The National Park
Service (NPS) has appointed MaryEllen “Mel” Whitenack as Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore’s new Fire Management Officer.
selected from a national pool of applicants and stood out as an exceptional
candidate, NPS said in a statement released today.
“Mel has shown
great leadership and done an outstanding job across the Midwest Region of
the National Park Service to help parks develop fire programs,” said Daniel
Plath, chief of resource management at the National Lakeshore. “Mel brings
with her years of fire management experience and proven team building
skills, including the 2015 National Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge,
where Indiana Dunes fire team received the runner-up award for all fire
programs across the country.”
Whitenack has been
at Indiana Dunes since 2001 and since 2008 has served as the Assistant Fire
“I am looking
forward to continue our work with the communities and cooperators that
surround the park and continue building partnerships that work for the park
and the community,” Whitenack said.
In her 20-year
career with NPS, Whitenack has served at Wiskeytown National Recreation Area
and at Grand Tetons National Park. Her duties at Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore have included managing fire programs at Sleeping Bear Dunes and
Lincoln Boyhood National Monument.
Whitenack has also
represented NPS on the ground for disaster relief and wildfires from Florida
Whitenack lives in