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188 8.1. CT scan of Hoplophoneus sp., BADL 59490. Scan courtesy of the Rapid City Regional Hospital and the National Park Service. Specimen is the property of the U.S. government. 189 8 National Park Service Policy and the Management of Fossil Resources The National Park Service (NPS) protects our natural and cultural heritage for future generations. At Badlands National Park, this natural heritage includes fossil vertebrates and invertebrates, fossilized plants, and trace fossils. The report accompanying the enabling legislation for Badlands National Monument in 1939, which was designated a national park in 1976, describes the future park as “a vast storehouse of the biological past.” Careful protection of fossils and their context over the years has allowed researchers in many different disciplines in the earth sciences to conduct research and improved our understanding of that biological past. This in turn has produced important data about the geology and paleontology of the park, which have been published in scientific journals and which have been included in this book. The guidelines set up by the NPS Geological Resources Program (Santucci, 2009) serve as the core of the paleontology program at Badlands National Park. The guidelines include providing inventory and monitoring, enhancing visitor understanding and enjoyment of the fossil resource, and ensuring adequate technical capacity for the management , protection, interpretation, curation, and ultimately protection of the park’s paleontological resources so they are available to future generations for enjoyment and education. Since 1994, with the hiring of the first park paleontologist, Badlands National Park has developed a program that supports each of these components. Early on, it was recognized that these tasks could not be accomplished alone and that the park needed to develop partnerships with other federal agencies, tribes, museums, and universities. Over the past 20 years, in cooperation with these other institutions, the park has surveyed several hundred acres of land, collected several thousand fossils, and developed a database for over 300 fossiliferous localities. However, much work remains to be done. On March 30, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Paleontological Resource Preservation Act (P.L. 111–11) into law. This legislation serves as the primary authority for the management, protection, and interpretation of paleontological resources on federal land. The combination of annual visitation levels of over 1 million people and the great abundance of fossils exposed by erosion at visitor-use areas results in both positive and negative impacts to these resources. Badlands National Park staff members face many unique challenges to meet the goals of the 1916 National Park Service Organic Act, “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” The protection of a portion of the White River Badlands as a national park has ensured that the scientific information provided by this world-class paleontological and geological resource can be made available to everyone in perpetuity. Partnerships Badlands National Park staff work in close partnership with many outside institutions. Before the development of a paleontology program in 1994, park management relied completely on the expertise of paleontologists and geologists at museums and universities to assist with emergency salvage collections and provide input on major management decisions related to fossils in the park. The park still relies on this advice and input today, but the park is now also able to pursue more in-house projects. Museums and universities still provide important expertise and laboratory and curatorial space, and they are actively engaged in many research projects in the park. In return, Badlands National Park not only provides protection of a world-renowned resource but also ensures access to qualified researchers. The Oglala Sioux Tribe is also a close partner with Badlands National Park. In 1968, under Public Law 90–468, Congress approved a revision of the boundaries of Badlands National Park to include a portion of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, creating the South Unit of Badlands National Park. While the Oglala Sioux Tribe retained ownership of the land, the management of the South Unit is by both the NPS and the tribe. One of the main reasons for establishing the South Unit was to protect “lands of outstanding scenic and scientific character.” At the time of this writing, a new general management plan (GMP) has been drafted, with the goal of creating the first tribal national park in the United 190 The...


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