Interagency Fuels Archaeologist
Bishop Field Office
Bill Kerwin holds a "Service First" position as an interagency fuels archaeologist with BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, implementing fuels reduction projects for the Bishop Field Office and the Inyo National Forest. He literally functions in the before-during-and-after capacities of of the fire program. The "before" is the fuels reduction; the "during," responding to wildland fire as a fireline archaeologist and resource advisor; the "after" is as an emergency stabilization and rehabilitation (ESR) or burned area emergency rehabilitation (BAER) team member.
Bill has been working and living in the western United States for most of his life, spending a majority of that time exploring and enjoying the outdoors, especially remote areas in Death Valley and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He started working for the government with the Inyo National Forest in 1989 doing trail construction on the Mt. Whitney trail. He switched over to the private sector working for a trail contractor working on wilderness projects. He says they landed some good trail contracts that allowed him to live and work seasonally in some incredible areas -- various locations in the Sierra-Nevada, Mt. Shasta, Mt. St. Helens in Washington State, the Continental Divide Trail outside Gunnison, Colorado, and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness in Montana. His trail career lasted nine years, during which time he continued to attend school in the off-season.
Bill has an associates degree from Cabrillo Junior College in Santa Cruz. He attended Humboldt State in Arcata, completing studies for a bachelors degree in anthropology in 1999. He says obtaining a job in his field of study is a great accompishment. "Getting in to the field of professional archaeology has been an eye opening experience. Resource management is challenging, but working with the people I have been given a chance to work with has been the biggest reward."
When Bill was 20 years old, he traveled to Asia and climbed in the Himalaya Mountains of Nepal. He says it was a life changing experience seeing how other cultures live.
Originally from Ojai, California, he transplanted to the eastern Sierra in 1986. Bill comes from a large family, spread over the western U.S., including a brother who works for BLM in Medford, OR. Bill says he particularly enjoys his parents and the knowledge they share with him.