National Park Rangers come in all shapes and sizes. Our Meet Your Ranger series introduces you to the many amazing faces that support our Outer Banks national parks every day!
*Please note: Sarah is now the NPS Partnership Program Manager for the South Atlantic Gulf Region/Interior Region 2. We miss her and wish her the best!
Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee
Education: M.B.A. Emory University; M.S. in International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology; B.A. in German, Samford University
Position in Your Parks: Management Analyst
Where she can be found: Outer Banks Group Headquarters – Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
Other national parks she’s worked at: Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona), Gateway National Recreation Area (New York), National Park Service Regional Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
What do you like most about the Outer Banks?
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I have a pretty varied workload, so each day is different. I spend a good portion of my time working with park partners and stakeholders including the concessioner at Avon Fishing Pier, lessee at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, Commercial Use Authorization holders, Special Use Permit holders, and, of course, Outer Banks Forever – our wonderful philanthropic partner. I also conduct strategic and financial analysis for the parks, helping us make the most of our financial resources and organize our work to benefit park visitors and to protect the parks’ natural and cultural resources.
What is your favorite thing about working in our OBX national parks?
I really enjoy working with our partners to accomplish more together than we could have done on our own. It’s wonderful to work with Avon Fishing Pier and Oregon Inlet Fishing Center on facilities and visitor services improvements. It’s also great to work with Jess and Outer Banks Forever on projects and opportunities for supporters to get more involved with their Outer Banks National Parks.
What inspired you to follow this career path?
I started my career in non-profit marketing and have always enjoyed working on the business side of a mission-driven organization. While pursuing my Master’s in Business Administration, I spent the summer at the Grand Canyon as a Business Plan Intern working on complex financial and operational questions – and I totally got hooked on the National Park Service. I relished the opportunity to solve problems with data and critical thinking AND I got to do that work in an amazing National Park! I’m thankful to continue to do this kind of work here in the beautiful Outer Banks.
What is your favorite memory from working at our OBX parks?
On May 7, 2020 I had the opportunity to meet the Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt during his visit to Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The reason this memory will be one of my favorites is because when I heard about his busy and varied itinerary – driving the beach from Ramp 2 to Ramp 4, seeing Oregon Inlet Campground, visiting Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, walking the grounds of Bodie Island Lighthouse – it reminded me of all the amazing resources I have the privilege of helping steward. And that long list only represents the Bodie Island district of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which is only one of the three National Parks here in the Outer Banks. What an amazing place!
Why are our OBX national parks important?
I think everyone who lives here, has visited the Outer Banks, and maybe even folks who’ve only seen photos of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse or heard stories about the Wright brothers’ first flight or the lost colonists of Roanoke, have their own personal and special reasons for caring about the parks. What’s amazing is that there is so much to choose to care about—from the historical drama The Lost Colony at Fort Raleigh to stories of ingenuity and achievement at Wright Brothers to three historic lighthouses, five species of sea turtles and amazing beach driving at Cape Hatteras.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you or the parks?
Did you know that National Park partners like Outer Banks Forever are accomplishing amazing things in parks around the country? Check out the National Park Service partnerships website for information and inspiration on what’s possible here in your Outer Banks National Parks: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/partnerships/index.htm
Did you know that the National Park Service partners with the private sector to operate businesses and preserve historic structures through leasing opportunities? Check out the National Park Service leasing website for more information: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/leasing/index.htm
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