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Lake Mead gets a new permanent superintendent

The new superintendent of Lake Mead National Recreation Area won’t have to go very far to start his new gig.

The National Park Service on Tuesday announced that Mike Gauthier, who has been serving as Lake Mead’s acting superintendent since December, will take the permanent reins leading the heavily visited recreation area starting in mid-September.

“It’s been a sincere delight to work so closely with the community and friends who love Lake Mead NRA,” Gauthier said in a statement. “The team of public servants at Lake Mead are exceptional, and I sincerely look forward to joining them permanently in order to meet today’s recreational and protection challenges.”

He will oversee 220 park employees and as many as 4,000 volunteers as he manages the 1.5 million-acre site that attracts some 5.6 million visitors annually.

Gauthier started as a volunteer with the park service in 1985 before working for nearly 20 years as a park ranger and later as lead climbing ranger at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington, according to a news release from the park service announcing his new post.

His career has included several leadership roles, including acting superintendent of Olympia National Park, chief of staff at Yosemite National Park, superintendent of Nez Perce National Historic Park and most recently as the superintendent of Mojave National Preserve and Castle Mountains National Monument in Southern California.

“Mike is recognized for his excellent ability to build and maintain partnerships,” acting Regional Director William Shott said in a statement. “At Lake Mead, he successfully took on a variety of complex management and operational issues proving his ability to lead effectively. In a short period of time, he has filled critical positions and engaged stakeholders, tribes, congressional delegations, and partners in addressing long-standing management challenges, which has paid dividends and moved the park forward for future success.”

Beyond his service with the park agency, Gauthier is also a published author and photographer.

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said in a statement that there is “no one better to take the helm of permanent superintendent of Lake Mead National Recreation Area than Mike Gauthier.”

“His passion for our public lands has guided a forty-year career in the conservation space, actively engaging Tribal, local, and federal stakeholders to protect Lake Mead and its recreational access for future generations. I look forward to continuing my work with Mike to protect the park that is so vital to our community’s economic success,” Titus said.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com.

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