Death Valley National Park superintendent to visit Clemson’s Death Valley
CLEMSON — Mike Reynolds, superintendent of California’s and Nevada’s Death Valley National Park, will visit Clemson University to celebrate the National Park Service centennial in the Death Valley of the East Coast.
Reynolds will arrive Friday to address students and faculty and he will join university leaders at the Saturday football matchup between Clemson and the University of Louisville.
Reynolds said he looks forward to any opportunity to visit higher education institutions and he has wanted to visit Clemson, in particular, for years because of the increasing number of visitors to Death Valley National Park who comment on the connection between the park and Clemson University.
“[Our staff] has seen more and more visitors wearing orange, so it’s time we return the favor and make the same trip,” Reynolds said. “This is a great opportunity to engage Clemson fans, young and old alike, with a Death Valley-to-Death Valley salute that celebrates our connection.”
Reynolds will unveil a video produced by Death Valley National Park, to be played on Memorial Stadium’s video board for Clemson fans during the football game. The clip celebrates the National Park Service’s centennial and features park rangers in Death Valley National Park cheering on the Tigers while waving Clemson’s signature tiger rags.
Reynolds will watch the game alongside Clemson University President James P. Clements in his stadium box.
The park superintendent said he gets excited both professionally and personally every time he gets the chance to visit the world of higher education, especially when his destination features a thriving parks, recreation and tourism management department.
“Clemson’s program was highly regarded back when I was in school at Arizona State, and it’s only grown stronger and more active on the national level,” Reynolds said. “I’ve been looking forward to meeting the legendary faculty in that department ever since I knew this trip was going to happen.”
Reynolds will get his chance to spend the day before the game with students and faculty in Clemson’s parks, recreation and tourism management department. In the morning, he will address sophomore students from the department to discuss “a day in the life of a park superintendent” and the leadership and skills needed to advance in any organization.
Reynolds will follow this class appearance with a midday talk with graduate students and faculty. He will discuss current and future challenges of managing an iconic park like Death Valley and the future research necessary to help address these challenges.
“I look forward to forging some connections to the department and the university that will hopefully stick,” Reynolds said. “Great departments produce great students, and I’d love to gauge the interest for internships with those students. It’s a relationship Death Valley National Park would love to have.”
Death Valley National Park named Reynolds superintendent in May 2015. He manages a staff of 125 full-time employees and an annual budget of $9 million. Reynolds has worked for the park service for nearly 20 years and has served at Big Bend, Great Smoky Mountains, Death Valley and Yellowstone national parks. He also spent three and a half years as superintendent at the National Park of American Samoa.