Bay Area Man a Natural Choice for National Parks Chief - NBC Bay Area

Bay Area Man a Natural Choice for National Parks Chief

Jon Jarvis is living the dream



    Bay Area Man a Natural Choice for National Parks Chief
    National Park Service
    Jon Jarvis is the 18th director of National Parks

    A Bay Area nature lover will be President Barack Obama's right-hand man when it comes to America's most beautiful landmarks.

    Jon Jarvis recently found landed his dream job -- as Obama's first director of national parks.

    The recent six-part, 12-hour series "National Parks: America's best Idea" on PBS made millions of people more aware of the fabulous treasures across the country but Jarvis has long since been an advocate for the parks. His first job with the National Parks Service was a temporary one, handing out maps to tourists at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. more than three decades ago.

    Since 2002, the 56-year-old from Pinole, California has been supervising 54 national park units in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii.

    "President Obama has made a commitment to bring new life into our National Park System," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, "and Jon Jarvis has proven he is the right person to make sure that happens."

    As the face of the country's 391-park system, Jarvis has a big job ahead of him. Among the many challenges Jarvis faces is how to keep plants and animals from dwindling as the sad effects of climate change bear down on Mother Nature.

    "There is energy out there around climate change, around the smart use and protection of our public lands," Jarvis said at his swearing-in ceremony, "and under this Secretary’s leadership, I think we're going to do great things -- right up there with the kind of legacy that was laid on the ground by past presidents like Teddy Roosevelt."

    Jarvis, who fell in love with all things outdoors as he grew up in Virginia,  becomes the 18th director of the National Park Service. He'll be the head honcho of the system, overseeing 20,000+ employees and maintaining the $2.5 billion budget.