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

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM


VISAGGI, Christy C.1, SANTUCCI, Vincent L.1, KENWORTHY, Jason P.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, ccvisagg@syr.edu

The National Park Service is committed to the preservation and protection of historic and natural resources. Non-renewable paleontological resources only recently emerged as prevalent in nearly half of all national parks, thus most management strategies for monitoring fossils are still in developmental stages. Paleontological resources comprise vertebrates, invertebrates, microfossils, plant fossils, and trace fossils that range in age from the Precambrian to the Pleistocene. The documentation of baseline geologic and paleontologic data is fundamental in creating superior monitoring schemes that meet the individual needs of parks nationwide. The main approaches for assessing paleontological resources in parks currently include 1) comprehensive park-specific inventories, 2) service-wide thematic inventories, and 3) compilations of baseline paleontologic data for Inventory and Monitoring Networks (parks as grouped by ecological and geographical parameters). These survey strategies are particularly useful for individual parks or groups of parks, but are often not appropriate for the entire park system. However, the stewardship of non-renewable paleontological resources in parks nationwide is a critical issue and necessitates an immediate course of action.

The production of a service-wide guidebook highlighting the stratigraphic and paleontologic context of all parks will provide an opportunity to improve our understanding of these resources throughout the park system. This preliminary report will portray information primarily through graphical means, conceptual models, and customized icons, in an effort to establish simple visual tools for basic interpretation and future park publications. Management issues will be identified for all parks as well, including resource threats, interpretation, and maintenance of fossil collections. Innovative monitoring strategies are essential for effective preservation and protection of paleontological resources in national parks all of which will be more tangible in the immediate future with the completion of this groundbreaking report.