Sam Koch has been named superintendent at Mayo River State Park in Rockingham County, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. Koch has served as interim superintendent at the park since September.
A state park superintendent manages the operations and administration of a park and has wide-ranging responsibilities including staffing, planning, environmental education, natural resources management, law enforcement and visitor services.
Koch began his career in state parks in 2002 as a seasonal employee at Hanging Rock State Park. He went on to serve as a park ranger at Mayo River and Crowders Mountain state parks. In 2010, he returned to Hanging Rock and served as a park ranger there for 12 years.
Originally from Franklinville in Randolph County, Koch has an associate degree in fish and wildlife management from Haywood Community College. He also is a search and rescue instructor for the division and serves on the search and rescue council.
While Koch hesitated to leave Hanging Rock State Park, he looks forward to the responsibilities at Mayo River. “I am excited to be back at Mayo River in a different role and can appreciate the growth that the park has seen over the last 15 years. I look forward to contributing my vision to this great state park,” he said.
As one of the younger state parks, Mayo River is still growing and changing to better serve visitors. North district superintendent Kristen Woodruff expects Koch’s extensive experience with state parks and expertise in multiple areas of managing a state park to benefit Mayo River.
“Sam first came to state parks 20 years ago and has seen our park system grow and change,” Woodruff said. “His dynamic experience from managing staff to environmental education, law enforcement and customer service has prepared him to bring Mayo River State Park into a new stage of growth and community engagement.”
Located in Rockingham County 30 miles northwest of Greensboro, Mayo River State Park offers various recreational opportunities at multiple accesses along the Mayo River. At the main access, visitors can enjoy hiking trails, fishing ponds, a picnic area and shelter and a group campsite. Four accesses — Deshazo Mill, Anglin Mill, Hickory Creek and Mayodan — allow entry to the river, home to rich wildlife and Class II rapids. Deshazo Mill also features a picturesque waterfall on Fall Creek.
About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 258,000 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 22.7 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 www.ncdcr.gov.