Golden Gate National Recreation Area appoints new acting superintendent

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area has a new acting general superintendent, National Park Service officials announced Monday.

Craig Kenkel was appointed to the interim position by Laura Joss, the National Park Service’s regional director for the Pacific West region, and will begin the position in mid-December, according to the park service.

Kenkel’s appointment follows the departure of former interim superintendent Aaron Roth, who is leaving after recently being named associate regional director for facilities and lands at the park service’s Intermountain Region.

Roth took over the position when former GGNRA superintendent Chris Lehnertz left in August to be the superintendent for the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, park service officials said.

Kenkel is no stranger to the Bay Area since he previously served as superintendent of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, as well as deputy superintendent and chief of cultural resources at the GGNRA.

Kenkel most recently served as superintendent of Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, according to the park service.

Kenkel, who has a degree in architecture from Iowa State University, has worked for the National Park Service for 33 years and has gained extensive experience managing parks in urban areas.

“GGNRA is one of the country’s most dynamic and innovative parks,” Kenkel said in a statement. “I have a huge admiration for its staff, partners, volunteers and visitors and I am excited to return as the National Park Service heads into its next century.”

Kenkel’s position as interim superintendent may be temporary since a permanent superintendent will be selected sometime next year.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area covers parts of San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties and includes popular destinations such as Alcatraz Island, Muir Woods, Crissy Field, the Presidio, the Marin Headlands, Stinson Beach, Ocean Beach, Fort Mason and Fort Funston.

About 20 million people from all around the world visit the GGNRA annually, according to the park service.