Thu, July 18

Who's in charge here?<br><i> New boss for Tuzigoot, Monezuma Castle</i>

Staff photo by Carol Keefer

Fort Verde State Park's Ranger Steve Jones welcomed the new National Park boss to the Verde Valley during the open house event.

Davis, who officially took over the job of overseeing the national park sites on June 30, was formally presented to the community by Karen Wade, NPS regional director from Denver. Wade told the roomful of people that the NPS likes to have "celebrations" welcoming its administrators.

Wade said that even though the NPS had received "tons of applications," Davis was the "right choice" to oversee Tuzigoot in Clarkdale and Montezuma Castle in the Camp Verde/Beaver Creek area. Attending the celebration at The Lodge at Cliff Castle Casino were national park officials, their state park counterparts, interested Verde Valley citizens, town officials and park volunteers, who heard more about Davis' background.

The morning event was followed by an open house and refreshments. Davis replaces retiring Glen Henderson, who was in the Verde Valley for 27 years.

Besides being a warm individual, Davis appears to have the right credentials for the job. She told audience members that "environmental education is important" to her; that she has a background in natural science and is concerned about riparian issues. She said there are lots of good things ahead and that she looks forward to working with the National Park staff and "old and new friends."

She has a bachelor's degree in forestry and a master's in fire science and is a published author on related topics.

Davis with husband Chip comes from the Phoenix area, where she worked for the Southern Arizona Office of the NPS under Dwayne Collier as the chief of natural resources. Collier, state coordinator for Arizona, later commented that Davis was no stranger to the Verde Valley. The southern office provides support to Arizona national parks. Davis was in the valley many times, he said, and has had a lot of interaction with both the monuments and staff members.

Montezuma Castle National Monument (Camp Verde) and Tuzigoot National Monument (Clarkdale) are administered together under the direction of one superintendent, according to park officials. Montezuma's Well, 10 miles from the castle, falls under the Montezuma Castle. Both are part of the national monuments of Arizona administered by the National Park Service budgeted through the United States Department of Interior.

Montezuma Castle preserves a 20-room prehistoric cliff dwelling, authorized since 1906. The Montezuma Well preserves a spring-fed limestone sink surrounded by numerous prehistoric ruins authorized in 1943. Tuzigoot National Monument preserves a 110-room prehistoric pueblo ruin and numerous artifacts excavated from the site authorized in 1939. All three national monuments are open to the public.