Retired NPS acting director to give author talk July 28


BAR HARBOR — Friends of Acadia and Jesup Memorial Library are hosting an author talk with former National Park Service Acting Director David Vela at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 28. Vela will talk about the experiences that make up his book, “Hola Ranger: My Journey Through the National Parks.” 

Vela spent 28 years in the NPS. He became acting director in 2019 and served in that capacity until he retired in 2020.  

Before becoming acting director, Vela was superintendent of Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway; the NPS associate director for Workforce, Relevancy and Inclusion; and the director of the NPS Southeast Region, where he oversaw 66 national park sites in nine states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  

In “Hola Ranger,” Vela recounts growing up as a Latino in the farmlands of Southeast Texas, his first visit to a national park and the impact that it had on his life. He also highlights some of the many experiences he had and people that he met during his years of public service. The book reflects Vela’s belief in faith, family and country as well as desire to inspire the next generation of conservation stewards, advocates and workforce. 

Vela and his wife Melissa were raised in Wharton, Texas, and now live in Bryan, Texas. Vela serves on national boards that promote diversity, youth and national park interests and speaks on these issues in public forums.  

Copies of Vela’s book will be available to purchase at the event. 

Register online at or email [email protected]. 

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