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Catoctin superintendent retiring

November 26, 1996

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

During a 29-year career in the National Park Service that has taken him from one end of the country to the other, Catoctin Mountain Park Superintendent James D. Young has seen it all as a park ranger and manager.

Over the next year, he'll see it again through the eyes of a tourist.

Today is Young's last day in charge of the 5,000-acre park that includes Camp David. He said his only immediate plans for retirement call for him and his wife to cross the country in their 33-foot travel trailer.

"Don't know exactly where we're going," he said. "We're just going to take our time."

Young, 63, said he figures he eventually will settle somewhere in the West, where he taught high school before joining the National Park Service in 1967.

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Young said he might return to teaching. Another possibility is volunteering as a park guide or historian at various facilities. He said he could work at northern parks in the summer and southern parks in the winter.

Colleagues said they will miss a man who has guided Catoctin since 1991 during a time of tight budgets and a growing number of visitors.

"He leaves a very positive mark," said Chief Park Ranger Roger Steintl, who will be acting superintendent while the Park Service searches for a permanent replacement.

Young said that after nearly three decades of preserving America's natural treasures, he is looking forward to a leisurely trip through the nation's heartland.

"A lot of streams to fish at and a lot of rodeos to see," he said.

Young last year was named superintendent of the year for 1995 for resource management of the National Capital Field Area. Steintl said one of Young's greatest strengths has been getting the most out of increasingly tight budgets.

Steintl said Young has gotten his staff to work as efficiently as possible while successfully justifying budget expenses. He said Young also pushed hard to develop alternative sources of revenue, such as grants and partnerships.

One such grant came from the Environmental Protection Agency in 1996 for a water quality program from the mountains to the Chesapeake Bay.

Young's first permanent assignment was at Glacier National Park in Montana. From there, he made various stops before ending going to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park in 1974.

In 1991, he was chosen to run Catoctin Mountain Park, which straddles the border between Washington and Frederick counties. The park, a popular camping destination, draws nearly 800,000 people a year.

It also is the site of Camp David, a presidential retreat since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt. At one time, Young also oversaw Greenbelt Park and the Baltimore-Washington Park, but they were reassigned in an administrative reorganization in 1995.

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