by Courtney Oldwyn
One of the first things on Elexis Fredy’s to do list as the new superintendent of San Juan Island’s National Historical Park is to take some time to get to know her new community.
“I’ve been given permission to take the time and the space to really learn the park and immerse myself in the community,” said Fredy, who just moved to the island with her husband and two daughters, ages two and four. “I have nothing but open ears, open heart and open mind. I want to learn what people here think, and to invest time in this community because it seems to be so interwoven with the parks.”
Fredy is a self described “park brat,” having grown up with parents who both worked for the National Park Service all over the country. She began her career doing seasonal work while studying natural resources planning in college at Humboldt State University.
Most recently, Fredy was the project manager for the Merced River Plan, which protected and managed the 81 miles of the Merced River corridor within Yosemite National Park.
“Having been a planner and project manager I’ve dealt with controversial issues, so I think that background helped me in the hiring process,” Fredy said.
Ready to take on more responsibility in a superintendent position, Fredy began applying to different parks.
“I was ready to take on a superintendency but I wasn’t just going to take any job that was open, ” she said. “This move is equally about my career and about moving my family to a great community where they can flourish.”
Fredy is aware of park issues that are important to islanders such as leash laws, the South Beach rabbits and the Prarie Stewardship Plan but for now hopes to take the time to really understand the background of the parks and the issues.
“I know I have some big shoes to fill, and that big strides have been made over the past six years, and I hope to keep that momentum of collaboration going,” she said, referring to her predecessor Lee Taylor who left in the fall of 2015. “Hiring a woman, especially a younger woman, and a woman with young children, was maybe a risky move but it’s a good move. I plan to be here for awhile, to see initiatives that get started through to completion. You have to stay awhile to really make a positive impact.”