Water Gap superintendent to retire

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  • John J. Donahue

John J. Donahue, superintendent of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, will retire in December, capping off a 38-year federal career that took him to numerous national park units in several different roles.

Prior to assuming his current position in 2003, Donahue was superintendent of Big Cypress National Preserve and Desoto National Memorial in Florida, George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Virginia and Thomas Stone National Historic Site in Maryland.

Donahue started his career as a as a gardener, first at Cape Cod National Seashore and later at John Muir National Historic Site. He has been a special assistant to the assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks in the U.S. Department of the Interior, and an environmental specialist in the Washington Office of the National Park Service. He was the chief of resource management and visitor services at Cape Cod National Seashore and a resource manager at Morristown National Historical Park.

In recent years, John led the United States and an international delegation to China on behalf of the National Park Service, and he attended the World Parks Conference in Australia. In 1999, he was part of a delegation that visited national parks in Haiti to spur tourism and economic development. He has written legislation, regulations, policies, and numerous articles. His areas of expertise include wildlife, cultural landscapes and landscape scale connectivity and restoration.

He guided the recent stewardship land-acquisition program resulting from the Susquehanna–Roseland Transmission Line settlements, which has essentially connected national recreation area lands to state forests and privately owned but preserved hunting clubs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, creating hundreds of thousands of acres of connected open space only 85 miles from Manhattan and 100 miles from Philadelphia.

Donahue graduated as a senior executive fellow from the Kennedy School at Harvard in 2003, and attended Leadership for a Democratic Society at the Federal Executive Institute in 2008 and 2009. He completed a certificate in public leadership from the Brookings institute in 2010. He graduated with a bachelor of arts in environmental studies (cum laude) from California State University in 1986. In recent years he was commended by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate, and he received a Superior Service Award from the Department of Interior.

Donahue has been married to Sarah Donahue for 40 years and has a 19-year-old son, John Vincent Donahue, who attends East Stroudsburg University. The couple plans plan to remain in the area and continue hiking and boating in the national park. For more information on the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area call park headquarters at 570-426-2452 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or visit www.nps.gov/dewa or www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS.

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