Longtime Park Superintendent Scott Hartley retired last week, capping a 30-year career with the state parks system that included 17 years leading Weymouth Woods State Historic Preserve in Moore County.
Hartley “excelled in every facet of a park superintendent’s job,” said Chief of Operations Mike Lambert at an informal luncheon at the park marking the occasion.
Hartley was known throughout the system for his intensive work in natural resource management, including an aggressive prescribed burn program at Weymouth Woods and efforts to create habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. He was also an ardent naturalist. The system’s Natural Resource Inventory Database is a running tally of species identified in state parks and now totals about 178,000 species. Hartley was responsible for identifying about 23,000 of those including roughly 2,000 at Weymouth Woods.
A native of Blowing Rock, Hartley graduated from Watauga High School and in 1983, earned an associate’s degree in fish and wildlife management from Haywood Community College. He worked as a seasonal employee at Mount Mitchell State Park before becoming a ranger at Fort Macon State Park in 1985. He was a ranger at Eno River State Park and a naturalist for the east district before being named superintendent at Weymouth Woods in 1995.
Along with natural resource efforts, he expanded interpretive efforts at the park with creative ideas such as programs on hummingbird banding and an annual community birthday party for the world’s oldest known longleaf pine.
Lewis Ledford, state parks director, told Hartley, “No matter who comes after you, this park and the parks system is better for the work you’ve done here.”