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Arches and Canyonlands national parks get new superintendent

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park is one of the most famous geologic features in the world.
Molly Marcello
Delicate Arch in Arches National Park is one of the most famous geologic features in the world.

Lena Pace has worked all over the country. On a floating ranger station in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, to the desert of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and even the south shore of Long Island at Fire Island National Seashore.

Now she will spend her time in the red rock of Arches, Canyonlands, Hovenweep, and Natural Bridges as the superintendent of the Southeast Utah Group of National Parks.

Pace grew up in Gustavus, Alaska, just outside Glacier Bay, where her parents worked for the National Park Service. She says while each national park and monument across the country is different, she sees some commonalities.

“There are similarities in every park and there's a reason it was protected the way it is. Every park is unique and has a special energy about it,” explained Pace.

What’s also prevalent is the management challenges seen in Arches and other parks across the National Park Service. They balance visitation and enjoyment while ensuring that these places remain protected for future generations.

"Making sure these places are protected in a way that our grandchildren's grandchildren can still come and visit them and see them intact in their purest form. That's something that's always we're trying to balance in park management," she said.

Pace also says that she's noticed that in Moab, there’s a level of pride, ownership, and love that the locals have for the park.

"The level of support that the parks in the area provide back to the local community and vice versa is a symbiotic relationship where we're all working together towards the same goals because we love these amazing places,” Pace said.

Pace explained that she is excited to being a part of the community in southeastern Utah, having moved around quite a bit in her career.

"I've spent the last three months in Moab and enjoyed the community. The events that go on, and the people in the community who love the town and the area and the parks as much as I do coming from a small town myself, it means a lot to be able to join a small town like Moab,” Pace said.

Pace joins the Southeast Utah Group as Arches National Park pilots its timed entry system for the third year, and Canyonlands National Park launches a new management planning process for the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Almost a million and a half people visited Arches last year and more than two million people visited Canyonlands.

Copyright 2024 KZMU. To see more, visit KZMU.

That story was shared with us via Rocky Mountain Community Radio, a network of public media stations in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico.

Molly Marcello