Heritage Resources

Site Steward Program

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) requires the BLM to balance the demands for energy development, mining, timber harvesting, rights-of-way, livestock grazing, and public recreation with natural and heritage resource conservation. 

BLM’s limited number of professional archaeologists and paleontologists simply do not have the time to conduct the necessary field inventories to locate new sites, or to visit all the heritage sites within their jurisdiction on a regular basis. The main objective of the Color Country Site Steward Program is to provide current information to the BLM about the heritage resource site conditions through trained volunteers who regularly visit them.  Volunteers help monitor selected archaeological and paleontological sites for natural or man-caused degradation. Volunteers may also assist BLM resource professionals, and researchers who hold valid BLM permits, to identify and document heritage resource sites on public lands, and with data recovery projects, such as collection, testing, and excavation. These must be done following an approved data recovery plan or research design.  

Volunteer Site Stewards help the BLM accomplish its goals, including the preservation of prehistoric and historic archaeological resources, and paleontological resources for conservation, scientific study, and interpretation. The program also helps increase public awareness of the significance and value of heritage resources, along with the Federal and State laws enacted for historic preservation, and discourages vandalism and site looting. Finally, it promotes understanding, cooperation, and partnerships between Federal, State, and Local government entities, American Indian Tribes, and concerned citizens. 

What volunteers must have, and their duties
Each Volunteer Site Steward needs training before they can start, which typically takes place every February, and will be assigned sites according to their difficulty levels. You will need to monitor your site at least four times a year to determine what changes have occurred in site condition, and relay the information to the BLM. 
Always monitor your site with your assigned partner, and do not bring along a friend or family member. Always leave information on your destination and expected return time with a trusted emergency contact. You must always have on you your steward ID card, water, a camera, a first aid kit, binoculars, a compass or GPS unit, a notepad, site monitoring report forms, incidental site discovery forms, a photo log, a USGS quadrangle map of the site area, your cell phone, and plastic trash bags and protective gloves for trash pickup. It is also recommended to have the “Leave No Trace” and Heritage Resource Stewardship education materials for public distribution.

Site Stewards at the BLM office talking about the program

Some stunning rock art after getting rid of the vandalism. This is why site stewards are so important.

Picture a site steward took while monitoring his site