Karen Taylor-Goodrich, who has spent the past six years as the National Park Service's associate director for visitor and resource protection, is heading West to become superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, Park Service Director Jon Jarvis announced Monday. She succeeds Craig Axtell, who retired earlier this year.
“Karen is a seasoned leader who has successfully managed complex and controversial issues for the National Park Service at the national and international levels for the last six years. The tremendous depth of experience that she brings to this new assignment will serve the park and its partners very well,” said Mr. Jarvis.
For Ms. Taylor-Goodrich, who will take the position in February, the return to the West is welcome.
“I took my very first backpacking trip into Kings Canyon National Park from the east side of the Sierras when I was a teenager,” she said. “As a kid from the L.A. suburbs, that experience opened up a world that has become my passion and career. I’m delighted to be returning to the place that kindled my interest in protected areas and my understanding of the powerful influence wild places can have on each of us.”
As associate director for visitor and resource protection since 2003, Ms. Taylor-Goodrich led a staff of over 160 and managed an operating budget in excess of $22 million for seven national divisions that included law enforcement, security and emergency services; fire and aviation; employee and public health and safety; wilderness stewardship; and special park uses and regulations. She has more than 25 years of experience directing a diverse range of park-level operational programs at Yosemite National Park and Grand Canyon National Park, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, and National Capital
As current Chair of the Interagency Wilderness Policy Council, she has coordinated federal efforts on a range of wilderness protection and management issues, including a focus on the nexus between protected areas and the impacts of climate change. Among her notable accomplishments is the signing last month of an interagency Memorandum of Agreement between Mexico, Canada, and the United States that creates a framework for cooperation and coordination with the three nations for transboundary wilderness conservation.
Taylor-Goodrich received a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, followed by graduate work in natural resource management.