(Grand Canyon, AZ) – Grand Canyon Superintendent Joe Alston retires in early February to cap a 31-year career with the National Park Service. He will continue to live in Arizona with his wife of 32 years, Judy, a long-time educator. The Alston’s sons, Tom and David, also live and work in Arizona.
“Joe is a diligent public servant and passionate about our mission to preserve and protect national parklands for future generations,” said National Park Service (NPS) Director Mary Bomar. “We will miss Joe’s experienced, steady hand but we also wish him well as he moves on to future adventures.”
Born in New York City and raised in Tustin, CA, Joe Alston’s early career included experiences as a firefighter, park ranger, concessions specialist, wild horse wrangler, wildlife technician and buyer for the Xerox Corporation in El Segundo, CA.
“Judy and I plan on staying in Arizona and will move to Phoenix and begin looking for a home,” Alston said of his immediate plans. “We’ll take time to travel and enjoy retirement before deciding what our next steps will be. I've enjoyed working for the National Park Service and the Grand Canyon has been a great place to finish my park service career. Judy and I have both made great friends along the way. It’s been a wonderful experience to be able to explore and enjoy the resources our national parks have to offer and we will continue to enjoy them well into the future."
Director Bomar said Joe’s education (MBA at Kansas) and wide ranging life experiences were of great value when he faced complex and complicated resource and management issues as he moved into a leadership level with the NPS. Superintendent at Grand Canyon since 2000, Joe previously served as the concessions specialist at Yellowstone National Park, Chief of Concessions Management Division in the Alaska Regional Office and as Assistant Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. He served as Superintendent at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Curecanti National Recreation Area and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument.
Joe earlier received the Department of the Interior's Meritorious Service Award. Just last month Joe accepted the “Community Person of the Year” award from the Grand Canyon Rotary Club. Rotary club president Greg Bryan said, “Joe was recognized for healing a rift between the communities of Tusayan and Grand Canyon National Park, bringing them together to a mutual vision through shared decision-making. Joe is one of those community givers that looks for ways to open doors and build bridges where there have been fences or chasms in the past, a person who feels responsibility to be inclusive in community impacting decisions rather than issuing edicts without meaningful community input."
- NPS Press Release -