July 15, 2002 – After spending the last year with the National Park Service on St. Croix, Beulah Dalmida-Smith will return to her native St. John to serve as special assistant to Superintendent John King, he announced on Monday. She is to report for work on Aug. 19.
Since March, Dalmida-Smith has worked as special assistant to Joel Tutein, superintendent at Buck Island Reef National Monument, Christiansted National Historic Site and Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve.
"We are extremely pleased to have someone of Beulah's talent, energy and experience to join the park staff," King said.
Dalmida-Smith, reached by telephone on St. Croix, said she was excited about coming back to St. John with her 8-year-old daughter. When she moved to St. Croix, her husband, Winston Smith, remained on St. John while she commuted on weekends. "I'm thrilled. God has blessed me," she said.
Dalmida-Smith started her career as a seasonal ranger at the St. John park in 1982. After getting a master's degree in environmental studies from Yale University, she returned to serve as environmental education coordinator. She also holds a bachelor's degree in marine biology from the University of the Virgin Islands. She left the park in 1995 to become Planning and Natural Resources commissioner in the Schneider administration.
In her final months as commissioner, Dalmida-Smith made headlines when former park Superintendent Russ Berry announced at a Sept. 2, 1998, joint meeting of the St. John Community Foundation and St. John Action Committee that she would return to the park as chief of resources management on Nov. 22, 1998. He said she had applied for the job. The next day, she denied she was leaving her commissioner's post and said she would not desert the Schneider administration. She claimed Berry's announcement was premature and unauthorized, and Berry denied her claims; she said she hoped to return to the park as superintendent.
She continued as DPNR commissioner until the end of the Schneider administration.
King said Dalmida-Smith will "wear a number of hats" in her new post. They include serving as the park's public information officer and assisting the superintendent with community and media relations programs. Additionally, she will coordinate resource education, manage volunteer and "alternative manpower" programs, and coordinate activities relating to park land-protection and environmental leadership initiatives.
Dalmida-Smith said she sees challenges ahead, starting with refamiliarizing herself with park issues and staff. King said that in some ways, she will be filling the shoes left vacant when acting planner Jim Owens left in April. Owens often functioned as the park's public relations officer and represented the park administration at community meetings.
King said the park had planned to advertise the job, but when Dalmida-Smith expressed an interest in returning to St. John, he found she was qualified.
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