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Boyd Evison, 69; Parks Official Backed Conservation Efforts

October 11, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Boyd Evison, a leading figure in the National Park Service for more than four decades who played a leading role in the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, has died. He was 69.

Evison, who later headed the Grand Teton Natural History Assn., died Oct. 4 of cancer at his daughter's home in Beverly Hills.

In a 42-year career with the Park Service, Evison was known for his strong advocacy of conservation and environmental education, and offered an articulate vision of the role of national parks in American society.

"Evison is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential leaders of the National Park Service," Karen Wade, intermountain regional director of the National Park Service, told the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune. She said he "touched the lives of thousands of National Park Service employees and influenced the overall management of the entire national park system and its service to 280 million annual visitors."

Evison served as superintendent or interim superintendent of Saguaro National Monument in Tucson, Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He also held the post of assistant director for park operations in Washington, D.C. In 1978, he was offered the position of director of the National Park Service, but he declined it to go to Sequoia-Kings Canyon as superintendent.

For much of the 1980s, he was based in Alaska as regional director of the National Park Service. While there, he helped lead the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The Washington, D.C., native earned his bachelor's degree in forestry and wildlife management from Colorado A & M in 1954 and a master's degree in environmental communications from the University of Wisconsin. He began working with the Park Service as a fire control aide in Grand Teton National Park and moved into the permanent ranks as a ranger in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

After retiring from the Park Service in 1994, he became executive director of the Grand Teton Natural History Assn., where he was credited with expanding scientific and educational programs.

"He ... believed in the power of remembrance, saying that it was important that people take from any of our national parks a vivid memory that might fuel interest in their own public lands," said Jan Lynch, acting executive director of the Grand Teton Natural History Assn.

In addition to his daughter Kathy, he is survived by his wife, Barbara; a son, Chris; and two grandchildren. A memorial service is scheduled for Nov. 13 at Grand Teton National Park.

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