To the Editor: Great friend, role model, superintendent 

To the Editor: 

Paul Haertel was a great friend and role model for me. I met him in Alaska about 1980 when he was Ranger-In-Charge at Lake Clark National Monument. After the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Carter, Paul became the first park superintendent at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.  

Paul was an excellent park superintendent, administrating a new 4-million-acre national park in the uplands of the pristine Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska, including 90 miles of the Cook Inlet coastline. He and his wife, Margot, built long-lasting friendships with local Indigenous and non-Native people alike. Paul hired top quality NPS rangers to staff the new park and he also was responsible for hiring the first Native Alaskan park ranger in the NPS, the Dena’ina elder Andrew Balluta. Paul believed in hiring qualified local park staff as he built his team at Lake Clark.  

I treasure the times I spent with Paul and Margo, including the last time in late April 2022. 


John Branson 

Port Alsworth, Alaska 





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