This article first appeared in the January 19th, 2012 edition of the Vermont Standard.
By Gwen Stanley
Michael Creasy has been named the new Superintendent of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and the Executive Director of the Conservation Study Institute, replacing Rolf Diamant and Nora Mitchell, both of whom retired in September.
Creasy has 27 years of work with the National Park Service under his belt, the last seven of those as superintendent of Lowell National Historical Park in Lowell, Massachussetts. His experience isn’t limited to New Engand, though. “Prior to Lowell, I was the executive director of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for ten years,” he said. “Before coming to New England I was working out of the NPS regional office in Santa Fe New Mexico. I was a program manager working primarily on a bi-national project along the Texas-Mexico border, Los Caminos del Rio,” he said. “The borderlands were a fascinating experience and I was responsible for developing a plan to preserve and develop a cultural and wildlife corridor along the last 200 miles of the Rio Grande. Early in my career I was a park planner that worked in the NPS Philadelphia office primarily on plans for potential new national parks and on management plans for existing parks and heritage areas. And I got my roots in the National Park Service early on as a summer ranger in jobs that included working as a mounted horse patrol ranger, trail patrol ranger, an interpretive ranger and a river ranger.”
Creasy said he is excited about the move to Vermont.
“I’ve lived and worked in New England for 17 years – Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I’ve been to Vermont on occasion for skiing, visiting family in Rutland hiking, and site seeing. I don’t feel like I know Vermont and look forward to exploring more of the state. I have been to Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller numerous times for work related meetings and workshops. Rolf and Nora were close colleagues and I had many chances to work with them on various National Park Service initiatives.”
When asked about the differences between Lowell’s Park and MBR Park, Creasy said, “I think when you lose two great park service leaders like Rolf and Nora there will obviously be changes just by there loss. However, they put the park and the Conservation Study Institute in a very good position to continue to advance the lofty goals that were established with the development of the park. I think my role will be to first get to Woodstock and meet the staff, partners and members of the community and see where we go from there.”
The National Park in Lowell has a distinctly different character and roots, shares a similar interest in historic preservation with MRB Park.
“Lowell is a community that is very proud of its national park and the park has been a good partner in many activities. The park has a very strong historic preservation program that has made incredible progress in preserving the historic character of Lowell and in turn has been considered the national model for regeneration of a post industrial city. Over 80 percent of the decaying five million square feet of mill space in Lowell in the 1970s have been restored generating some $400M in private development over the last five years. Lowell is also noted for one of the largest experiential education programs in the national park service and hosts the largest free folk festivals in the nation as well.”
Creasy added, “I am very honored and excited to be coming to a community that seems to be very engaged in issues related to land stewardship and heritage-based economic development. The wonderful stories I read and heard about when the flooding occurred gave me a sense that this is a community that really cares about its people and that feels like a good place to be a part of.”
“I was just up to Woodstock yesterday and met with a real estate agent to look for housing in Woodstock. We plan on being in Woodstock by the beginning of March and hope that the snow situation improves for skiing,” he said.