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New Grand Canyon Superintendent Aims to Create Safe, Transparent Working Environment

Ryan Heinsius

Incoming Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Christine Lehnertz made her first visit to the park since her appointment. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, one of her main goals will be to promote a climate of equality for employees in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal.

A federal investigation earlier this year showed a culture of abuse and hostile work environments within the park’s river unit. At a press conference Tuesday at the South Rim Lehnertz laid out a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. 

Credit Ryan Heinsius
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell speaks during a press conference at the Grand Canyon's South Rim Tuesday. She was joined by Sue Masica (left), Intermountain Regional Director for the National Park Service, NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis, and incoming Grand Canyon Superintendent Christine Lehnertz.

“And it’s all about making sure that the people who work for the National Park Service serve this country the best way that they can, that they protect these resources for generations and you can only do that in your job if you’re secure and you’re safe,” Lehnertz says.

Credit Ryan Heinsius
NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis speaks during a press conference Tuesday.

The Park Service will soon establish a hotline for staff who experience abuse. Officials will also conduct an anonymous employee survey to gauge the level of sexual harassment within the Park Service. 

Credit Ryan Heinsius
Incoming Grand Canyon Superintendent Christine Lehnertz speaks during a press conference Tuesday.

The survey goes out in September, and the results will later be made public. Lehnertz begins her new job as Grand Canyon superintendent next month.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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