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Teddy Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill gets new superintendent

Kelly Fuhrmann has been selected as the next

Kelly Fuhrmann has been selected as the next superintendent of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (NHS), the home of President Theodore Roosevelt, located in Oyster Bay. Credit: Handout

A supervisor from Death Valley National Park will cross the country to oversee President Theodore Roosevelt's homestead in Cove Neck.

Kelly Fuhrmann, 45, chief of natural and cultural resources management at the California desert park, will become superintendent of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site on Dec. 1. He will succeed Thomas Ross, who became superintendent at Thomas Edison and Morristown National Historical Parks in New Jersey in September.

"Kelly's commitment to preservation, combined with his understanding of the importance of creating engaging visitor experiences at parks, will greatly benefit Sagamore Hill," park service Northeast regional director Dennis R. Reidenbach said Wednesday in a statement. "His leadership abilities will be critical as we continue the comprehensive rehabilitation of Theodore Roosevelt's beloved Sagamore Hill home."

Roosevelt's Victorian mansion is closed for a restoration until early 2015, but the visitor center, museum and grounds are open.

Fuhrmann has worked for the park service for 16 years. Before Death Valley, he was chief of resources management at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. Before that he was a biologist/ecologist at Lava Beds National Monument in California, Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and Zion National Park in Utah.

Fuhrmann, who has undergraduate and graduate degrees in natural history and natural resource management from Prescott College in Arizona, said in an interview that he was looking forward to coming to Sagamore Hill because "Theodore Roosevelt was a great man who realized many achievements during his life, including being the 26th president of the United States. He was definitely an influence and an inspiration in my career, in particular because of his relationship with the American conservation movement and preserving large tracts of land."

He added that the opportunity to work on the East Coast was also an attraction: "I've been out West for my entire career, so the East Coast is going to be a bit of a change of scenery and pace, I think."

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