2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 4:05 PM


DUNHAM, Sarah E., Lake Oswego, OR 97035 and LILLIE, Robert J., Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University, 104 Wilkinson Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, sarah_e_dunham@yahoo.com

Interpretation a park seeks to facilitate intellectual and emotional connections between park visitors and the meanings inherent in the park's natural and cultural resources. Most interpretive rangers have undergraduate or advanced degrees in fields other than Earth science. As a result, presentations focused on biology or human history tend to dominate interpretative programs. Yosemite is a monument to geology and geological processes. Strong granites sculpted by powerful glaciers form the landscape where life perseveres.

In order to increase the geologic content of interpretive programming at Yosemite National Park, I am designing a geologically-based, illustrated training manual for the park's interpretive staff. Increased geologic background will encourage interpretive rangers to make more connections between the physical landscape and other important aspects of the park such as landforms, flora, fauna, people, rock climbing, and climate change. The goal is to disseminate local and regional geology via a thematically organized, illustrated training manual. Presenting geology in thematic ways will help rangers with diverse backgrounds connect visitors to the fantastic geologic features and processes they experience in Yosemite National Park. The training manual will emphasize three main processes: 1) subduction of the Farallon plate under the North American plate and granite petrogenesis; 2) uplift of the Sierra Nevada and exhumation of the granite; 3) Quaternary glacial cycles and the resulting geomorphology. These processes will be presented through interpretive strategies rangers can utilize when giving presentations on a variety of aspects of natural and cultural history.