Mount St. Helens manager retires from Forest Service

Tom Mulder, manager of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument since 2006, has retired after nearly 35 years with the U.S. Forest Service.

Mulder retired Jan. 2.

The 60-year-old spent more than 34 years working for the Forest Service. In addition to his time as an administrative officer at Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mulder also served in various capacities at Lincoln, Umatilla and Mount Hood national forests.

In looking at Mulder’s time at the monument, M.J. Dowell of the Forest Service wrote, “Tom is known for leading the largest construction projects around Mount St. Helens since the last Visitor Center, Johnston Ridge, opened in 1997.”

Among his accomplishments while working as the monument manager were:

•  The new monument headquarters office in Amboy, which opened in September 2008. The Forest Service had operated the previous 28 years in a collection of FEMA trailers that were “temporaily” relocated onto the Amboy compound after the Forest Service offices were evacuated a month before the May 18, 1980, blast.

•  Reopening the Coldwater Science and Learning Center in May 2012. The monument closed the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center in October 2007, citing a lack of funds to maintain the structure. The center is used as an educational hub for programs offered by the Mount St. Helens Institute, as well as school groups.

Mulder was honored by his colleagues at celebrations Friday in Vancouver and Battle Ground. He and his family plan to remain in the area. His youngest son is a senior at Battle Ground High School.

He said he plans to return as a visitor in June to see the grand opening of the Cascade Peaks Information Station on the east side of the volcano.


Todd Suess, the former deputy superintendent of Olympic National Park, has been named the superintendent for Mojave National Preserve in California.

Suess has been the acting superintendent at the preserve and will continue in that role until he formally begins his position as permanent superintendent. He succeeds Stephanie Dubois, who retired at the end of 2014.

Suess has worked more than 26 years with federal land management agencies.

During his five-year tenure at Olympic, Suess supervised all operations, including administration, resource and visitor protection, resources management, interpretation and education, and facilities programs. He also worked extensively on the Elwha River Dam removal and restoration project, one of the largest restoration projects in National Park Service history.

“Todd is an experienced leader with the National Park Service, and we are convinced that his skills, experience, and passion for the desert Southwest make him a great fit for Mojave National Preserve,” Pacific West regional director Chris Lehnertz in a news release.

Suess served as acting superintendent at Joshua Tree National Park in California late last year and has experience managing several other parks. From 2001-10 he was superintendent at Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota.

He also worked at Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, both as chief of resource management and as acting superintendent, and in the same capacities prior to that at Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota.