Schreier's new job is managing some familiar faces
Among the famous faces at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, S.D., is a familiar face from UWSP.
Cheryl (Antolik) Schreier, ’79, Custer, S.D., was named the superintendent for the national memorial last fall, continuing her long career with the National Park Service (NPS).
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to manage a site that represents our nation’s history and cultures,” said Schreier. “Once I was here it struck me that I am one of the stewards of this monument. It’s an important and humbling job to preserve it for future generations.”
As the superintendent, Schreier manages the day to day operations of Mount Rushmore and all of its employees and projects. She likens it to being the conductor of an orchestra made up of park interpreters, maintenance workers, law enforcement personnel, a Friends of Mount Rushmore group, the partners of the park who run the gift shop, food services, parking lot and bookstore and even the wild animals who call the park home. She also collaborates with other parks and organizations such as the Forest Service.
“What I enjoy most is interacting with the visitors, staff members and members of the local community,” she said. “I am an ambassador for Mount Rushmore, an iconic national park that represents South Dakota as a state. So it’s really fun to hear what people remember about their visits to the park years ago.”
Mount Rushmore gets about 3.1 million visitors a year, Schreier says. While many visit during the summer, she recommends fall travel.
“From September to October it’s a wonderful time to be here. The leaves are changing and there are warm days and cool nights.” Motorcycle enthusiasts may enjoy the trip August 8-14, during the annual Sturgis Rally, she adds. UWSP alumni are welcome to say hello if they visit, she said, by contacting her through the information center at the memorial.
Schreier’s long career with the NPS began in South Dakota and has now come full circle after more than 30 years. Her first position was at Jewel Cave National Monument in nearby Custer, S.D., where she worked a summer internship while still studying at UWSP. It was there she met her husband, Bill, now retired from the NPS.
Most recently, Schreier was the superintendent at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa. She was also the superintendent at Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site in Stanton, N.D. and has served in Death Valley National Park in California, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pa., the NPS Intermountain Regional Office in Denver, Colo., and Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.
The skills in natural resource management, biology and environmental education that she learned at UWSP as well as her experiences in the NPS are really paying off and helping her at her job at Mount Rushmore.
“My advice for UWSP students or graduates who want to work for national parks is to apply at the wonderful small natural or historic parks, the places that are less iconic but no less spectacular than Mount Rushmore,” Schreier says. “It’s a great way to start a career. If you are passionate about preserving natural resources, the National Park Service is a perfect fit.
“I wake up every morning loving what I do,” she adds.