She began her career with the National Park Service in 1986. She worked at Glen Canyon and Devils Tower before moving to Capitol Reef National Park, initially serving as lead interpreter and then as chief of interpretation. She retired from the National Park Service in January, 2011.
According to the NPS Digest, “Riley had a unique zest for life and caring for the people around her. She was among the most personable individuals in the National Park Service; many visitors and colleagues enjoyed her energy, sense of humor, adventure, and love of life.” Members of Entrada Institute confirm these thoughts and add that she provided a wonderful bridge between the Institute and the Park Service organization.
Riley’s wish was that “her ashes be sprinkled where they can dance in the breeze, be warmed by the sun and be embodied amongst the land that connected her life and soul.”
In a 2009 interview, Riley was quoted as saying “Everything yearns to be alive in the desert… I’m an old newcomer after 20 years here. We like it here because we want to live in a clean, remote, crime-free area where we don’t have to lock our doors and where community is close.”
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