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Contact: Ted Stout, 208-527-1335
"Wade brings a wealth of experience working with people in local communities," said Martha Lee, Acting Pacific West Regional Director for the National Park Service. "We are excited to have Wade bring his energy and experience to the region through Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve."
In his present role at Yellowstone, Vagias has worked to complete a final plan for wintertime public use of the park, bringing resolution to a nearly two-decade-long debate on the issue. He has also developed extensive working relationships with gateway communities and elected officials, and dealt with numerous legislative issues related to Yellowstone.
Vagias recently completed a four-month acting assignment as the interim superintendent of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. He worked in the Wilderness Stewardship Division of the Washington Office of the National Park Service before coming to Yellowstone.
Prior to joining the National Park Service, Vagias was a research associate in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University in South Carolina. He earned his Ph.D. while at Clemson and his dissertation evaluated the Leave No Trace visitor education program in three National Park Service sites. Other professional experiences include faculty appointments with Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and Butler County Community College of Pennsylvania, river ranger with the Bureau of Land Management, raft guide with the Nantahala Outdoor Center, and mountain operations at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah. He holds an adjunct faculty appointment at Colorado State University.
"I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to work alongside the staff and partners of Craters of the Moon and engage with the park's many partners and stakeholders to help preserve and celebrate the values that make this park so special," said Vagias.
Vagias and his wife Jenna, a program manager with the Yellowstone Association Institute, along with their daughter Brooke, enjoy multi-day river trips, camping, hunting, fishing, and exploring the many trails and backroads throughout the intermountain West.
Vagias replaces Dan Buckley, who was recently selected as the Chief of Wildland Fire for the National Park Service.