Suzanne Lewis, Yellowstone superintendent, to retire

Dan Wenk, former interim director of the National Park Service, to oversee Yellowstone-

A new superintendent of Yellowstone Park is always an event of major conservation importance. The Park’s super for the last 8 years has been Suzanne Lewis, a person not particularly favored by conservationists. She is retiring.

High-ranking park official to take Yellowstone reins in 2011. By Daniel Person. Bozeman Chronicle.




  1. Ken Cole Avatar

    I won’t miss her. She took part in the biggest slaughter of bison since the great slaughter of the 19th century.
    Don’t let the door hit ya’ where the good lord split ya’.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Ken Cole,

    Ah, but now she says she hopes Montana will become more tolerant of bison in the future.

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      Why does she blame Montana? The Park Service played just as much of a role in this as Montana has.

      This is the problem here, everyone points fingers at each other while they all go on killing and harassing native wildlife so some asshole can run their hobby ranch.

      The agency speak is unbelievable. I’ve heard the USFS claim that their grazing permits don’t provide the livestock industry any rationale for hazing and slaughter. I’ve heard the Park Service blame Montana for not having tolerance when they actually capture the bison and hold them in THEIR OWN FACILITIES then let the DoL haul them off to slaughter. I’ve heard the DoL blame the Park Service for having too many buffalo while advocating capture and slaughter on lands that will never again have cattle. I’ve heard APHIS say that they want to eradicate brucellosis when they know that it’s just a pipe dream. And, oddly enough, the only honest people in the whole damned bunch is the ranchers who say they don’t want to compete with buffalo for the grass.

      They are all a bunch of *&^(*&%*& if you ask me and none of them will admit to anyone that this is a big, cruel waste of taxpayer money to benefit a couple of rich rancher wannabes in West Yellowstone.

      Suzanne Lewis is part of the problem and I hope this haunts the rest of her days.

      1. Elk275 Avatar


        When the Buffalo leave West Yellowstone where are they going to? Some may leave and go up the Taylor’s Fork others will follow the Madison River pass Quake Lake and into the Madison Valley. Once you get pass Quake Lake and arrive at the Renyolds Pass turn off, it is nothing but 20 acre subdivisions. Where are they going to go? Down the Madison Valley which is private land with 4 wire barb wire fencing either the buffalo are going to graze the highway rightaway or destroy fencing. If the landowner does not like buffalo and they destroy his fence then a buffalo proof fence will be built stopping all wildlife movement. The Valley is interspersed with 20 acre subdivisions and working cattle ranches.

        Those buffalo that go up the Taylors Fork when the snows get deep are going to head down Indian Creek. When they get to the Madison Valley the four wire fence is a reality. The lady that owns the ranch where Indian Creek flows into the Madison Valley does not like elk and allows and encourages hunting; she certainly will not like buffalo.

        I have done some work in the subdivisions around Horse Butte and most of the owners are tired of buffalo and are starting to build buffalo proof fencing.

      2. Save bears Avatar

        I can honestly say, I am not sorry to see her go, her tenure in Yellowstone has not been a good one, what is a shame, she went with the flow and did not take a leadership roll with the park…

        I met her when she ran Glacier, and was hoping that she would have carried on what she did in her short stay at Glacier, unfortunately, she fell to the pressures of running the most well known park in the world, law enforcement is more militant, access is less and watching wildlife has been changed..

        I hope she has a good retirement, and again, I have no misgivings with her leaving.

        Now, will the new guys do better? Time will tell…I hope so.

