Daniel B. Beard, 71, who was named by the National Park Service to serve as its first assistant director in charge of public affairs, died Saturday in an automobile accident in Santa Fe, N.M.

He had held the position here from 1961 to 1963 and was credited with establishing new emphasis on educational and information programs, for the national parks.

Mr. Beard already had established a reputation as an ecologist and conservationalist before coming here. He was the first superintendent of the newly established Everglades National Park in Florida from 1947 to 1958.

For two years prior to that, he was on duty with the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Interior Department as manager of the Everglades National Wildlife Refuge until it became a national park.

Born in Flushing, N.Y., he was the son of Daniel C. Beard, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America.

Mr. Beard graduated from Syracuse University in 1930 with a degree in biology and zoology and took graduate work at the Institute of Public Administration at Columbia University.

joining the National Park Service in 1934, his first job was to make a study of Bear Mountain State Park in New York.

He was transferred to the Washington office of the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1938 and was chairman of a committee that compiled the book, "Fading Trails: The Story of Endagered American Wildlife."

From 1940 until 1942, Mr. Beard was biologist in the regional office of the National Park Service in Omaha, where he gained extensive experience in handling biological programs in the Rocky Mountain area.

For the next two years, he was superintendent of the Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado. He served in an Army antiaircraft training group in the latter years of World War II.

After his tenure at Everglades National Park, Mr. Beard was superintendent of Olympic National Park in Washington State, where he helped lead a successful battle to limit timber cutting.

In 1963, he left park Service headquarters here to become director of the Southwest Region with offices in Santa Fe. He retired there in 1967.

He is survived by his wife, Betty Le Messurier Beard, of the home in Santa Fe; two sons, Daniel C., of Bristow, Va., and Albert L., of Phoeniz, Ariz.; a sister, Barbara Harper, of Stanhope, N.J., and six grandchildren.