For the past three decades, Brian Wollenburg has served in law enforcement. He’s been a military police officer with the U.S. Army, a correctional officer with the U.S. Department of Justice and a sheriff’s deputy and a police officer in central Kentucky.
In 2010, he shifted to the National Park Service. He worked at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Boulder City, Nev., and Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco before accepting his latest gig: chief ranger of Mammoth Cave National Park’s Resource and Visitor Protection program.
Wollenburg will oversee all law enforcement activities, emergency services and response, search-and-rescue and fire management operations at the park.
It’s this diverse range of responsibilities that drew Wollenburg to the park service, along with the opportunity to build relationships with the greater park community.
Thus far, Mammoth Cave is proving to be an easygoing environment compared to his previous roles. Last year, Golden Gate National Recreation Area reclaimed the highest annual visitation at a national park site with more than 15 million visitors – and Mammoth Cave welcomes about two million visitors annually, according to the National Park Service.
“You have more time to focus on the duties at hand,” Wollenburg said.
Wollenburg moved with his wife and three sons from the San Francisco Bay area this summer and officially began his new role several weeks ago – so he hasn’t had much time to explore outside the office. But he’s breathing in the beauty, and looks forward to protecting the community.
“Getting to know the community and park staff, how we can help each other … that’s very important to me,” Wollenburg said. “There’s a lot of great things happening here within the park.”