Controversial Park Service supervisor promoted to Mount Rainier park post - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, August 3, 2021
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Controversial Park Service supervisor promoted to Mount Rainier park post

The National Park Service has promoted Greg Dudgeon to become the next superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park.

Dudgeon is the acting deputy regional director in Alaska, where he oversees the management of 15 national parks, preserves, monuments, and national historical parks.

His history in Alaska includes a controversial assault by his direct report Park Service employees against Fairbanks moose hunter Jim Wilde, and the interference with the legal activities of moose hunter John Sturgeon, who took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he won 9-0 against the Park Service.

Dudgeon was the supervisor of the rookie rangers who were in the Yukon-Charley Preserve for the summer, having been relocated from out of state. Both the Wilde case and the Sturgeon case rubbed Alaskans the wrong way, due to the heavy-handed use of federal force to stop Alaskans from being able to legally hunt.

“As a 30-year National Park Service veteran, Greg has extensive experience caring for historic and cultural resources in parks and managing them in balance with natural resource conservation and public use,” said Acting NPS Regional Director Cindy Orlando in a news release. “Greg’s ability to work collaboratively with partners and communities to protect park resources make him a great fit for this position.”

That’s not how his critics describe him, however.

Dudgeon started his career with the National Park Service as a volunteer in 1983, when he was assigned to assist a whale biologist at Glacier Bay National Park. He worked his way up the ladder as a seasonal biological technician, an interpretive ranger and a commissioned ranger. Dudgeon was the chief ranger for the Bering Land National Preserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Kobuk Valley National Park and Noatak National Preserve. 

He was the superintendent of Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments from 2001 to 2003 and later returned to Alaska as the superintendent of Sitka National Historical Park, according to the Park Service release.

He became the superintendent of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in 2007, where he served until he took on his current role of acting deputy regional director. 

It was during this time that the two most controversial cases took place. In the Wilde case, park rangers threw the then-70-year-old Wilde, a World War II veteran, into the mud and held his wife at gunpoint. As written by writer Craig Medred, who covered the trial for the Alaska Dispatch:

“The National Park Service ended up on trial here Wednesday in what was supposed to be a case against a 70-year-old resident of Central, Alaska, who led a short, but action-packed, high-speed riverboat chase along the Yukon River in September.

“From the day that encounter in the remote wilds of Alaska first erupted into a national incident — the state and the federal government are still in court arguing over who has authority for a river through the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve long used for both Alaska and Canadian commerce — Jim Wilde, the man accused by the Park Service of fleeing and endangering rangers, has protested that all he ever wanted to do was take his boat to the safety of a riverbank before meeting with the government men who wanted to do a “safety inspection.”

“Before doing this, however, two rangers have testified Wilde said, ‘You fucking cocksuckers. I’m not stopping.’ He gunned his boat and headed upriver,” Medred wrote.

As for Wilde, he said since his boat was loaded heavily he would have been at risk for tipping if he had followed the park rangers’ instructions to halt and cut his motors in a fast-moving part of the river. Bill Satterberg was the attorney who represented Wilde.

In the trial, it became known that one of the rangers had on a previous occasion handcuffed an Alaskan for not giving his name to a federal official, and that the Park Service had overstepped by actually going into Canada several miles to detain the man in the handcuffing incident.

In the Sturgeon case, the Park Service, again under Dudgeon, ordered the moose hunter to stop his hovercraft boat, which he had used on the Nations River in the Yukon-Charley National Preserve. That case ended up at the Supreme Court, which agreed that the State of Alaska has jurisdiction over navigable waters.

Read: Sturgeon wins 9-0 at Supreme Court

Hunters and sportsmen in Fairbanks who were reached by Must Read Alaska said they were glad to see Dudgeon go, that his history of federal overreach in Alaska was less than appreciated by them. They said they felt they were treated as second-class citizens by Dudgeon, who showed little regard for the Alaska way of life, and they wish the communities around Mount Rainier well as he takes over the large national park near Seattle.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • This is what the feds do – especially the NPS: employee makes a fireable (anywhere else…) mistake – the feds promote them, assuming they’ve learned from their mistake. I know Greg Dudgeon from his days at Gates – usually a nice guy. But a Parkie he is and tow the corporate line he will -that’s how you get promoted above outhouse sanitization engineer. I wish him the best in his new surroundings.

  • He’s a Liberal. Shocking!

  • Dudgeon was cited for taking a moose out of season during his time in Nome. He wasn’t very good at winter navigation and while trying to get to an area that was open, shot 2 moose, with is hunting partner, in an area that wasn’t open.
    I guided the rookie woman wildlife trooper to the kill site, which I had seen from my plane the day before. She wasn’t too good at winter navigation either.

  • Good riddance to Dudgeon. Another government jack-booted thug pretending he is a military veteran.
    What a coward!

  • I hope he and his malamute have lots of fun in the wonders of a new and beautiful environment.

  • The expression in the face of the poor dog in the photo says everything that we need to know about supervisor Dungeon. Still, we bid him farewell.

  • Sturgeon actually won two unanimous decisions at the Supreme Court. I’m not sure how many times that SCOTUS has issued two unanimous decisions on the same case in our countries history but I’d imagine only a precious few.
    .
    Good luck to the people visiting Mount Rainier.

  • Good riddance.

  • If the quote attributed to Wilde is accurate, it seems like he was an excellent judge of character.

  • The federal government is not Alaska’s friend, wish our congressional delegation would quit voting for Biden’s secretarial picks. They don’t seem to care what we think.

  • We don’t need a heavy presence of the NPS in Alaska, or ant other managerial agency for that matter. We did fine without them before ANILCA, which sent a heavy, and (ridiculously) armed presence into Alaska. When I worked for THE USFS in the 70s, the only guns we carried were 1 per crew for bear protection. Now half of the people in the field carry sidearms, as do USFWS , NPS and probably the BLM. It is vast overreach and intimidation.
    This schmutz will fit right in in WA. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • Have those two heroic rookie rangers been promoted yet?

  • Having worked under Mr. Dudgeon for six years all I can say is that this is a great day for Alaska and a sad day for Mt. Rainier as it will take years to fix the path of destruction he has left behind in Alaska. Good riddance!!

  • This guy is such a hypocrite. I’ve had personal experiences that shows he’s not only a liar, he’s a pathetic leader. He has no right be be any supervisor. He made very poor decisions that led to historic houses falling down, employees getting paid to pan for gold and do nothing to keep things maintained, has bad relationships with the locals who live around the Preserve/Park, and makes excuses to do a lot of work but in the end Does Absolutely Nothing for the position he led!
    Glad to see him leaving!

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