Jonathan B. Jarvis - Director, National Park Service
Jonathan (Jon) B. Jarvis officially became the 18th Director of the National Park Service on October 2, 2009. A career ranger of the National Park Service, who began his career in 1976 as a seasonal interpreter in Washington, D.C., Jarvis takes the helm of an agency that preserves and manages some of the most treasured landscapes and valued cultural icons in this nation.
“America's National Park System is a gift from past generations to this and succeeding generations; the challenges we face today could not have been imagined when the agency was first established in 1916. Today the challenges are that of climate change, urban development, habitat destruction, non-native species, and air and water pollution. Our mission remains the same today as it was then -- to preserve this nation's natural and cultural heritage, unimpaired for the enjoyment of this and future generations.
As director, the stewardship and care of our national parks, service to our visitors, and expansion of our community programs are my core responsibilities. We are an agency of more than 20,000 employees and 140,000 volunteers in 391 national park units and related cultural and natural heritage programs. The day-to-day operation of the parks and the work of our community assistance programs is accomplished by the dedicated men and women (including amazing volunteers) of the NPS who empty the trash, enter the payroll, rescue the lost, clear the trails, help communities, sample the air and water, and tell our compelling stories. The extraordinary employees of the National Park Service are my inspiration and where I draw my strength. Their welfare and safety will always be my top priority.”
Prior to taking the helm as Director, Jarvis most recently served as the Regional Director of the Pacific West Region, with responsibility for 58 units of the National Park System in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands of Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. He oversaw 3,000 employees with a $350 million annual budget.
Jon Jarvis moved up through the National Park Service as a protection ranger, a resource management specialist, park biologist, and Chief of Natural and Cultural Resources at parks such as Prince William Forest Park in Virginia, Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and North Cascades National Park in Washington. His first superintendency was at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho and he later served as the Superintendent of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska from 1994 until 1999. He became the Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park in August of 1999. In 2001 he completed training in the Senior Executive Service Candidate Program of the Department of Interior and in September of 2002, became the Regional Director of the Pacific West Region.
Jarvis served as president of the George Wright Society, 1997-98, a professional organization that sponsors a biennial conference on science and management of protected lands around the world. Mr. Jarvis has published and lectured on the role of science in parks at conferences and workshops around the U.S. In his previous positions, Mr. Jarvis has obtained extensive experience in developing government-to-government relations with Native American tribes, gateway community planning, FERC relicensing, major facility design and construction, wilderness management and general management planning.
A native of Lexington, Virginia, Jarvis has a B.S. in biology from the College of William and Mary and completed the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Program in 2001. He and his wife Paula have two children, Benjamin and Leah.