November 16, 2004

Former Park Superintendent
Receives Award

Superintendent Stands Up for National Park Protection

Washington, D.C. –The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today bestowed its prestigious Stephen T. Mather Award on former Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Superintendent Gary Candelaria for his unwavering dedication to the protection of Wrangell-St. Elias, his commitment to park staff and volunteers, and his overall efforts to ensure that the thousands of visitors who visit the park annually enjoy a memorable experience. Candelaria is currently deputy manager of the Harpers Ferry Service Center.

Candelaria has worked tirelessly within the Park Service and with local park constituents to build understanding, cooperation, and support for preserving and protecting Wrangell-St. Elias and its talented staff,” said NPCA Vice President for Government Affairs Craig Obey, who presented the award today at the annual meeting of the Association of National Park Rangers.

“Despite being cast as the villain by some local politicians, Candelaria worked in the best interest of the park,” added NPCA Alaska Regional Director Jim Stratton. “He always put park protection and upholding the law first. He made some tough political decision knowing the fallout would hurt, but he didn’t waver, he stood up for what was right.”

At more than 13 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is the largest site in the National Park System. It is also one of the few national parks in Alaska connected to the state highway system. The park contains the largest concentration of glaciers, the largest sub-polar ice cap, and nine of the continent’s 16 highest mountains, including the second-highest in the United States―Mt. St. Elias, at 18,008 feet. The park was created, in part, to preserve the majestic scenic beauty and wildlife of the area.

Named for the first director of the National Park Service, the Stephen T. Mather Award is given annually to people who have demonstrated initiative and resourcefulness in promoting environmental protection in the national parks, taken significant action where others have hesitated, and exemplified the principles of good park stewardship.

NPCA¾Protecting Parks for Future Generations
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its members, and partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation's natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve