Ethan McKinley selected as Channel Islands National Park Superintendent

McKinley has more than 12 years’ experience with the National Park Service.

The National Park Service has selected Ethan McKinley to serve as the next superintendent of Channel Islands National Park. McKinley has been serving as the park’s acting superintendent since July, following the June retirement of Superintendent Russell Galipeau.

“Ethan is one of the few National Park Service superintendents who has experience building a new national park from the ground up,” said Stan Austin, regional director for the National Park Service’s Pacific West Region. “With this unique perspective and his passion for building strong relationships with community stakeholders, I am confident he is the right fit for Channel Islands.”

McKinley has more than 12 years’ experience with the National Park Service. He comes to Channel Islands National Park from First State National Historical Park in Delaware, where he has been the superintendent since 2015.

“I am fascinated by the rich diversity of wildlife and human history represented within Channel Islands National Park,” said McKinley. “The Islands and their surrounding waters constitute a world class resource just off the coast of southern California, cared for by a tireless and dedicated staff. I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the significant work started by my predecessors, and to contribute to the continued stewardship and public enjoyment of this spectacular park.”

Prior to First State National Historical Park, McKinley served as the National Park Service Northeast Region’s Chief of Commercial Services. He has also worked at Mount Rainier National Park, Yosemite National Park, Glacier National Park in Montana and Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. He got his start with the agency as a Student Conservation Association intern in 2006.

Ethan McKinley grew up in Littleton, Colorado and has a bachelor’s degree in international business and French from the University of Denver. Ethan is married to Zoe McKinley and has a bulldog named Blue. He is an Eagle Scout and takes any opportunity to play in the great outdoors (hiking, camping, mountain and road biking, climbing, and mountaineering), frequently exploring national parks in his free time. He is a self-professed history buff and enjoys photography.

Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was. For information about the park visit:

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