[Photo courtesy of Canyonlands National Park]

The National Parks Conservation Association awarded its Stephen T. Mather Award last weekend to National Park Service Southeast Utah Group Superintendent Kate Cannon in honor of her decades of work on behalf of America’s national parks.

The Stephen T. Mather Award, endowed by Booz Allen Hamilton, was presented at this year’s 39th annual Ranger Rendezvous in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Saturday, Oct. 29. First awarded in 1984 and named after the first director of the National Park Service, the award is given to individuals who have shown steadfast leadership and persistent dedication to our national parks.

The nonprofit group honored Cannon for her leadership and skillful collaboration in support of, among other things, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Moab Master Leasing Plan, which aims to balance conservation and recreation with oil and gas development on public lands. She was also recognized for her “deep commitment” to the protection of park viewsheds throughout Utah, based on her strong advocacy for compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Haze Rule. The federal rule is designed to reduce air pollution in and near national parks.

“Kate has a deep commitment to protecting America’s favorite places, and should serve as a model for all those who work on behalf of our national parks,” National Parks Conservation Association President and CEO Theresa Pierno said. “Her tenacity, creativity and resolve in dealing with issues has set a high standard that will help ensure parks in Utah and across the country thrive well into their next century. We are so proud to honor her with this well-deserved award.”

Cannon previously served as deputy superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park before she was named as superintendent of the Southeast Utah Group in 2006. The National Park Service’s Southeast Utah Group includes Arches and Canyonlands national parks, as well as Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments.

From 1990 to 1997, she served as superintendent of Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota. She also worked as a concessions management specialist at Glen Canyon Recreation Area, resource management specialist at Northwest Alaska Areas and concessions management assistant in the Alaska Regional Office. In addition, she served as a park ranger at Yukon-Charley National Preserve in Alaska, Canyonlands National Park, Isle Royale National Park in Michigan and North Cascades National Park in Washington.

Regional NPS superintendent receives Stephen T. Mather Award