OPS 2-2 - Cultural ecosystem services in the National Parks

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Exhibit Hall, Oregon Convention Center
Hector Alvarez, Humboldt State University, Tatum Van Dam, Colorado State University, Lucyna Bowland, University of Colorado Denver and Autumn Harry, University of Nevada Reno

The Rocky Mountain Science & Sustainability Network (RMSSN) Cultural Team of 2016 was comprised of a group of university students that represented a good cross-section of different identities and perspectives. As different ethnicities and cultures evoke different perspectives, a myriad of solutions to a problem can arise. We were tasked to make photo points that would be recognizable by future teams to compare and contrast with. To establish our photo points, we first consulted with park personnel. We then conferred among ourselves to outline stakeholders, points of view, and the stories of the land. As the Yellowstone Deputy Superintendent noted in his welcoming remarks to us, the human species exerts the greatest influence on the land. Paradoxically, he added, humans are the least studied species found in the national parks. We established our photo points to show the way people use the land and how its culture has changed from past uses.


We chose seven sites in the northern region of the Yellowstone National Park with a total of eight photo points established: Mammoth Hot Springs, Wickiup area, Obsidian Cliff, Roaring Mountains and the Grand Prismatic. In each site there is GPS coordinate with ranging photo points of 1-3 per site. These photo points could be useful in tracking changes in the landscape related to climate change, population demands, historical and cultural preservation. Future improvements to research should account for establishing a metric for a sizing reference point, such as a meter stick for size comparison.