GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Lisa Hendy is the first female chief ranger of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Hendy is from Chattanooga, Tenn. and has spent more than a decade serving different national parks. 

"I wanted to go into law enforcement, but I had spent all of my youth in the mountains, so I didn't want to be stuck in the city," Chief Hendy said. 

While Lisa Hendy's love for the outdoors started here in Tennessee, she took that love all over the U.S.

Her career started in 1993 as an intern at Yosemite National Park in California. She then spent time in the Rocky Mountains National Park

From there, she spent seven years at Grand Canyon Nation Park as a back country ranger, flight medic and more. 

In 2012, she became the emergency manager back at Yosemite where she interned. Four year later, she got her first chief ranger job in Big Bend National Park in Texas.

"I'm just excited about exploring the park again and checking out, on a personal level, all of the places that meant so much to me growing up and were so formative in my outdoor experience. Going back there and seeing how much they've changed and being able to protect them," Hendy said. 

Hendy said she doesn't focus on being the first female to hold the role because there are so many women already working in the park.

"To me, it's a chief ranger job that would've been an honor regardless," she said. 

Hendy is a certified paramedic and has certifications as a structural firefighter, wildland firefighter, aviation manager, technical and swiftwater rescuer, and several leadership roles for incident management teams, in addition to her federal law enforcement commission.