Chris Flesch Selected as Yellowstone’s New Chief of Visitor and Resource Protection
Written by Caleb Nelson on May 5, 2022
Chris Flesch has been named as the new Yellowstone National Park chief of Visitor and Resource Protection (VRP). Flesch is a 17-year veteran of the National Park Service, and he succeeds Sarah Davis who retired this April. As the 19th chief ranger, Flesch’s appointment began on May 1st, 2022.
With more than 275 employees to oversee, Flesch must manage a wide range of public safety and visitor functions including law enforcement and emergency medical services, wildland and structural fire operations, fee collection and special use permitting, and search and rescue efforts. According to a statement from the National Park Service, the division’s budget under Flesch exceeds “$14 million” dollars.
“We’re pleased to have Chris join our senior leadership team as chief ranger,” said superintendent Cam Sholly. “He has shown incredible leadership acumen throughout his career and is one of the best problem solvers and collaborators I’ve worked with.”
In the 1980s, Flesch remembers childhood visits to Yellowstone National Park, which inspired him to pursue becoming a park ranger. During one such visit more than thirty years ago, he joined the NPS as a Junior Ranger.
Having served as deputy chief ranger at Yellowstone since 2019, his tenure has included serving as the park’s COVID-19 incident commander and working to provide oversight to law enforcement and emergency medical services.
“It is a true honor and privilege to be selected as the next chief ranger of Yellowstone National Park,” Flesch said.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as the chief ranger during the milestone 150 anniversary year and look forward to continuing to advance the park’s strategic priorities while also working to ensure the health and safety of all our visitors and employees,” Flesch remarked.