U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced his selection Wednesday morning.
The 31-year Park Service veteran grew up in Yosemite and later returned to the park as a resource manager, planner and division chief.
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Reynolds has served in his post as NPS deputy director since 2016, spending the majority of his tenure serving as the Park Service’s acting director.
Reynolds replaces former Yosemite Superintendent Don Neubacher, who abruptly announced his resignation in September of 2016 under criticism and scrutiny over allegations of gender bias and sexual harassment at the park. Reynolds will start his new assignment at Yosemite in early March.
“Mike did an incredible job stewarding our parks through 2017,” Zinke said. “His leadership helping me combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the service as well as his big-thinking ideas to address the maintenance backlog is very much appreciated. I have all the trust in the world that Mike will bring his years of experience in field and in management to Yosemite.”
Reynolds is a member of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service, which puts his annual salary range between $124,406 and $187,000, according to FederalPay.org.
Reynolds is the third generation of his family to work for the Park Service.
“When I think about my family’s history in Yosemite, this feels like coming home – it’s an incredible honor that I take very seriously,” Reynolds said. “Times have changed since my grandparents served as 40-year concession employees in the park. However, we should still provide world-class service and experience to visitors in ways that sustain Yosemite into the next century. My focus will be on that, and on supporting our employees, repairing infrastructure and working closely with the communities and people around and associated with the park.”
The news was welcomed by Rhonda Salisbury, chief executive officer of Visit Yosemite Madera County based in Oakhurst.
“We look forward to meeting and working with the new superintendent,” Salisbury said, “and we are excited that he has a long history with the Yosemite area.”
As Yosemite’s superintendent, Reynolds will be responsible for a park that covers more than 750,000 acres and receives millions of visitors each year. In its peaks summer months, Yosemite has 1,200 Park Service employees and 1,700 hospitality employees.
Zinke also announced Wednesday that Reynolds’ post will be filled by Paul Daniel Smith as the Park Service’s acting director.