Archaeology in the Wilderness

Author(s): David Curtis

Year: 2016


Yosemite National Park (California) receives an overwhelming four million visitors per year. While most visitors remain in the developed areas of the park, many people venture forth into the 704,556-acre Wilderness areas for recreation and solitude - the sheer frequency of which leads to resource impacts unprecedented in many other Wildernesses. In response, park resource managers developed the “Wilderness Restoration Program” in 1987, a program designed to directly mitigate and alleviate the on-going damages incurred by high-volume, heavy-frequency visitation and use in Wilderness. The program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to focus on issues of ecological restoration in cooperation with cultural resource preservation and employs a process of shared scheduling, field collaboration, crew education, data review, and project reporting. In so doing, park archaeology staff have been able to perform site survey and inventory for over 25 years in areas normally inaccessible by funding restrictions, viz. Yosemite's backcountry, and have systematically expanded Yosemite's archaeological record on an annual basis. This unique partnership serves as a model of a successful program that transcends individualistic perceptions of natural vs. cultural resources in order to nurture a more comprehensive management of wilderness character.

Cite this Record

Archaeology in the Wilderness. David Curtis. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403557)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;