Yellowstone’s top official, facing reassignment under Trump, is denied option to retire on his terms

The Trump administration issued a stern reply to Yellowstone National Park superintendent Daniel Wenk, who had offered to retire next year in order to avoid a reassignment to Washington: Leave your post by August or retire now.

As first reported by The Washington Post, Wenk submitted a letter to National Park Service brass announcing his retirement, offering to work until March at his office in Wyoming rather than move to the National Capital Region. After Monday’s reply, Wenk spoke out Thursday, saying he felt abused, according to Mountain West Radio. Park Service director P. Daniel Smith issued the administration ultimatum in a formal letter.

‘‘Even though I told them I was going to retire, that seemed to not make a difference, so extremely disappointed is probably a mild way to explain it,’’ Wenk told Mountain West Radio.


Wenk’s looming reassignment is one of several ordered by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to fulfill President Trump’s effort to reorganize the federal government.

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Cameron Sholly, the Park Service director for the Midwest region, is said to be in consideration for Wenk’s Yellowstone job.

At least eight other senior executives are being reassigned. Critics say many of the reassignments appear to be motivated by politics, sweeping aside those who disagree with the administration on issues such as climate change, wildlife management, and wilderness preservation.