January 15, 2014 —
Sean McGuinness, the superintendent of the National Park Service’s Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, is retiring this month, setting off on an adventure that many retirees take—to discover what other wonderful things life has to offer. We at The River Reporter shall miss him.
As superintendent, McGuinness has been responsible for overseeing and working with his staff to manage and maintain park facilities; facilitate visitor services, including supporting safe outdoor recreation; protect and conserve the park’s resources; and more.
McGuinness didn’t just move here and live here for a job. He applied his whole self to being here for the four years he was here, taking life in the Upper Delaware River Valley to heart and participating in all aspects of it. One could often find him out and about at community events, or just mingling with people in some casual social setting. On his days off, it was not unusual to find him (out of uniform) here on the streets of Narrowsburg or in other river valley towns.
McGuinness took a look at the resources in our river valley, including its people and cultural resources, and he made not only professional connections, but also personal ones, meeting and relating to people with ease. This both informed his work and made him accessible.
We believe that success in the Upper Delaware River Valley is built on trusting relationships, and McGuinness built trust while he was here. He proved that the National Park Service can be in relationship with the towns in the river valley and still protect the resources the National Park Service is responsible for without owning the resources, by recognizing that they are the same resources that the majority of residents and visitors to the river valley hold dear.
We believe his tenure here was effective because he invested himself in our river communities. As we see it, McGuinness demonstrated how to run a national park and be part of the community, too.
Sean, we wish you well as you set off on your travels, and we hope you will stop to see us again on your wanderings.