Andy Sicard is the new superintendent of Grandfather Mountain State Park in Avery, Caldwell and Watauga counties, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. Sicard succeeds Kevin Bischof, who transferred to serve as superintendent at Gorges State Park in June.
A superintendent is the chief of operations and administration at a state park or state recreation area with wide-ranging responsibilities for staffing, training, law enforcement, visitor services, natural resource protection, environmental education and community outreach.
A native of Farmville, Sicard graduated from Wayne Community College where he studied parks and recreation. Before settling at Grandfather Mountain State Park in 2010, he served the Division of Parks and Recreation as a ranger at Cliffs of the Neuse and Elk Knob state parks.
At Elk Knob, Sicard helped build the new park from the ground up, including launching the park’s interpretation and education program and helping build the 1.9-mile trail to the summit of the park. When Sicard moved to Grandfather Mountain State Park as a ranger in 2010 it was also in its early days of development. Sicard became deeply familiar with the park’s assets and challenges while growing as an experienced ranger serving the park for 11 years, including as acting superintendent,
“Andy has more than 15 years’ experience helping develop our newer state parks in the mountain region from the ground up,” said Dwayne Patterson, state parks director. “As superintendent, his experience with cultivating partnerships and programs paired with his expertise in natural resources and education will be great assets to Grandfather Mountain with its rare natural resources, extensive rugged backcountry and historic roots.”
Sicard says he looks forward to further establishing the park’s identity in the community, as it often gets confused with the private attraction at Grandfather Mountain. “The state park is in the backcountry of Grandfather Mountain, and is home to rare species and the best views around,” he said. “I look forward to expanding the park’s communications, interpretation and education to ensure everyone knows the state park’s incredible assets and important role in the area.”
Grandfather Mountain has been an icon in North Carolina’s landscape for generations, offering stunning scenery and unmatched ecological diversity. The state park is free to enjoy and opens the mountain’s 2,898-acre backcountry to spectacular hiking and backpacking. The backcountry is known for some of the South’s most challenging terrain, with trails that lead hikers along cliffs and up ladders to the most stunning views of the area. Access to 12 miles of trails and backpack camping sites is offered at the Profile Trailhead on NC 105 or trailheads along the adjacent Blue Ridge Parkway.
About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 250,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 19.8 million visitors annually.