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Superintendent Dan Wenk May Leave Yellowstone

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk
NPS Public Domain

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk could leave the park. In his first television interview on a possible transfer, Wenk said he prefers to retire in Yellowstone.

Since coming to Yellowstone in 2011, Superintendent Dan Wenk has overseen compromises in the park, like the first-ever joint Wyoming-Yellowstone snowplow operation to get Sylvan Pass open when federal sequestration budget cuts threatened to keep the East Entrance closed in May 2013. He shepherded the park through two government shutdowns after that.

He was the centerfold in the 2016 National Geographic Issue that featured Yellowstone as the icon of the National Park System, which celebrated its 100th anniversary that year. In an earlier 2016 celebration of Lake Hotel’s 125th anniversary, Wenk revealed he had worked in Yellowstone decades before to help save the park’s oldest hotel.

Wenk said, “I climbed under the foundations of this hotel, probably with Steve Iobst, and literally there were foundation pieces that were not supporting anything.”

Cody’s Chamber of Commerce hosts a National Parks event every spring. And the superintendents of Yellowstone and Grand Teton speak at the events. At the park celebration in Cody on Monday, Wenk revealed reports that he may leave the park are true.

He said, “These are not uncommon discussions. The difference is this discussion became public with an article in the Washington Post.”

Wenk told the audience there have been National Park Service discussions in the about a possible transfer, but he does not know if he will leave, or he will stay. We asked if he wants to stay.

Wenk answered, “I’ve made no secret that my intention was to retire as Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. I would.”

He added, “If in some way I can benefit Yellowstone National Park and the Park Service, I would look at reassignment.”

Wenk came to Yellowstone from a post in Washington, D.C., and as a Senior Executive, he could be sent back to the Nation’s capital.

He said, “But, there are certainly no determinations that that is going to happen anytime in the near future. This is not an unusual discussion to have within any administration at any time and what’s going on right now is a normal course of events.”

Wenk told the audience he doesn’t know now if he will be staying, or leaving Yellowstone, or when he might leave if he does.

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