The National Park Service (NPS) has selected Eric Leonard as superintendent of the High Plains Group of parks in Colorado and New Mexico. The High Plains Group includes Amache National Historic Site, Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, Capulin Volcano National Monument and Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. Leonard will begin his new assignment on June 4.
“I am pleased to welcome Eric into this superintendent role, he will be a great leader for the High Plains Group of parks,” said Regional Director Kate Hammond. “Eric has a very positive attitude, practical experience with new parks, and a passion for history and working with staff, communities and stakeholders to preserve and tell the complex stories of America.”
Most recently, Leonard served as superintendent of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. He previously spent five years as superintendent of Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. Leonard served as chief of interpretation and education and as acting superintendent at Andersonville National Historic Site. Additionally, he worked as an interpretive ranger at numerous parks including Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Big Bend National Park, Arkansas Post National Monument, Fort Smith National Historic Site and Fort Larned National Historic Site.
“While the four parks of the High Plains Group are distinctive and separated by some distance, they each have a unique American story and are tied together by prairie landscapes,” said Leonard. “I look forward to joining the team and collaborating with staff, Tribes, and partners to promote and preserve these special places.”
Leonard earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor’s degree in history from Fort Hays State University. He will be moving to the area with his wife Elizabeth. Leonard succeeds Stuart West who recently accepted the superintendent position at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area.
Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is located on Colorado Highway 194, eight miles east of La Junta or 15 miles west of Las Animas. For more information, visit the park’s website at nps.gov/beol and click on “Plan Your Visit” and “Calendar” or nps.gov/beol/planyourvisit/calendar.htm or call the park at (719) 383-5010.