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Ronald H. Walker

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Ronald H. Walker is an American executive. Appointed by President Richard Nixon as Director of the National Park Service in 1972, Walker went on to become a senior parter at Korn/Ferry International and is currently the President of the Richard Nixon Foundation.

Walker was born in Bryan, Texas. He earned a degree in political sciences from the University of Arizona, served as an officer in the United States Army in Okinawa, Japan, and later became an insurance and marketing executive. A soft-spoken and affable man, Walker had been President Nixon’s special assistant responsible for both domestic and international travel. As such, Walker coordinated President Nixon's groundbreaking voyage to the People's Republic of China in February 1972.

Director of the National Park Service[]

At 36, Walker was the youngest Director to hold the office and the second appointed from outside NPS. Lacking park experience, Walker made Russell E. Dickenson, an NPS careerist, his deputy. Walker advocated a policy of “stabilization”, foreseeing that NPS funding and staffing would be inadequate for a continuing high influx of new parks and program responsibilities. Fourteen areas nevertheless joined the park system during his two years as director, including the first two national preserves. Nixon's resignation in August 1974 presaged Walker's replacement five months later.[1]

As Director, he realigned NPS regional boundaries and added North Atlantic and Rocky Mountain offices. Under Walker, the early planning was done for the Servicewide American Revolution Bicentennial activities.

The National Park Service established a plan to restructure organizationally in response to the diverse changes that have confronted it over the past several decades, to the National Performance Review, and to legally mandated personnel reductions. The resultant Restructuring Plan for the National Park Service built upon earlier efforts within the Service – the 21st Century Task Force Report, the VAIL AGENDA, the NPS STRATEGIC PLAN, and the Recommendations of the Reorganization Work Group –- all of which have proposed significant, substantive improvements in the organization.[1]

The plan called for the reduction of central offices and the establishment of 16 ecological-cultural-geographical based clusters of 10-225 park units in seven regions. The first steps were taken in 1995 to begin the change. By 2000, the restructuring plan had been revised four times leaving seven regions, which were substantially smaller than before. Of the 16 ‘eco-clusters’ envisioned in the plan, only those clusters based on older regional offices, i.e., Boston (MID-ATLANTIC REGION), Seattle (PACIFIC NORTHWEST REGION), and Santa Fe (SOUTHWEST REGION) exist.[1]

Later life and career[]

A senior partner of Korn/Ferry International, he was the managing director for their Washington, D.C., offices.[1] In late 2009, he came out of retirement to take up the position of the President of the Richard Nixon Foundation at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ALMANAC; Edited and Compiled by Ben Moffett and Vickie Carson Rocky Mountain Region -- Public Affairs; National Park Service, 1991, revised 2006

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Preceded by
George B. Hartzog, Jr.
Director of the National Park Service
1973 – 1975
Succeeded by
Gary Everhardt