Cliff Spencer went from intern to superintendent in National Park Service

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Cliff Spencer went from intern to superintendent in National Park Service

Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer says he remembers his mother saying, “It doesn’t matter what you do in life, do your best at it.’ Spencer is seen here in July 2011 discussing the planned move of artifacts to the Visitor and Research Center that was completed in 2011.
Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer walks through the construction area of the new Visitor and Research Center when it was being built in July 2011.
One of the biggest problems at Machu Picchu, Peru, is the lack of an off season because of the favorable climate says Cliff Spencer, superintendent, Mesa Verde National Park. At Machu Picchu, from right to left, are Spencer; Brian Nichols, U.S. Ambassador to Peru; Daniel Maravi Vega Centeno, director of the Cusco Region, Ministry of Culture, Peru; second lady Jill Biden is standing between two students from the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola.

Cliff Spencer went from intern to superintendent in National Park Service

Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer says he remembers his mother saying, “It doesn’t matter what you do in life, do your best at it.’ Spencer is seen here in July 2011 discussing the planned move of artifacts to the Visitor and Research Center that was completed in 2011.
Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer walks through the construction area of the new Visitor and Research Center when it was being built in July 2011.
One of the biggest problems at Machu Picchu, Peru, is the lack of an off season because of the favorable climate says Cliff Spencer, superintendent, Mesa Verde National Park. At Machu Picchu, from right to left, are Spencer; Brian Nichols, U.S. Ambassador to Peru; Daniel Maravi Vega Centeno, director of the Cusco Region, Ministry of Culture, Peru; second lady Jill Biden is standing between two students from the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola.
Policies reduce diversity

Policies can sometimes be barriers to encouraging diversity among visitors to national parks, said Cliff Spencer, superintendent of Mesa Verde National Parks.
For example, when he worked at Sequoia National Park in California, the park had regulations regarding the number of visitors at individual picnic sites. Non-white visitors would occasionally show up with their extended families to enjoy the public lands, and they would move multiple tables together so they could enjoy lunch as a family.
This would inevitably lead to a park ranger coming by to inform them this was against park regulations and that they needed to pay for a group site, he said.
“They’re not looking at themselves as a group, they’re looking at their family, they’re not the Boy Scouts or some off-site company picnic or something, they’re a family.”
Eventually, the park set concrete bollards with chains attached to the tables to stop groups from moving the tables together, Spencer said. “Then the people come back and look at it and say ‘well, we’re not welcome here, they don’t want us here,’ so they leave, and we’ve just lost those people.”
Spencer says he has a vested interest in promoting diversity amongst the Park Service’s visitors.
“A lot of these non-traditional Park Service audiences will soon be representatives and legislators and senators, and when it comes time to fund the Park Service what are they going to be looking at? How are they going to perceive the Park Service’s importance in American life? I’m looking at it from a self-preservation mode.”

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