Kansas State Parks Director Recognized with “Distinguished Director” Award at National Conference

Kansas State Parks Director Recognized with “Distinguished Director” Award at National Conference

For Immediate Release:
October 6, 2023

Nadia Marji CMP®, Chief of Public Affairs

Jessica Ward, Communications Manager

Kansas State Parks Director Recognized with “Distinguished Director” Award at National Conference

SHAWNEE – It’s no secret that Kansas is home to a thriving state parks system but what may be lesser-known is the woman behind it all. Linda Lanterman, a Pratt, KS native, has been employed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for nearly 33 years. And while she has served in a variety of roles during her tenure, it’s her time invested as the Department’s director of State Parks that has left an indelible mark on the state’s parks system. That’s why it came as little surprise to Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and KDWP Secretary Brad Loveless, when the National Association of State Park Directors granted Lanterman a national award naming her, “Distinguished Director” for 2023.

"Congratulations to Kansas State Parks Director Linda Lanterman for earning the prestigious Distinguished Director Award from the National Association of State Park Directors," said Gov. Kelly. "As a previous Executive Director of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association, I know firsthand how important this role is to our communities and to our overall economy. I appreciate Linda's tremendous dedication to Kansas state parks."

During NASPD’s annual conference, Sept. 12-15, 2023, at Lake Tahoe, NV, more than 430 state park directors, deputy directors, operations managers, support staff, and sponsors and exhibitors gathered to compare notes and learn from leading voices in the outdoor recreation industry. Lanterman, who has served on NASPD’s board, to include the role of President in 2017-2018, attributes teamwork as the main driver behind her success.

“I’m humbled and honored to be recognized by my friends and colleagues in the National Association,” said Lanterman. “Recognitions like this come as a result of team effort and the support of our dedicated staff and volunteers. I’m thrilled to be working with such a talented and professional team as we provide outdoor opportunities that improve the quality of life, and create lasting memories, for all.”

Though Lanterman makes it look easy, there’s nothing simple about being responsible for Kansas’ 29 state parks, which host nearly seven million visitors each year, generating nearly $288 million dollars in economic activity for the Sunflower State. Of course, she isn’t doing it alone. Lanterman’s team consists of 120 full-time employees, seasonal employees and volunteers within the State Parks Division.

To learn more about Kansas’ state parks, visit ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks.

For more on NASPD, visit stateparks.org. To view photos from the 2023 NASPD awards ceremony, click here.