Sept. 14, 2006 — V.I. National Park Superintendent Art Frederick is moving up the National Park Service career ladder to a job as deputy regional director for the southeast region. He'll be based in Atlanta.
Frederick will be responsible for working with the regional director and other park officials in the southeast region. That region includes 64 National Park units, including V.I. National Park, which has facilities on St. John and Hassel Island, St. Thomas; as well as St. Croix's Buck Island Reef National Monument, Christiansted National Historic Site and Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve.
Frederick said Thursday that Tuesday will be his last day on the job. He said a permanent replacement hasn't been named, but that San Juan National Historic Site Superintendent Walter Chevez will serve in an acting capacity until December.
He said he didn't anticipate anyone would be appointed permanently to the post until spring.
Frederick arrived in September 2003 to replace former Superintendent John King (See "New Park Superintendent Eyes Community Links").
A native of Quincy, Fla., Frederick began his park service career at Fort Caroline National Memorial in Jacksonville after graduating from Florida State University with a bachelor's degree in history. He worked four years as a park ranger at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and for 12 years at Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina.
Before transferring to Cumberland Island, he was assistant superintendent at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. He also served in the U.S. Navy as a member of a special anti-submarine warfare unit.
Frederick said his biggest accomplishment at this national park was getting the park's general management plan under way.
"We still have some work to do," he said, adding that the plan will serve the park for the next 15 to 20 years.
Frederick said several improvements to the park's infrastructure came to fruition while he served as superintendent. They include the pavilion at Hawksnest Bay and the rehabilitation of the North Shore Road. He said the road project won't be completed until 2008.
The superintendent said he takes great pride in the work he did within the St. John community, adding that the community's small size makes it imperative for the park superintendent to nurture relationships.
He said that last year he started reading to preschoolers in the Thursday morning reading program at Elaine I. Sprauve Library as part of his membership in the Rotary Club of St. John.
"It was such a rewarding feeling to see their smiley faces," he said.
He said it was important for the community to see that he was not just another federal official.
Frederick was also active in the annual Martin Luther King Day observance in Cruz Bay Park.
St. John Administrator Julien Harley called Frederick a listener with a good attitude.
He said this was obvious when the park made taxi drivers get permits to operate in the park.
"Yes, he has a job to do, but he must be a medium," Harley said.
Harley said Frederick assisted greatly in the local government's effort to get the Park Service to swap park land to use for a school. That process remains ongoing.
Frederick said during his tenure the park forged a memorandum of understanding with the St. Thomas Historical Trust to deal with matters on Hassel Island.
He said that while he'll miss St. John's wonderful weather and beauty, he'll also miss the friendships he made while at the park.
"They made the jobs so much easier," he said.
He said he'll also miss the park's dedicated employees and gave them credit for helping him to achieve what he's done at the park.
"They're a wonderful group," he said.
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