Mary Gibson Scott to retire after nearly a decade
GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK
MOOSE, Wyo. — Mary Gibson Scott, superintendent of Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway today announced her retirement from the National Park Service, marking the end of a career in public service that spans 33 years. Supt. Scott’s last day in the office will be Nov. 8.
Scott became superintendent of Grand Teton and the JDR Memorial Parkway in May 2004. As part of the NPS’ Senior Executive Service, she was one of 10 top level park managers — and the only female — with similar appointments across the National Park System, which numbers 401 units.
During her NPS career, Scott served in park management positions at Santa Fe (former NPS Southwest Regional Office) and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico; at Golden Gate, Santa Monica Mountains and Channel Islands in California; at Gateway in New York; and at Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. She also worked on planning and development projects in Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas and Arizona. In 2010, Scott served as acting regional director for the NPS Intermountain Region Office in Denver, Colo., where she provided oversight for 91 units across eight states from the border of Canada to Mexico.
During her tenure at Grand Teton, Scott brought several major projects to completion, totaling almost $150 million. These included construction of the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center (2007); design and construction of over 14 miles of multi-use pathways, totaling $14.4M (2008-2013); and construction of 32 residential units at Moose and Beaver Creek at a total cost of $17.6M (2011-2012).
Scott also secured $23 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to renovate the Moose HQ campus. This project reduced the built environment by 8,160 square feet. Under her leadership over the last decade, Grand Teton has addressed a total of $90.6 million in deferred maintenance through project dollars. An additional $43 million has also been secured for future projects such as the rehabilitation of Moose water and wastewater systems, the design and construction of Phase 3 and 4 pathways including the Ditch Creek crossing, and the resurface of more than 10 miles of Highway 26/89/191.
Scott advanced several critical land acquisitions during her tenure at Grand Teton.
She worked with the senior associates of Laurance S. Rockefeller to complete the conveyance of the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve property in 2007 (1,106 acres); oversaw the opening of the LSR Preserve Center in 2008; negotiated an agreement with the State of Wyoming to purchase 1406 acres of state lands within the park (worth $107 million); and finalized the purchase of a 40-acre subsurface mineral parcel at a cost of $2,000 (2011) and an 86-acre parcel of school trust lands for $16 million (late 2012).
She has been working with the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management and State of Wyoming to secure purchase of the remaining 1,280 acres of school trust lands within the park at a cost of $91 million. In addition to these school trust lands, Scott helped complete the purchase of several other private land parcels within Grand Teton. The total acreage added during Supt. Scott’s tenure equals 1,286 acres.
Scott directed on more than a dozen NEPA and planning efforts. These included the Bison and Elk Management Plan/EIS (2005, 2007); Winter Use Plans, which resolved snowmobiling litigation within Grand Teton and the JDR Memorial Parkway (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009; the Colter Bay Visitor Services Plan/EA (2012); and Snake River Management Plan (2012, 2013).
Through support of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, she recently helped launched the Jenny Lake Renewal Project, a $13 million public-private partnership project designed to renovate the single-most visited location in the park. This project will also highlight the 2016 NPS Centennial. Scott also launched the start of a major planning effort which will address several resource protection and visitation issues within the Moose-Wilson Corridor that spans from the Murie Ranch to Granite Canyon Entrance Station.
Of special note, Scott initiated and facilitated an extensive planning process that resulted in the first-ever comprehensive environmental impact statement for the Jackson Hole Airport, the only commercial airport in a national park. The Jackson Hole Airport Agreement Extension/EA (2005) and JH Airport Agreement Extension/ FEIS (2010) represented a multi-year process that produced a suite of mitigation measures for protection of park resources, and established a framework for their achievement. Work continues on a wildlife hazard management plan for the JH Airport with support from the FAA.
From 2008-2010, Scott served as chairperson for the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee, which includes federal land managers from national parks, national forests and national wildlife refuges across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She just stepped down as the chair of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, a multi-jurisdictional organization focused on the successful recovery and conservation of grizzly bears across a 22-million-acre natural area that spans three states (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming). Scott also served on the National Leadership Council: a representative body of managers from the NPS that meets to achieve alignment, consultation and coordination regarding significant issues facing the NPS.
With representatives of Argentina, Scott recently forged a sister park relationship with Los Glaciares National Park, the largest national park in the country. She also served on the St. John’s Medical Center Foundation board.
During her lengthy NPS career, Scott has earned the Department of the Interior Superior Service Award (2003), awarded for her “career-long leadership in support of the preservation of resources of this nation’s national parks, and diligence in serving the visiting public.”
Scott also earned the 2008 Intermountain Region’s Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resources Award. Just recently, Superintendent Scott was recognized for her exemplary leadership in addressing environmental issues and concerns and given the Fran Mainella Award for sustained and innovative achievement by a woman in management of North America’s natural, historic or cultural heritage during a George B. Hartzog, Jr. Environmental Awards event at Clemson University in South Carolina.
Scott often praised her NPS employees and credited her success to the hard work and dedication of an outstanding and committed work force. Throughout her tenure at Grand Teton, Scott worked with one guiding principle and a thought-provoking question, “Is it in the best interest of the park?” Those words are written on a plaque that hangs above her office door at the park’s headquarters building in Moose, Wyo.