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NPS, UW Renew Long-Standing Research Agreement

July 21, 2010
Mountain and lake
AMK Ranch -- A view overlooking Jackson Lake from the AMK Ranch, site of the University of Wyoming-National Park Service Research Center. Scientists from around the world conduct research there to maintain the resources of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. (Jackie Skaggs, NPS)

An agreement signed July 21 at the scenic AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park will continue the longest-standing and most successful partnership between a university and the National Park Service (NPS).

University of Wyoming and NPS officials signed a 10-year special use agreement that will allow research to continue at the ranch, the site of the UW-National Park Service (UW-NPS) Research Center. Scientists from around the world conduct biological and physical science studies and cultural and social research there to maintain the resources of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Today's ceremony featured remarks from Mary Gibson Scott, Grand Teton National Park superintendent; UW President Tom Buchanan; Bill Gern, the university's vice president for research and economic development; and UW Zoology Professor Hank Harlow, UW-NPS Research Center director.

Located on Jackson Lake with an unobstructed view of the Tetons, the AMK Ranch is a desirable place to do research because of the spectacular environments of the national park and surrounding national forest areas, Harlow said.

The UW-NPS Research Center traces its roots to 1948, when the Jackson Hole Research Station was launched as the first research facility at a national park. In 1953, UW joined in operating and sponsoring the station and its research program at the Jackson Hole Biological Research Station. In 1977, the headquarters were moved to the AMK Ranch and the existing UW-NPS Center was established.

At any given time during the summer, the AMK ranch serves as a base for between 50-60 scientists, Gern noted.

He said many long-term studies continue to provide a wealth of information to conserve and provide for public enjoyment of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. These include studies of the role of fire in forest ecosystems, and geologic studies to determine the origin of the Teton Range. The center continues to be the site of numerous wildlife studies, socio-economic surveys of park visitors and inventories of historic structures in Grand Teton National Park, many of which date back to homesteaders in the late 19th century.

The AMK Ranch is also the location of many seminars, field trips, workshops and symposia. Harlow noted that between 85-150 people attend a weekly summer seminar series at the AMK Ranch. Gern said the facility provides quality educational experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students to conduct research in areas important to UW, Wyoming and the region.


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