      3. Alan Avatar

        “I have done some work in the subdivisions around Horse Butte and most of the owners are tired of buffalo and are starting to build buffalo proof fencing.”
        You know, that really burns me up. People move out here from Florida or California or heck, even from Billings, and then all they do is complain: “The deer ate my petunias, or the bears ate my apples or the elk broke my fence!” Go back to where you came from and leave the land to the wildlife that despirately needs it.
        I think, Elk, that we are a long way from bison overrunning the Madison Valley or Paradise Valley, or being hit by cars on the I-90 (as some have suggested). Funny how whenever you suggest allowing bison to graze outside of the park somebody (not you, but somebody) always screams, “There’s never going to be millions of bison in Nebraska again!!” Go ahead and haze them from developed areas if you like, but as long as they are on public land they should be able to go where they please. They are, afterall, native wildlife.

      4. Alan Avatar

        BTW, more on subject, I think the park is ready for a change. I agree with everything Ken and Save Bears say, plus it just seems that employees in Yellowstone are unhappy. There is such an incredible difference in how visitors are treated in Grand Teton and Glacier. This must, one assumes, come from the top.
        I have spoken with Ms. Lewis and she seemed really nice, but that doesn’t make her a good fit for Yellowstone. I hope the new guy takes a good hard look at EVERYTHING when he takes over.

      5. Ken Cole Avatar

        If the people who live on Horse Butte dislike buffalo so much, then why did they form a group named Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo HOBNOB? This group has even taken their case to Washington DC and they strongly oppose the current policy of hazing and slaughter. Frankly, they are sick of the DoL trespassing on their property without permission or notice and they like having buffalo on their property.

        Also the Galanis’, who bought the ranch on Horse Butte, have been fighting the policy as well and have established a wildlife sanctuary.

        You may have come across someone who is for the policy or against having buffalo in their yard but don’t try to speak for everyone on Horse Butte because you apparently don’t know much about what’s going on there.

  3. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    Good riddance.

    I hope she takes John Sacklin with her, and to a new life at least a thousand miles away from Old Faithful.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Cody Coyote,

      Who is John Sacklin?

      1. Cody Coyote Avatar
        Cody Coyote

        Sacklin is Yellowstone’s chief planner. I think his official title is something like Management Assistant , but it’s more like an Assistant Superintendent in day-to-day dealings. Or better put, if Suzanne Lewis was Queen of Yellowstone, Sacklin was Prime Minister. He is largely responsible for setting out Yellowstone management directives. He’s the antagonist behind the contention of the Winter Use Plan , for instance, at least in the eyes of Cody and the East gate community. We don’t like him here, and it’s mutual. If you have some issues with how Yellowstone is run or why it does what it does, it will eventually pass thru Sacklin’s office, likely. he tries to stay out of sight and behind the scenes, but that is not always possible.

        I privately call him Wormtongue, after the character in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga who so corrupted the King of Rohan on behalf of Saruman the wizard who went over to the Dark Side . If that helps any….

      2. mikarooni Avatar

        I’ve always found John to have good intentions, but to get caught in the middle between contentious constituencies. It’s true that he had to balance the tremendous cost, environmental, and safety issues of clearing and grooming the east entrance against the wishes of a few in Cody who demanded continuous snowmobile access through the winter; but, that’s his job. The NPS is under constant budget pressure, with lots of people angry about government spending. The irony is that some of the same people also insist on an incredible amount of federal dollars being spent on their hobby and John just gets stuck in the middle.

      3. Cody Coyote Avatar
        Cody Coyote

        mikarooni—- who said anything about snowmobiles and the winter use of East gate ? I was looking quite a bit further afield…

  4. Salle Avatar

    I’d be happy to see a better traffic plan in summer as well as one for winter use. According to knowledgeable persons, John Sacklin was basically under Lewis’ thumb and could do nothing more than react to litigation, mostly relative to winter use plan(s).

    I was also informed by other knowledgeable persons that Lewis was the major reason for little progress in public education and partnerships as well as outright obstructing said potential progress.

    She won’t be missed by anyone I know of. I also know that the arrival of a new Super is the best time to submit suggestions since the new guy has to read them all, and hopefully respond in a favorable way.

    1. mikarooni Avatar

      I’d certainly agree with your first paragraph.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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