SAN FRANCISCO — The National Park Service (NPS) has selected Brenda Ling to serve as the permanent superintendent of Manzanar National Historic Site.
She is currently the director of the public affairs division at Gateway National Recreation Area in New York and New Jersey. Ling will begin her new role in June.
“As a 19-year veteran of federal service, Brenda brings a keen sense of working with other agencies that will serve her and the park well in this role,” said Regional Director Frank Lands. “During her tenure with the National Park Service she has proven to be an outstanding communicator and collaborative leader.”
Ling joined the NPS in 2018 as a member of the public affairs program at Gateway National Recreation Area. In 2020, she started the Asian American Employee Resource Group (ERG) within NPS along with 11 colleagues. The group, which provides professional support and camaraderie, has since grown to more than 150 members across the country.
In her current role at Gateway National Recreation Area, the fourth most visited site in the NPS system, Ling is a member of the park’s leadership team. She also served in a 120-day detail as acting superintendent at Manzanar from November 2021 to March 2022.
“It is an honor to be selected as the superintendent of Manzanar,” said Ling. “The story of this site, and the incarceration of people of Japanese descent, including American citizens, needs to be preserved and shared. I look forward to working with the dedicated park staff, partners, visitors; and engaging with local and Japanese American communities to share this important history with the public.”
Prior to joining the NPS, Ling served as public information officer with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in North Dakota and as public affairs specialist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Wyoming.
Ling grew up in New York City. After graduating from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, she worked as a newspaper journalist, earning numerous awards at publications such as the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota, Des Moines Register, Valley News Dispatch in western Pennsylvania, and USA Today. While earning a master’s degree in English from the University of North Dakota, Ling worked as director of communications for the school’s alumni association and foundation.
Ling is looking forward to relocating to the Owens Valley with her husband Chuck Kimmerle, a landscape photographer, and Zi, their bilingual dog who understands commands in Lakota and English.
Manzanar National Historic Site preserves cultural and natural resources and interprets the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants during World War II. The historic site consists of 814 of the 5,415 acres that comprised the Manzanar War Relocation Center including the housing area, the administrative area where War Relocation Authority staff lived and worked, the military police compound, the chicken ranch, the hospital site, and the cemetery. Most buildings are gone, but many features remain, including historic orchards and numerous Japanese gardens and ponds. Other features are buried, yet come to life through historic photos, artwork, archives, and hundreds of oral history interviews.
Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Highway 395, six miles south of Independence and nine miles north of Lone Pine. Learn more on our web site at https://www.nps.gov/manz.