Columbia, S.C. – The National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) has named a new leadership team to help guide the organization into the future.
South Carolina State Parks Director, Paul McCormack, is the new president of NASPD, Rodney Franklin, Director of Texas State Parks, is the new vice president, and Ray Bivens, Director of Delaware State Parks, is the new secretary.
NASPD is made up of state park directors from all 50 states working to help state parks effectively manage their state park system. With more than 9,800 park areas encompassing more than 20 million acres, America’s State Parks see more than 860 million visits every year. State Parks across the country positively contribute to the nation’s environment, heritage, health, and economy.
Director McCormack has dedicated nearly 30 years to South Carolina State Parks, serving as director since 2019. He has a bachelor’s degree in education from the Citadel and is currently completing master’s coursework. McCormack was inspired to pursue a career in parks after meeting a South Carolina State Park ranger at an outdoor expo. From there, he applied for a position, was hired as a ranger, and rose through the ranks, serving in parks around the Palmetto State while raising his three sons – Connor, Jordan, and Tyler – with his wife, Shannon.
South Carolina State Parks works to protect the natural, cultural, and man-made treasurers in the park system, provide exceptional visitor experiences, and generate enough revenue to remain operationally self-sufficient. Under McCormack’s leadership, the Park Service has a renewed focus on improving working conditions for park staff and increasing access for visitors. These efforts have included increasing wages, encouraging a healthy focus on work-life balance, overseeing new land acquisitions, and launching programs to reach individuals who haven’t traditionally used or had access to public outdoor spaces.
"In my five years as Director of South Carolina State Parks, the relationships and connections I’ve made in NASPD have helped me immeasurably, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve as the President of an association that has given me so much,” McCormack said. "America’s State Parks include some of the most beautiful, unique, and significant landscapes and resources in the country. As Americans have discovered or rediscovered a love for the great outdoors in recent years, our work to engage visitors, ignite passion, increase education, and expand access is more important now than ever. I’m thrilled to roll up my sleeves alongside the other leaders in NASPD as we advance America’s State Parks together.”
Rodney Franklin was named Director of Texas State Parks in 2018. He has more than 30 years of service, rising through the ranks from seasonal employee, to park management, to leadership roles. He believes that state parks are important for everyone, regardless of their background or experience in nature, because of the mental, physical, and emotional benefits.
Ray Bivens was named Director of Delaware State Parks in 2013. His more than 30-year state parks career started as a youth conservation corps member in Maryland State Parks. Having served as Park Naturalist and Chief of Interpretation, Bivens has dedicated his career to helping children connect with nature.
"We are fortunate to have very strong and experienced leaders provide strategic guidance to NASPD," said Lewis Ledford, NASPD executive director. "Paul, Rodney, and Ray are well-respected among their peers and will help to enhance the profile of our organization and the importance of state parks in American life."
For more information on recreational opportunities at state parks in all 50 states, visit stateparks.org.
About America’s State Parks
America’s State Parks is an alliance of state park systems in all 50 states. The National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) promotes and advocates for the state park systems across America in providing conservation and management of natural and cultural resources, quality outdoor recreation experiences, and connecting children and families to nature and the outdoors. With more than 9,800 park areas and visitations of 867 million people annually, the economic impact on local communities is estimated to exceed $20 billion each year. Learn more at stateparks.org.
About South Carolina State Parks
Part of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, South Carolina State Parks is responsible for managing and protecting thousands of acres of natural, cultural, and recreational resources, ranging from deep mountain wilderness and old-growth forests to battlefields, waterfronts, and wetlands. Today, the state park system includes 47 operational parks and six historic properties, offering thousands of campsites, two 18-hole golf courses, two saltwater fishing piers, lakes, ponds, and hundreds of miles of hiking and riding trails. Additional parks will be opening in the near future. Find photos, maps, and information about each park, and stay up-to-date on future park openings, at southcarolinaparks.com.
Pictured above left to right: Paul McCormack, Coach Buddy Pough, and Earl B. Hunter, Jr., founder and president of Black Folks Camp Too during a partnership event encouraging unity in the outdoors.