Stewardship Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NSSP?

The Nevada Site Stewardship Program (NSSP) is a state-run organization of volunteers that share a commitment to the preservation of archaeological and paleontological resources on state and federal lands. The NSSP provides an opportunity for concerned citizens to volunteer as site stewards to monitor at-risk archaeological and paleontological sites for vandalism, theft, excessive visitation and natural deterioration. 

Who can volunteer?

Any person 18 years of age or older who is interested in the preservation of historical, archaeological and/or paleontological resources, completes the training course, and is willing to abide by the Code of Ethics, can be a steward in the NSSP. A person less than 18 years of age may become a site steward if the land owning agency agrees and they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian while conducting stewardship duties. The guardian or parent must also train as a steward. We encourage families who enjoy being outdoors to come and volunteer. 

Am I a good match for the program?

Stewards tend to be people who:

  • Enjoy being outdoors
  • Have an interest in historic and prehistoric site preservation
  • Are comfortable walking in the Nevada outdoors
    • Hikes range from under a mile to 10+ miles
  • Are willing to drive more than 50 miles
    • Most of our sites are a bit outside of the city limits and we have great sites all over the state
  • Have access to a high clearance or 4wd vehicle
    • Most sites require driving on dirt roads and some may require driving on rough roads
    • Sites along paved roads are available but limited
  • Will continue to enjoy visiting an area time after time
    • Repeated visits to monitor the condition of a site or group of sites is what the program is based upon
    • If you have a favorite area,  this may be a good place to have your site(s)
    • If you are interested in exploring, let us know what areas interest you most
  • Have a partner
    • It is easiest if you bring a partner into the program with you
    • However, we can also help connect you with potential partners
    • Only trained site stewards are able to visit sites so be sure that if you want to share this experience with someone they get trained too
  • Have a computer and an email account
    • Almost all communication between the program and site stewards is done by email.
    • Monitoring reports and photographs need to be sent to the program office. The easiest way to do this is by email.

Which agencies does the program work with?

The NSSP works in collaboration with land managing agencies within the state of Nevada. This list includes, but is not limited to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, Nevada State Parks, Storey County and Carson City.      ​

Why is the program necessary/important?

In a state where over 80% of the land is owned by the federal government, archaeologists and law enforcement officers are stretched thin. Site stewards assist the land managers in monitoring their cultural and paleontological resources and discouraging looting and vandalism.

What do Stewards do?

Stewards are assigned to cultural and paleontological sites that they visit quarterly and submit a site monitoring report. This report will notify the land managing agency if there have been any changes to the site resulting from visitor impacts or natural disturbances.  

How many volunteers are there?

Over the years, NSSP has trained over 1900 volunteers, including local tribes, the descendants of the first Euro-American settlers, and recent residents in the laws dealing with historic preservation, the archaeology of Nevada, and site monitoring. The program usually has around 300 active volunteer site stewards working with 22 federal agency offices to monitor sites statewide.

How do I become a steward?

Please contact Samantha Rubinson, Nevada Site Stewardship Coordinator, by email at srubinson [at] shpo.nv.gov or call (702) 486-5011 to sign-up for the next Site Stewardship Basic Training Class in your area.