National Park Service veteran Sarah Creachbaum, director of Olympic National Park in Washington state, will step in as the new regional NPS director in Alaska effective Jan. 16.
As the state’s regional director, Creachbaum will oversee operations for 15 national parks, preserves, monuments and national historical parks, as well as 13 national wild rivers, two affiliated areas and a national heritage area. The state is also home to 50 national historic landmarks, 16 national natural landmarks, one of the nation’s 24 World Heritage Sites, the nation’s largest glacial system, and North America’s tallest mountain peak.
Her appointment was announced Dec. 3 by NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge.
Creachbaum has proven herself to be a skilled manager and effective leader with a demonstrated track record of innovation in resolving complex land management challenges, Benge said. She is also known for her inclusive approach to managing parks, ensuring local communities and indigenous peoples’ voices are heard and reflected in decisions, he said.
Creachbaum said she first fell in love with Alaska on a trip to Denali as a young adult and became deeply interested in the state’s issues while serving as the NPS Alaska desk officer in Washington, D.C., in 2005.
She has served as a national park superintendent since 2006, first at the War in the Pacific National Historical Park in Guam, then at Haleakala National Park in Hawaii and most recently at Olympic National Park. She also served as interim head of Grand Canyon National Park in 2019 and Lake Mead National Recreation Area in the summer 2021.
Creachbaum holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Arizona and master of landscape architecture from Utah State University.