WHItman 2

Trees are reflected in a pond skimmed with ice along the mission walking trail.

By the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

The National Park Service selected Stephen Thede to serve as superintendent of Nez Perce National Historical Park in Lapwai, Idaho, and oversee operations at Whitman Mission National Historic Site west of Walla Walla and Big Hole National Battlefield, near Wisdom, Montana. He will report on May 9.

A park ranger since 1981, Thede has worked at 12 NPS sites including Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Badlands national parks, NPS headquarters in Washington D.C., Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and Missouri National Recreational River. He currently serves on the NPS Wild and Scenic Rivers steering committee.

“Steve brings 37 years of National Park Service experience to this new role,” said Acting NPS Regional Director Linda D. Walker. “His commitment to conservation and experience working with tribal partners make him a great fit for this position.”

Thede holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in psychology, geophysics and volcanology from the University of Hawaii. He also completed post-graduate work in biomedicine and business administration at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Hawaii.

“These park service sites tell remarkable stories and are an important part of the history we share as Americans,” Thede said.

Thede will be joined by Cheryl, his wife of 30 years and a former park ranger. The two enjoy all aspects of outdoor recreation and look forward to becoming active members of the community.

Whitman Mission, 328 Whitman Mission Road, was established in 1936 to preserve a portion of the Weyíiletpuu homeland, interpret the tragic events surrounding 19th-century Christian missionary activities there, and seek healing together with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

The mission features a documentary with options in English and Spanish language on Marcus and Narcissa Whitmans’ mission and its impact on the Cayuse among whom they lived and tried to convert to Christianity. See ubne.ws/whitmanmissionfilm. The site’s trails and grounds are open daily. The Visitor Center/Museum is closed. Learn more at nps.gov/whmi/ or call a park ranger at 509-522-6360.

Nez Perce National Historical Park preserves a continuum of at least 11,000 years of Nez Perce culture. The park was established in 1965, and in 1992 Congress expanded it to include 14 sites in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. As part of the expansion, Big Hole National Battlefield was added to Nez Perce National Historical Park. Learn more at nps.gov/nepe and nps.gov/biho.


Annie joined the U-B news staff in 1979 and since 1990 has written Etcetera, a daily community column. She was promoted to a copy editing post in 2007. She edits copy, designs and lays out pages, including the weekly arts and entertainment guide Marquee,