Paper No. 7-2
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM
HOODOOS AND HEADWARD EROSION: BRYCE CANYONNATIONAL PARK’S UNIQUE GEOLOGIST-IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM
The National Park Service’s Geoscientist-in-the Park (GIP) provides a link with volunteer geoscience experts and the convergence of academia with ‘America’s greatest university without walls’. More than 800 GIP positions are available, and typically each position focuses on a specific duty, such as research, mapping, GIS analysis, site evaluation, resource inventorying and monitoring, impact mitigation, media development, and training for interpretive rangers, which, unfortunately, may only last a few hours to a few days. Projects vary from park to park, and the majority of the positions last three months, while a few are for one year terms. The Geologist-in-Residence position is new to Bryce Canyon National Park, and, while similar to the GIP program, has a much broader scope with a wide variety of responsibilities and no term limit. Although a volunteer position, staff housing is provided and the Bryce Canyon Geologist-in-Residence is considered a member of the park staff. Even though Bryce Canyon National Park was created to preserve and highlight its geology, virtually none of the permanent park staff have any geology training, therefore one of the primary duties of the Park’s Geologist-in-Residence is foundational training for seasonal interpretive staff and evaluating interpretive geology programs. This past winter a university-level physical geology course was taught for all park staff, and plans are being made to teach university-level historical geology and geology of the national parks courses. Additionally, the Park’s Geologist-in-Residence provides public presentations on a variety of geology topics; creation and oversight of a Junior Paleontologist program specific to the park; and oversight of the Park’s annual geology festival. The geology festival is one of the Park’s most popular annual events, with nearly 4,000 attendees, and the only event of its kind in the spectacular parks that dot the Colorado Plateau region. Of paramount importance is conducting resource-specific research in the park and promoting research opportunities, with a particular focus on the geology of the Claron Formation. The Geologist-in-Residence is unique to the geology-focused national parks on the Colorado Plateau.