2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


KENWORTHY, Jason P.1, SANTUCCI, Vincent L.1, VISAGGI, Christy C.1 and KOCH, Alison L.2, (1)George Washington Memorial Parkway, National Park Service, Turkey Run Park, McLean, VA 22101, (2)Curecanti National Recreation Area, National Park Service, Gunnison, CO 81230, kenworthy316@yahoo.com

Paleontological resources, fossils, are any remains of past life preserved in geologic context. Fossils are non-renewable natural resources that possess great scientific, educational, and interpretive value. More than 170 National Park Service areas preserve fossil invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants in addition to trace and microfossils. However, only a fraction of these areas have adequate baseline paleontological resource data necessary for appropriate resource management and stewardship. To provide better baseline data regarding these fossils, paleontological data-mining efforts have been initiated in dozens of NPS areas in conjunction with NPS Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Networks. Paleontological resource inventories have been completed for nearly one-third of these networks. Such an inventory was recently undertaken for NPS areas in the National Capital Region I&M Network. The National Capital Region consists of 13 major park units with hundreds of sites throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. This inventory was the first comprehensive literature search and summary of recent and historical paleontological research for the parks of the National Capital Region, known primarily for their cultural significance. Nevertheless, the inventory revealed a diverse assemblage of fossils and fossiliferous rock units within and surrounding at least 15 parks and sites in the network, with a history of fossil study reaching back 170 years. The fossiliferous units represent most geologic time periods from the Cambrian through the Pleistocene. The fossils preserved within these geologic units are as varied as the parks where they are found, and include: Cambrian worm burrows and trilobites, a wide array of Paleozoic invertebrates, Triassic reptile tracks, Cretaceous plant fossils and marine vertebrates, Eocene mollusks, Miocene marine mammals, and Pleistocene petrified wood. In addition, fossils are visible in the building stones of a number of National Mall monuments and memorials, providing a unique display of fossils from other parts of the country. This inventory aims to stimulate future research, education, interpretation, and proper resource management of these paleontological resources far from the “fossil parks” of the western United States.