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New Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent J.D. Lee to Start February

By Luke Weir

The Blue Ridge Parkway will receive a new superintendent on February 18, according to an announcement by Stan Austin, Southeast Regional Director of the National Parks Service.

J.D. Lee, current deputy superintendent of Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, will be relocating to Asheville to serve as Parkway superintendent, according to a NPS news release.

“J.D. is a proven leader with vast experience managing complex operations, building strong teams and collaborating with community partners,” Regional Director Austin said in the news release.

Lee has extensive experience with the National Parks Service, having worked with the department for more than 30 years, the news release said.

“I am thrilled to have such an incredible opportunity to work with dedicated people in an area known for boundless scenic beauty,” Lee said in the news release. “I look forward to building strong and lasting relationships with Blue Ridge Parkway staff, friends and partners.”

Lee took over as interim parkway superintendent when Mark Woods announced his retirement last June, according to the Citizen Times.

The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles through North Carolina and Virginia. Approximately 15.2 million people visited the parkway in 2016 and spent nearly $980 million along the way, supporting some 15,600 jobs in surrounding communities like Boone, according to a resolution recently passed by Boone town council

One of Lee’s challenges as the new superintendent will be handling an estimated $261 million in deferred costs along North Carolina’s stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, cited by the aforementioned resolution.

To read the news release in its entirety, visit https://www.nps.gov/blri/learn/news/superintendent-named.htm