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By News Staff

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will get its first female chief ranger in April.

According to CNN, Chief Ranger Lisa Hendy was selected to become the most visited national park’s first chief ranger. Hendy is currently the chief ranger at Big Bend National Park in Texas.

The Tennessee native has experience working at well-known national parks including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. She’s also a certified paramedic, firefighter, swiftwater rescuer and aviation manager.

“I am looking forward to returning to my home state in the park that provided my first real outdoor adventures,” Hendy said. “It will be a pleasure to be involved in the efforts to protect a place that was so instrumental in defining my passions and ultimately my career.”

Hendy will oversee the division of the park that performs law enforcement duties, emergency medical services, backcounty operations, wildland fire operations and search and rescue operations. She’ll also be responsible for staffing an emergency communications center.

“Lisa has demonstrated incredible leadership in managing law enforcement, fire, and search and rescue operations at some of the nation’s busiest parks,” National Park Service Superintendent Cassius Cash said. “She’s built strong programs by investing in local partnerships with neighboring agencies to help make areas safer for visitors and residents.”

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