Press Release Aug 18, 2021

President Biden Nominates Charles Sams for Director of the National Park Service

Today, after more than four years without an official director, President Biden nominated Charles “Chuck” Sams III to be the director of the National Park Service. 

Washington, DC – Today, after more than four years without an official director, President Biden nominated Charles “Chuck” Sams III to be the director of the National Park Service. If confirmed, Chuck Sams, a longtime administrator with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and co-creator of the Center for Diversity and the Environment, would bring decades of conservation experience and a unique perspective to the position.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for the National Parks Conservation Association:

“As the director of the National Park Service, Chuck Sams would play an essential role in protecting more than 400 of America’s most treasured places and overseeing the management of 20,000 National Park Service employees. This is no small task, but we believe that Sams is prepared to step up and tackle the many challenges and opportunities facing our parks.

“Throughout his career, Sams has formed powerful relationships across Tribal Nations, all levels of government and the conservation community, navigating difficult issues in an inclusive and caring way. As a descendent of the original guardians of our lands, Sams brings a unique and powerful perspective that can help our national parks continue to evolve in the places and stories they preserve and share. With his commitment towards diverse partnerships and an eye towards inspiring the next generation of park leaders, we are confident that Sams will help ensure that everyone sees themselves reflected in these important places.

“For more than four years, the Park Service has been without a Senate-confirmed director. For too long, there’s been no one to speak for our parks and park staff as they face a magnitude of intensifying threats, from skyrocketing visitation to intensifying impacts of our altering climate. But these challenges also present opportunities for innovative and bold solutions to make our parks, and their air, water and wildlife stronger and better than ever before. Sams’s commitment to community will benefit the Park Service staff who have dedicated their careers to protecting the mission of the agency. It is critical to care for these people in the same way they care for our national parks.

“NPCA’s past is intertwined with the National Park Service, as we were founded three years after the agency was established, at the urging of the first Park Service director. Our founders believed in the vision of the national parks as special places set aside for all people, and NPCA is dedicated to ensuring that all people can share in this vision, regardless of gender, race, belief or identity. It’s the Park Service director’s duty to oversee our nation’s most important places, and it’s NPCA’s mission to speak out on their behalf.

“We look forward to the swift confirmation of Chuck Sams as National Park Service Director and all the important work ahead to ensure the protection and future of our national parks.”


About The National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its nearly 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit

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