ATLANTA, GA – Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin announces the selection of Mary Risser, a 32-year career employee of the National Park Service (NPS), to serve as superintendent of Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile long scenic byway crossing three states and headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi. Risser is currently on assignment as Acting Deputy Regional Director and Chief of Staff for the Intermountain Region of the NPS until the end of November. She has served as the superintendent of Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado and Utah for the last nine years. Risser will start her duties the middle of December.
“Mary has an extensive resume with a wide range of planning and management experiences that have resulted in high performing teams and successful community and interagency partnerships. I know she will dive into the complexities of managing such a vast resource with the same enthusiasm shown at Dinosaur,” said Regional Director Austin.
Risser’s NPS career has taken her to Big Bend National Park, Yosemite National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and Golden Spike National Historic Site, where she also served as park superintendent. She began as a secretary in the National Capital Region. She has managed concessions, extensive controversial planning processes, and expanded research opportunities for natural and cultural resources.
“I am humbled to be appointed superintendent of Natchez Trace Parkway and the associated sites. All have wonderful natural and cultural values to protect and stories to tell plus staff and stakeholders who are passionate about this special place,” Risser said. “I look forward to working with the park staff, partners, and communities to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service and to poise us to enter the Service’s second century with all the associated challenges.” A graduate of Slippery Rock State University in Pennsylvania, Risser holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education.