BOONE, N.C. — Dr. Mark Spond, who serves as Appalachian State University’s liaison to the National Park Service (NPS), received a total of $69,455.50 in funding from the National Park Service (NPS) to provide wildfire mitigation at archeological sites in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GMSNP).
Over the past two academic years, the Office of the Liaison to the National Park Service (NPS) has been in collaboration with Appalachian alumnus Heath Bailey ’09, who serves as staff archaeologist at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GMSNP), to provide wildfire mitigation services at archeological sites within the park.
In his commentary on the project, Spond wrote, “An agreement between the university and the National Park Service Youth Programs Division allows Appalachian to place student and nonstudent temporary employees in positions at partnering parks.”
According to Spond, the university’s work with Bailey and the archaeological staff at GSMNP began during August 2016, when Appalachian alumna Josephine Smith ’16, a native of Granite Falls, initiated a survey of historic and prehistoric sites within the park. He said most of her efforts were focused in remote areas of the park located in Blount County, Tennessee.
Following the devastating Chimney Tops 2 and Cobbly Nob wildfires in November 2016, Spond said “resource managers at the Smokies identified a need to complete emergency stabilization treatment of archaeological sites on land within the perimeters of the fires.”
The park and the university collaborated to select Appalachian alumnae Cala Castleberry ’17, of Tallahassee, Florida, and Hayley Wynn ’17, of Huntersville, to perform the stabilization treatment. Both Castleberry and Wynn are May 2017 graduates of Appalachian’s Department of Anthropology. They have been performing an initial assessment at burned sites to determine the appropriate stabilization measures to be taken.
About the Appalachian State University Liaison to the National Park Service
The Appalachian State University Liaison to the National Park Service (NPS) is the central contact for initiatives that partner Appalachian with NPS units across the United States. The liaison promotes opportunities, such as service projects and task agreements, that mutually benefit NPS units and university students, faulty, staff and alumni. Past projects have partnered members of the Appalachian Community with NPS natural/cultural resource personnel, interpreters and educational initiatives.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.