U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced Michael T. (Mike) Reynolds will be the superintendent of Yosemite National Park in California.
He also named Paul Daniel (Dan) Smith the Nation
al Park Service’s acting director, replacing Reynolds, who has exercised the authority of NPS director since Jan. 3, 2017.
Reynolds, a 31-year NPS veteran and a third-generation NPS employee, grew up in Yosemite and later returned to the Park as a resource manager, planner and division chief.
Reynolds has served as the deputy director for operations of the NPS since 2016 and spent the majority of his tenure serving as NPS acting director. As Yosemite National Park superintendent he will oversee one of the nation’s oldest and most iconic national parks.
“Mike did an incredible job stewarding our parks through 2017,” said Secretary Zinke. “His leadership helping me combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the service as well as his big-thinking ideas to address the maintenance backlog is very much appreciated. I have all the trust in the world that Mike will bring his years of experience in field and in management to Yosemite.”
“When I think about my family’s history in Yosemite, this feels like coming home — it’s an incredible honor that I take very seriously,” said Reynolds. “Times have changed since my grandparents served as 40-year concession employees in the Park. However, we should still provide world-class service and experience to visitors in ways that sustain Yosemite into the next century. My focus will be on that, and on supporting our employees, repairing infrastructure and working closely with the communities and people around and associated with the Park.”
Zinke announced Smith’s appointment to the position of NPS deputy director on Jan. 9 and outlined his deep history of leadership across government and specifically with the National Park Service.
“Dan has a strong record of leadership in the National Park Service both in Washington and on the front lines as a superintendent of a park that tells the stories of some of the most consequential moments in American history,” said Zinke. “I can think of no one better equipped to help lead our efforts to ensure that the National Park Service is on firm footing to preserve and protect the most spectacular places in the United States for future generations.”
“It is an honor and a privilege to return to Washington D.C., with the invaluable perspective from the field that I gained during my time as Superintendent of Colonial National Historical Park,” said Smith.
In the role of acting director, Smith will lead an agency with more than 20,000 employees, a nearly $3 billion budget and 417 national parks. These national parks attract more than 300 million visitors every year who generate over $30 billion in economic benefit across the nation.
Reynolds will begin his assignment at Yosemite National Park in early March.
Located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada in California, parts of Yosemite National Park were first protected in 1864 through legislation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Yosemite was established as a national park in 1890.
Today the Park covers more than 750,000 acres and is home to granite peaks, domes and waterfalls that overlook broad meadows, wildflowers and groves of ancient giant sequoias.
The park receives millions of visitors each year who are served by 1,200 NPS employees during summer months in addition to 1,700 hospitality employees who work at park lodges, restaurants and provide recreational activities such as skiing and horseback riding.