First Woman appointed to serve as Director of Virginia State Parks
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is appointing the first woman in the state’s history to Director of Virginia State Parks.
On Friday, Northam’s office announced Melissa Baker would take over the role of overseeing the Commonwealth’s 38 state parks and more than 270 full-time employees. Baker comes from North Dakota where she served as Director of Parks and Recreational Development for over two years. Baker is taking over as state parks are showing signs of a positive impact on the Virginia economy.
A 2018 Virginia Tech study showed the impact the parks have on the state economy, which totaled around $267 million, and New River Trail State Park in Southwest Virginia, showed the most impact of any park with an adjusted figure of $28.1 million. Additionally, District 6 state parks (includes Grayson Highlands, Hungry Mother, Natural Tunnel, New River Trail, Southwest VA Museum, and Wilderness Road) had the biggest adjusted economic impact of any of the other districts in the state with an impact of $50.3 million.
According to Governor Northam, Baker is expected to assume the director role in late January.
Courtesy of Image: Office of the Governor of North Dakota