The Arizona Site Stewards Program recently recognized Brad Heap with its 2013 Assistant Regional Site Steward Coordinator Award for his outstanding service in preserving the cultural resources of the eastern region of the Arizona Strip.

In his nearly 10 years as an Arizona site steward, Heap has logged more than 4,000 hours in the field and led the effort to bring 40 additional archaeological sites into the site steward program. Much of his time and energy has been focused on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest, although he has also brought his valuable skills in surveying, site recording and cabin restoration to projects on the forest’s other two districts.

For the last two years, Heap has served as the sub-regional coordinator for the North Kaibab District portion of the Arizona Strip’s Site Steward Program. He has been instrumental in recruiting new site stewards to monitor North Kaibab sites.

“Brad is a dedicated steward of the land. He takes his site steward duties to heart,” wrote Britt Betenson, assistant North Kaibab Ranger District archaeologist, in her nomination of Heap for the award. “Brad has worked hard to build an active and sustainable group of volunteers … and … demonstrates a love of the land and its cultural resources.”

The Arizona Site Stewards Program is an organization of volunteers, sponsored by public land managers of Arizona, whose members are selected, trained and certified by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Commission. The chief objective of the program is to report to land managers the destruction or vandalism of archaeological sites in Arizona through site monitoring. Stewards are also active in public education and outreach activities.

According to Betenson, site stewards are often “our eyes and ears on the forest,” and they provide tremendous support to the Kaibab National Forest Heritage Program. “We are grateful to members of the public who share our stewardship ethic and who dedicate their time to preserving and protecting heritage resources for future generations,” Betenson said.

Heap began his volunteer work with the site steward program in 2004. “Before I knew it, I was assigned to monitor 26 sites on the North Kaibab,” Heap said. “Just finding the sites for the first time exposed me to so much of the cultural resources of the forest that I became hooked.”

Besides stewarding for the Forest Service, Heap also assists with projects sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management and the Kaibab-Vermilion Cliffs Heritage Alliance, and presents archaeology programs to local elementary school children as part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners organization.

Betenson describes Heap as reserved and kind-hearted. She said once you get to know Heap, it is apparent he takes his passions for volunteer service and cultural resource preservation seriously and can be counted on whenever needed. He doesn’t do it for the recognition, according to Betenson, although he deserves it.

Perhaps that’s why Heap described the highlight of his time as a site steward not in terms of the award he recently received but rather like this: “My most memorable moment is standing in a cliff-top ruin on the Paria Plateau, looking east to Navajo Mountain and the Echo Cliffs, south to the Saddle Mountain area, and down 2,000 feet to see the Colorado River flowing through Marble Canyon, and realizing that I was seeing what inspired the Ancestral Puebloans 1,000 years ago.”