Rob Danno: Ranger Danger

The National Park Service destroyed the career of Chief Ranger Rob Danno, a highly decorated 30-year veteran ranger. The agency subjected him to horrific retaliation after he blew the whistle on illegal tree cutting by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.  Amazingly, the mind-numbing reprisal campaign, including a failed criminal prosecution, against Robert Danno went on for more than seven years.

In 2004, the billionaire Washington Redskins football team owner cut down hundreds of trees in a scenic easement in the C&O National Historic Park to gain an unobstructed view of the Potomac River from his mega-mansion.  As Chief Ranger, Danno tried to stop the logging and called in the Department of Interior Inspector General, which confirmed his charges and found NPS had given Snyder improper yet secret approval.

After that, Danno’s stellar career began a sharp downward spiral.  In 2008, the NPS pressed criminal charges against him on an unrelated matter, but Danno was unanimously acquitted in a federal jury trial after only 20 minutes of deliberation.  But the acquittal did not stop the persecution:

  • Danno was put on paid administrative leave for the next year and a half.  After being stripped of his Chief Ranger duties, the NPS also refused to restore his law enforcement authority or give him a permanent assignment.
  • Two years after his acquittal, it proposed that Danno be fired on the same charges for which he had been acquitted.

Rob came to PEER for help and we sparked a settlement that ended the reprisal campaign, cleared his record and let him finish his career in peace.

“If my story spurs the National Park Service to do some serious introspection and reevaluate its course, I will have accomplished my goal,” said Danno who details these events in his new book, Worth Fighting For – A Park Ranger’s Unexpected Battle Against Federal Bureaucrats and Washington Redskins Owner Dan Snyder. Jeff Ruch wrote the book’s intro.


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