Park Service, still without a Director, gets a new Acting Director

The NPS Director position has been vacant since January 2017

David Vela NPS acting director
David Vela. NPS photo.

The National Park Service has not had a Director to lead the agency since January 2017, when Jonathan Jarvis left the job after serving as director for eight years under President Obama.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced September 30 that David Vela, already serving as one of three deputy directors in the NPS, will now also exercise the delegated authority of the director. In other words, he was appointed to the Acting Director position.

Mr. Vela was nominated for the Director position in 2018 and was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, but the Senate declined to take a vote. When the new Congress convened in January he would have had to have been nominated again by the President, but that did not happen. When he was nominated he was the Superintendent of Grand Teton National Park. After the Senate confirmation fell through, according to EENews he joined the NPS Washington Office anyway serving as the Deputy Director of Operations.

On October 1, 2019 Mr. Vela will take the place of the current acting Director, P. Daniel Smith who has been a controversial figure.

National Parks Traveler has three examples of recent forced transfers of high ranking NPS employees that resulted in them choosing to retire rather than agree to the moves.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Park Service, still without a Director, gets a new Acting Director”

  1. Bill Gabbert, I found your web site after talking with Roger Seewald. My name is Greg Nichols. We worked on the El Cariso Hotshots 1969/70. The last time I remember talking with you was on a fire in Oregon, maybe in the early 1990’s. It is good to see that you are still so involved fire management. I stayed with the USFS and retired at 32 years. I was with fire until 1984, then went to law enforcement. I retired in 2004 as Assistant Director of Law Enforcement and Investigations, USFS. I enjoyed all my years in fire and law enforcement, which often overlapped. After retiring we stayed in the DC area. Well, just thought I would say hello. Greg


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