BERLIN TWP. - Kris Heister has been selected as the new superintendent of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River in Beach Lake.
She succeeds the acting superintendent, Malcolm Wilbur, and former superintendent Sean McGuinness, who retired earlier this year.
Heister is a 22-year veteran of the National Park Service. She will begin her new position in mid-July.
“As the chief of natural resources for the northeast region, Kris has repeatedly demonstrated outstanding leadership in establishing successful partnerships as a way of doing business that is integral to success,” said Northeast Regional Director Mike Caldwell. “Her strong natural resource and interpretive background, experience building coalitions, and innovative leadership approach are particularly relevant for Upper Delaware.”
Heister began her National Park Service career as a biologist at Valley Forge National Historical Park. Since then she has served in a variety of natural resource management positions in parks and regions throughout the country.
"I am excited to work with the staff of Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River and the Upper Delaware Council," said the new superintendent. "As a life-long resident of Pennsylvania, I have many fond memories of canoeing the Delaware River with my family and jumping off the (now gone) rope swing at the Narrowsburg Bridge. Working with our partners in this unique park setting is the key to protecting one of our nation’s most pristine, undammed rivers and to maintaining the 'outstandingly remarkable values' for which it was designated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.”
After Heister’s first position at Valley Forge, she worked for a short time at Appomattox Court House.
In her next NPS post, she spent five years with the inventory and monitoring program working collaboratively to design a long-term monitoring program for parks in the Great Basin and Mojave Desert.
In 2006, she returned to Valley Forge as the chief of natural resources where she led an interdisciplinary effort to develop a highly controversial white-tailed deer management plan and created a complex network of partnerships that integrated work with local non-profit organizations, youth programs, volunteerism, the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program and the Parks for Every Classroom program.
In 2009, Heister received the Trish Patterson Student Conservation Association Award for Natural Resource Management in a small park for the northeast region. In recognition of her efforts with the community, she received the 2013 Coldwater Conservation Professional Award from the State Council of Trout Unlimited.
As the chief of natural resources for the northeast region, she has led a multidisciplinary team of subject matter experts to promote science-based management in parks and increased park involvement in decision-making through establishment of advisory groups such as the Natural Resource Advisory Committee.
Heister graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in biology from Salisbury State University and received a Master's of Science degree in wildlife and fisheries science in 1995 from Penn State University.