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Practicing Management by Walking Around

Edward Keable has had a lot of switchbacks he has had to conquer as the new Superintendent of the Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP), but without hesitation, he acknowledges that his new position is a “dream job.”

“When I was offered this position, it took me less than a second to say yes,” he said. “I’m adapting quite well taking care of one of the world’s natural wonders. I have a great staff that’s helping me acclimate to the park as well as helping me make decisions. From the moment I got here, they have made me feel welcomed.”

Keable, who started in his new position in April, can often be seen intermingling with visitors on his evening walks along the rim of the Grand Canyon or on trails along the inner canyon trails. “I’m really enjoying the experience here. This morning, I went on a hike with staff down South Kaibab Trail and spent some time meeting visitors. Some are so excited to be here, especially the first-timers. I feed off that energy.”

GCNP Preventive Search And Rescue Supervisor Meghan Smith hiked with Keable down South Kaibab Trail to introduce him to her program. “He is a super hiker. I had a hard time keeping up with him. He listened to my staff’s interaction with visitors on the trail and immediately picked up on the information and began sharing it. I’m personally very optimistic and very hopeful for the future here.”

Recently, Keable hiked down to Phantom Ranch via the Bright Angel Trail and back up South Kaibab Trail the next day. “It was my first time seeing the Colorado River,” he said with a smile. “Indian Garden and Phantom Ranch are both special places. I spent a lot of time with staff learning about some of the challenges we have here and also spent time with visitors who were just thrilled to be at the bottom of the canyon.”

One of the priorities on Keable’s agenda is the Great American Outdoors Act, a bill that would authorize billions in funding for two park-related needs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the National Park Service deferred maintenance. “This is a good thing for the National Park Service (NPS) because it will allow us to address our deferred maintenance issues here at the Grand Canyon, such as the Transcanyon Water pipeline, wastewater treatment, roads, housing.” The bill is waiting for President Trump to sign it.

Keable will be flying to Washington this month to provide information about Grand Canyon management. “I expect we will get some projects approved and my goal is to make sure that the people making those decisions understand what our needs are.”

“One thing I really like about Ed is how much he cares about our local community here at the Grand Canyon,” said GCNP Executive Management Analyst Chris Burnette. “He’s always reaching out to people and organizations both here in the Grand Canyon Village and Tusayan and Valle. He wants to support organizations to make this a better place.”

Prior to the Grand Canyon, Keable has held multiple senior executive service positions in the Office of the Solicitor in the Department of the Interior since 2003. He also served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. He received his undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence University in New York and earned a Juris Doctorate from Vermont Law School.

An interest I hope to pursue:

I used to take time for photography. The Grand Canyon seems like a great place to pick that hobby back up.

Last time I was in total bliss:

Coming out of South Kaibab trail after hiking from Phantom Ranch.

My biggest “a-ha!” moment:

Sitting on an ancient rock wall in Nepal at about 16,000 feet, listening to a shepherd dog barking below and the sound coming through the clouds. While sitting on that rock, I had the strong impression I had to simplify my life.

My favorite business quote:

“Choose to be optimistic, it feels better,” from “The Tao of Pooh,” by Benjamin Hoff. Simple and direct. I’m an eternal optimist so that quote resonates with me.

A book or movie I would recommend:

“Abraham Lincoln,” by Carl Sandberg. The subject is amazing. Good author. FBN

By V. Ronnie Tierney, FBN

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