Gov. Doug Burgum today appointed Andrea Travnicek to lead the North Dakota Department of Parks and Recreation, citing her extensive leadership experience and long history of resource management at the local, state and federal levels.
Travnicek returns to North Dakota after nearly three years of service in top leadership positions at the U.S. Department of the Interior, where she most recently served as deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management. Travnicek also served as Interior’s principal deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, overseeing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. National Park Service. Prior to that, she served as a senior policy advisor for natural resources in the North Dakota Governor’s Office from 2010 to 2016 under then-Gov. John Hoeven and then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
“Andrea Travnicek is bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience back to North Dakota thanks to her prior leadership and resource management roles in state and federal government,” Burgum said. “Under her guidance, the Parks and Recreation Department will continue to enhance our first-rate parks system to drive tourism, improve quality of life and attract and retain a skilled workforce for a 21st century economy. North Dakota is fortunate to welcome home one of its own.”
Travnicek’s career spans more than 15 years of experience in natural resources, conservation, energy, agriculture and public policy. At the U.S. Department of the Interior, she had oversight of bureaus with up to 17,000 staff members and budgets up to $3.2 billion. Travnicek will assume her duties with the Parks and Recreation Department by May 29.
“It’s an honor to rejoin Team ND and lead the outstanding team at the Parks and Recreation Department,” Travnicek said. “I’m grateful to Gov. Burgum for the opportunity to return to North Dakota to serve the citizens of the state I call home, and I look forward to managing our state’s incredible natural resources and recreational opportunities at our state parks.”
Travnicek earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management and zoology, a master’s degree in natural resources management and a doctorate in philosophy, all from North Dakota State University. Travnicek is originally from Minot.
Burgum expressed his gratitude for the excellent leadership provided by Parks and Recreation Department West Regional Manager Ryan Gardner, who has served as the agency’s interim director since January of this year.
The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department has about 60 full-time team members and 16 long-term seasonal staff and a biennial budget of $43 million to manage and operate 15 statewide parks and recreation areas, enriching generations through experiences that connect people and places. The department actively promotes and supports access to North Dakota’s great outdoors through a diversity of recreation opportunities and sustainably managed resources. The department is additionally responsible for off-highway vehicle planning and safety programs, snowmobile safety programs and trails, the Nature Preserves Act and outdoor recreation grants and statewide recreation planning.