New Pictured Rocks superintendent moves down from the Keweenaw

MUNISING – The National Park Service has named a new park superintendent for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Michael “Mike” Pflaum will report to his new assignment Jan. 26. He is currently the superintendent at Keweenaw National Historical Park in Calumet and a native of Dodge Center, Minn.

“Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a magnificent national park area,” Pflaum said in a news release.

Pflaum started his career with the park service as a seasonal park technician and park ranger at Yellowstone National Park and Devil’s Tower National Monument. In 1984, he gained permanent status as a telecommunications operator at Yellowstone. A year later, he received a promotion to supervisory park ranger.

In 1989, he became chief ranger at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. He completed long stints as acting superintendent at Mount Rushmore and also worked as an acting superintendent at George Washington National Monument and Navajo National Monument.

In 2008, he transferred to the Midwest Regional Office in Omaha, Neb., as the regional partnerships coordinator. In 2011, he became the superintendent at Keweenaw National Historical Park.

There, among a range of accomplishments and duties, he worked closely with park staff to open the Calumet visitor center, the park’s first such facility.

“Keweenaw NHP has been a wonderful place for me to work with outstanding and dedicated people for the last several years,” Pflaum said.

Pflaum graduated from Mankato State University with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and park administration. His wife Barbara is from Miller, S.D., and is a former park ranger and park cooperating association employee. The couple has two daughters.

Pflaum said he and his wife have visited Pictured Rocks several times.

“We are excited about the opportunity to know and explore this great place more fully,” Pflaum said. “I am also looking forward to getting to know and working with the great staff at the park, as well as the park partners and people of the nearby communities.

We will be most successful if we are all working together in a positive fashion with a vision for the future in the preservation of this special place and in providing outstanding opportunities for park visitors, and I intend to do everything I can to help make that happen.”

Michael T. Reynolds, director of the park service’s 13-state midwest region, praised Pflaum’s qualifications in the news release.

“Both a high degree of leadership and significant accomplishments in partnership and community engagement with rural communities are factors that led to our selecting Mike to lead Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore,” Reynolds said. “Mike’s extensive background and experience in park operations, law enforcement, and resources management -specifically wilderness and lake management during his time at Yellowstone National Park- will serve him well in this new leadership role.”

Pflaum will be the successor to Jim Northup, who left Pictured Rocks in March to become the new superintendent at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, returning to the park he first worked at as a seasonal employee in 1979.

Northup came to Pictured Rocks as superintendent in 2005 from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In the interim between Northup’s departure, Tim Good has been acting supervisor at the park.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is