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Zinke Sounds Off On Yellowstone Head's Departure

U.S. Department of the Interior

Zinke Says School Year Partly To Blame For Yellowstone Head's Early Departure

U.S Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke explained the abrupt departure of Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk on the radio show Montana Talks Wednesday. The incoming superintendent is military veteran Cameron Sholly.

Zinke said Wenk was being forced out of his job early in part because Sholly’s teenage son wants to start the new school year in Montana.

“He’s in place because his son is a junior so it’s important for his son to get in school,” Zinke said.

“So he’ll get to graduate from the same school in Gardiner,” replied radio host Aaron Flint.

“It’ll be great,” Zinke replied.

Zinke said Wenk did a great job heading the nation’s oldest national park added Yellowstone faces a lot of challenges, including bison population and the number of visitors entering the park.

Former Yellowstone deputy superintendent Steve Iobst agrees.

But he believes Wenk was forced out of his job because of disagreements on how the park handles those challenges.

“I think those are certainly two examples of where he’s rubbing the current administration the wrong way,” Iobst said.

Wenk has said he feels “abused” by the Interior Department.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2021 Yellowstone Public Radio. To see more, visit Yellowstone Public Radio.

Nate is UM School of Journalism reporter. He reads the news on Montana Public Radio three nights a week.
Nate Hegyi
Nate Hegyi is a reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau based at Yellowstone Public Radio. He earned an M.A. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism in 2016 and interned at NPR’s Morning Edition in 2014. In a prior life, he toured around the country in a band, lived in Texas for a spell, and once tried unsuccessfully to fly fish. You can reach Nate at nate@ypradio.org.
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