U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke traveled to Grand Canyon National Park today to make announcements following revelations of widespread sexual harassment of Park Service employees. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports from the South Rim.
Zinke’s visit follows a federal investigation that revealed a long-term culture of harassment and retaliation in Grand Canyon’s River District. He says the Interior Department will strengthen harassment policies and increase its investigations of claims. Officials will also boost personnel training and employee resources for reporting incidents.
"We’re going to change the culture so when it gets reported there’s an action taken, that employees of the Park Service feel confident they can say something without retaliation," Zinke says.
Interior officials also released the results of a Park Service-wide employee survey. It found in the last year nearly 40 percent experienced harassment based on sex, gender, ethnicity, and other factors. Nearly 1 percent of NPS employees reported sexual assault.
Zinke was joined by Park Superintendent Christine Lehnertz and acting Park Service Director Mike Reynolds. Grand Canyon officials say they’ll continue to maintain a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment.