Peter Parry, 1931 ~ 2013
Oct 03, 2013 | 3153 views | 0 0 comments | 102 102 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Peter Larson Parry, past superintendent of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Natural Bridges National Monument, passed away peacefully in Moab early on the morning of Sept. 26, 2013. He was 81 years old.

Pete was born Oct. 6, 1931, in Morgantown, W.V., but spent his formative years in Colorado. After serving in the Korean War with the U.S. Air Force, he graduated with a BS in Forestry from Colorado State University. He joined the National Park Service and started as a seasonal ranger at Teton National Park in Wyoming. He met, wooed, and wed his wife Joyce at Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi. They married on March 7, 1957. They had three children: Christy, Frank, and Michael.

Peter rose through the ranks of the Park Service, becoming superintendent in the following parks: Perry’s Victory National Monument in Put-in-Bay, Ohio, Lehman Caves National Monument near Baker, Nev., and Joshua Tree National Park in Twentynine Palms, Calif. He also worked in the NPS regional office in San Francisco, Calif., and at NPS headquarters in Washington D.C.

Pete was superintendent of Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, and Natural Bridges National Monument for over 10 years, from March of 1975 to his retirement in December of 1986.

Pete loved the outdoors and fought to protect the environment, struggling against those who wanted to exploit the natural resources of the area, and striving to protect the parks for future generations. He opposed the placement of a nuclear repository in Canyonlands National Park, and fought tirelessly for issues that weren’t always popular at the time, but his foresight has been recognized as preserving the environmental integrity of the Four Corners region of the Southwest.

Pete’s efforts won him numerous awards and recognition, including the Meritorious Service Award in 1984. His community service continued after his retirement; he was a key figure in establishing the Moab Information Center, a multi-agency facility in the middle of the town of Moab. He was also a longtime member of the Canyonlands Natural History Association.

Pete was an avid fly fisherman all of his life, tying his own flies, and was particularly fond of fishing on the Dolores River below the McPhee Dam. In his later retirement years, he and his wife Joyce made yearly excursions to Baja, Mexico, spending a month or two on the beach.

He is survived by his sister, Julie Wright (Clinton) of Lakewood, Colo.; daughter, Christy Parry (William Schultz) of Flagstaff, Ariz.; nephew, Jeffrey Wright (Tracy) of Golden, Colo.; and granddaughter, Kimber Parry of Salt Lake City, Utah.

A memorial celebration will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 26 at Old City Park in Moab. Friends and family are invited.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

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