Trump Will Tap Grand Teton's Superintendent to Lead the National Park Service

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Following a vacancy of over a year and a half, President Donald Trump will nominate David Vela, the superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, to run the National Park Service, the Hill reports.

Vela, who has held his current post at Grand Teton since 2014, will be the first Hispanic American to lead the NPS, according to E&E News.

Vela's nomination comes as criticism has mounted over the administration's failure to appoint permanent leaders for three major land management agencies housed under the Department of the Interior: the NPS, the Bureau of Land Management, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke "has found creative ways to carry out all the work necessary with a lean staff," Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift told the Washington Post.

In the interim, those agencies have all been run by "acting" directors who are only legally allowed to hold that authority for a limited time. There's "little legal guidance on how much power acting directors can wield," the Post reports.

Vela will now face ongoing crises in the agency's parks across the country, including overcrowding, climate change impacts, and a $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog.

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