North Carolina's state parks director for the past 10 years is leaving state government to become the head of a national association for similar state leaders.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced Monday that Lewis Ledford is retiring at the end of the year to join the National Association of State Park Directors as its executive director.
Ledford began working in the North Carolina parks as a ranger in 1976 at Umstead State Park and rose through the ranks, becoming state parks superintendent and then director in 2003.
The department says he helped lead the state's effort to purchase Chimney Rock and Grandfather Mountain. Internet and call-center reservations system took off under his leadership, too.
Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.