, 2012.

“Wade’s strong partnership skill set, including his extensive work with varied stakeholder groups within and outside the Federal government, makes him an excellent choice to lead these two premiere trail systems,” said National Park Service (NPS) Midwest Regional Director Michael T. Reynolds. “We look forward to having Wade as part of our Midwest Region management team.”

Vagias has been on a detail assignment as Management Assistant at Yellowstone NP since April, focusing his efforts primarily on the park’s Winter Use Plan/Environmental Impact Statement. His home office is the Wilderness Stewardship Division in the NPS Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where his work focuses primarily on wilderness stewardship planning. Vagias serves as Co-Chair of the NPS Wilderness Character Integration Team, an 18-member team from across the Service seeking ways to integrate wilderness character into NPS planning, monitoring, and management, as guest editor for the forthcoming Wilderness Edition of Park Science, and oversees the Wilderness Fellows Program.

Prior to working for the NPS, Vagias was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University in South Carolina. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson, where his dissertation evaluated the Leave No Trace visitor education program in three NPS units. Vagias’ professional experience includes faculty appointments with Lock Haven University and Butler County Community College, both in Pennsylvania; river ranger with the Bureau of Land Management in Maupin, Ore.; raft guide with the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Long Creek, S.C.; mountain operations at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah; as well as research projects for the National Audubon Society and the NPS.

“I am both humbled and honored by the opportunity to work with the staff of the Ice Age and North Country Trails and the many partners that work collaboratively with the NPS to help meet the mission of these two partnership parks,” Vagias said. “Trails connect us to the land and to each other, and I look forward to strengthening these connections.”

Vagias, his wife, Jenna, their daughter, Brooke, and chocolate lab, Charlie, will be relocating to Madison this winter and look forward to integrating into the Madison community and dusting off their cross-country skis.

See North Country Trail Association
See Ordinary People, Extraordinary Deeds for a 2004 story about Vagias

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