Lisa McInnis

Lisa McInnis will oversee Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s natural and cultural resources as the chief of resource management and science, park officials said Monday. McInnis will lead efforts to protect and preserve the park’s remarkable biodiversity, forest health and rich cultural connections.

Lisa McInnis is Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s new chief of resource management and science.

With responsibilities for diverse natural and cultural resources, she will lead efforts to protect and preserve the park’s biodiversity, forest health and cultural connections that represent thousands of years of history, park officials said Monday.

McInnis will oversea fisheries, wildlife and vegetation management; inventorying and monitoring of air, water and biological resources; and coordination of a myriad of research activities.

“Lisa’s knowledge and leadership of programs across the National Park Service have gained her the experience to skillfully oversee these wide-ranging programs and create new initiatives and partnerships that will help the park handle new challenges on the horizon,” park Superintendent Cassius Cash said in a statement.

McInnis’ portfolio consists of cultural resource management, historic structures, archaeological sites, cultural landscapes and museum collections that all have been an integral part in preserving the human history and telling the stories of the past.

She comes to this position most recently from the Mississippi-based Natchez Trace Parkway, where she served as the chief of resource management, overseeing an interdisciplinary program in a park unit with complex and diverse resource challenges. McInnis also served as the natural resource specialist and as the fire ecologist, overseeing a vegetation monitoring program at Little River Canyon National Preserve, Mammoth Cave National Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Vicksburg National Military Park, Horseshoe Bend National Military Park and Stones River National Battlefield.

In addition, she served in acting roles as superintendent at Andersonville National Cemetery and Pinnacles National Park, and as the branch chief for natural resources in the North-Atlantic Appalachian Region. She currently chairs the South-Atlantic Gulf Region Natural Resource Advisory Committee.

“I am excited and honored to work in a park with such unparalleled resources,” McInnis said in a press release. “Great Smoky Mountains National Park, along with other National Park Service areas, continues to be challenged by environmental issues such as air quality impacts and the detrimental effects of non-native animals, plants and diseases.”

McInnis received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Centenary College, a Master of Science in biology degree from Louisiana Tech University, a Master of Business Administration from Mississippi State University and a Ph.D. in forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University.

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