Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Trailblazers: Stepping Down but Not Out

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Trailblazers: Stepping Down but Not Out

Article excerpt

Name: Fran Mainella

Title: Former National Park Service Director

Member since: 1983

Fran Mainella promoted conservation as a vital human necessity, and outreach as a social standard. She breathed partnerships and preached volunteerism. And most recently, she touted park benefits from the director's chair of the National Park Service (NPS). She may have been the 16th person to hold the job, but was the first woman ever appointed to lead the agency.

Prior to her six years as NPS director, Mainella managed 155 Florida parks as Florida State Park Director and was the president of the Florida Recreation and Park Association, NRPA and the National Association of State Park Directors. Although she stepped gracefully from the limelight of the NPS on Oct. 17, she has not been idle. Mainella joined Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., as a visiting scholar to its Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management in early November.

Most proud moments: "I've had many proud moments as director of the National Park Service. When I see a smile on a visitor's face or when I see an employee, volunteer or partner working with visitors and knowing they have just helped them to create special memories, that makes me very proud.

One of my most poignant memories is of greeting people as they entered a park after Sept. 11,2001. They were looking at parks as places of unity, hope and healing and were so thankful for the parks and their resources; it was an honor to be there for them.

Also, serving as NRPA president and opening our new office building was a proud day for all of us at NRPA and the nation. …

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