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Ledford Presented With National Award for Parks Service

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Michael F. Easley, Governor
William G. Ross, Jr., Secretary

Release Note: 
Charlie Peek
Release Date: 
Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ledford Presented With National Award for Parks Service

RALEIGH -- Lewis R. Ledford, director of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, was honored with the William Penn Mott Jr. Award for Excellence Sept. 26 at the annual congress of the National Recreation and Park Association in Indianapolis.

The award is presented annually through the National Society for Park Resources to organizations and individuals to recognize outstanding service to the field of parks and recreation, and citizen action contributing to the advancement of the profession and parks and recreation programs. The award is named for a former director of the National Park Service. William Penn Mott also served as the director of California's state parks system.

Previous winners have included Rodger Schmitt, former director of the National Recreation Program and Brett Wright, chairman of Clemson University's Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

Ledford joined the state parks system in 1976 and was named director of the division in April 2004. He is the first director to rise from entry-level ranger to head the agency. After beginning his career at William B. Umstead State Park as a ranger, he served as superintendent at Mount Mitchell State Park for five years and west district superintendent for 16 years before being named superintendent of state parks in 2000.

During his tenure as director, the division has created four new state parks and several state natural areas through its New Parks for a New Century initiative, has expanded existing parks through a land acquisition program and has established a more equitable salary program for rangers.

Ledford is a member of the National Association of State Park Directors, the Association of Southeast State Park Directors and the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association. He is a recipient of the Governor's Award for Volunteerism and the Special Achievement Award from the Carolina Region of the American Red Cross and has been recognized by the JC Penny Golden Rule Program for community service.