James JT Reynolds
JT Reynolds’ career as a steward of America’s publicly owned lands system spans more than four decades, extends from Florida to Alaska and includes every aspect of management and protection. JT exhibits such a high level of skill, leadership and adaptability that he was chosen to train rangers at Lake Malawi National Park, Africa and also in the Seychelles. The expertise he amassed throughout his career along with his continuing passion to mentor young people make him an invaluable asset to any entity dealing with thorny management, relevance or workforce issues.
JT started with the National Park Service after his junior year while majoring in Recreation and Parks Management and minored in Wildlife Sciences at Texas A&M University. One summer was spent at Everglades National Park as a seasonal park ranger. Upon graduation he landed his first permanent job at the Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi. After completing his military obligation in 1972, he returned to the NPS in Washington, D.C. as an Environmental Education Specialist.
He was hired as the supervisory park ranger of the Yosemite Valley Mall Patrol after completing Ranger School in 1973. While stationed at Yosemite National Park, he also served as the Assistant Back Country Supervisor and as the Assistant Wawona District Ranger.
He received his law enforcement training at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Academy and transferred to Everglades National Park in 1978 as the Flamingo District Ranger, where he and his rangers performed road and power boat patrol into the deep water backcountry of the district. In 1979, President Carter proclaimed many areas of Alaska as National Monuments, and the NPS transferred JT and many other rangers from the lower 48 parks to Alaska to enforce interim regulations to protect resources and conduct public meetings.
In 1981 JT moved on to Albright Training Center at Grand Canyon as the training manager for protection rangers and resource management specialist. He was also assigned to develop, co-ordinate and instruct supervisory and management courses. He worked closely with Grand Canyon rangers and patrolled the night shift, rowed boats and patrolled the 277 mile Colorado River section through the Canyon, served as a member of the structural and wild land fire team, the SAR team, and served as the NPS SCUBA Diving Training Manager. He also developed the Managing Emergency Operations course, the Managing the Search Function Instructor course (both adopted by NASAR), and the Maintenance Workers Skills workshop. He teamed with others and developed the first NPS Archeological Resource Protection course.
JT served as the Acting Superintendent at Petrified Forest National Park (1984) for three months until a new superintendent was hired. He transferred to the North Atlantic Region in Boston in 1987 as the Chief of Ranger Activities and Natural Resources. He supervised and served as a member of the internal investigation team, and evaluated park programs throughout the region. He coordinated the Region’s Fire Management Program and coordinated sending fire personnel to NPS units.
JT transferred to the Rocky Mountain Regional Office, Denver in 1989 and served as the Regional Chief of Ranger Activities and Risk Management. After the associated regional director retired, he served in this capacity for one and one half years, and performed these duties until the NPS reorganized. JT was hired as the first Colorado Plateau Support Office Superintendent of this new reorganized NPS in 1995.
JT was assigned to Grand Canyon National Park as the Deputy Superintendent in 1997. One of his great achievements was developing programs and assigning staff to work with youth and ensure that Americans of color recognized the park’s relevance to their lives.
He transferred to Death Valley National Park in 2001 and one of JT’s proud accomplishments was enhancing the park’s efforts to support youth. The park’s youth education program has evolved and now Death Valley ROCKS (Recreation Outdoor Campaign for Kids through Study) sets the standard for similar programs.
JT retired in 2009 and continues his lifetime of service, volunteering on several councils and boards including the National Parks Conservation Association Board of Trustees, the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees Executive Council and the Quiet Storm Foundation where he is the Adult Advisor for Youth Activities Few adults have the ear of young people as much as JT, who is currently class instructor for the Lifetime Adventures program course during the “After School” programs at two Las Vegas middle schools.