Statement of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar On the Passing of Park Superintendent Brian O’Neill



05/14/2009

 Contact: Joan Moody (202) 208-6416

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued the following statement regarding the death yesterday of Brian O’Neill, longtime superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the San Francisco Bay area of California.

“With heavy hearts, the Department of the Interior family mourns the loss of one of America’s great champions for our national parks and for the wise stewardship of our national treasures. As an architect of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and its superintendent for almost a quarter century, Brian O’Neill left an indelible mark on our landscape and on the millions of lives he touched through his service.

“Year after year, Brian found new ways to connect ordinary Americans with the wonder of our nation’s history and our sacred places. Last year, more than fourteen million people visited the Golden Gate National Recreation Area from Tomales Bay and the Muir Woods to the Golden Gate, Presidio and Alcatraz Island.

“Deeply loved by the community in which he served and widely admired among his colleagues, Brian O’Neill’s was, and will always remain, a legendary figure in National Park Service and the Department of the Interior. His big heart, infectious enthusiasm and talent at what he called “friend-raising” made him the perfect ambassador for the cause of conservation.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Brian’s family, friends, colleagues, and the San Francisco community. May his example of stewardship and service always endure in the stories and places that he dedicated his life to enrich, protect, and preserve.”