Dan Wenk Named Superintendent of Yellowstone
Contact: David Barna, Washington DC, 202-208-6843
National Park Service News Release
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Dan Wenk named Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park
WASHINGTON – National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis has appointed Daniel N. Wenk as Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park.
“Dan is a superb manager, well-grounded in every aspect of park operations,” Jarvis said. “He has led our efforts to protect and preserve the resources entrusted to our care, ensuring that decisions are based on sound science and research and that the voices of stakeholders are heard. Dan has also had incredible success working with partners and communities to identify and achieve common goals. He is perfectly suited to take on the challenges and opportunities of Yellowstone and to lead the park into the future.”
“My first job in a national park was in Yellowstone in 1979. To return as superintendent to where I first learned what it means to be responsible for our nation’s treasures, is a distinct honor,” Wenk said. “Yellowstone is the iconic destination for more than 3 million visitors from across the globe every year. Its very existence speaks to the values that led Americans more than 100 years ago to start setting aside places of great natural beauty and historic importance for all to enjoy. Caring for these places is a privilege, and I look forward to working with the park’s outstanding staff and network of supporters and advocates who love Yellowstone.”
Established in 1872, Yellowstone is America's first national park. Covering 2.2 million acres in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, it is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. Preserved within Yellowstone National Park are Old Faithful and a collection of the world's most extraordinary geysers and hot springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The human history of the Yellowstone region goes back more than 11,000 years. It has an annual budget of $37 million and 860 employees. Yellowstone’s 3 million visitors spend $ 345 million each year - and support over 6300 jobs in the local economy.
Wenk began his NPS career in 1975 as a landscape architect at the Denver Service Center. He returned as director of the DSC from 2001-2007 where he oversaw the National Park Service’s centralized planning, design, and construction services, and provided parks and regional offices with services including contracting and project management.
From 1985 to 2001, Wenk was superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. As superintendent, he oversaw development of natural and cultural resource management programs to ensure the long-term preservation of the sculpture and the natural area of the surrounding forest. His leadership was integral in the design, development, and completion of a $60 million public/private partnership that raised $30 million in private donations and in negotiating two innovative concession contracts for the construction of facilities valued at $30 million.
Wenk’s career accomplishments have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Meritorious Service Award, the second highest honor awarded by the Department of the Interior.
Wenk earned a bachelor of landscape architecture from Michigan State University. He and his wife Barbara have three grown children.
Did You Know?
The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.