Julie Galonska, who has led the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway for six years, will be leaving her post to take over at a historic National Park site in Massachusetts next month. Galonska has led the local Park Service unit since 2015.
She previously served for 10 years as the park unit’s Chief of Interpretation, Education, and Cultural Resources. Before coming to the St. Croix in 2005, Galonska worked at parks in Ohio, Arkansas, and Washington, D.C.
Now, she’s headed east to New England. Lowell National Historic Park marks the site of textile mills that played important roles in America’s industrial revolution, immigrant experiences, and women’s labor. It is located on the banks of the Merrimack River.
“I am honored to be selected as the superintendent of Lowell National Historical Park, recognized nationally for its thriving partnerships, engaging experiences, and community connections,” Galonska said. “I look forward to joining the park team and collaborating with our many partners to continue to advance innovative educational and cultural programming, historic preservation, and economic development.”
Lowell’s revolutionary textile mills in the early 1800s set standards for American manufacturing. Most of the work was done by young women, and the history is marked by tension between the female workers and powerful owners. Lowell’s peak textile production came at about the same time treaties were signed at Fort Snelling that opened up the St. Croix River region to white immigration and logging.
While working on the St. Croix River, Galonska helped launch several prominent programs, including Vets on the River, In A New Light, and Rivers Are Alive.
St. Croix 360 published an interview with Galonska when she was named superintendent in 2017, after 18 months as acting superintendent. She shared her thoughts about the beauty of the river, the power it has over people, and the Park Service’s job to protect it and make it accessible to Americans.
“It belongs to the American people, and people really care about it, people who live here are really passionate, and they want to do the right thing for it,” Galonska said. “Helping them find a way to do that is great.”
In her four years as superintendent, Galonska created effective systems and has hired several new senior employees. Her legacy will long be felt here.