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State parks appoints new superintendent

A native Californian who vacationed for weeks each year at Lake Tahoe as a child has been appointed state park superintendent of the Sierra District.

Pam Armas, who started her California State Parks career as a volunteer at South Yuba River State Park, is coming full circle. She will supervise the South Yuba River Park, as well as Donner Memorial State Park and the state parks in the Tahoe Basin.

Altogether, Armas will oversee the operations, maintenance and interpretative services of 17 state parks in nine counties along California’s eastern border.



She is the first woman to hold the position in the Sierra District.

“It’s very special. I feel honored to be the first woman … I will bring a different perspective not only because I’m the first woman, but because I have a different background than most the superintendents,” she said.



Armas has worked for California agencies for 32 years ” Caltrans, California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Personnel Administration.

Though she didn’t work her way up through California State Park ranks like most other superintendents, she has extensive experience working in personnel and management roles.

“What I’m most excited about … from a professional standpoint [of] the challenges and opportunities here ” this is a world-renowned area and to be able to make a difference here, and to be able to protect and preserve the parks in the Tahoe Basin and beyond is phenomenal,” Armas said.

Community outreach and partnership are important elements to Armas in meeting the mission of California State Parks ” to protect the valued natural and cultural resources and provide outdoor recreation.

“I want to be a good neighbor to the fire districts, the public utility districts, to all the people we work hand in hand with to make a healthy Tahoe Basin,” Armas said.

Colleagues of Armas say they are excited for her promotion from sector superintendent in Calaveras to district superintendent in the Sierra.

“Pam is a great fit for the district superintendent position at Sierra District,” said California State Parks Deputy Director of Parks Operations Ted Jackson in an e-mail. “She possesses a tremendous love and familiarity for the state parks in this district. Pam will bring energy, dedication and creative problem-solving skills to the job.”

Prior to Armas coming on board, Hayden Sohm was the district superintendent for nearly two and a half years beginning August 2004. Following Sohm’s retirement last December after a 30-year state park career, Ken Anderson served as the interim district superintendent.

“We’re happy to get someone in here; we’re happy to get Pam,” said Susan Grove, Lake Tahoe sector superintendent. “She says that she’s going to retire here and that would be great. We really hope that Pam stays on with us for a long time.”


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