Mark Woods, superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway, has announced that he will retire on July 3, 2017, after a 37-year career with the National Park Service.
Over the course of his career, Mark has worked as a park interpretive ranger, resource management ranger, law enforcement ranger, Chief Ranger, and Superintendent of several park areas. His assignments have included work at Ninety Six National Historic Site, Kings Mountain National Military Park, Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Virgin Islands National Park Group, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Natchez Trace, as well as assignments at the Southeast Regional Office as Associate Regional Director and Deputy Regional Director.
“It has been such a privilege to have a career in the National Park Service,” Woods said. “The National Park Service serves to protect and tell the stories of some of our country’s most amazing places from presidential homes and sacred battlefields, to natural resource treasures like we have along the Parkway. National Park Service sites truly represent the best America has to offer.” Mark has served the Parkway since September of 2013, bringing leadership and focus to key priorities such as restoration of services in previously closed facilities, ensuring high quality visitor service and building strong working relationships with Parkway communities in 29 counties in North Carolina and Virginia.
In reflecting on his career Mark said, “Knowing you’ve been a part of a team of professionals who make decisions that will make a difference for generations, for people who haven’t been born yet, is tremendous. It’s important to stop and reflect on the difference our work makes, I am humbled to have been able to play some role in the protection of park resources for generations to come.”
In retirement, Mark is looking forward to spending time fishing with his granddaughters, visiting extended family, and enjoying all the Blue Ridge Mountain region offers.
The search for an interim superintendent of the Parkway has begun and a selection is expected soon.