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Rob Wallace

Wyoming Native Rob Wallace Runs National Christmas Tree Ceremony

in News/Community
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By Jimmy Orr

Things were busy for Wyoming native Rob Wallace on Dec. 5 as he took part in hist first lighting of the National Christmas Tree as an assistant secretary for the Department of Interior.

Wallace, confirmed as assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife in July, joined three other speakers — including President Donald Trump — in the annual 90-minute lighting.

Wallace joined Trump, Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt, and National Park Service Director David Vela in making comments during the ceremony.

“On a scale of one to ten, behind the president, the secretary of Interior and the director of the Park Service, my speech will be in a solid fourth place,” Wallace said.

Wallace was asked to give closing remarks at the ceremony — which has often occurred during less than ideal weather conditions.

This past Thursday, the weather gods smiled upon event-goers as temperatures were in the mid-40s with no wind. And the thousands of people who showed up cheered loudly when the president and First Lady Melania Trump pushed a button which lighted the 30-foot live Colorado Spruce from Palmyra, Pennsylvania.

Yes, the tree is alive. For now. Wallace explained that a fairly new practice is to transplant a tree instead of cutting it down.

“It happened between 10 to12 years ago,” he said. “The Park Service passed an initiative to make the tree permanent. Sometimes there are transplant issues and the tree doesn’t make it. We hope this new tree from Pennsylvania will be here for a long time.”

The State of Wyoming has supplied the National Christmas Tree just once. That was back in 1972. It was a 75-foot Engelmann spruce from Medicine Bow National Forest.

That doesn’t mean Wyoming doesn’t participate, however. Years ago, smaller trees representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories were planted on the Ellipse where the ceremony is held.

These identical trees stand about 5 feet tall now and are decorated by school kids from their respective states.

For Wyoming’s tree, the honor this year went to the Wyoming Indian School, where middle school students created transparent globe-like ornaments with a bucking bronco inside each one.

“It’s indescribable to be part of this tradition,” Wallace said. “It’s an important symbol of the start of a very festive holiday observed throughout the world. It celebrates the best of America.”

A replay of the ceremony will be broadcast on Ovation TV Monday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. Mountain Time.

GTNP’s Jenny Lake improvement project completed via private partnership

in News/Tourism
1589

A formal ribbon cutting was held this week at Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park’s most popular destination, to celebrate the completion of a $20.5 million improvement project.

The public-private partnership between Grand Teton National Park and the Grand Teton National Park Foundation (in which two-thirds
of the total raised was by private donors) is the “secret sauce” to getting some key projects completed, according to Wyoming native Rob Wallace — the incoming Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Wyoming’s Wallace wins unanimous approval for Interior post from powerful US Senate committee

in News/Recreation/Tourism
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WASHINGTON, DC — Wyoming resident Rob Wallace is one step closer to overseeing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service following unanimous approval of his appointment to the post by the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on Wednesday morning. 

Wallace, nominated by President Donald Trump to be the next Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, received commendations from Republican and Democrats alike during the meeting of the 21-member committee.

“I’ve known Rob for over 35 years and without question Rob is the right person for the job,” said EPW Chairman Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). “Stakeholders from across the political spectrum agree that Rob is an outstanding choice and I urge my Senate colleagues to support his nomination.”

Minority EPW Chairman Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) said Wallace was both qualified and ready to lead, noting that Wallace “pledged to uphold science and bolster the expertise of the career staff” at the Department of Interior.

“I believe he is up to the challenge to providing badly needed leadership within the Department of Interior,” Carper said. “I look forward to welcoming Mr. Wallace to Delaware.”

Following the vote, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said he was “delighted” to vote for Wallace and said the two had a “terrific conversation”.

“Even though the organization he would work for is called the Department of Interior, this is a country that has more than interior, it also has edges,” Whitehouse said.  “The edges are our coasts and our coasts are overlooked by the department and he agreed to sit down with a bipartisan group of coastal senators and begin a conversation as to how coastal communities can be treated with more attention and more fairly.”

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a similar meeting on Thursday morning to consider the nomination of Wallace.

Wallace’s appointment must also be approved by the full Senate.

In Brief: Wyoming native Wallace to be nominated to Interior Department post

in News/wildlife
Rob Wallace
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A Wyoming native who served as chief of staff to a former Wyoming governor and U.S. senator will be nominated to serve as an assistant secretary within the U.S. Department of Interior, President Donald Trump announced Friday.

Trump, in a news release, announced his intent to nominate Rob Wallace as assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks.

Wallace, now a Jackson resident, served as chief of staff for both former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer and the late U.S. Sen. Malcolm Wallop.

He has also served as assistant director of Legislative and Congressional Affairs for the National Park Service, Republican staff director of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and managed U.S. government relations for GE Energy for 17 years.

Wallace currently serves as president of the Upper Green River Conservancy, a group created to restore and manage healthy sage grouse landscapes while allowing for energy development and ranching.

Trump’s announcement was welcomed by members of Wyoming’s congressional delegation, who said Wallace’s experience has made him particularly well suited for the job.

“Throughout his long and distinguished career, Rob has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to striking the proper balance between wildlife conservation, habitat management and use of our public lands,” said U.S. Sen. John Barrasso. “His experience and leadership in Wyoming and in our nation’s capital are ideally suited for this critically important job.”

“Rob is a Wyoming native and has extensive experience in public service and in working with the National Park Service,” said U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi. “It is important to fill positions like this with qualified people who understand the West.”

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