Harvey Wickware, superintendent of Canyonlands and other national parks of southeastern Utah, has announced plans to retire this summer.

Wickware, whose career with the National Park Service spans more than 30 years, has held the post of general superintendent of Canyonlands and Arches national parks and Natural Bridges National Monument since 1987.As state coordinator of all Utah parks within the national system, he has been serving as liaison to other state and federal agencies and private-sector interests.

During his tenure in southeastern Utah, a new general management plan for Arches was completed and the management planning process was begun for Natural Bridges.

Wickware played the leading role in securing funds for phase one construction of a new visitor center and support facilities at the Needles District of Canyonlands, which celebrated its 25th anniversary under his leadership.

A major road-paving project in the Island In the Sky District was completed, and park staff was reorganized soon after Wickware became superintendent.

"It was an internal change that wasn't visible to the public, but it was a major accomplishment for him. I think it resulted in a clearer definition of job responsibilities, it bolstered individual programs in the park, and in the long run has provided better service to visitors," said park spokesman Larry Frederick.

Frederick also credited Wickware with increased cooperation between federal agencies that resulted in establishment of an interagency visitor center in Monticello. He is also actively involved in ongoing plans for an interagency visitor center in Moab.

During his Park Service career, Wickware earned the Department of the Interior's highly coveted Meritorious Service Award.

His first Park Service job was subdistrict ranger at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee in 1959. He transferred to Everglades National Park in Florida as a subdistrict ranger, then to Fort Caroline National Memorial as management assistant.

He was the second employee hired at Assateague Island National Seashore, Md.-Va., a preserve for the wild Chincoteague ponies. The Park Service annexed 3,500 parcels of private property into Assateague while Wickware served as the park's first chief ranger.

His first superintendency was at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, S.D., where he also served as state coordinator for other Park Service areas. He was also superintendent of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, N.D.

He said he looks forward to having the time to hike, hunt and fish in Colorado Plateau country.

"I've always been intrigued with hiking opportunities in Utah and southwest Colorado. There's a new discovery up every canyon, from cowboy history to Indian pictographs to natural wonders," he said.

Wickware said he anticipates that he and his wife, June, will find plenty of things to do upon his retirement, including visiting children in Alabama, Florida and North Dakota.

"The work ethic is just too strong to just pack up life at this stage of it," he said.