Keith E. Miller, who began his 36-year National Park Service career at Mount Rainier and served as superintendent at North Cascades, died on June 27 in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Miller, 87, began his Park Service career as a permanent ranger at Mount Rainier National Park in 1958. He was the head of North Cascades National Park for six years in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
Born on Nov. 30, 1924, in a town outside of Pittsburgh, Miller Keith joined the Merchant Marine after graduating from high school in 1942. He later transferred to the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific Theater.
After attending college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania on the G.I. Bill, he went west to do graduate work in geography and education at the University of Washington. There he met and fell in love with Carolyn Hutchins, and not coincidentally, the national parks, said a NPS news release. Her father was a naturalist and seasonal ranger at Yellowstone during the Depression.
After they married, they taught middle school in Seattle, but in 1958 Miller gave up that for a permanent position as a ranger at Mount Rainier.
After leaving the park, he worked at Glacier National Park, where he trapped bears and fought fires, and Wind Cave National Park, where he found an entrance to a large new arm of the cave now called Miller Low Life. His first position as superintendent was at Gran Quivira National Monument in New Mexico. He also served at Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi, and two years in Washington, D.C., as acting chief ranger for the Park Service.
Miller then served as superintendent of Acadia from 1971-1978, where the couple bought property for a retirement home. After six years at superintendent of North Cascades Park Complex, Miller ended his career as associate regional director of the Southwest Region. He was given the Meritorious Service Award for his supervision of the cleanup of toxic spills on Padre Island in Texas.
He is survived by his wife; daughter, Kristin of New York City; grandson, Keith of Washington, D.C.; son, Kem and wife, Katerina, and grandsons, Aleksander and Adam, of Chevy Chase, Md.; and his brother Thomas Miller of Tucson, Ariz.
Memorial services will be held July 21 at Bar Harbor Congregational Church, Bar Harbor. Contributions in his memory may be made to Friends of Acadia, P.O. Box 725, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 or Bar Harbor Congregational Church, 29 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609.
RAINIER WORK PARTY
The next Mount Rainier National Park Associates volunteer work party will be Saturday. Volunteers will work with the park’s ecological restoration crew removing exotic plants.
The work will take place along the 3.5 miles of the Westside Road, from the Nisqually Road junction to the end of the road at the Fish Creek parking lot. Volunteers will remove non-native plants that are invading the areas adjacent to roadway by digging up the whole plant, including the root system, and collecting the plants in plastic garbage bags.
Participants should bring work gloves, a small digging tool like a hand trowel or a favorite weed removing tool, lunch, plenty of fluids to drink and a full set of rain gear. A warm jacket would be good to include too as most of the Westside Road is shaded by trees. If you have a reflective safety vest, bring that too.
Volunteers should meet at 8:30 a.m. at the junction of the Westside Road and the Nisqually Road, about one mile from the Nisqually Entrance. Work will begin at 9 a.m. and last until 3 p.m.
If you plan to attend, send an email to John Titland at email@example.com and indicate how many people will be joining you.