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[[Arno Cammerer|250px]]
Arno B. Cammerer

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Arno Berthold Cammerer (1883–1941) was the third director of the U.S. National Park Service.

Cammerer was born in Arapahoe, Nebraska in 1883. He was the son of a Lutheran pastor.[1] He went to Washington, D.C in 1904 to work as a civil service bookkeeper, and earned a Bachelor of Law degree at Georgetown Law School in 1911.[1]

The U.S. National Park Service's first director, Stephen Mather, recognized Cammerer's competence as executive secretary of the Fine Arts Commission, and appointed him as assistant director in 1919, replacing previous assistant director Horace M. Albright, who then became Director. He served as Mather's right-hand man in Washington and acted for him in his frequent absences over the next decade. After the project to found Great Smoky Mountains National Park proved expensive, Cammerer secured a promise from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., to match $5 million in the acquisition of Shenandoah National Park lands. He advanced to the new rank of associate director on January 12, 1929.[1]

Directorship of the U.S. National Park Service[]

Cammerer succeeded Albright as director on August 10, 1933, the same day as the transfer of the national capitol parks, historic sites, memorials, and monuments from the War and Agriculture departments.[1] Under his leadership the NPS tripled the number of areas served, increased visitations from two to 16 million, became involved with recreational area planning and management, began to survey and record historic sites and buildings outside the existing parks, and worked with Congress to pass the Historic Sites Act as well as a law establishing the National Park Foundation.[1]

In 1938, he received the Cornelius Amory Pugsley Gold Medal.[2] The Pugsley Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of public parks in the United States and is given out by the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administrators along with the National Park Foundation.

Strained relations with Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes impaired Cammerer's effectiveness and health, and he stepped down in 1940 following a heart attack the previous year. He then became the service's eastern regional director.

Death and legacy[]

After suffering another heart attack, Cammerer died on April 30, 1941. The official NPS biography says that "Cammerer's contributions to the National Park Service were legion."[1]

Mount Cammerer, on the Northeastern fringe of the Great Smoky Mountains is named for Arno as he had played a prominent role in the acquisition of the park.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "National Park Service: Biography (Arno B. Cammerer)". NPS. Retrieved on June 14, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Newton Drury". Pugsley Award website. Retrieved on June 14, 2010.
Preceded by
Horace M. Albright
Director of the National Park Service
Succeeded by
Newton B. Drury