The Latest: Yellowstone boss told ouster not due to dispute
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on the retirement of Yellowstone National Park’s Superintendent (all times local):
The departing Yellowstone National Park superintendent says park service officials told him he wasn’t being forced out of his job over a disagreement with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke over bison management.
But Dan Wenk said Thursday that he still feels he is being punished for unknown reasons by being ordered to transfer to Washington, D.C., instead of being allowed to retire as Yellowstone’s superintendent next year as he’d planned.
After Wenk declined the transfer to Washington, he was told he would be gone from Yellowstone by August. He and the park service settled on a Sept. 29 departure date.
The 66-year-old Wenk spoke to reporters in a farewell news conference that lasted nearly two hours as he fielded questions on wildlife management, the exploding number of park visitors and his own relationship with Interior Department leaders.
Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk will speak about his imminent departure from the National Park Service after previously saying he was forced out by the Trump administration.
Wenk will retire Sept. 29 after 43 years with the park service. He is scheduled to speak with reporters Thursday.
He wanted to extend his tenure leading the nation’s first national park but retired early rather than accept an unwanted transfer to Washington, D.C.
He says the transfer order followed disagreements with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke over how many bison the park can sustain.
Wenk’s seven years leading Yellowstone have been marked by an explosion in visitor numbers, tensions over wolf hunts and snowmobile use and a sexual harassment scandal involving Yellowstone’s maintenance division.
His replacement will be Cameron “Cam” Sholly, the park service’s Midwest regional director.