Michael Tollefson

IUCN - WCPA Deputy Vice Chair, Partnerships

Mountains Biome Theme

Special area of interest:

National Parks throughout the world


Mike recently retired from the US National Park Service after a 36-year career. He served in ten National Parks during that time, and in four of them was Superintendent.


He culminated his long and distinguished career by serving for six years as Superintendent of Yosemite National Park (shown at right), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During his tenure there, Mike leveraged his business and partnership skills to transform its historically-contentious stakeholder and gateway community relationships into vibrant, collaborative, and productive partnerships that benefit the entire Yosemite Region.


He also used these skills to successfully establish for Yosemite two "Sister Parks" in China, Huangshan and Jiuzhaigou (which are both also World Heritage Sites), plus an additional "Sister Park" in Chile, Torres del Paine (see photos below). Obviously, Park management has been Mike's passion.


In his post-Park Service career, Mike continues to support parks as President of the Yosemite Fund, raising private funds for projects that protect and preserve Yosemite while providing for enriched enjoyment by its visitors.


Mike with Torres del Paine Adminstrator Jose Linnebrink at the Grey Glacier

One of the famous trees in Sister Park Huangshan, China

Torres del Paine and Yosemite are now Sister Parks



Sister Park Jiuzhaigou, China