Landscapes

New Program Engages the Public in Saving Historic Places

Posted on: March 25th, 2010 by Guest Writer 1 Comment

 

HistoriCorps is a new preservation program modeled after community service programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, Peace Corps, and AmeriCorps. It’s a public-private partnership that will engage a network of volunteers and professionals to preserve and rehabilitate historic places. But preservation isn’t the only benefit to the program. It will also include learning, outdoor recreation, and heritage tourism opportunities in some of the nation’s most beautiful mountain and plains settings. Instructors and volunteers/students are coming from all over the United States to participate in this summer’s projects, which include the restoration of a turn-of- the-century Forest Service Ranger Station in Colorado and a CCC-era fire lookout in Alaska.

HistoriCorps is a public-private partnership run by Colorado Preservation, Inc., with an advisory board that includes members from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Colorado State Historic Preservation Office, University of Colorado, and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. Many of the projects are being sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado, but the mission of the program includes work on public lands and their gateway communities throughout the United States. The Forest Service has been fundamental in supporting the formation of HistoriCorps because, as a land management agency primarily concerned with natural resources, they employ few architects or preservationists. HistoriCorps will enable the Forest Service and other entities to restore more buildings and make them available to the public, primarily as overnight rentals for the vacationing heritage tourist. There are a number of historic cabins that can currently be rented. Find out more about these unique lodging opportunities at www.recreation.gov.

Saguache-Volunteer-Day-10-3-09

Saguache Volunteer Day, October 2009

Individual projects will build on existing local and community-based partnerships.
“We are very excited about the local and national potential of this new program,” James Hare, executive director of Colorado Preservation, Inc., said. "There are so many benefits to HistoriCorps. From on the job training of young adults, to providing a sustainable business model for significant structures on public lands, to fostering preservationists of the future, HistoriCorps will manage a workforce and broker energy, resources, and good intentions into major results that will truly benefit the public.”

Ann Pritzlaff, member of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation who was fundamental in forming this program, said, “HistoriCorps is more than a clearinghouse for volunteers or a resource for funding. HistoriCorps will build the capacity of land management agencies and local governments to achieve preservation projects, advance green technologies and enable innovators in historic preservation and stewardship, so that preservation can take on real value for communities and economies.”

For more information about HistoriCorps, go to www.Historicorps.org.

Terri Liestman is the heritage program leader for the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States Forest Service.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

When Good Goals Go Bad – Cape Wind’s Toll on Cultural and Historic Treasures

Posted on: March 23rd, 2010 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Written by Roberta Lane

A historic ariel view of Nantucket.

A historic aerial view of Nantucket.

Yesterday, in an auditorium in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, hundreds of people gathered to speak their minds on a wrenching conflict between the importance of preserving our heritage and the importance of developing alternative energy. Tribal leaders, boat captains, town council-members, 12th-generation local residents, conservation and preservation professionals, college students, retirees, and many others lined up to address the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, as that independent federal agency prepares to make formal comments to Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar on the Cape Wind development proposal for Nantucket Sound.

Watching passionate people weigh in eloquently on both sides, I kept thinking that this never should have happened.

Cape Wind, Inc. has proposed to build 130 wind turbines that would be 440 feet tall, taller than the Statue of Liberty. The turbines would be illuminated and spread over a 25-square mile area in the federal waters that lie in the middle of Nantucket Sound, the seascape that is mostly enclosed between Nantucket Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Cape Cod. It would be about six miles from Cape Cod and 13 miles from Nantucket. The development would require a lease from the federal Minerals Management Service (MMS), an Interior agency.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been actively involved in the review of the Cape Wind project since it started nine years ago. Deputy General Counsel Elizabeth Merritt and I were at yesterday’s hearing to deliver testimony on the National Trust’s views on the project. We argued that the Department of the Interior should reject Cape Wind at the current location, but take steps to move the project to a less harmful location, which has already been identified and studied nearby.

