Clemson University awarded Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash the Walter T. Cox Award for conservation excellence for his dedication to preserving the natural resources of the most visited national park in the United States.
The Clemson University Institute for Parks, in conjunction with the George B. Hartsog Awards Progran, bestows the annual honor "to recognize individuals who demonstrate exemplary leadership in the field of conservation," according to a news release from the park service.
"The Walter T. Cox Award recognizes park administrators who exemplify Dr. Cox’s distinguished career in education and public service. Superintendent Cash was one of five individuals recognized this year alongside other national and state park leaders."
The institute said it gave Cash the award because of his "sustained achievement, public service and leadership in conserving and managing public lands. including the most biodiverse and most visited national park in the U.S."
In acceptance of the award, Cash acknowledged the difficulties faced by managers of wild lands and other public conservation resources during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Leading staff in providing high-quality services and protecting resources during the pandemic, coupled with an extreme rise in visitation, has been challenging,” Cash said in the release.
“I’ve been inspired by our staff, partners, and communities as we work together to care for the park and to continue to welcome people to this space for rejuvenation and healing. It is an honor to be recognized for this work.”
Visit Clemson Institute for Parks for more information about the award and a full list of honorees.