December 16, 2005

New man in charge at the Mojave National Preserve

Dennis Schramm has been named superintendent

By RYAN MCMASTER. Staff Writer
Desert Dispatch [Barstow, CA]

Dennis Schramm, who has worked for the National Park Service for 28 years, has been named the new superintendent of the Mojave National Preserve.

The duties for this position include overseeing government activities in the park, such as maintaining trails, living quarters, water systems, camping grounds and park ranger force within its boundaries.

He will be replacing Mary Martin, who is transferring to become the superintendent of Lassen Volcanic National Park in Mineral.

Schramm plans to move to Barstow in February. He is currently the program analyst in the office of planning and policy in Washington, D.C.

Previously, he served as a management assistant at the Mojave National Preserve from 1995 to 2002. This position included planning building projects intended for the general public.

"Part of it was planning the Kelso Depot Visitor's Center. It used to be an old railroad depot and a vandalized building," Schramm said, "It became a visitor's center when we opened it up a couple years ago."

Previous to working for the Mojave National Preserve, Schramm worked in various positions in the National Park Service nationwide. He has a graduate degree in desert ecology from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and even prior to that, he had an interest in national parks.

"I was like a lot of kids that grew up in the '50s," he said, "I went to Yellowstone National Park with my family. I grew up hunting and hiking." Such activities fostered a love of wilderness for Schramm, and he said this later encouraged his interest in desert ecology.

"I like being in the outdoors," he said, "I really believe in it."

Schramm said his favorite jobs in his long career with the National Park Service have been his field jobs working in different California national parks. In addition to working at the Mojave National Reserve, he said he also enjoyed working at the Lava Beds National Monument in Tulelake.

Shramm's current duties in Washington D.C. include efforts to control the budget of the National Park Service. However, in a couple of months, he will be returning to Barstow to take on his new position.

"I'm very excited to be coming back," he said, "I have a long relationship with that part of the country. The desert is the place I know the best." Schramm is also excited to be reunited with friends and family in the Barstow area.

He said it is too early to say much about his new position as superintendent, but he is looking forward to the challenge nonetheless.

"I've been gone for three and a half years," said Schramm, "I have a learning curve to catch up on."

One idea he does have is to bring more youth to the national parks and the outdoors.

"It's important to the relevancy of the parks in the future," he said.

Schramm would also like to see more opportunities for graduate students to work in national parks.

"I worked in Death Valley National Park as a graduate," he said, "I hope there are more opportunities for new graduates now."