The top man at Yosemite National Park will be leaving at year's end to become president of the nonprofit Yosemite Fund, park officials announced Friday.
Mike Tollefson, Yosemite superintendent for the last five years, will assume the head post at the San Francisco-based philanthropic group in early January.
Tollefson's 36-year career with the National Park Service has included stints as superintendent at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee.
During his tenure at Yosemite, the park launched efforts to remodel visitor services and rebuild much of the old infrastructure in Yosemite Valley, but also fought environmental groups that complained the valley was being pushed too far toward commercialism.
Tollefson will oversee an organization that in its first two decades has tapped contributions from 100,000 donors to finance $45 million in improvement projects, including restoration of the heavily traveled approach to Yosemite Falls and the overlooks at Olmsted Point and Tunnel View.