What does a Federal Archaeologist do? Good question. Federal archaeologists protect cultural resources on public lands by following a variety of laws, such as NHPA, ARPA, NEPA, and NAGPRA. These resources, which means anything 50 years old or older, need to be protected from destruction by trail maintenance, wildfire, recreation, visitation, vandalism, and so many other things. So, we say ‘NO’ a lot.
Think of it this way: public lands (BLM, NPS, Forest Service, etc.) are like a giant museum. When walking through a museum, people aren’t allowed to smash up the cases and take whatever they want or break something because they feel like it. Same idea applies, only we don’t have our archaeological sites in protective cases.