Tennessee-native named Chief Ranger of Smokies

Local News

A Tennessee native will be the next Chief Ranger of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, officials announced Wednesday. 

Chattanooga-native Lisa Hendy will serve as the GSMNP Chief Ranger. In April, Hendy will oversee employees in the Resource and Visitor Protection Division who perform law enforcement duties, wildland fire operations, emergency medical services, search and rescue operations, backcountry operations and staff the emergency communications center. 

“Lisa has demonstrated incredible leadership in managing law enforcement, fire, and search and rescue operations at some of the nation’s busiest parks,” said GSMNP Superintendent Cassius Cash. “She’s built strong programs by investing in local partnerships with neighboring agencies to help make areas safer for visitors and residents. She is going to be a great addition to the park’s management team.”

Hendy brings a wealth of experience to the position after serving at several major parks including Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Arches National Park, and Rocky Mountains National Park. She is currently the Chief Ranger at Big Bend National Park in Southwest Texas. 

She’s received several accolades for her performance including the prestigious Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award in 2011, a peer-nominated award and one of the highest recognitions that a park ranger can receive. In 2007, she received an Intermountain Region Exemplary Service Award for life saving efforts within Grand Canyon National Park.

According to a GSMNP release, Hendy enjoyed her first backcountry experiences in the Smokies where she backpacked in her youth. 

“I am looking forward to returning to my home state in the park that provided my first real outdoor adventures,” said Chief Ranger Lisa Hendy. “It will be a pleasure to be involved in the efforts to protect a place that was so instrumental in defining my passions and ultimately my career.”

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