Jonathan Jarvis

Director, National Park Service
Washington, DC

Responsibilities: Jarvis oversees more than 22,000 employees and more than 400 national parks that generate $30 billion in economic benefits across the country each year.

Years in current position: 7

Years with the Park Service: 40+

Director Jonathan Jarvis_NPSCareer path: Jarvis began his career with the National Park Service in 1976 as a seasonal interpreter in Washington, DC. Since then, his career has taken him from ranger to resource management specialist to park biologist to superintendent of parks such as Craters of the Moon, North Cascades, Wrangell St. Elias, and Mount Rainier. Before being confirmed as the 18th director of the National Park Service in September 2009, Jarvis served as regional director of the Pacific West Region. Today, he manages the agency tasked with preserving America’s most treasured landscapes and cultural icons.

What makes our national parks special: “Every day, I feel honored to steward some of the greatest, most important, most beautiful places in the United States . . . . Our national parks are a physical manifestation of who we are as Americans, and their care sends a message to future generations about our history and our aspirations as a nation.”

Typical day: “Starts with morning briefings on media, issues, congressional activities, and events involving NPS. The rest of the day involves major problem solving around national parks and, this year, the 100th anniversary.”

Biggest challenge: Having to deal with the angry politics of Washington.

Best part of the job: Getting to work with the extraordinary public servants in the National Park Service.

My favorite national park: All of them!

Learn more about our national parks! View historic photos, listen to audio on how the film, "Our National Parks: America's Best Idea," was created, and learn about activities and events the park system offers.