BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum appointed the state's homeland security director and former Morton County Commission chairman as head of the North Dakota Department of Parks and Recreation on Monday, Sept. 20.

Cody Schulz, who's been homeland security director with the Department of Emergency Services since 2018, was tapped to lead the agency which oversees North Dakota's 15 state parks and recreation areas, according to a news release from Burgum's office.

Schulz was chairman of the Morton County Commission throughout the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in 2016, during which he called for the end of violence and criticized the federal government's response.

North Dakota's state parks have seen a spike in attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Burgum said Schulz's leadership during "some of the most challenging periods in recent state history" qualifies him to serve as the parks and recreation director.

“We are at a time of boundless opportunity here in North Dakota, and Parks and Recreation is positioned to seize that opportunity by continuing to enhance partnerships and collaboration, making smart and lasting infrastructure investments and focusing on what really matters most — the people who visit our great parks,” Schulz said in a statement.