Seeing Yosemite Through New Eyes
Photo: Sergio Rodriguez via Flickr
By Katrina Pura
B.A. Science Technology Society, 2013
Read about our summer interns on the OutWest student blog. Throughout the summer, the Center's interns will be sending in virtual postcards, snapshots and reports on their summer work.
Before my eight week internship began in the Land Resources Office of Yosemite National Park, I couldn’t have told you what exactly I would be doing. Vague ideas of filing papers and reading musty government maps filled my head. I had no idea what managing the land in a park nearly the size of Rhode Island would entail, but four weeks in with four more exciting weeks before me I can say that I do now. I realized the extent of what I have learned while reading an article my supervisor sent me last Monday. Titled “Land Rush at National Parks” from the Wall Street Journal, the article dealt with such issues as buying inholdings (private properties inside the park), using a reduced Land and Water Conservation Fund (the government mechanism for buying land) to purchase these properties and the necessity in some cases of working through third party conservation trusts to negotiate the deals. These references would have been unintelligible to me at the start of the internship but after their involvement in day-to-day discussion in the office, you can imagine how familiar they have become.
However, while “Acquisitions” may be the most notorious facet of National Park Service (NPS) Land management, it is only a part of what the lands office has to handle. My supervisor deals with adjacent land use, boundary management, utility right of way permits and non-park use of NPS land in addition to further duties. Out of this diverse and yet connected web of land based management I have received a comprehensive education. After days spent searching for information for legal cases and I get to go out and examine cell towers and walk pipe lines. (In case you have an iPhone and want to visit in the next few weeks, AT&T is installing 4g capabilities as I write this). The very maps and deeds that I work to synthesize in the office enrich my experience when I stumble upon visible signs of property history in the field. On many occasions I have come across decades old cases that are arising again years later with different players and locations. Fundamentally, this internship is teaching me that everything is inter-connected and that documentation and historic precedence are useful tools to solving seemingly new issues. I look forward to what the next month will bring!
Read more at the Out West Blog for Summer Interns »