2011 FEDERAL LAND MANAGER -- NATIONAL PARK SERVICE - James E. Miculka

2011 FEDERAL LAND MANAGER -- NATIONAL PARK SERVICE - James E. Miculka
Jim Miculka manages the National Park Services Trails & Rails Program which is an exciting partnership with the National Park Service and Amtrak. The program utilizes volunteers to reach positional park visitors in a non-traditional setting. The program hosts NPS volunteers on select Amtrak routes. Volunteers interpret and educate passengers on the local natural resources, heritage based history and issues along the routes. This interpretation extends beyond park boundaries and provides interpretation of other federal and state conservation units.

This idea was born by Jim in 1994 when he was Chief of Interpretation at Jean Laffite National Historic Park and Preserve. It has grown into a national program with routes in six of the seven regions within the National Park System. The Trails & Rails Program became a national program in 2000 and is managed out of the Southeast Regional Office Division of Interpretation and Education with Jim as the Nation Coordinator of the program.

The program reaches more than 600,000 passengers annually with 575 volunteers contriving more than 32,000 hours of service to the program. The program currently consists of 19 Amtrak routes with 18 national park units supervising these routes.

In April 2010, Jim launched the Trails & Rails podcast for Amtrak’s Sunset Limited between New Orleans and Los Angeles. The podcast covers nearly 100 points of interest along a 2,000 mile, 42 hour run between New Orleans and Los Angeles, over five states and three National Park Service regions. The podcast was produced in partnership with Amtrak, the National Park Service and the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University. This was the first, in a series of podcasts, to be produced to provide onboard educational opportunities for Amtrak passengers.

He has created 14 Junior Ranger Trails & Rails programs for 14 Amtrak trains in partnership with the Student Conservation Association, Amtrak, the National Park Service and the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University. The new Junior Ranger programs will start in the spring of 2011.

Under his leadership the Trails & Rails Program participated in the third annual National Train Day on May 10. Trails & Rails Guides and National Park Service employees staffed displays at the four major venues in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Chicago and Los Angeles. Nearly 40,000 people attended National Train Day at these four venues. Additionally, Trails & Rails set up displays in smaller areas such as Seattle, Minot, ND, San Antonio, New Orleans, and Minneapolis with several hundred visitors to those venues.

He worked in concert with Amtrak to premiere a nine minute DVD video of Trails & Rails that was produced by Amtrak marketing. The DVD was produced in partnership with the National Park Service, Department of Recreation Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University and Amtrak. Amtrak funded the DVD at a cost of over $100,000. Amtrak is investing heavily in the Trails & Rails partnership. This winter, Amtrak participated in the Lincoln Inaugural Train which was the kickoff to the Civil War Sesquicentennial in the National Park Service. Amtrak Vice President of Marketing and Product Development, Emmet Fremaux accompanied Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis on Amtrak from Baltimore to Washington DC to highlight the strong partnership the National Park Service has with the National Park Service. The strength of this partnership and reaching out to Amtrak passengers is due to Jim’s hard work and commitment to the program