|Morford settles in as Monument head|
|June 17, 2016 Jerry Purvis|
Residents might remember Dan Morford from last summer when he was filling in as superintendent at Scotts Bluff National Monument for about 120 days. He’s now back in the position on a full-time basis.
Arriving on June 3, Morford had previously served eight years as the Fire Management Officer at Indiana Dunes National Lake Shore. Prior to that, he worked at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.
“Scott Bluff was also included the work we did at Wind Cave,” Morford said. “It’s not an unfamiliar community to me.”
Morford has a degree in education and taught school for seven years before starting in wildland fire fighting with the National Forest Service in 1987. He then worked with the National Park Service before going full-time with the Park Service in 2001.
“I liked the work and got a lot of experience in fighting fires,” he said. “Because of my specialty, I’ve been able to get a variety of experiences working with communities, mayors and council members. That laid the groundwork for the position I’m in now.”
Morford grew up in southern Colorado, so he’s most familiar with the terrain out west. “The openness, the friendly people really drew me here,” he said. “It’s a different culture than places I’ve worked in the east. My family has enjoyed our time back east, but we’re excited about being back out here.”
Morford’s wife, who also works with the Park Service in human resources, will be based at Scotts Bluff while working with the district office in Hot Springs. She will be joining him at the end of the month. They have three grown children. One of their sons is working with the Park Service at Wind Cave over the summer. Another son is in business in Indiana. Their daughter lives in Perth, Australia.
“This has been about the first time my wife and I have been able to move together and by ourselves,” he said. “It’s a new experience for all of us.”
Although he’s still getting familiar with the area, Morford said tourism promotion will be part of his job. “We have some really good relationships with the local tourism industry. I want to keep those going and see what we can improve. The monument is one of those iconic places for visitors and that has a big impact on tourism in the community.”
Morford said he plans to become more involved in other community organizations once he becomes more familiar with the area and his job, so the public will see him out and about.