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Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior

David Mihalic is serving as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior. The nature of his duties is unclear. 

David Mihalic during “his 30-year career… held management positions for the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management.” While at the National Park Service, Mihalic held leadership roles including deputy superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, superintendent of Glacier National Park, and superintendent of Yosemite National Park. However, Mihalic “retired rather than accept a politically driven reassignment” in which the George W. Bush administration wanted him to “push through two contentious proposals” that posed environmental risks at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After leaving the National Park Service in 2003, Mihalic began working as a Principal at Heritage Resources Group LLC, where he was a “management consultant and advisor in natural and cultural resource issues, especially in national park and world heritage site management and planning.” Since 2014, Mihalic has been an adjunct professor at Indiana University in Missoula, Montana where he has taught “Ecosystem Management & Park Partnerships and Fundraising/Development.”

Sources: [“Interior List of political appointees at DOI as of July 10, 2017,” Politico Pro, accessed 08/09/17, Charles Johnson, “Davison recruits ex-park superintendent,” Helena Independent Record, 03/25/04, Dean Murphy, “After Top Job at Yosemite, He’s Hanging Up the Ranger Hat,” New York Times, 12/10/02, Sherry Devlin, “Mission Accomplished,” The Missoulian, 01/09/03, and LinkedIn Profile for Dave Mihalic, accessed 06/09/17]

Background Information

Previous Employers

Department of the Interior (BLM and NPS)

Heritage Resources Group LLC

Indiana University

Additional Background on Employers of Note: 

David Mihalic started his career at the Bureau of Land Management and then moved to the National Park Service where, among other roles, he was the superintendent of Glacier and Yosemite National Parks.

David Mihalic, in the 1970s, worked “for the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska and Denver, Colo.”

[Bill Stall, “David Mihalic,” Los Angeles Times, 01/09/00]

During his time working for the National Park Service, David Mihalic worked as a ranger in Yellowstone National Park from 1976 to 1981, as a deputy superintendent at Great Smoky Mountains National Park from 1985 to 1988, as superintendent of Glacier National Park from 1994 to 1999, and as superintendent of Yosemite National Park from 1999 to 2002. Mihalic “was the personal choice of Bruce Babbitt, President Bill Clinton’s interior secretary” to be superintendent of Yosemite, one of the “most politicized and difficult jobs in the National Park Service.”

[Charles Johnson, “Davison recruits ex-park superintendent,” Helena Independent Record, 03/25/04, Dean Murphy, “After Top Job at Yosemite, He’s Hanging Up the Ranger Hat,” New York Times, 12/10/02, and Sherry Devlin, “Mission Accomplished,” The Missoulian, 01/09/03]

David Mihalic left the NPS when he was assigned to be superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park because, he claimed, the George W. Bush administration was trying to get him to “push through two contentious proposals,” that posed environmental risks.

The George W. Bush administration, in 2002, picked David Mihalic to be the superintendent for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, Mihalic refused the assignment because, he claimed, “the Bush administration wanted him to push through two contentious proposals,” a land swap and a road project, that had been “long been opposed by the National Park Service because of environmental concerns but had been backed by some influential Republicans in North Carolina and Tennessee.” When Mihalic “refused the Great Smoky assignment and asked for another,” he was told by the administration that “there would be none.”

One of the proposals was to “allow a land swap with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians that would give the Indians about 168 acres of the park’s ecologically rich wetlands,” that included 55 “‘new to science'” species, “for the building of several schools.” The other proposal was to “allow completion of a road project abandoned in the 1960’s because of environmental concerns.”

[Dean Murphy, “After Top Job at Yosemite, He’s Hanging Up the Ranger Hat,” New York Times, 12/10/02]

Other Information

David Mihalic ran for lieutenant governor of Montana in 2004.

David Mihalic, in 2004, ran for lieutenant governor of Montana with Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat Davidson.

[Charles Johnson, “Davison recruits ex-park superintendent,” Helena Independent Record, 03/25/04]

David Mihalic worked as an adviser to Marc Racicot when Racicot was governor of Montana.

David Mihalic, “worked as an adviser to Marc Racicot when Mr. Racicot was governor of Montana” in the 1990s.

[Dean Murphy, “After Top Job at Yosemite, He’s Hanging Up the Ranger Hat,” New York Times, 12/10/02]

David Mihalic used to be a registered Democrat.

David Mihalic, when he lived in Kentucky and “headed Mammoth Cave National Park,” was a registered Democrat.

[Allison Farrell, “Mihalic criticized for party ties,” Billings Gazette, 05/12/04]