National Park Service (NPS) acting Regional Director Pedro Ramos announced the selection of Douglas “Doug” Neighbor as the new superintendent of Natchez Trace Parkway, Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site and Tupelo National Battlefield, effective Aug. 15.
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“Doug is an established leader deeply committed to the protection and enjoyment of iconic national treasures, like Natchez Trace Parkway,” Ramos said. “He is poised to tackle the challenges of public safety, climate change, cultural heritage preservation and conservation there with creativity and resolve. We look forward to welcoming Doug as he builds on the park’s long-standing engagement with visitors, partners and neighbors.”
“I am honored to be selected as the next superintendent to lead Natchez Trace Parkway and its associated sites,” Neighbor said. “Although Natchez Trace Parkway is a thin ribbon passing through the great states of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, the park’s impact is wide. The incredibly rich history, cultural landscapes, cultural resources and historic structures are crucial to the gateway communities, affiliated tribes and key stakeholders and I look forward to collaboratively strengthening those ties.”
Neighbor is a 30-year veteran of the National Park Service with 27 years dedicated to the field of resource management. Since 2014, Neighbor has served as the superintendent for Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico where he is responsible for more than 46,000 acres, 119 known caves and an annual operating budget of more than $5.4 million.
Neighbor also previously served as superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa, Big Thicket National Preserve and Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. He was instrumental in establishing the Gulf Coast Inventory and Monitoring Network, Exotic Plant Management Team program and the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit for the gulf coast spanning Florida to Texas. He has led impactful Indigenous community and tribal relations efforts, created a multi-partner forest restoration program, established a science and learning center, and developed a partnership initiative that resulted in the discovery of many species new to science.
Before joining the NPS, Neighbor worked with Texas A&M University as a research assistant and as a wildlife biologist with the Texas Park and Wildlife Department.
Neighbor is the son of a U.S. Air Force Vietnam War veteran navigator and fighter pilot whose tours of duty allowed his son to experience life growing up in five states, Zeist Netherlands and Goose Bay, Labrador. Thirteen relocations and a high school graduation later, Neighbor earned a Bachelor of Science in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University.
Neighbor looks forward to returning to the southern region and being in closer proximity to his father in Austin, Texas and four siblings. Neighbor enjoys hiking, photography, sailing, boat-building and other fine woodworking projects. He has hiked the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and anxiously awaits the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail.
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