Trump to pick Wyoming park boss to lead National Park Service: report

Trump to pick Wyoming park boss to lead National Park Service: report
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President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE is expected to tap David Vela, the superintendent of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, to lead the National Park Service (NPS).

Greenwire reported the pick Tuesday, citing several sources familiar with the matter. NPS, the Interior Department and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.

Vela told the news outlet that he is “deeply humbled by the rumors and speculation and, if true, would be honored to serve.”


The Trump administration’s agenda for the NPS has centered largely on strategies for tackling its $11.6 billion maintenance backlog.

Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Interior finalizes plan to open 80 percent of Alaska petroleum reserve to drilling | Justice Department lawyers acknowledge presidential transition in court filing | Trump admin pushes for permits for men who inspired Bundy standoff Trump administration pushes for grazing permits for men who inspired Bundy standoff Interior secretary tests positive for COVID-19 after two days of meetings with officials: report MORE wants to take a portion of increased energy production revenues and put them toward NPS maintenance. Numerous Republican lawmakers, as well as some Democrats, support the plan.

NPS is also trying to crack down on a decades-old pattern of alleged sexual harassment and assault among workers. Zinke has set a “zero tolerance” policy for harassment and assault and fired workers accused of misdeeds.

NPS, which manages more than 400 parks and numerous other sites, has been without a Senate-confirmed director since Jonathan Jarvis, the director throughout the Obama administration, left in January 2017.

NPS is currently being led by deputy director P. Daniel Smith, who took over in January from Michael Reynolds, the previous acting director.

Vela would be the NPS’s first Hispanic director. He has worked at NPS since 1981, save for an 11-year break to work in other government positions.

Vela has been the top official at Grand Teton and its John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway for four years. He’s also worked in a senior position at NPS headquarters in Washington, D.C., and as director of the agency’s southeast region.