Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson and Deputy Superintendent Kevin FitzGerald have recently selected a manager to oversee the Park’s diverse natural and cultural resources. Jeff Troutman is the new Chief of Resource Management and Science.
Dominated by vegetation-covered mountains and unique ecosystems made up of an amazing diversity of plants and animals, Great Smoky Mountains National Park natural resources are a legacy worldwide. As the lead resource official, Troutman will manage a broad spectrum of resource management activities that serve to protect this immense biodiversity and preserve a significant historic culture representing thousands of years of history.
“Troutman’s 28 years of National Park Service leadership and resource management assignments have gained him the experience to skillfully oversee these wide-ranging programs and create new initiatives and partnerships that will help the Park handle new challenges on the horizon,” said Ditmanson.
The division’s many responsibilities include: fire, fisheries, wildlife, and vegetation management; inventorying and monitoring of air, water and biological resources; and coordination of myriad research and scientific activities, including a long-term study of all living things. On the cultural side, management of 19th and 20th century historic structures, archeological sites and artifacts, cultural landscapes, and museum collections of thousands of artifacts, photos, and records all have an integral part in preserving the human history and telling the stories of the past through prehistoric times to the native American Indians and early European settlers.
As Park managers strive to fulfill the National Park Service mission of conserving, unimpaired, the natural and cultural resources, the Park is challenged with many environmental issues, foremost among them are air quality impacts to water, soils, and vegetation and the detrimental effects of nonnative animals, plants, and diseases on the Park’s natural resources. Climate change will pose a new set of future challenges. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, along with other National Park Service areas, will be tested in its efforts to understand the possible long-range consequences associated with these changes and develop stewardship actions for dealing with them.
Troutman comes to this position most recently from the National Park Service’s Southeast Utah Group where he served as the Chief of Natural and Cultural Resources since 2003. The Southeast Group is made up of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges National Monuments. In addition, he had previous assignments at Kenai Fjords and Denali National Parks, Alaska; Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Independence National Historical Park, Pa; Everglades National Park, Fla.; and Cape Lookout National Seashore, N.C. He also had some international park experience with participation in a Ranger Exchange Program. He worked at Port Campbell National Park in Australia, on the Great Ocean Road, and visited many of the country’s national parks during a 10-month stint.
Troutman is a graduate of Duke University with a B.S. in Zoology and a M.S. in Science Education. He is also a 1991 graduate of the National Park Service Natural Resource Management Specialist Trainee Program.
Troutman was born in Bristol, Tenn., and grew up mostly on the east coast.
“It’s great to be home. After adventuring and working in national parks around the country, I truly appreciate the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains and the great communities that surround the Park. Through sound scientific principles, I look forward in helping to protect, restore, and maintain these outstanding resources --all vital to the well being of the Park, but also to the visitors who come now and those that follow, as these are the essence of the Smokies”
Troutman’s wife, Debbie, and their two children, Andy, 13, and Kestrel,10, have joined him at the Smokies. Their children are attending Pi Beta Phi Elementary School in Gatlinburg.