I got a press release about the Waco Mammoth Site that I thought I’d pass on to you:
National Park Service Director Jarvis Participates in Public Meeting about Waco Mammoth Site
WACO, TX – Today, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis heard from the citizens of Waco regarding the community’s vision to preserve, protect and enhance the Waco Mammoth Site.
At the invitation of officials from the City of Waco and Baylor University, Jarvis joined the meeting that included significant attendance from local community members and supporters of the site who are interested in protecting the site’s unique resources. Jarvis discussed how new sites are added to the National Park System and talked about the benefits associated with becoming a National Park Service unit. In 2013, national park visitors contributed $26.5 billion to the nation’s economy and supported almost 240,000 jobs across the country.
“The Waco Mammoth Site offers an exciting opportunity to engage students, visitors and scientists alike with the story of these extinct mammoths. The enthusiasm that the community expressed for National Park Service involvement with this site at today’s public meeting is inspiring,” said Director Jarvis. “As the National Park Service looks toward our centennial next year, places like the Waco Mammoth Site provide great opportunities for more Americans to develop a lifelong relationship with parks as places where they can play and learn about amazing stories contained at sites like this.”
“The city is proud to be partnered with community leaders and Baylor University in preserving and protecting the Waco Mammoth site. We welcome the National Park Service to join us in this partnership,” said Waco Mayor Malcolm Duncan, Jr. “We look forward to sharing the benefits of this collaboration with visitors from across the country for generations to come. We are very grateful for the contributions of our partners. We thank Director Jarvis and his staff for coming to look. It is our sincere hope we can share the discovery with the rest of this great country in working with the National Park Service.”
“We are proud of the Baylor University research that has contributed to unearthing this natural treasure and the long partnership we have had with the City of Waco to bring attention to this rare and valuable discovery,” said Baylor University President and Chancellor Judge Ken Starr. “We are honored by the visit of National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and we thank him for his efforts to learn more about the Waco Mammoth Site and to consider our deeply held hope to make it a National Park Service unit.”
Congress directed the National Park Service to conduct a special resource study of the Waco Mammoth Site, which was completed in 2008. It confirmed that the Waco Mammoth resources are nationally significant, worthy of permanent preservation and suitable and feasible for inclusion in the national park system.
Generally, Congress must pass legislation to establish a new unit of the National Park System. The first step in that process is usually a National Park Service study, like the special resource study completed in 2008 for the Waco Mammoth site. The President can also establish new units through the use of the Antiquities Act, which allows the President to designate a site as a national monument.
In 1978, Columbian Mammoth fossils were first discovered at the site, and it remains the nation’s first and only recorded discovery of a nursery herd (females and their offspring) of Pleistocene mammoths. The remains of 24 mammoths have been found to date, 19 of which were part of the nursery herd, and more remains from the Ice Age are likely in the area. The nursery herd died at the same moment in time as a result of a natural catastrophic event, the skeletons are relatively intact, and the individual mammoths range in age from 3 to 65 years old.The site offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to examine the matriarchal herd structure and behavior of this extinct species. For example, juvenile mammoth skeletons rest atop the long tusks of adults, suggesting that the adults were trying to save their offspring from the rising waters and sucking mud. The site has already revealed other Ice Age fossils, including camel, saber-toothed cat, dwarf antelope, and giant tortoise.