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Posted 7/16/2018

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By Ann Marie R. Harvie
USACE, New England


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters in Washington, D.C., recognized what most in the New England District already knew:  Samantha Gray, Lead Interpretive Ranger at the Cape Cod Canal is a "legend."

Gray was selected by the Corps for the American Recreation Coalition’s 2018 Legends Award.  The award recognizes federal managers for outstanding work in improving outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities for the American people.  Gray was one of seven federal managers to receive the award this year. 

The awards were presented during Great Outdoors Month in an awards ceremony held May 31 at the annual conference in Washington, D.C.

Gray was selected to receive the 2018 American Recreation Coalition’s Legends Award for “over the past 21 years, Ms. Gray has been a leader in the promotion of recreational and educational opportunities at the Cape Cod Canal,” wrote Jeff Krause, Chief Natural Resource Management, at the Corps of Engineers headquarters.  Krause penned a memo announcing Gray’s selection. 

According to Krause, since the opening of the Canal Visitor’s Center in 2001, Gray has been the force behind its transformation, making it the focal point of the Cape Cod Canal’s interpretive mission, and a centerpiece of the New England District’s natural resource program.

Gray has developed several educational programs at the Cape Cod Canal for children 1-17 years old that inspire them to become stewards of public lands and waters.  Some of these innovative programs include Canal Kids, Sandwich Partnership For Families and Exploring Engineering Club.

According to a memorandum signed by Thomas Smith, Chief, Operations and Regulatory Division for the Director of Civil Works, Gray has been a significant player in the promotion of partnership opportunities at her project and throughout the New England District.

“She was instrumental in the development of the District’s partnership policy and standard operating procedures,” he wrote.  “Her efforts have made it easier for the other projects to cultivate relationships with outside organizations to improve the recreational opportunities of their parks.”

Some of the accomplishments that were the result of these partnerships included the Canal Visitor Center Book Store and an Adopt-A-Shoreline Program.  She formed a partnership with the Sandwich Arts Alliance that resulted in a photo and artwork display featuring the Cape Cod Canal. 

“Ms. Gray’s leadership and passion for imparting knowledge has resulted in devoted life-long volunteers, long standing partnerships with key stakeholders and the public as well as a stellar interpretive program,” wrote Smith.

Gray thanked the Partnership for the recognition during the awards ceremony.  “Thank you to all of the amazing partners I have worked with over the years and my co-workers for taking the time to nominate me.”

The American Recreation Coalition is a Washington-based nonprofit organization that was founded in 1979.  According to their website, since then the ARC has “sought to catalyze the public/private partnerships to enhance and protect outdoor recreational opportunities and the resources upon which such experiences are based.”