Warner meets with new superintendent of Shenandoah National Park

Patrick Kenney SNP

~ Press release issued by Senator Mark Warner’s Office

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) met virtually [last week] with Patrick Kenney, the new superintendent of Shenandoah National Park and Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.  

In the meeting, Sen. Warner and Superintendent Kenney discussed park priorities for 2021 and beyond, including Department of the Interior projects that were made possible by the passage of Sen. Warner’s legislation, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA).  During the meeting, Sen. Warner reiterated his commitment to seeing through the implementation of the GAOA and addressing the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog — an effort he has championed since 2017.

“America’s great outdoors are part of the heritage and beauty of our nation. But to preserve them, we need to quickly start tackling our parks’ deferred maintenance needs, which are only getting worse by the second,” said Sen. Warner. “I am committed to working with Superintendent Patrick Kenney to help protect, maintain, and preserve the public lands within his jurisdiction, particularly Shenandoah National Park, which will be receiving GAOA funds to help address a portion of the park’s nearly $90 million deferred maintenance backlog. While we may have cleared the hurdle of getting the GAOA passed and signed, our work is not done until this law is fully implemented and important repair and upkeep projects are tackled across the Commonwealth.”

On Monday, Dec. 7 at an outdoor and socially-distanced ceremony at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Sen. Warner was awarded the National Park Foundation’s Hero Award by Foundation President, Will Shafroth. The award commemorates Sen. Warner’s work in getting the GAOA signed into law.

The Great American Outdoors Act is a product of Sen. Warner’s more than three years effort to provide relief to national parks in Virginia, where the maintenance backlog currently sits at $1.1 billion dollars. At Shenandoah National Park, the current maintenance backlog sits at $88,765,195. At Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Park, the maintenance backlog sits at $823,242.

Superintendent Kenney, who was appointed superintendent of Shenandoah National Park on August 5, 2020, is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in zoology.  He began his NPS career in 1990 at Big Cypress National Preserve as a natural resource manager. He then served as superintendent of Cape Lookout National Seashore, where he improved access to the park by awarding a ferry service contract, establishing two gateways, and opening the Beaufort Visitor Information Center. He later served as deputy superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, where he managed the operations of 2.2 million acres, a staff of 800, and an annual budget of $35 million. He is also a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute – Leadership for Democratic Society and is a Project Management Institute certified Project Manager.



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