The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Lucy Lawliss named superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
The waiting is over.
Dennis R. Reidenbach, director of the National Park Service’s Northeast Region, has chosen Fredericksburg resident Lucy Lawliss to be superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
Reidenbach announced his selection Wednesday; it took effect immediately.
“Lucy’s expertise and background made her the perfect fit and right choice for this position,” he said in a statement. “She has a combination of resource management and operational experience that will serve the park well.”
Lawliss had been serving as acting superintendent since spring, when predecessor Russ Smith became the first superintendent of the newly created First State National Monument in Delaware, his home state.
“She excels at providing compelling public programs so that the public can understand and embrace preservation of the park’s unique resources, and also provides many ways for visitors to enjoy their national park,” Reidenbach said of Lawliss. “Lucy is thoughtful in her approach to management and her enthusiasm for the National Park Service mission is contagious.”
With four major battlefields and five historic structures, the 7,000-acre Fredericksburg-area preserve is one of the largest military parks in the country.
From Delaware, Smith said of his successor: “Lucy is a good friend. She’s an intelligent, energetic, personable lady who will bring a refreshing point of view to the park. After 10 years under one manager, it’s good for the park to have someone who is an experienced manager and brings a fresh perspective.”
Lawliss, who lives in Fredericksburg, was delighted by the news from the service’s regional office in Philadelphia.
“I could not be any more excited about this opportunity,” she said in a statement. “Forty years ago this month, I came to Fredericksburg—sight unseen—to start my freshman year of college at Mary Washington College. I came because I loved history and the places that tell those stories. I have vivid memories of my first encounters with Sunken Road, Marye’s Heights, Kenmore and Mary Washington’s House and the like.
“I can’t wait to work with the park staff, our partners and the communities of Spotsylvania, Stafford, Orange and Caroline counties to share all of the history contained in this amazing military park.”
Lawliss was already a familiar figure to many in the region. She had served as superintendent of George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Westmoreland County on Virginia’s Northern Neck and Thomas Stone National Historic Site in Charles County, Md.—two Colonial-era sites—since 2008.
Lawliss expanded interpretation and resource management of those sites, extended community engagement and improved their public access and recreational use, Reidenbach said.
She has had a passion for history and historic places since a second-grade trip to Colonial Williamsburg, which sparked her lifelong interest in historic preservation.
A member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Lawliss earned a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia in 1979 and a master’s degree with a certificate in historic preservation in 1992.
She chairs the Cultural Resource Advisory Group of the Park Service’s Northeast Region.
Earlier, Lawliss served as resource manager at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Calif. She later managed the service’s Park Cultural Landscapes Program.
A registered landscape architect, she worked in the private sector from 1979 to 1991, when she joined the Park Service.
Clint Schemmer: 540/368-5029