Paper No. 188-1
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, RESEARCH AND COLLECTIONS: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES
Paleontological resource inventories conducted throughout the National Park System have identified at least 260 park areas with documented fossils. The history of discovery, collection, research and management of paleontological resources from areas that are managed today by the National Park Service (NPS) dates back to the late 17th century. Government and military surveys of the American west, including those lead by Ferdinand Hayden into Yellowstone and John Wesley Powell on the Colorado River, resulted in some of the earliest collections of fossils from areas now administered by the NPS. More than 170 museum repositories across the United States and in a few foreign countries manage over 600,000 fossil specimens associated with the U.S. national parks. A large number of these fossils were collected by U.S. Geological Survey staff conducting geologic field research and mapping projects. A wealth of unpublished data on paleontological localities and specimens are contained in USGS Evaluation Reports (E&R) that were initiated in the late nineteenth century. The preservation of data associated with NPS localities is an important role for the various federal and other museum repositories, to ensure the scientific and education values of NPS fossils is available for researchers, the public and for park managers.