- By researching aspects of the geology of Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) and
serving for two summers as a seasonal interpretive ranger, I have developed a training manual designed for fellow rangers. The descriptive nature of the manual, combined with its vivid illustrations, is designed to enable rangers of all backgrounds to present the park's geology to visitors in accurate, interactive, inspiring, and thought-provoking programs. To develop successful programs, the geological processes most appropriate for interpretation to RNSP visitors were identified. The geology of Northern California's RNSP is dynamic. The Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ), where the Gorda Plate dives beneath North America, impacts the stability of the region and raises concern for earthquakes and ensuing tsunamis. The ongoing subduction, including uplift of materials from the sea floor, is responsible for the dramatic landscape of RNSP, forming the Coast Range and its rugged coastline. The landscape in turn controls ecological variables. Without the Coast Range, the fog necessary to support the towering redwood forest would not exist. The fracturing of rock layers in the park enhances erosion and landsliding. Such relationships between geology and ecology encourage rangers to present programs with interdisciplinary themes. Geologic processes and their societal importance need to be emphasized for the benefit of RNSP's 400,000 annual visitors. The majority of interpretive park rangers have degrees in life sciences or humanities, and few have much formal training in geology. The manual provides the basic concepts and tools to encourage rangers of all backgrounds to interpret the geology of RNSP to visitors. Plate tectonics, for example, gives interpreters the background necessary to understand a variety of geological processes germane to RNSP, such as earthquakes and related tsunamis. Chapters are designed around themes directly relevant for RNSP, including interpretation, plate
tectonics, rock types, geologic structures, earthquakes, tsunamis, and geologic history.
Non-technical text accompanies photographs and other illustrations to convey geologic
processes at many scales, ranging from individual water particles to worldwide
earthquake distribution. Analogies to familiar daily life events are used to present scientific concepts, and suggestions for methods to demonstrate the processes to the public are included. The appendices are designed to help rangers prepare for
interpretive programs and relate to specific audiences. They include summaries of the
geologic processes relevant to questions commonly asked by visitors, geologic limericks, interpretive program outlines, as well as results of visitor surveys. This version, submitted as a thesis to Oregon State University, will be reviewed by RNSP staff and others, and then revised to become a concise geology training manual for rangers at RNSP.