Press Release Oct 24, 2014

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Honored with Stephen T. Mather Conservation Award

National Parks Conservation Association Award Given at 37th Annual Ranger Rendezvous Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today honored the work of Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk with its Stephen T. Mather conservation award. Of his many achievements since taking over as Yellowstone Superintendent in 2011 and throughout his nearly four decades of work with the National Park Service, Superintendent Wenk recently secured a long-desired, positive solution to winter use management in our nation’s first national park.

“From reaching a solution to a longstanding conflict over winter use in Yellowstone to taking on other challenging wildlife and recreation issues, Superintendent Wenk has proven to be an exemplary leader that the National Parks Conservation Association is pleased to honor today,” said Bart Melton, Yellowstone Senior Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.

“I am honored to receive this award from NPCA,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk. “To receive an award given in the name of our first Director is humbling. I am also humbled because I know how many in the NPS worked incredibly hard to allow us to bring the winter use controversy to a close. We would have never been able to do this without the efforts of my predecessors who set the stage with all the stakeholders invested in the issue.”

With leadership posts in Washington D.C. and elsewhere, Superintendent Wenk made his mark on the National Park system long before he arrived at Yellowstone.

“Dan Wenk is the very definition of ‘public servant,’” said Craig Obey, NPCA’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs. “In his many leadership positions within the National Park Service, he has been willing to make the tough decisions and do what is right, not just what is popular. Whether you agree with Dan or not on an issue, you know where he stands, and he stands for the parks.” Obey presented the Stephen T. Mather conservation award to Superintendent Wenk at the Association of National Park Rangers’ annual conference. The award, named after the first National Park Service director, is given to individuals that have shown steadfast leadership and persistent dedication to our national parks.

Superintendent Wenk arrived at Yellowstone National Park in the midst of yet another planning effort to determine snowmobile and snowcoach use in the park. This long controversial issue was fought over in the halls of congress, two courts and in newspapers across the country since the early 1990s. Wenk enlisted a fresh approach and began a successful partnership with stakeholders and key decision makers to set a new course. In October of 2013, a final decision was signed, putting Yellowstone National Park on the path towards better protections so visitors could enjoy clean air, the sounds of geysers and bubbling mudpots, and park wildlife.

Superintendent Wenk has also been a strong advocate for protecting Yellowstone National Park’s resources, inside and outside of park boundaries, on wolf, bison, and fisheries management issues. Wenk’s career with the National Park Service began in 1975 and has been filled with numerous successes. Prior to Yellowstone, he served as Deputy Director of Operations for the National Park Service in Washington from 2007 to 2011. Wenk also served as the Acting Director of the National Park Service during the Bush Administration and the transition of the Obama Administration. Superintendent Wenk has demonstrated time and again his leadership and commitment to preserving America’s national parks for ours and future generations.

The Stephen T. Mather Award, endowed by Booz l Allen l Hamilton, was presented and celebrated at this year’s 37th annual Ranger Rendezvous in Estes Park, Colorado. First presented in 1984, NPCA’s Stephen T. Mather Award is named after the first director of the National Park Service and given to individuals that have shown steadfast leadership and persistent dedication to our national parks.


About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit