An internal report found "credible evidence" of sexual harassment at Yellowstone

An internal report found "credible evidence" of sexual harassment at Yellowstone
Source: AP
Source: AP

Following a six-month investigation, the Interior Department has determined there's "credible evidence" to suggest a rampant sexual harassment problem at Yellowstone National Park.

According to the Washington Post, the department's report detailed the harassment allegations of six female employees who claim the male employees in the park's maintenance division routinely make inappropriate comments toward them, amounting to verbal abuse and unequal treatment.

One women alleged one of the men had stolen pairs of her underwear from a dresser drawer, while another called the park a "man's world." 

After hearing these and other women's stories, the Interior Department's report concluded that Yellowstone's male maintenance staff had "created a work environment that included unwelcome and inappropriate comments and actions toward women."

Yellowstone National Park
Source: Mladen Antonov/Getty Images

The report is only the latest in mounting evidence that several national parks have fostered a toxic environment for women.

In September, 18 Yosemite National Park employees filed complaints of sexual harassment, bullying and assault in the workplace. The park's chief of Fire and Aviation Management, Kelly Martin, recalled multiple incidents of harassment, including repeated instances of a colleague spying on her through a bathroom window. 

At a House Oversight Committee hearing, Martin said when she tried to complain about the harassment, her supervisors responded by minimizing her experience and "attempting to resolve the situation with a mere apology from the perpetrator instead of imposing more appropriate disciplinary action."

As a result, she said, many women at Yosemite have given up on reporting their harassers.

Meanwhile, female employees at the Grand Canyon have reported male Park Service employees for demanding sex from them and retaliating against those who refused their advances. 

According to the Post, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has issued a directive for "harassment prevention training" for supervisors and managers within the department. This is the department's "latest attempt" to begin tackling the parks' sexist and abusive culture.

"It is our individual and collective responsibility to ensure that our interactions with each other, contractors who support our mission, and the public are free of harassment, discrimination or retaliation," Zinke said. "Bullying, degrading and intimidating behavior is not acceptable and serves to dishonor the mission and values of our department."