The National Park Service has named Cameron (Cam) Sholly to be the new Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of the Interior on Wednesday.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the extraordinary staff and partners at Yellowstone,” Sholly said.

"Exceptional work has occurred there over the past years because of the dedication of the NPS staff, partners, and communities. I look forward to continuing a positive trajectory for one of the greatest parks in the world," he said.

Sholly replaces former Superintendent Dan Wenk less than a week after he said he was being forced out as a possible "punitive action" following disagreements with the Trump administration over how many bison the park can sustain. Two weeks ago, Wenk said he intended to retire in March after being offered a transfer he didn't want to take.

Ranchers in Montana have long sought reductions in Yellowstone's bison numbers because of worries that they could spread the disease brucellosis to cattle and compete with livestock for grazing space outside the park.

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Dan Wenk.             Getty Images

Wenk and park biologists have said the current population of more than 4,000 bison is sustainable. But U.S. Interior Secretary Zinke, former Montana congressman, has said the number was too high.

Wenk defended the management of Yellowstone, saying the park is not a livestock operation. "We're managing a national park with natural systems," he said. "We do not believe the bison population level is too high or that any scientific studies would substantiate that."

Wenk said National Park Service Deputy Director Paul "Dan" Smith told him a new superintendent will be in place in August and that he would be gone by then.

In the news release, Zinke and Smith lauded Sholly's new role.

Smith said Sholly has worked with local communities and Tribes on wildlife and conservation projects, and has overseen some of the Park Service's most high-profile park infrastructure projects in recent years. .

Sholly most recently oversaw the completion of the $380 million renovation of the Gateway Arch grounds and museum in St. Louis, Smith said.

Members of the Montana and Wyoming delegations also praised the decision.

“As Cam takes the reins as the incoming superintendent, I look forward to working with him to ensure Yellowstone remains a shining example of our national park system," Wyoming U.S. Sen. John Barrasso said.

Wyoming U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney said, "I'm looking forward to working closely with the Superintendent to keep Yellowstone one of the Nation’s most beloved parks."

Since early 2015, Sholly has served as the Park Service Midwest Regional Director with 2,000 employees, a $250 million budget, and the operations of 61 national park units in 13 states. During the past three years, some of those national parks transferred nearly 800 bison to state and tribal governments.

Sholly has a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University, a bachelor’s degree in management from St. Mary’s College of California. He also is a graduate of the Harvard University Senior Executive Fellows Program.

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