America's Oldest National Park is Getting its First Female Chief Ranger

Sarah Davis will assume the post in Yellowstone this December.

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One hundred and forty-seven years after its founding, Yellowstone National Park is getting its first female chief ranger. 

Park Superintendent Cam Sholly announced last week the appointment of Sarah Davis to take over as chief of Resource and Visitor Protection. Davis will be Yellowstone’s 18th chief ranger, and the first woman in the park’s history to officially hold the title (women have served as interim and acting chief rangers, according to CNN). 

In her new role, Davis will “oversee more than 275 employees who perform law enforcement and emergency medical services, search and rescue, wildland and structural fire, dispatch, fee collection, special use permitting, trails, corrals, and backcountry operations,” the park said in a press release

Davis has worked for the National Park Service for two decades, most recently serving as chief ranger at the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile recreational road that runs through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. Previously, Davis held a handful of positions at over a half dozen other parks across the country. In 2016, the NPS awarded her the Southeast Region Excellence Award for professional leadership among chief rangers.

“It is an honor and privilege to be selected for this position,” Davis said in the press release. “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.” 

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 April, Great Smoky Mountains National Park also named its first female chief ranger, Lisa Hendy. 

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