By Leigh Armstrong
The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park in Skagway will have a new chief ranger for the 2019 season.
This will mark Jordan Neumann’s first shift as a lead ranger, in which he will be the top federal enforcement officer in Skagway. In addition, Neumann will oversee visitor and resource protection including managing the staff on the Chilkoot Trail, controlling aviation and acting as flight safety officer.
The Chilkoot in particular is going to be one of the places where Neumann can expect a lot of work, said Jason Taylor, Klondike Gold Rush Park superintendent.
“The Chilkoot Trail is a big deal. It’s a world-class hiking destination,” Taylor said.
Beyond the size, managing the Chilkoot requires working and coordinating with Canadian parks officials, Taylor said.
Neumann will join the team from Katmai National Park in King Salmon, where he is district ranger. The Skagway post will be his 11th with the Park Service. He additionally worked summers at Brooks Camp at Katmai, which is one of the premiere locations for tourists in the summer months, Taylor said.
Neumann oversaw around one million acres at Katmai, often in close contact with the area’s famous bears in his work to keep both the bears and park visitors safe.
The move to Skagway will be getting into a more built-up area for Neumann. At Katmai, about 300 air miles southwest of Anchorage, he had to rely on planes for deliveries of basic necessities, like groceries.
Neumann is a member of the National Park Service Alaska Special Events Team, which provides law enforcement expertise in national parks in Alaska and the Lower 48.
He joins several new members on the Klondike Gold Rush Park staff, including Taylor, who started in April.
“His biggest priority will be to get to know Skagway and the position. We want to engage well as positive community members,” Taylor said.
One of the biggest worries about moving to Skagway has been taken care of for Neumann temporarily, with the Park Service leasing out an apartment for him until the end of the year.
Neumann is expected to arrive in Skagway with his wife in mid-June.