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Flagstaff Area Monuments Site Monitoring Program


The Flagstaff area monuments have initiated a new program for volunteers to assist the NPS archaeologists to monitor prehistoric sites within the two archaeology based monuments, Wupatki and Walnut Canyon. The NPS Site Monitoring Program is quite different from the State of Arizona Site Steward Program. Since the NPS has the mission to “protect and preserve” its cultural resources it needs detailed, up to date information on the condition of each of its sites in order to mitigate any damage being caused to the sites by time, the environment, or human impacts. The NPS archaeological staff then uses that data in order to budget and plan for the necessary resources to preserve those sites. Ms. Erin Gearty, a new member of the Flagstaff Monuments archaeology staff, has been given the lead to develop a new Site Monitoring program to enlist the aid of local volunteers to assist the NPS staff in monitoring sites. She has developed a detailed training program, detailed reporting forms to be filled out after monitoring a site, safety procedures, and operational protocols under which a volunteer must operate. A Site Monitor must operate under close supervision by NPS archaeologists unlike the Arizona Site Steward program where volunteers visit sites at their own discretion with no supervision and minimal reporting requirements. This is not an opportunity for volunteers to “wander the monument back country” for their own pleasure. This is an opportunity for a person with a serious interest in archaeology to contribute to a high priority project of the Flag Area Monuments archaeology division. Ms. Gearty initiated the program in 2013 with four volunteers in order to work out the protocols and processes.  She is open to new, carefully selected volunteers joining the program.