President Joe Biden is set to nominate Charles “Chuck” Sams to serve as director of the National Park Service (NPS), as confirmed by the White House on Wednesday.
Sams, who currently serves on the boards of the Oregon Cultural Trust and Gray Family Foundation, will be the first to officially lead the NPS after four acting directors in former President Donald Trump’s administration. The last Senate-confirmed director for the NPS was Jonathan Jarvis, who led the agency from October 2009 until January 2017.
Sams is also enrolled as a member of the Cayuse and Walla Walla, of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. According to the White House, Sams “has worked in state and tribal governments and the non-profit natural resource and conservation management fields for over 25 years.” Sams also holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Concordia University-Portland and a master of legal studies in Indigenous Peoples Law from the University of Oklahoma.
Sams’ nomination was welcomed by Deb Haaland, who was nominated and later confirmed as the first-ever Native American to lead the Department of the Interior.
“The diverse experience that Chuck brings to the National Park Service will be an incredible asset as we work to conserve and protect our national parks to make them more accessible for everyone,” Haaland said in a statement. “I look forward to working with him to welcome Americans from every corner of our country into our national park system.”
“The outdoors are for everyone, and we have an obligation to protect them for generations to come,” she added.