Scotts Bluff NM, Agate Fossil Beds NM Superintendent Retiring


     The Superintendent of Scotts Bluff and Agate Fossil Beds National Monuments says he’s retiring at the end of the year.  Dan Morford has spent more than 30 years with the National Park Service.

      Morford became superintendent at Scotts Bluff National Monument in 2016, then added responsibility for Agate Fossil Beds in September 2019. 

      He feels his biggest accomplishments at Scotts Bluff were leading the monument through its centennial celebration in 2019 and the Visitor Center renovation project, which ran from 2018 through 2020. 

      Morford was also instrumental in forging a new partnership with the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association, the non-profit, cooperating association at Scotts Bluff and Agate Fossil Beds as well as Wind Cave National Park. 

       Morford had already had a varied career before joining the National Park Service. A Colorado native, he worked with his father in residential construction for 7 years while earning a degree in teaching and computer science from Adams State.

      He then taught industrial arts and computer science in Arizona while also coaching. A neighbor invited him to use his summer vacation to become a seasonal wildland firefighter with the U-S Forest Service.

       Morford says he found he loved the outdoor work and firefighting, so he quit teaching and joined the National Park Service in 1993 with a position in the Hazard Fuels Program at Mount Rushmore.

      He went back to the Forest Service 3 years later as a permanent firefighter in Sunday, then rejoined the Park Service as a Prescribed Fire Specialist for the Northern Great Plains Fire Management Office stationed at Wind Cave National Park.

     In 2008 he accepted a Fire Management Officer position at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore where he and his staff coordinated fire operations at three parks in three different states. 

       Morford says he chose a career with the National Park Service because the agency felt like family. He also liked the fact that it was small enough you aren’t just a number, but big enough to offer a variety of career opportunities.

       Morford thinks he’s taken advantage of that over his career and that, hopefully, he’s made a difference – adding that his “heart and life are full above all belief from all the experiences, assignments, and friendships along the way.”