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Mike Snyder, Intermountain Regional Director for the National Park Service, Opts for Retirement


Mike Snyder, the Intermountain regional director for the National Park Service, has decided to retire rather than take a reassignment. NPS photo.

Mike Snyder, the Intermountain regional director for the National Park Service who became a controversial figure over his "core ops" approach to budgeting, has decided to retire rather than take a reassignment.

Mr. Snyder announced his plans in a blog posted on the Park Service's intranet.

Mike Snyder's Blog: So long IMR family: I will leave you with a smile

On Monday of this week I traveled to Phoenix for a meeting on the Glen Canyon Dam and how its management affects the Grand Canyon. When I checked into my hotel, there was a fax waiting for me at the front desk. The fax was from the Director, telling me that I was being reassigned, effective in 15 days, to a compliance job in the Denver Service Center.

As you all know, being in the Senior Executive Service means that you can be reassigned at any time. It is something that all of us in that position understand. After the job here as Regional Director, though, I don’t think any other job can measure up in terms of the people you get to work with, the issues that engage you, and the places you get to go. So, I have decided to retire. My retirement date is March 2.

Laura Joss will be the acting Regional Director effective February 17. I know that all of you will work closely with her, support her, and keep carrying on the good work you are doing on behalf of the parks and the NPS mission.

A while back I wrote a blog in which I began with the line “So much of being successful depends on our initial approach and attitude” and ended it with “…every change in life requires a change in thinking.” I will apply that simple logic to the change that I am about to make. This is a new beginning and I am looking forward to all that lies ahead.

I want all of you to know how proud I am of the work you have accomplished for the National Park Service, and how much I enjoyed working with you. We have been through a lot together, and I have always been impressed by the professionalism, dedication and creativity of the people in this region.

As I look back on a long career with the NPS, I feel blessed to have been part of carrying out our mission and to have been able to work with so many talented people. I leave here with a smile, happy to have had such challenging and fulfilling work. Please take care of yourselves, and think first of the safety of your colleagues and friends. I hope our paths will cross again.


For a minute there I thought you were talking about Xanterra. All to familiar but then with Xanterra they've penciled out short timers are better for the bottom line while I was told by NPS Manager they don't care how much it costs.

So who is in charge of oversight concerning NPS and does simply retiring avoid any possible criminal action?

If "Core-Ops" has been "eliminated", why is it still in practice at the "World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument"(VALOR), aka, the"USS Arizona Memorial"? A new management team with ties from the IMR, took over the park in 2007. They rule by intimidation, bullying, and fear. This group of "managers", which includes the Superintendant, the Chief of Interpretation, and their underlings, have destroyed the integrity of the Memorial . This is not just my view, just ask any employee, volunteer and the hundreds of visitors who have submitted complaints regarding the noise level at the site.
They monitered Ranger's Interpretive talks forbidding them to use the words "silent" or "quiet"when discussing the visit out to the Memorial. They have also eliminated the "dress code" policy that has been in place for 27 years, and allow people to use cell phones on the memorial. Rangers who voiced thier outrage against these policies were targeted and terminated under false allegations or terminated without warning. These terminations were directed by the Oakland Office, where management personnel were "coached" on how to terminate someone despite the allegations being false or "trumped" up.
A number of Rangers and staff resigned in fear that these people would ruin their employment record. There have been at least 23 employees, within the last two years (seasonals, STEPS, permanent , and volunteers) who have either been fired, resigned or just got fed up with their tactics.
Many of these "managers" have no experience, and were hired because they are"friendly" with the Pacific Area Director, have family ties, or are "friends of friends" with someone with influence.
The Superintendant refuses to put any of his policies in writing, every new order or rule is given verbally. There is so much more to this story, I hope others will stand up and voice thier concerns and outrage.
Many good hardworking and dedicated Rangers (most of them retired military) have had their lives ruined by this "regime".
After reading about Core-ops, I realize that these "managers" from the IMR, were following this practice. Jarvis made his position clear in December of 2010, that Core-Ops should not continue. I don't think they got the memo down at VALOR. Maybe someone should enlighten them....

Snyder deserves no "sweet deal." The trite saying, "What goes around, comes around," is appropriate, but in Snyder's case it's only come to fruition about ten years too late. Good riddance! There may be hope for the NPS yet.

I heard that Snyder had been told that he was being reassigned and that he asked his secretary to fax him the letter, which was delivered by Fed Ex, to his hotel when it arrived. The fact that he twisted to truth in order to make it seem as if he had been surprised by the fax is classic Snyder. He will not be missed.

The Intermountain Region has got much healing to do and it will take a huge effort to retore the morale, trust and faith in IMR upper management. Many Regional and Park staff have an incredible sense of relief with Mr. Snyder's retirement and are hopeful for a positive change. I am hoping the good old boy and gal network that is presently in place in IMR management and with many of the Superintendents throughout the Region will be replaced with staff that is competent and effective. Enjoy your retirement Mr. Snyder, I feel like I can breathe again. Hopefully, the Region can get back to preserving the resources, educating the visitors and providing assistance to the parks.

fyi, Jarvis is having an "all-hands" meeting with IMR tomorrow. Its not specific to the regional director changeover, as Friday he's having an all-hands meeting for "Colorado-based Washington Office" employees, which is the Denver Service Center plus NRPC in Fort Collins. Still, it might be interesting to hear reactions from any commentators on this thread who attend.

Under Mainella, I was "offered" a reassignment, turned it down, and now work for another federal agency. NPS has lost it's focus on managing for the mission, workforce and visitors. Too many times, the "good old boy" club has held court over the talented workforce which has resulted in the loss of many exceptional people to private sector or other government agencies. I am appalled at what I am now hearing (since the threat is gone) about the management of the IMR. I've also known Mike Snyder for decades and was blown away when he became Regional Director because he was a Regional Office lifer... he did details in the field to build a resume, then sold the leadership a bill of goods. And every employee who knew him, also knew to keep their mouths shut. I applaud Director Jarvis on this move and look forward to seeing what he will do with the opportunity.

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