After seven years of serving as the Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park Services, Dan Wenk announced he will be retiring on March 30, 2019.
Wenk said having the news out of his retirement was bittersweet.
“Yellowstone is an incredible park with incredible resources and incredible people working here to protect those resources,” Wenk said.
The Washington Post reported, “Dan Wenk, superintendent of the Park Service’s crown jewel, Yellowstone, would be ordered to report to Washington and the office covering the National Capital Region, according to several people with knowledge of the plan.”
Wenk said he had to announce his retirement sooner than he had hoped due to the news Washington Post released about him moving to a new location.
“It was an announcement I had to make prior to the timing that I would normally announce, because there had been a news out through The Washington Post that they were going to move me to a new location and because of that there was uncertainty about my future,” Wenk said.
He said he needed to make the announcement so people could understand that he would still be remaining in Yellowstone for a period of time to deal with issues that are important to Yellowstone and the future of the park.
Wenk has worked for the National Park Service since 1975. He began as a landscape architect, then then 1985 he was named Superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, in 2001 he became the Director of the Denver Service Center and in 2009 he worked in Washington D.C.
He said he became interested in choosing this career path because he wanted to help preserve the national parks which represent America’s natural and cultural history.
“The National Parks represent America’s natural history and cultural history,” Wenk said. “It really tells the story of our country. I found great personal satisfaction as well as professional satisfaction of being part of something bigger than myself, part of something that I think has great meaning and great purpose for our country.”
Before he retires, Wenk has projects and goals that he wants to accomplish.
“The biggest issues regards bison management,” Wenk said. “It is our hope that we will be able to move bison from Yellowstone National Park to Native American tribes of Fort Peck Reservation.”
He also wants to have better wildlife management, especially with grizzly bears and wolves, they want to negotiate better visitor services but also making sure that the environment is being respected and preserved.
Wenk said what he will miss most about working in Yellowstone is the people he worked along with for the last seven years.
“I think the thing that you miss is the people that you work with,” Went said. “You miss the people you rely on because we have a great staff of highly qualified but also highly motivated individuals who really work hard to protect this place and to provide high quality service to visitors.”