There’s a new chief ranger at the Glacier National Park in Montana – and it it a familiar face. Paul Austin arrives from the Saguaro National Park in Arizona, where he served as the chief ranger. Austin takes over for Mark Foust, who moved on to the superintendent post at Dinosaur National Monument.
“The chief ranger oversees law enforcement, fees, special uses, fire, trails, backcountry, stock and dispatch programs, has responsibility for the visitor and resource protection division, and is a member of the park’s leadership team,” The Missoulian reported.
Austin has ties to Glacier, as the Missoulian reports he interned in the Student Conservation Association at Glacier’s Belly River area in 1995 and was stationed in the area as a backcounty ranger in 1997. The new chief ranger’s mother and grandfather worked at the Many Glacier Hotel.
Austin, originally from the Seattle area, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Michigan and a master’s in education from Western Washington University. Prior to taking on a full-time ranger role with the National Park Service in Yosemite, he worked during the summers at Rocky Mountain and Yosemite national parks part-time – while working as a middle school science teacher.
After Yosemite, Austin went on to the Grand Canyon National Park and then was appointed chief ranger at Saguaro, which has “the nation’s largest cacti, the giant saguaro.”