Chesterton Tribune



NPS names new superintendent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

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Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has a new superintendent. Paul Labovitz, currently superintendent at Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (NRRA) in St. Paul, Minn., has been selected to succeed Constantine Dillon, who retired in August.

Labovitz will begin in his new post on May 18.

“Paul is a communicator and a collaborator with strong skills in consensus building,” said Michael Reynolds, Midwest regional director of the National Park Service (NPS). “His impressive leadership of large, dispersed, multifaceted organizations and his extensive partnership experience will allow him to craft a compelling new vision for the park. Paul’s proven abilities in nontraditional, urban parks will prove invaluable in working to bring the park and the NPS to diverse communities, cities, the state, and to the Chicago area in Illinois.”

“I’m anxious to get started at Indiana Dunes,” Labovitz said. “Building on over a century of conservation work along Indiana’s Lake Michigan coast and helping set the course for the next century is very exciting. The opportunity to connect with the many great projects in this part of the Midwest is very appealing. Imagine the physical and programmatic links with the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area and Indiana Dunes. Playing a role in the establishment and development of the proposed Pullman National Historic Site helps the NPS become a more engaged partner in the terrific work going on in this region.”

Labovitz began his NPS career in what is now the Northeast Regional Office in Philadelphia, Penn., in 1988. As the region’s outdoor recreation planner, he provided technical assistance through the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) to project cooperators in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

In 1989 he transferred to the Midwest Regional Office in 1989 and, as leader of the region’s RTCA program working from Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Brecksville, Ohio, he provided planning and technical assistance to projects in Ohio and throughout the 13-state region. While there he assisted in the creation of the $400 million CLEANOhio program in 2001, provided early planning and assistance in the creation of the Ohio & Erie Canal National Heritage CanalWay, and successfully expanded the RTCA program in the region with three new field offices while doubling the Midwest RTCA budget in five years.

Labovitz accepted his first superintendency in 2007, at the Mississippi NRRA. “During his tenure there, the park has become a leader in demonstrating innovative urban youth engagement through the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Program by providing an introductory outdoor experience to over 50,000 students,” NPS said.

Labovitz has also overseen the continuation of several different environmental education programs--Big River Journey and Journey to the Falls--which have served over 60,000 students over the past decade. “Labovitz is most proud of the park’s partnership work with the Mississippi River Fund and Wilderness Inquiry,” NPS said.

In addition, Labovitz has “extensive international experience in Central and Eastern Europe’s national parks and protected areas,” NPS said. “Outcomes of this work include the current Sister-Park Project between Indiana Dunes and Kampinoski NP in Poland and additional sister-park projects at Rocky Mountain and Cuyahoga Valley National Parks as well as efforts to connect Western and Eastern Europe with an interconnected series of bicycle trails.”

Labovitz serves as an NPS liaison to the Minnesota Mississippi River Parkway Commission and to Mississippi River Trail Inc. and is a member of the University of Minnesota’s Tourism Center Advisory Committee. He also serves within NPS as a member of the Tourism Council and as a strategist focused on the Urban Parks/Urban Matters effort.

Born in Camden, N.J. and raised in Philadelphia, Labovitz graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Forest Service, and received his Masters of Business Administration in 1987 from Frostburg State University in Maryland. He’s married to Sue Bicknell, a Watchung, N.J., native. Prior to his NPS career, Labovitz managed a 10,000 acre privately owned woodland in southwest Pennsylvania.


Posted 2/10/2014




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