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Top Gun at Manassas Battlefield Leaving for Job in Gettysburg

Find out which Manassas National Battlefield Park official will be running the show down in Gettysburg.

Ed Clark, superintendent of Manassas National Battlefield Park, will become the superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site in Pennsylvania on Feb. 9. 2014.
Ed Clark, superintendent of Manassas National Battlefield Park, will become the superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site in Pennsylvania on Feb. 9. 2014.
Ed Clark, the man who's led Manassas National Battlefield Park for a half-decade, is leaving for arguably more historic pastures. 

Clark, who is currently the superintendent of the 5,000 acre park on the Prince William-Fairfax county line, will begin his role as superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site in Pennsylvania on Feb. 9.  Clark is taking over for Bob Kirby, who retired from the position this month. 

All three parks are part of the National Park Service within the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

While he loves Manassas National Battlefield Park, Clark said there's a number of reasons why he's looking forward to work in Gettysburg. 

"Gettysburg is one of the crown jewels of the National Park Service," he said. "... it's a higher-profile park."

The park gets about twice the visitors as the Manassas battlefield, has a larger budget and more employees, he added. 

Clark said he attended his first event in Gettysburg on Friday and was, "blown away" by the warm welcome. 

That makes him eager to move his family into that area, but the Loudoun County resident said he's staying put, at least until one of his two sons graduates from high school.  His wife is a teacher in Loudoun County, Clark added. 

His commute from Loudoun to Gettysburg is just over one hour, reasonable by Northern Virginia commuting standards, he said. 

As the superintendent of the Manassas battlefield, Clark has been heavily involved in conversations about the proposed Bi-County Parkway, a roadway that will run near the battlefield and offer a direct connection from Interstate 95 to Dulles International Airport. 

"(The Bi-County Parkway) has been a major part of my life," he said. "I really do love this place. And I really do want to see what’s best for it. I have poured so much into this. I really do believe that if done correctly, it can be beneficial."

He would like to see the project proceed as it is set forth in the Programmatic Agreement reached by several agencies, including the Virginia Department of Transportation, the National Park Service, The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the state of Virginia. See the fourth draft of this agreement here.  

"I hope that whomever follows me will continue to fight for the park," Clark said. "We worked very hard to minimize the roads through the park. We’ve taken a very prescribed, holistic look at the road."

 His successor has lots of work to do, he added. Aside from the Bi-County Parkway, there are other transportation projects as well as the park's fire management plan process to consider. 

Clark said he's working with his superiors to come up with an interim plan for his position. 

The 45-year-old, Roanoke native has been with the National Park Service for more than 25 years. He joined the agency as a teen and worked seasonal positions through his years at Radford University, where he obtained a degree in biology. 

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