Rex Amack to Retire as Nebraska Game and Parks Director

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

LINCOLN, Neb. –-( Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Director Rex Amack today announced his intent to retire in April 2012, at the end of his current term.

Amack’s 24 years at the helm of the 475-employee agency distinguishes him as the longest-serving director in Game and Parks history.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity afforded me by the Commission to serve the citizens of this wonderful state,” Amack said. “It is hard to imagine a more rewarding and meaningful career. After nearly 45 years of service to the Commission, it is time to give another their opportunity of a lifetime.”

Amack thanked Commissioners for instilling in him their trust and lending him their support and friendship. “I also want to acknowledge and thank those who I have been blessed to work shoulder to shoulder with each day. Our employees are results-oriented professionals who work hard to meet the Commission’s mission of stewardship of the state’s fish, wildlife, park and outdoor recreation resources. It has been an extraordinary honor,” he said.

A native of Red Cloud, Neb., Amack began his career with the Commission as a University of Nebraska intern in June 1967 working in the Information and Education department. Upon graduation with a bachelor of arts degree in May 1968, he joined the Commission as a full-time employee in the same department. In collaboration with the Nebraska Educational Television Network, Amack helped develop the Commission’s Outdoor Nebraska television program, which he hosted for several years.

In 1975, Amack was promoted to chief of the Information and Education Division. His responsibilities included overseeing NEBRASKAland Magazine and all Commission publications and broadcast information programs. He made youth education programs a high priority and developed the “Know Nebraska Tours” travel program. In 1980, then Commission Director Gene Mahoney promoted Amack to assistant director for administration. Following Mahoney’s retirement in 1988, the Commissioners appointed Amack to a six-year term as director of the Commission. He was reappointed to successive six-year terms in 1994, 2000 and 2006.

Amack said the development of Eugene T. Mahoney State Park was a significant achievement during his tenure. “Mahoney State Park was the largest capitol development project the Commission has ever undertaken. Gene led the charge with the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation and together they raised the money to build the park. We all pulled together to develop, dedicate and open the park 36 months after Gene’s retirement. The park was dedicated in May 1991.”

Amack also pointed to the development of the Calamus Reservoir Fish Hatchery, the Commission’s second largest capitol development project ever. The hatchery was completed and dedicated in September 1991.

Amack said other Commission achievements that stand out during his tenure as director include:

  • –Bighorn sheep project
  • — Ongoing elk hunting opportunities
  • — Strong wild turkey and deer populations
  • — $5 youth turkey and deer permits
  • — Development of Smith Falls State Park on the Niobrara River
  • — Fish and wildlife instream flow rights on portions of the Platte River
  • –Development of Internet permit and information services
  • — Ponca State Park makeover
  • — Cornhusker Trap Shoot
  • — Open Fields and Waters hunting and fishing access program
  • –Recruitment, Development and Retention Program for youth
  • –Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Program

Amack also has been immersed in conservation and parkland issues on regional and national platforms. He has twice served as president of the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and has served as president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Amack is currently president-elect of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Regarding his retirement plans, Amack said, “The first thing I plan to do is plant a tree at my home that will stand as a constant reminder to stay involved and contribute when and where I can to wildlife conservation, wild spaces and parklands. Growing up on a farm on the banks of the Republican River near Red Cloud, my father taught me that we have a responsibility to care for our land, water, wildlife and all other natural resources for future generations. That was his legacy, and I hope it is mine.”