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December 29, 2020

Former NPS Director Gary E. Everhardt Passes Away

Gary Everhardt, former director of the National Park Service (NPS), passed away on the evening of December 27, 2020.  His death followed the passing of his wife Nancy, on December 23, 2020.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of both Gary and Nancy,” said Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks. “All of us who work for and with the National Park Service are indebted to them for their devotion and service. They will be long remembered.

We extend our sincerest sympathies to Gary and Nancy’s children and their families and friends for their loss.”

Gary and Nancy (Poovey) Everhardt were raised in North Carolina, not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Everhardt began his NPS career on the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1957, where he served as an engineer. Later he became the superintendent of Grand Teton National Park.

In 1975, Everhardt was appointed as the ninth NPS director. During his tenure, he oversaw an increase in park development and interpretive programming for the bicentennial of the American Revolution. Everhardt focused on enhancing the parks and received authorization to add 1,000 new NPS jobs to assist with the celebration of America’s 200th anniversary.

Following his time as director, Everhardt returned to the field as superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a position he held for the last 23 years of his career. Under his leadership, the Parkway forged partnerships with The Conservation Trust of North Carolina- leading to the protection of tens of thousands of acres along the Parkway – and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, which provided millions of dollars for Parkway resource and facility protection. Everhardt oversaw the completion of the Parkway Headquarters, as well as the Linn Cove Viaduct. In honor of his service, the new headquarters for the Parkway was named after him.

In recognition of his service and dedication to the mission of the NPS, Everhardt was given the Meritorious Service Award by the Department of the Interior. The state of North Carolina presented him with their highest award, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award.

In 2014, Everhardt joined the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, becoming the 1000th member of the organization.