Chattanooga native named first female Chief Ranger of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Lisa Hendy, a Chattanooga native, has become the first woman to be named Chief Ranger of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Images via Great Smoky Mtns Nat'l Park/Background Photo: Ken Lund / CC BY-SA 2.0)

A Chattanooga native has become the first woman to be named Chief Ranger of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).

GSMNP officials say Lisa Hendy will oversee employees in the Resource and Visitor Protection Division who perform law enforcement duties, wildland fire operations, emergency medical services, search and rescue operations, backcountry operations, and staff the emergency communications center.

The GSMNP says Hendy brings a wealth of experience to the position after serving at several parks with complex ranger operations including Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Arches National Park, and Rocky Mountains National Park.

She is currently the Chief Ranger at Big Bend National Park where the GSMNP says she has fostered interagency partnerships with local, state, federal, and international organizations to manage law enforcement and wildland fire operations.

Hendy grew up in Chattanooga, and had her first backcountry experiences in the Smokies where she backpacked as a youth. The GSMNP says she continues to be a tremendous outdoor enthusiast and enjoys kayaking, climbing, hiking, and canyoneering.

“I am looking forward to returning to my home state in the park that provided my first real outdoor adventures,” said Chief Ranger Lisa Hendy. “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 received her Bachelor of Science Degree from Auburn University with a major in Park and Recreation Management. She also received her Master of Science Degree from Utah State University in Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology. In addition to her Federal law enforcement commission, she is also a certified paramedic and has certifications as a structural firefighter, wildland firefighter, aviation manager, technical and swiftwater rescuer, and several leadership roles for incident management teams."

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