The man chosen to lead Redwood National and State Parks says he will use his experience in building partnerships to strengthen the tie between the parks and the local community.
Steven Mietz, who is currently on temporary assignment as the superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore, said he will bring his experience working at the Missouri National Recreational River to Redwood National and State Parks. At Missouri National Recreational River, which covered more than 120 miles of river in South Dakota and Nebraska, Mietz said he worked with 750 landowners including state, local and tribal agencies. He said that dynamic is similar to Redwood National and State Parks.
Mietz will replace Steven Prokop as Redwood National and State Parks superintendent. Prokop retired earlier this year.
“A lot of times a big part of making the partnerships successful is just listening and trying to understand where the partner’s interests are, what the overlapping values and overlapping goals (are) and starting to build from those successes,” Mietz said. “You can find areas where you have agreement and work on some of the harder things. Once you start building on success, more and more folks join in.”
Mietz, who has an undergraduate degree in policy and economics from Cornell University and master’s in environmental studies from the University of Montana, has worked with the National Park Service since 2003.
Prior to that, Mietz worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Grizzly Bear Recovery Program, the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation.
Mietz said he was with the U.S. Geological Survey at Grand Canyon National Park studying the impacts of the Glen Canyon Dam on the downstream resources of the Colorado River when he became excited about managing resources as well as doing scientific research.
Mietz said his career took him from the Grand Canyon where he was the deputy chief of science and resources management to the Missouri National Recreational River. Although he is on temporary assignment to the Point Reyes National Seashore, Mietz is also the superintendent at Great Basin National Park.
Under Mietz’s watch, Great Basin National Park was designated an International Dark Sky Park, according to a National Park Service press release. The park and its nonprofit partners raised $800,000 to build the Great Basin Conservatory. Mietz has also overseen the completion of several campsite rehabilitations and ecological restoration projects.
Mietz will return to Great Basin National Park before taking up the reins at Redwood National and State Parks. He said he will likely start his job in Redwood in November.
“I think my scientific background and experience with partnerships will be a good fit for the skills needed to be superintendent there,” Mietz said. “I’m looking forward to working with the partners up there; a lot of folks (already) reached out with kind words.”
Mietz will be making the move to Redwood National and State Parks with his wife Stephanie and two sons Jack and Ben.