I just made my second trip as Secretary to my second national park this past week -- two down, 415 to go! This time, I visited with the team at Yellowstone National Park - Did you know Yellowstone spans three states - Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
First stop was to the Roosevelt Arch at the northern entrance to Yellowstone, inscribed with the words, “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” These words are the heart and soul of how I manage our public lands.
We then went up into the mountains to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The falls and canyon, as depicted in Thomas Moran’s painting in 1872, were the inspiration for what today has become our National Park system.
Of course, no time was wasted in putting me to work -- helping to clear the roads of snow to prep the park for the season. Dave showed me how to operate the uber plow and we were off. It takes the crews at Yellowstone more than a month to clear the passes and roadways to get ready for spring and summer visitors.
Later in the day, I spent time with the staff -- the rangers, biologists, support staff. As I told them, I have zero tolerance for sexual harassment in our ranks. This has been a problem for the Department in the past, and we need to change the culture. I am looking at ways to ensure any such behavior is stamped, and action will be swift.
I also used the opportunity to discuss the priorities we are undertaking under this administration. I firmly believe that those making the decisions should be the ones on the frontlines -- at our parks, in our refuges, in the field. We also need to manage our lands that provide for enjoyment and recreation, while continuing to strive energy independence. I believe there is a path to achieve both goals.
Big thanks to Superintendent Wenk and the crew!
-- Secretary Ryan Zinke