Fall 2010

[Alumni News]

Don Neubacher

Taking the Reins at Yosemite

Photo Courtesy of Don Neubacher Photo Courtesy of Don Neubacher

DON NEUBACHER KNEW FROM a young age that he would work at Yosemite National Park. As a child, his family frequently traveled from the Bay Area to vacation there, and he loved the waterfalls, the trees, the wilderness. He knew he was destined to be a part of it – and he was right.

Earlier this year, Neubacher landed the coveted superintendent position at the park. “I’ve always had a connection with Yosemite,” he says. “It was a dream of mine to work here.”

Neubacher earned his master’s degree in natural resources management from HSU in 1983. He began his career with the National Park Service while still a student, working in the park service during the summer through the Student Cooperative Education Program. When he graduated he had a position with NPS waiting for him. “It’s an excellent program,” he says. “Students should look into it. It was great for me.”

His resume includes stints in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, Denver Service Center in Colorado, and most recently, Point Reyes National Seashore in the San Francisco Bay area. Neubacher credits his Yosemite co-workers with helping to ensure that the park remains unspoiled for future generations – and that people continue to gravitate to the park. “I’m humbled and inspired to be part of such a great team,” he says. “What we do really matters.”

Over the years, Neubacher has visited the Bhutan park service and works with international parks in China and Chile to focus attention on issues such as climate change and land management. “The world is getting smaller,” he says. “People realize the world is interconnected and climate change has a lot to do with that.”

In his new position, Neubacher has already rubbed elbows with former President Jimmy Carter and hosted international students from Kenya and Bhutan. “This park brings a lot of international people together,” he says. “It is as close to paradise as you can get.”