Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk has denied rumors he will soon leave his post under orders from the Department of the Interior.
The news comes a week after a report in the Washington Post alleging Wenk was one of several senior National Park Service employees who could be reassigned under an Interior “shakeup.”
We previously reported Wenk, if he were reassigned, would have gone to Washington D.C. to head the National Capitol Region. In the event he refused reassignment, he would either have to retire or resign. At the time, Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift denied any personnel changes were in the works, but added the agency “is continually looking at ways to better utilize [Interior] workforce and senior leaders to improve the department.”
Representatives from the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility lamented the possible shift, saying that losing Wenk would be losing an invaluable advocate for wildlife and environmental issues in the park.
According to the Cody Enterprise, Wenk spoke about the report at the annual National Parks Luncheon hosted by the Cody Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn. Asked up front about the report, Wenk said “No, it’s not true.” Wenk added that he sent an email to Yellowstone employees assuring them he was not leaving Yellowstone for now. From the Enterprise:
He even whipped out his laptop to read the email out loud. In part, Wenk said he was sure employees had heard stories about his status, but no change has occurred.
“I will keep you informed,” he wrote. “Let’s avoid rumors.”
Each presidential administration reviews the positions of executive service individuals, but a process must be followed, including talking to the employee.
Wenk added that at his age (66) he’s more likely to discuss retirement than relocation.
Wenk has served with the NPS since 1975, when he joined the agency as a landscape architect in Denver. He later served as a landscape architect in Yellowstone between 1979 and 1984. From 2007 to 2011, he served as deputy director of operations at the NPS, as well as a stint as acting director of the NPS in 2009.