Nevada's Great Basin National Park gets new leader

Nevada’s Great Basin National Park gets new leader

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — She’s worked as a ranger and a trail laborer in Glacier National Park. She’s got experience leading a list of national parks and monuments in the northwest. And now she has been named the new leader of Nevada’s Great Basin National Park.

Ashley Adams brings a wide variety of experience to her new role as Great Basin superintendent. About the only thing on her resume that won’t apply: lemur research in Madagascar. But she’ll have plenty to learn about bats, Lehman Caves and Wheeler Peak, the second-tallest mountain in Nevada. Great Basin is home to groves of ancient bristlecone pines, and it’s known for some of the darkest night skies in the country.

Great Basin National Park, established in 1986, is about 4 1/2 hours north of Las Vegas — about 290 miles. It’s near Ely in White Pine County. The park has a year-round staff of about 30 employees, and doubles that staff during the summer.

Sun rays spill over the mountains as National Park Service officials measure the depth of Baker Lake in Great Basin National Park. (Photo: Joseph Danielson)

Since 2019, Adams has served as deputy superintendent of Nez Perce National Historical Park in Idaho, Whitman Mission National Historic Site in Washington and Big Hole National Battlefield in Montana. She has also managed water partnerships involving Yosemite National Park and the City of San Francisco. She has worked in the Bureau of Land Management as well as national parks.

Ashley Adams. (NPS photo)

“I am honored and excited to join the team at Great Basin National Park,” Adams said in Thursday’s news release. “It is a great privilege to help steward this diverse, resilient, yet fragile landscape that both humbles and inspires. I look forward to working with staff, visitors, partner organizations, Tribes, external stakeholders, and surrounding communities to help serve as a custodian of this incredibly special place.”

Adams has a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University. She grew up in Montana, where her father was a seasonal park ranger at Glacier for more than 50 years.

“She has an enduring love of mountains, wide open spaces, and landscapes off the beaten path,” according to information provided by the National Park Service. “Her favorite activity is to grab her two mischievous black lab mixes and head out into the mountains for a hike, although you might also find her out on a run, enjoying a winter day on cross-country skis, or nose deep in a good book.”

Great Basin is definitely off the beaten path. Only about 142,000 visitors were recorded in 2022, down from a high of 168,000 in 2017. The park has free admission.

NPS Pacific West Regional Director David Szymanski said, “Ashley’s strong inter-personal skills and positive, supportive approach make her a great leader and communicator. She has a track record of fostering a dynamic team environment, both within her own organizations and in her partnerships with a variety of tribal, governmental, and nonprofit agencies.”

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