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Ex-USNPS chief outlines challenges Sams faces

Last week the Biden administration announced its nominating Charles “Chuck” Sams, a Navy veteran, conservationist, and member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, for director of the National Park Service. He faces a long list of challenges: first, he must pass a Senate confirmation. If confirmed, Sams will be the first Native American to lead the NPS. He’ll also run an agency besieged by extreme weather caused by climate change, a staff depleted by the Trump administration, and a surge in public visitation.

But perhaps Sams’s biggest challenge will be in charting a new path for an agency that’s gone without a director for over four years. I sat down with Jon Jarvis, who ran the Park Service during the Obama administration, to find out why.

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