Chris Lehnertz is President & CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Chris brings extensive experience managing some of America’s most iconic national parks and a passion for making parks relevant and accessible to all communities. Her distinguished career at the National Park Service (NPS) included serving as Superintendent at Grand Canyon National Park, General Superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Director of the NPS Pacific West Region, and Deputy Superintendent at Yellowstone National Park.
Throughout her NPS career, Chris successfully led a number of complex and challenging projects and issues, including dam removal on the Elwha River in Olympic National Park, the addition of lands to Joshua Tree National Park, improved working conditions at Grand Canyon National Park, and stewarding natural and cultural resources in the face of substantial increases in visitation. She was the first female superintendent of both Grand Canyon National Park and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and is the first female President & CEO of the Parks Conservancy.
Before joining the National Park Service in 2007, Chris spent 17 years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Denver and Washington D.C., implementing an array of environmental protection statutes including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Her work also included managing partnerships with states and American Indian tribes, environmental and natural resource departments, and local government and non-governmental organizations.
Chris started her conservation career in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where she worked seasonally for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. She received a degree in environmental biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and holds a secondary education certificate from Metropolitan State College in Denver. She and her spouse Shari Dagg reside in San Francisco where they will be looking for a new dog to add to the family.