Even fewer geologists now in the National Park Service
One of my pet peeves is the lack of geologists in professional roles in the National Park Service. The NPS Geologic Resources Division was not established until the late 1990s and instead of growing, they are shrinking. They are now at 20 people, down 9 in the past few years. Most parks that were designated so because of their geologic attributes do not even have a single geologist on staff. Compare this to something like 800 biologists in the NPS. [right, "geologic wonders in the national parks." Credit, NPS]
GRD budgets are not keeping pace with rising mandated costs, so in the next few years, the program will have to downsize even more unless there is a dramatic turnaround.
Recently passed legislation on paleontology resources is putting further pressure on NPS-GRD as they struggle to find the expertise and time to develop the new required regulations on fossils. A Park Service official we talked with this morning is hopeful that their rules and regs can be developed to be compatible with those on other federal lands managed by BLM (also in Interior Dept) and US Forest Service (in the Dept. of Ag.)