New Smokies Chief Ranger announced
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash announced on Friday, Sept. 18 that Steve Kloster has been selected as the new Chief Ranger. Prior to this position, Kloster was the Tennessee District Ranger, as well as serving as interim Chief Ranger during several temporary assignments totaling 27 months. Kloster succeeds Clayton Jordan who was recently selected as Smokies Deputy Superintendent in April.
As Chief Ranger, Kloster will oversee up to 75 people in the Resource and Visitor Protection Division who perform law enforcement duties, emergency medical services, search and rescue operations, campground fee collection, dispatching, and backcountry operations. Kloster brings a wealth of experience to the position after serving in the Smokies since 1988 as a Park Ranger, Backcountry Ranger, and Cosby Area Supervisor at diverse park locations including Abrams Creek, Greenbrier, Cosby, and the Little River District.
“Steve’s broad field experience, extensive institutional knowledge of the park, strong community partner ties, and demonstrated ability to work well with colleagues across divisional lines makes him a great asset to both the Resource and Visitor Protection Division and the management team,” said Superintendent Cash.
Prior to working at the Smokies, Kloster was a Park Ranger at Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Independence National Historical Park, Yellowstone National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and Canaveral National Seashore. In addition to these park assignments, Kloster has served as the Operation Section Chief for the National Park Service Eastern Incident Management Team at commemorative special events and emergency incidents across the southeast. He has also served as the Incident Commander in major search and rescue operations in the park and while recently detailed to Congaree National Park to search for a lost family.
Kloster is a native of upstate New York and received his bachelor’s of science degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland, NY with a major in recreation education and a minor in biology. He has lived in Pittman Center since 1992 with his daughter Bethany, currently of Tallahassee, Fla. and his son, Matthew, currently of New York City.