Senator Jon Tester is calling on the National Park Service to prioritize the hiring of Montanans as it awards new contracts to operate Yellowstone National Park's hotels and restaurants.
Yellowstone is preparing to award a contract to a new company to operate non-Park Service facilities for the next seven years. Park vendors typically hire hundreds of workers each year to work at Yellowstone, but many come from outside the region or even overseas.
Tester wants park officials to select a vendor that prioritizes the hiring of Montanans and other workers from the region.
"Yellowstone National Park is an integral part of what makes Montana the "Last Best Place,'" Tester told National Park Service Regional Director John Wessels. "Our outdoor heritage is our way of life and is a vital part of our state's economy. Montanans and all Americans should have the opportunity to work to maintain our way of life."
Tester, who highlighted Montanans' strong work ethic, said that hiring local employees will help Montana families and teach young workers new skills.
"We should focus on securing our workforce locally, not outsourcing it abroad," Tester said.
Tester, Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, also recently introduced legislation to require that all items sold by the National Park Service in gift shops and visitors centers are made in the United States.