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Shimel To Lead State Parks’ East District

Jun 23, 2022

Joe Shimel is the new east district superintendent of North Carolina state parks, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. Shimel succeeds Sarah Kendrick, who served as acting superintendent beginning in 2020. Kendrick will return to her post as superintendent of Hammocks Beach State Park.

A district superintendent is the chief of operations and administration of a park district with wide-ranging responsibilities for staffing, planning, law enforcement, and visitor services.

After graduating from N.C. State University in 2000, Shimel served as a park ranger at Falls Lake State Recreation Area and Carolina Beach State Park before becoming Park Superintendent at Medoc Mountain State Park. He has been superintendent of New River State Park and Mount Jefferson State Natural Area since 2009. During his leadership at New River, he obtained a master’s degree in parks, recreation, and tourism management from N.C. State University.

Shimel serves on the Division of Parks and Recreation’s fire management team, EMS quality management review committee, and critical incident stress management team. He is a certified interpretive trainer.

“Joe comes to the east district with extensive experience in state parks in each region and expertise in several aspects of park management,” said Kathy Capps, deputy director of operations. “His familiarity with park operations paired with his expertise in natural resources and education will be great assets to the east district, with its wide-ranging ecology and state parks with varied features and facilities.”

As east district superintendent, Shimel says his priority will be providing the best possible visitor experience while protecting natural and cultural resources. “This is the delicate balance we are called to carry out in North Carolina’s state parks. As district superintendent I will do my best to ensure the parks have the tools and resources they need to accomplish this,” he said.

North Carolina state parks’ east district includes parks in the coastal plain east of Rocky Mount, from the Dismal Swamp and Merchants Millpond state parks in the northeast to Fort Fisher State Recreation Area and Carolina Beach State Park in the southeast.

About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 253,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 22.8 million visitors annually.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit

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