Dave Roemer, recently named the new Superintendent of Glacier National Park, is actually a graduate of the University of Montana.

He spoke with us this week and shared his journey from a University of Montana student to one of the most prestigious posts in the National Park Service.

Roemer expressed pride and gratitude for his appointment.

“I feel so fortunate and blessed to be able to ply my superintendent arts up here at Glacier National Park,” began Roemer. “It’s just one of the greatest parks there is and it’s hard to imagine that I could get to come back to Montana in this way and serve here.”

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Roemer looked back at his years at the University of Montana.

“I graduated from UM where I defended my master's thesis in the environmental studies program in 1997, and I'm so glad that I did,” he said. “I completed a lot of my coursework and started my park service career with an unfinished thesis, and that was really nagging me to just finish up and so I'm so glad that I did do that, and also glad I have that degree and followed through on that commitment.”

Roemer described his long career in the National Park Service that has culminated as the new Glacier National Park Superintendent.

“I started my park service career actually as a as a volunteer as an intern when I was 19, and that was in 1989 at Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico,” he said. “I was still a college student then and I knew I wanted to get out west. I was really focused on wildlife and geology, especially bats in caves, and so Carlsbad was a great fit for me.”

Roemer related some details of his work at Glacier National Park, including the fact that the Going to the Sun Road would be closing early on October 1 due to maintenance and construction.

“This year, October 1 is going to be the date that we close at the west entrance of the  Going to the Sun Road by Apgar, although we'll still be open on the east side up to Logan Pass,” he said. “That's because of a construction project that is unique to this fall and winter where we're going to be replacing the sewer lines, the electrical and the phone lines all the way along Lake MacDonald to Lake McDonald Lodge.”

Roemer’s wife and two children will soon join him in Montana. He’s looking forward to taking them on backpacking trips and a tour of Missoula, where the Public Address Announcer has invited him to catch a Griz football game on campus.

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

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