Jonathan Jarvis began his career with the National Park Service in 1976 as a seasonal interpreter in Washington, D.C. Today, he manages the very agency whose mission is to preserve America's most treasured landscapes and cultural icons.
Jarvis's 39-year career has taken him from ranger to resource management specialist to park biologist to superintendent of parks such as Craters of the Moon, North Cascades, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Mount Rainier. Before being confirmed as the 18th Director of the National Park Service on September 24, 2009, Jarvis served as regional director of the bureau's Pacific West Region.
Today, he is responsible for overseeing an agency with more than 22,000 employees, a $3 billion budget, and more than 400 national parks that attract more than 280 million visitors every year who generate $30 billion in economic benefit across the nation.
Jarvis has reinvigorated the National Park Service's role as an international advocate for protected areas and is a recognized world leader in cultural and natural resource management.
Managing the National Park Service on the eve of its centennial in 2016, Jarvis has focused on several key areas that are critical for the future: enhancing stewardship of the places entrusted to the Service's care; maximizing the educational potential of parks and programs; engaging new generations and audiences, and ensuring the welfare and fulfillment of National Park Service employees.
"America's National Park System is a gift from past generations to this and succeeding generations," says Jarvis. "And while the challenges we face today-like climate change, shrinking open space, habitat destruction, non-native species, and air and water pollution-could not have been imagined when this agency was established in 1916, our mission remains the same: to preserve this nation's natural and cultural heritage, unimpaired for the enjoyment of this and future generations."