Park Service Boss Who Helped Dan Snyder Cut Down Trees Apologizes For Mysterious Crotch Grab

Acting NPS director P. Daniel Smith
Acting NPS director P. Daniel Smith
Photo: National Park Service

Have you heard the story about the National Park Service director who took a trip to Alaska and grabbed his dick and balls? Neither have we. Well, not the whole story. But suddenly we’re hearing lots about the tale. And we’d love to hear the rest!


Up until this, the only thing we knew about NPS head P. Daniel Smith was that he helped Dan Snyder cut down trees on federally protected lands so the Washington Redskins owner would have a good view of the river behind his mansion. Now we also know that shortly after taking over the nation’s top parks job he used his naughty parts as a storytelling prop in front of employees at NPS headquarters. Smith sent out an all-hands email on Friday afternoon under the subject line “A heartfelt apology” hinting at his bad behavior in the workplace.

An anonymous NPS tipster, disgusted by Smith’s place in the agency, sent Deadspin a copy of the email about the time it went out. Here it is:

Illustration for article titled Park Service Boss Who Helped Dan Snyder Cut Down Trees Apologizes For Mysterious Crotch Grab

Dear NPS Colleagues:

The office of Inspector General has completed its investigation into an anonymous allegation made earlier this year that I behaved in an inappropriate manner in a public hallway. I was overheard recounting an experience in Alaska while having a hallway conversation in the WASO offices.

I want to start by apologizing to any colleague who witnessed this. I recognize that the story was inappropriate for the workplace, even though it does not rise to the level of harassment. I am very sorry for my mistake in telling this story and any discomfort it clearly caused.

I also want to apologize to to each of you. As a leader, I must hold myself to the highest standard of behavior in the workplace. I take my responsibility to create and maintain a respectful, collegial work environment very seriously. Moving forward, I promise to do better.

I hope that my mistake and this apology are a lesson for leaders and employees at every level of the National Park Service. Workplace culture is our shared responsibility. We must conduct ourselves in a manner that reflects the great pride we all have for the extraordinary parks and programs we represent.

Thank you for your service now and always.

Sincerely, P. Daniel Smith

The Washington Post had reported in March that the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Interior launched an investigation into Smith’s conduct after a tipster complained that the new director “grabbed his crotch and his penis and acted out as though he was urinating on the wall” in the office.

In his apology memo, Smith didn’t get into any specifics beyond claiming that he was “recounting an experience in Alaska.”

This isn’t the first time Smith figured prominently in an OIG investigation. His name was all over the 2006 OIG report detailing how Dan Snyder was able to defoliate 1.3 acres of land inside C&O Canal National Historical Park, which is adjacent to the NFL honcho’s Potomac, Md., estate. At the time of the illicit tree cutting, Smith served as special assistant to NPS director Fran Mainella. From the report:

“Our investigation determined that P. Daniel Smith ... unduly influenced the decision to grant Snyder permission to cut the vegetation on the easement by inserting himself into the process through personal communications with Mr. Snyder, his representatives, and C&O NHP officials.”


Rob Danno, an NPS ranger whose career was temporarily derailed for being the whistleblower in Snyder’s backyard clear-cutting caper, was among legions of Park Service staffers who were appalled when Smith was named by the White House to run the very agency whose reputation he’d helped sully by buddying up to an aristocrat at the expense of the people’s property. “This was nothing to do with something that would be good for the land,” Danno told me about Smith’s conduct with the NFL owner. “This was always about the view for this billionaire.”

The OIG’s report on the investigation into Smith’s alleged hand-to-groin contact in the hallways is not in the DOI database yet. The Hill quoted OIG spokeswoman Nancy DiPaolo saying the results will be released “around the end of June.”


So there’s still lots to learn about Smith’s crass act. We wanna know what tale Smith told about his time in the tundra with little P. Danny in his hand, and we wanna know now. Anybody know the rest of the story? Email me.

Disclosure: Dan Snyder once sued me for writing mean things about him, and in the complaint singled out a line that he had “made a great view of the Potomac River for himself by going all Agent Orange on federally protected lands.” He dropped the suit.