|For Immediate Release:
||December 18, 2007|
|Contact(s):||David Barna, 202-208-6843
Jeffrey Olson, 202-208-6843
|National Park System Advisory Board gets new members
(Washington, DC) – The National Park System Advisory Board has five new members and a new chairman in William F. Baker, PhD, polar explorer, author, filmmaker and current CEO of Thirteen/WNET, public television in New York City.
“Make that former polar explorer,” said Baker, who in February moves to emeritus status at WNET and will have sufficient time for the National Park board, which advises the Secretary of the Interior and the National Park Service Director on matters relating to the National Park Service, the National Park System, and programs administered by the National Park Service.
The National Park System Advisory Board has been inactive recently because its original Congressional authorization expired last January 1st. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne said, “I am glad to have been able to use my secretarial authority to reactivate the National Park System Advisory Board and I look forward to hearing from them as we continue to make the National Park System a jewel of the nation."
Seven of those serving when the board expired, including Baker, will be members of the new board. Kempthorne appointed five new members.
"The Board provides valuable advice to the National Park Service leadership on many important issues relating to our 391 park units and our other natural and cultural heritage responsibilities," said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar. "I was pleased to name Bill Baker to lead the board, and I look forward to a wonderful working relationship with both the new and reappointed members."
Baker’s interests are wide-ranging: amateur radio, horology, astronomy, electronics, sailing, and polar exploration. In 1983, Baker carried the Explorers Club flag to the top of the world, becoming one of only a few people to have visited both the North and South Poles. He returned to the South Pole in December 1988 to tape a documentary about Antarctica, and he revisited in 1992 and 1996.
“Like most Americans, I have a love of our national parks,” Baker said, “I’ve actually been involved on the National Parks System Advisory Board for several years and when asked to lead I was happy to do so. The appointment, in fact, is a great honor. America's national parks are irreplaceable treasures. They are sources of beauty, inspiration, history, and life. Many Americans don't fully comprehend the wonders of our parks and, in this new role, I am thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to help the public understand and appreciate the National Park Service to its fullest."
The Board’s membership consists of 12 United States citizens having a demonstrated commitment to the mission of the National Park Service and representing various geographic regions. Members include individuals who have outstanding expertise in fields such as history, archeology, anthropology, landscape architecture, biology, ecology, social science, and natural or cultural resources management. At least one of the 12 members is a locally elected official from an area adjacent to a park. Members are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior for terms ranging from one to three years.
On November 19, 2007, Secretary Kempthorne appointed the following 12 members to the Board.
New Appointments: · David R. Anderson, Natural Resources LLC, Arlington, Virginia · John Bridgeland, President and CEO, Civic Enterprises LLC, Washington, D.C. · Gerald T. Halpin, President and CEO, West*Group Management LLC, McLean, Virginia · William T. Hardman, President and CEO, Southeast Tourism Society, Atlanta, Georgia · Mary “Cisi” Canales Jary, P.E., Restoration Associates Ltd., San Antonio, Texas
Reappointments: · William F. Baker, Ph.D., CEO, Thirteen/WNET, New York, New York · John Francis, Ph.D., Vice President for Research, Conservation and Exploration, National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C. · Marie Greene, President, NANA Regional Corporation, Inc., Kotzebue, Alaska · Honorable Jerry N. Hruby, Mayor, Brecksville, Ohio · Jake Louis “Jay” Parmer II, American Strategies, Inc., Reno, Nevada · Larry Eugene Rivers, Ph.D., President, Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgia · George Willeford III, M.D., Austin, Texas
Editor’s note: National Park System Advisory Board member biographies are available on request.