Dave Wyrick leads Mammoth
(MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., March 5, 2014)
Dave Wyrick’s life is spiced with variety.
From his hometown of Carlsbad, N.M.,
Wyrick has lived and worked from Washington
State, to Washington, D.C., from Fort Sumter,
S.C. to an historic ranch in Montana, from
bluffs over the Mississippi River in Natchez
to the great Mammoth Cave of Kentucky.
This month, Wyrick will dust off his caving
gear from his years at Carlsbad Caverns
to begin his new position as the chief of the
division of interpretation and visitor services
at Mammoth Cave National Park
“Dave Wyrick has a broad background and is
a great addition to our management team at
Mammoth Cave,” said Superintendent Sarah
Craighead. “Our interpretive staff is one of the largest in the National Park Service
(NPS), and we offer more formal programs each year than Great Smokies,
Everglades, and Shenandoah National Parks combined. At his previous parks, Dave
has found ways to engage the public that could be applied at Mammoth Cave. I’m
looking forward to working with him.”
Wyrick grew up in Carlsbad, N.M., not far from Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
His grandfather was a state forest ranger on Cloudy Mountain in Oklahoma. “As a
kid, I loved to visit my grandfather and because of him I knew that I wanted to be a
ranger someday,” said Wyrick. He pursued and earned a degree in park
administration at Eastern Washington University, in Cheney, Wash., in 1981.
Following college, he found seasonal ranger employment with the U.S.D.A. Forest
Service, and at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
In 1983, Wyrick switched career-gears and moved to Maryland, where he took a
job in construction and worked his way up to the level of construction
superintendent, building homes and subdivisions.
Wyrick’s interest in parks resurfaced in 1991. He gave up construction and became
an NPS interpretive ranger on the D.C. Mall, touring visitors through memorials,
museums, and up and down the Washington Monument. And so his list of parks
continued: Rock Creek Park, a 2,800-acre forest in the middle of D.C. (1994-
1995); Fort Sumter National Monument in South Carolina (1995-2000); Carlsbad
Caverns National Park, where he supervised the cave tour operation (2000-2004);
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, Mont., where Wyrick served as the chief
of education, interpretation and cultural resources (2005-2009). In 2009, the
couple came back east to Natchez National Historic Park, Miss., where Wyrick was
the chief of interpretation and resource management until moving to Mammoth
“I’m excited to work in a cave again,” said Wyrick. “National park areas each
present the challenge of helping the public experience and appreciate our national
treasures in such a way that the treasure is well protected and preserved. It is the
same here at Mammoth Cave. When visitors arrive, they may think our main
attraction is just a big hole in the ground, so it’s our job to help them see the
intricacies of underground life and its dependence on the surface world. I haven’t
been caving since my years at Carlsbad. My hardhat and headlamp are ready to
Wyrick and his wife, Mary Ann (nee Roth) have a grown daughter Jessica, and two
dachshunds, Lilly and Edward. They enjoy outdoor sports and have embraced the
possibilities of each place they have been stationed, like skiing in Montana and
kayaking in South Carolina. Here in Kentucky they plan to hike, bike and kayak.