Fran P. Mainella, 1947

  • Fran-P.-Mainella-WWP

Woman Category: Academy & Education and Politics & LeadersWoman Tags: The Pioneering Women of the Foggy Bottom Neighborhood and WDC Metro Area Women

  • HerStory

    The first woman who served as the director of the National Park Service.

    Born in Connecticut and loved visiting the national parks as a kid with her family. While in college, she worked as a summer playground counselor and later taught physical education. After several years she decided to focus on recreation and in 1977 Mainella started to work as an Assistant Center Director of the Tallahassee Parks and Recreation Department in Florida. A few years later she became the Director of Florida’s State Parks and served in this position for 12 years.
    Mainella administrated and supervised on 155 state parks, museums, trials, etc., covering 500,000 acres, created new jobs and developed new programs. In 1999, Florida was awarded with the Gold Medal Award, recognized as the best state park system in America.
    In 2001 Mainella was nominated as the 16th director of the National Park Service (NPS) and became the first woman to hold this position. She supervised on 84 million acres of national parks, museum, monuments, etc. After six years of service, she decided to retire from the NPS and develop other programs she was passionate about, one of them is co-founding and co-chairing the US Play Coalition.

    “Reach out and go beyond your boundaries… you also need the courage to fail – take that risk”

    “Reach out and go beyond your boundaries… you also need the courage to fail – take that risk”


    Another Interesting Anecdote:

    • Clemson University and the Hartzog Fund named an award after her for the “Outstanding Woman in Park Resources Award”.
  • More About Her Legacy

    * Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Central Connecticut State University

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  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • March 23, 2016... Wine and Wildlife. 100 Years of National Parks. FIND YOUR PARK

    Fran Mainella, the first woman National Park Service Director, leads Southwest Florida Park partners in celebration of the Centennial Year of National Parks.

  • Photo credit - Wikipedia