High Bridge Has A New Trail Blazer

Published 1:36 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

FARMVILLE — Last week a new park manager was named for High Bridge Trail State Park.

Reinhardt Gray’s first day was Saturday, January 25.

“We are pleased that Mr. Gray has accepted the promotion there at High Bridge Trail State Park,” said Craig Seaver, acting director of state parks for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, during a phone interview Monday morning.

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“He brings a wealth of previous park and management experience to the position,” Seaver continued, “His past work with community leaders on a variety of fronts will allow us to continue the excellent working relationship and numerous community partnerships there that make High Bridge Trail such a popular destination for our guests.”

Former assistant to the special agent in charge in the Washington DC and Los Angeles field offices of the U.S. Federal Air Marshal Service, Gray has spent most of his career in law enforcement.

His varied experience includes time as a Virginia State trooper, a U.S. postal inspector and as a Special Agent with the Commonwealth of Virginia Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

“I’m looking forward to being at High Bridge Trail,” Gray told The Herald. “I’m looking forward to the full growth of the park… I’m looking forward to working and being involved in each of the communities the park runs through.”

Gray is particularly excited about the linear aspect of High Bridge Trail, providing contact with many communities and lots of growth potential. “Its growth potential is still exponential…We still have a lot of growth to do and a lot of building to do while we’re maintaining that trail,” Gray enthusiastically explained.

Normally, a state park is located in one county or city, but, Gray pointed out, High Bridge Trail passes through seven communities. “That is exciting to be able to deal with that many communities,” he said, “that gives you a different opportunity to associate with the community and get the community involved.”

Gray first began working at a Virginia State Park in 2011, when he was hired as a law enforcement ranger at Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster. He was promoted as the assistant park manager at Leesylvania State Park in March of 2012.

Former High Bridge Trail Park Manager Eric Hougland is now park manager at Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland. (See accompanying story.)

Hougland was closely involved with the Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park and many other localities and organizations, according to Seaver, building relationships with The Town of Farmville, counties along the trail, civic clubs, Longwood University and local businesses. “The list goes on,” he said with a chuckle.

Despite the length of the list, Seaver was confident in the person to take it over. “Reinhardt will be a great person to continue that positive working relationship with all of those entities,” he concluded.

As he leaves his position at Leesylvania State Park, Gray plans to transition fully into his new roll as High Bridge Trail park manager within three to four weeks.