The Most Visited National Park in the US Just Got Its First Woman Chief Ranger

Mar 3, 2019

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Great Smoky Mountain National Park has its first-ever woman as its chief ranger.

In April, Lisa Hendy will take the helm of the park, which spans Tennessee and North Carolina and is the most visited in the US.

Originally from Tennessee, she has previously worked at top parks across the nation, including Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Arches National Park, Rocky Mountains National Park and is currently chief ranger at Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Photo courtesy NPS.

Growing up in Chattanooga, Tennesse, Hendy had some of her first outdoor experiences in the Smoky Mountains, where she backpacked as a kid.

“I am looking forward to returning to my home state in the park that provided my first real outdoor adventures,” Hendy said in a statement. “It will be a pleasure to be involved in the efforts to protect a place that was so instrumental in defining my passions and ultimately my career.”

Chief rangers are responsible for wildland fire operations, emergency medical services, search and rescue operations, backcountry operations, and staff the emergency communications center.

“Lisa has demonstrated incredible leadership in managing law enforcement, fire, and search and rescue operations at some of the nation’s busiest parks,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “She’s built strong programs by investing in local partnerships with neighboring agencies to help make areas safer for visitors and residents. She is going to be a great addition to the park’s management team.”

For tips on visiting national parks, see:

Visiting Six National Parks for $266

Top Tips for Visiting National Parks With Kids

How to Visit America’s National Parks for Less

Featured photo by Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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