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New Bandelier superintendent likes what he sees

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By Carol A. Clark

The staff, projects and entire operation at Bandelier National Monument are of such quality that incoming Superintendent Brad Traver doesn’t plan to make many changes.Traver served on the Vanishing Treasures Program board in 2006-07 with predecessor Darlene Koontz,  who accepted a post in California. The program worked to protect and preserve archeological sites throughout the West.“I know Darlene and have a great deal of respect for her,” Traver said.He has no preconceived ideas coming in but said he wants to evaluate what’s going on and tweak whatever may need it.Traver stressed how impressed he is at the end of his fourth week on the job with the quality of the Bandelier staff.“I find a very talented and knowledgeable staff, many are experts in their fields and I have a great deal of respect for them and the projects they already have underway here,” he said.Since accepting the job, Traver has taken a position on the board of the Valles Caldera. He also plans to get out and meet people in the area as quickly as possible.“I plan to meet with the pueblos, the community and our neighbors in the Forest Service,” he said. “I’m making appointments to get out and meet people as fast as I can.”Born in southern Iowa, Traver, now 50, moved with his family to central Massachusetts when he was in high school. His father taught high school English and his mother began working as an office manager for a heart project at Boston University. His younger sister is a lawyer in Ipswich, Mass.“When I was 16, my family took a summer vacation to Denali National Park in Alaska,” Traver said. “I thought it was one of the best places anywhere.”The Denali National Park is the site of Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America.Following his graduation with a degree in civil engineering from a Worcester, Mass., college, Traver landed his first job at a national park.“I got an opportunity to work at Yellowstone in 1979 and never looked back,” he said.Traver went on to work at the Grand Canyon from 1983-2003. Working directly for the superintendent, he was the leader of the implementation plan for the park’s master plan. He worked between 1997-2003 to implement the plan.“We also developed a transportation plan to put a light rail system into the South Rim to alleviate parking problems,” Traver said, adding that various political factors played a role in that plan’s lack of implementation.In 2003, Traver left Yellowstone to become superintendent of Tonto National Monument, 90 miles outside Phoenix.Traver and his wife Denise plan to purchase a home soon, possibly in White Rock. He said he applied for the superintendent opening at Bandelier because it was a promotion and a more challenging park than Tonto. He visited the park many years ago, he said.“Like all the national parks, Bandelier is beautiful in its own way, unique in its own way and important in its own way.”