Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces New Chief Ranger

New Smoky Mountain chief ranger Lisa Hendy is hired. Photo credit - GSMNP.

New Smoky Mountain chief ranger Lisa Hendy is hired. Photo credit – GSMNP.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces New Chief Ranger. Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials tapped Lisa Hendy as the Park’s first female Chief Ranger. When she assumes her new position in April, Hendy will oversee employees in the Resource and Visitor Protection Division who perform law enforcement duties, wildland fire operations, emergency medical services, search and rescue operations, backcountry operations, and staff the emergency communications center.

Hendy is well qualified for the job and brings a wealth of experience. She has served at several parks with complex ranger operations including Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Arches National Park, and Rocky Mountains National Park. She is currently the Chief Ranger at Big Bend National Park.

Lisa has demonstrated incredible leadership in managing law enforcement, fire, and search and rescue operations at some of the nation’s busiest parks,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “She’s built strong programs by investing in local partnerships with neighboring agencies to help make areas safer for visitors and residents. She is going to be a great addition to the park’s management team.”

 

It is a career that might never have happened except for a 15 minute conversation Hendy had while obtaining a major in Park and Recreation Management at Auburn University in Alabama (a degree no longer offered at that school.) When Hendy told her professor that she wanted to go into law enforcement but was not interested in living in a big city, he suggested she look into land management agencies. It proved good advice and Hendy certainly has not been stuck in a city. “It was one of those cross-road moments,” Hendy was quoted. “That professor taking that time with me was life-altering.”

Instead, she has served in regional and national leadership roles as a member of the Intermountain Special Events and Tactics Team, National Search and Rescue Working Group, Pacific West and Intermountain Incident Management Teams, National Drowning Prevention Advisory Board, National Preventative Search and Rescue Working Group, and a lead instructor for National Technical Rescue Training. Accolades for Hendy’s performance include the Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award in 2011, a peer-nominated award and one of the highest recognitions that a park ranger can receive honoring excellence in protecting resources and serving visitors. In 2007, she received an Intermountain Region Exemplary Service Award for life saving efforts within Grand Canyon National Park. In addition to a Bachelor of Science Degree from Auburn University with a major in Park and Recreation Management, and a Master of Science Degree from Utah State University in Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology, Hendy also holds a Federal law enforcement commission, is a certified paramedic and has certifications as a structural firefighter, wild land firefighter, aviation manager, technical and swiftwater rescuer, and several leadership roles for incident management teams.

Hendy, who grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, discovered a love for backpacking and enjoyed her first backcountry experiences in the Smokies as a youth.  She continues to be a tremendous outdoor enthusiast and enjoys kayaking, climbing, hiking, and canyoneering.

Hendy was quoted as saying, “I am looking forward to returning to my home state in the park that provided my first real outdoor adventures. It will be a pleasure to be involved in the efforts to protect a place that was so instrumental in defining my passions and ultimately my career.

Congratulations to Hendy, and a shout out to her and all our Auburn friends- “War Eagle.”

More Hey Smokies Features:

2019 Bear Necessities Black Fur & Bluegrass Event
2019 Bear Necessities Black Fur & Bluegrass Event...
2019 Bear Necessities Black Fur & Bluegrass Event benefiting Appalachian Bear Rescue is scheduled for Saturday, September 14th from 4:00 p.m[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Hiker Magazine
Smoky Mountain Hiker Magazine...
Smoky Mountain Hiker magazine is an exciting magazine for the whole family to enjoy.  There are so many aspects of Great Smoky Mountains to expl[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Bears
Smoky Mountain Bears...
Smoky Mountain Bears are the symbol of the Smokies and sighting one is always a special event! With the tourist season in full swing and a recor[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Fairy Rings
Smoky Mountain Fairy Rings...
Smoky Mountain Fairy Rings. Finding a Smoky Mountain fairy ring is always a special event! Last year was one of the wettest on record, more than[Read More >>]
Smokey Bear Turns 75
Smokey Bear Turns 75...
Smokey Bear Turns 75. This year marks Smokey’s 75th year that he has cautioned Americans about the dangers of wild fires. Smokey Bear’s iconic f[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival
Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival...
The Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival will light up the Smokies on Saturday August 17, 2019. Beginning at 3 p.m. and culminating wit[Read More >>]
Jared Hard Smoky Mountain Music Tour
Jared Hard Smoky Mountain Music Tour...
Jared Hard Smoky Mountain Music Tour. Jared will be bringing his musical stylings to the HeySmokies region for several months in late [Read More >>]
Remember When, Lost Smoky Mountain Attractions - Porpoise Island
Remember When, Lost Smoky Mountain Attractions - Porpoise Island...
Remember When, Lost Smoky Mountain Attractions - Porpoise Island. Pigeon Forge, TN is widely known as a national vacation destination offering s[Read More >>]
Grainger County Tomato Festival
Grainger County Tomato Festival...
Grainger County Tomato Festival is scheduled for July 26th, 27th and 28th 2019. This delicious annual special event is fun for the entire family[Read More >>]
Free Smoky Mountain Ranger Events
Free Smoky Mountain Ranger Events...
Free Smoky Mountain Ranger Events occur each day all summer long. 2019 is the perfect year to enjoy some quality time with a ranger in Great Smo[Read More >>]
Cades Cove Loop Lope 2019
Cades Cove Loop Lope 2019...
Cades Cove Loop Lope is a Great Smoky Mountain Special Event! The Cades Cove Foot Race (AKA – the Cades Cove Loop Lope) hosted by Friends of the[Read More >>]
Ginseng Harvesting
Ginseng Harvesting...
Ginseng Harvesting. Ginseng; miracle plant? Fact or fiction? There are many uses for this fascinating native plant that grows wild and randomly [Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain Farmers Markets. Get Your Fresh On!...
Yum Yum! Photo credit: foodie.com Smoky Mountain Farmers Markets. Get Your Fresh On! Smoky Mountain Farmers Markets are open for business! [Read More >>]
Wheels Through Time Museum Showcases Rare Motorcycles
Wheels Through Time Museum Showcases Rare Motorcycles...
Wheels Through Time Museum Showcases Rare Motorcycles. Seventeen of the world’s rarest bikes will be on display for a limited time. Dale’s Wheel[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Pinball Museum's
Smoky Mountain Pinball Museum's...
  Smoky Mountain Pinball Museum's. Gatlinburg’s Pinball Museum offers a step back in time for gamers. The metallic sound of quarters dropp[Read More >>]
Biltmore Gardens Railway
Biltmore Gardens Railway...
Biltmore Gardens Railway is on display at Biltmore Estate from May 24, 2019 through September 29, 2019. For a limited time, in the Conservatory [Read More >>]
Rhododendron Festivals
Rhododendron Festivals...
Rhododendron Festivals at Roan Mountain and Grandfather Mountain herald the beginning of summer. Roan Mountain and Mother Nature team up to show[Read More >>]
Cades Cove Car Ban
Cades Cove Car Ban...
Cades Cove Car Ban began May 2019. Cades Cove Loop Road will be closed to motor vehicles from sunrise until 10:00 a.m. on both Wednesday and Sat[Read More >>]
Catawba Brewery White Zombie 5K
Catawba Brewery White Zombie 5K...
Catawba Brewery White Zombie 5K. Asheville’s Catawba Brewing Company sponsors White Zombie 5k. The first-ever White Zombie 5k on will be run Sat[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Strawberry Moon
Smoky Mountain Strawberry Moon...
Smoky Mountain Strawberry Moon will be viewable Monday, June 17, 2019. The name Strawberry Moon was universally used by the Algonquin native Ame[Read More >>]