Badlands National Park in South Dakota is one of more than 400 parks overseen by the National Park Service in the U.S. (David Restivo/National Park Service)
The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a voice vote Tuesday approved Charles F. Sams III’s nomination to lead the National Park Service.
Sams, an Oregonian who would be the first enrolled tribal member to be NPS director, won the support of several Republicans on the committee.
Ranking Republican John Barrasso of Wyoming and Montana’s Steve Daines both spoke in favor of Sams, whom President Joe Biden nominated for the role in August.
Sams’ home-state senator, Democrat Ron Wyden, also spoke on Sams’ behalf.
“He is going to us make proud of what he does at the Park Service,” Wyden said.
Sams now must be confirmed by the full Senate before he takes office. A vote has not been scheduled.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, appointed Sams to the regional Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
A member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Sams has held several jobs in reservation leadership and in other nonprofit organizations. At his confirmation hearing, he said he will work to rebuild the Park Service workforce and improve morale.
If agreed to by the full Senate, he would be the first confirmed head of the National Park Service since January 2017.
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