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Harpers Ferry park gets new superintendent

December 12, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HARPERS FERRY, W.VA.

While there are some small streams at the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Hardy, Va., Rebecca Harriett said she is awed by the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers that run through Harpers Ferry National Historical Park -- where she will begin serving as superintendent Feb. 2, 2009.

A 28-year veteran of the park service, Harriett will succeed Don Campbell who announced his retirement in June after 29 years at Harpers Ferry.

"I stood and looked at the floodwater marks on the side of a building and was amazed," Harriett said in a telephone interview Friday.

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Harriett, the superintendent at Booker T. Washington since 1995, said the park not far from Roanoke, Va., is the birthplace of the author, orator and educator.

Harriett lives in Rocky Mount, Va., with her husband and two sons. She said she plans to come to Harpers Ferry while the family stays through the current school year in Virginia.

"I enjoy kayaking and am looking forward to being on the river," Harriett said.

Campbell said when he announced his retirement in June that he believed enough land has been acquired by the park to save historical significant areas.

"I leave fulfilled. It's been a good ride," Campbell said.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Jefferson County, W.Va., is the site of a former federal armory that was captured by abolitionist John Brown and his followers in 1859. It became part of the National Park System in 1944.

Campbell said highlights of his career at Harpers Ferry include establishing a shuttle bus system for visitors and dealing with three major floods. He said park staff have perfected flood recovery and are able to open the park within days after major floods.

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