NPS plucks top ranger from Pacific Northwest

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David Szymanski is next superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains area

Source of this article: The Thousand Oaks Acorn, August 16, 2012

44-year old David Szymanski will start as Superintendant of the SMMNRA this fall

The National Park Service has named David Szymanski as the new superintendent for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service.

Szymanski replaces Woody Smeck, who recently transferred to Yosemite National Park after serving as the local superintendent for 10 years.

“David excels in maintaining and developing sophisticated partnerships with all entities, which will be instrumental in continuing to shape the future of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area,” said Chris Lehnertz, National Park Service Pacific West regional director.

Szymanski, a 44-year-old from Astoria, Ore., serves as the superintendent of that state’s Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

He has 19 years of experience working with communities, parks and protected areas, including 14 years with the National Park Service.

“David is an excellent leader, manager and supervisor,” Lehnertz said.

Szymanski also has worked at Everglades National Park in Florida and Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota, and as a Bevinetto Congressional Fellow, where he spent a year working on the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks.

In the 1990s, he spent two years working in the newly established national park system of Madagascar.

“I am very excited about working with our neighbors, partners and park staff in the Santa Monica Mountains,” Szymanski said. “I look forward to joining them in their mission to sustain the mountains and serve all residents of greater Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.”

His duties as superintendent will begin this fall.

Szymanski and his wife, Elaine, have two elementary school children who love being active outdoors. Szymanski enjoys competing in masters cycling events.

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is an urban national park encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

It comprises a seamless network of local, state and federal parks interwoven with private lands and communities.

As one of five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, the park preserves contain biological diversity of more than 450 animal species and 26 distinct plant communities.