Sarah Davis, Chief Ranger
Chief Ranger Sarah Davis; photo credit: NPS

Yellowstone Hires First Female Chief Ranger Ever

Sarah Davis, a 20-year National Park Service veteran, will become Yellowstone National Park’s first female chief ranger in history.

Over the past 147 years, a series of men has stood in charge at Yellowstone National Park. This November, that will change. And when it does, Ranger Sarah Davis will make history.

Sarah Davis Ranger
Sarah Davis recognized at Natchez Trace Parkway; photo credit: Adam Robison/Daily Journal

Davis is not just a female ranger — she has 20 years of experience and is ready for action. For the past 7 years, she served as chief ranger at Natchez Trace Parkway, a 440-mile historic trail stretching through Tennessee and Mississippi. Davis also graduated from the FBI’s National Academy in 2013.

“It is an honor and privilege to be selected for this position,” Davis said. “I’m excited to work together to protect our first national park and its visitors, and ensure the health, safety, and wellness of our employees.”

Her experience includes dispatch, law enforcement, and park search and rescue. Recently, she received the Southeast Region Excellence Award for her leadership skills as well.

According to the park’s press release, Davis will oversee more than 275 employees in Yellowstone’s Resource and Visitor Protection division. The division is responsible for law enforcement, emergency medical services, search and rescue, fee collection, permitting, and more.

“Sarah is an outstanding leader with a track record of high performance, strategic thinking, and collaboration,” Yellowstone NP Superintendent Cam Sholly said. “We’re lucky to have her join the team.”

Yellowstone National Park History

Yellowstone National Park was established on March 1, 1872. It sits in the northwest corner of Wyoming, and its boundaries stretch into Montana and Idaho. The park is popular for its geysers, hot springs, and abundant wildlife.

Although no woman has served as chief ranger, two women — Lane Baker and Bonnie Schwartz — have served as deputy chief rangers. Davis will be the 18th chief ranger in the more than 100 years the NPS has managed Yellowstone.

Mary Murphy
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Mary is based in Denver, Colorado, but frequently travels abroad. Her outdoor interests span from climbing to landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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