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A Woman, Making History

This week posting has been a challenge between computer updates that did not allow me access to my computer, and internet issues that also prohibited computer activities. Hopefully, regular Sunday and Thursday posting will resume!

Photo courtesy of National Park Service

I noticed this obscure post in a headline somewhere and was really impressed. I did a little more research and am excited to share it with you here. Enjoy.

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is the oldest national park. Yellowstone was the first National Park to be designated in 1872. It remains one of the most popular parks in the country, seeing over 4 million visitors in 2018. In it’s147 years has been overseen by many chief rangers, all of them men, until now. At the end of September, park Superintendent, Cam Sholly, announced the appointment of a 20 year National Park Service veteran, Sarah Davis as the 18th chief ranger. While it has been noted that acting or interim chief rangers at the park have been women, Davis is the first to officially hold the role permanently.

"Sarah is an outstanding leader with a track record of high performance, strategic thinking, and collaboration," said Superintendent Cam Sholly in a statement. Yellowstone has been without a chief ranger since spring, when Pete Webster departed to assume second-in-command duties as deputy superintendent of Glacier National Park. Leslie Reynolds held down the post on an acting basis through the summer.

Davis is no stranger to National Park management and has been the chief ranger at Natchez Trace Parkway since 2012, managing the over 400 mile park that stretches through three states and had a 3.5 million dollar budget. She led law enforcement and emergency medical services, search and rescue, wildland and structural fire, special use permits, commercial use authorizations, and dispatch within the park. In 2016 she received the first Southeast Region Excellence Award for professional leadership among chief rangers.

Previously, Davis served as the acting superintendent at Vicksburg and Guilford Courthouse National Military Parks, NPS branch chief of law enforcement operations, NPS acting deputy chief of operations and policy, and deputy chief ranger at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. She also held a wide range of assignments at Manassas National Battlefield Park, Independence National Historic Park, Assateague Island National Seashore, and Blue Ridge Parkway.

A native of Lexington, North Carolina, Davis has a Bachelor of Arts in History from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy in 2013. She and her two dogs, Eleanor Roosevelt (aka Ellie) and Ginny will settle in Yellowstone by mid-December.

Davis will manage over 275 employees performing “law enforcement and emergency medical services, search and rescue, wildland and structural fire, dispatch, fee collection, special use permitting, trails, corrals, and backcountry operations” at Yellowstone, according to the park's statement.

Of the appointment, Davis says, “It is an honor and privilege to be selected for this position. I’m excited to join the Yellowstone team, and work together to protect our first national park and its visitors, and ensure the health, safety, and wellness of our employees."

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