Before Women’s History Month comes to a close, the country’s most-visited National Park has just announced it will have its first female chief park ranger in history.

Tennessee native Lisa Hendy will become the Great Smokey Mountains National Park’s chief ranger—and its first female lead ranger in the park’s 85-year history. The park ranger will officially take over the reigns of the the 522,419 acres of protected land that runs between Tennessee and North Carolina in April.

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Handy is no stranger to running a National Park as her resume includes chief ranger at Big Bend National Park in Texas, as well as serving in other popular parks including Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. This inspiring trail-blazer is not only an experienced ranger but she is also a certified paramedic, firefighter, aviation manager and swiftwater rescuer.

“I am looking forward to returning to my home state in the park that provided my first real outdoor adventures,” she said in a press release. “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.”

—Shahrzad Warkentin

 

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