The National Trust views climate change as one of the most momentous and sweeping threats to our communities and our heritage. From the prospect of sea level rise, to changing patterns of human settlement, to intensifying and more frequent extreme weather events, the projected effects of climate change would transform people’s lives, in part by damaging our neighborhoods, landmarks, and cultural landscapes. The National Trust strongly supports the goal of developing renewable energy sources, including wind power.

However, there is no good reason for our nation’s goal of promoting wind energy development to conflict with our commitment of stewardship for our treasured historic places. This is a big country; there are lots of places to put wind farms. Why, then, is the nation’s first offshore industrial wind installation proposed for the heart of such a highly significant historical and cultural place?

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

 

Written by Amy Cole and Ti Hays

More than 10,000 prehistoric rock art images exist in Nine Mile Canyon, which also contains sites associated with pioneer settlement and ranching history.

More than 10,000 prehistoric rock art images exist in Nine Mile Canyon, which also contains sites associated with pioneer settlement and ranching history.

Utah’s Nine Mile Canyon has been the focus of National Trust for Historic Preservation advocacy efforts for nearly ten years due to the adverse effects from a series of natural gas development proposals on the canyon’s remarkable collection of prehistoric rock art sites. Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – the federal agency responsible for permitting oil and gas activities on federal land in and near the canyon – along with the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, the Bill Barrett Corporation, and a coalition of preservation groups that includes the National Trust will formally announce an agreement that will help protect the canyon’s significant resources from further damage.

More than 10,000 prehistoric rock art images exist in Nine Mile Canyon, which also contains sites associated with pioneer settlement and ranching history. Natural gas reserves are present in Nine Mile and on the adjoining West Tavaputs Plateau, where drilling has been increasing in recent years. The National Trust became concerned that drilling, increased traffic, and industrialization of the landscape associated with growing energy development were having negative effects on important cultural resources. In particular, dust and potentially harmful chemicals were being deposited on ancient rock art by oil and gas traffic that uses the canyon’s dirt roads. Infrastructure associated with natural gas development – compressor stations, pipelines, and staging areas – was also changing the canyon’s landscape setting. 

Beginning in 2001, the National Trust participated in the public review process under the National Environmental Policy Act for energy exploration and development projects near Nine Mile. Our advocacy efforts intensified in 2004 when the Bill Barrett Corporation began drilling exploratory wells on the West Tavaputs Plateau, which led to the currently-proposed development of up to 807 natural gas wells in and around Nine Mile Canyon. That same year, we listed Nine Mile Canyon as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

For a number of years, the National Trust worked with the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition, the Colorado Plateau Archeological Alliance, the State Historic Preservation Office, the National Park Service, and BLM to ensure that Nine Mile Canyon sites were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We organized a field trip for National Register staff, helped to fund a National Register nomination, and participated in various meetings with partners to identify the best course of action for National Register designation of sites in the canyon. Happily, we can report that in December of 2009, 63 sites in Nine Mile Canyon – including sites from the prehistoric and historic periods – have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

We're hoping that is just the beginning.

The National Trust also participated in a recent lawsuit over a decision by BLM to issue additional oil and gas leases near Nine Mile Canyon, which have led to even more potentially harmful truck traffic in the canyon. This lawsuit was ultimately successful when a federal court in Washington, DC sided with the National Trust and its conservation partners, ordering BLM not to formally transfer the leases. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar went one step farther in February of 2009 when he cancelled the leases after acknowledging that BLM had violated the law by issuing them.

Additionally, for several years, the National Trust unsuccessfully sought to be recognized by BLM as a consulting party under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) for two oil and gas projects near Nine Mile Canyon, including the Bill Barrett Corporation’s West Tavaputs Project. Section 106 of NHPA requires federal agencies, including BLM, to consult with a variety of stakeholders to identify ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the adverse effects their projects could have on historic resources. BLM finally agreed to accept consulting parties for the West Tavaputs Projects in January 2009, and thanks to encouragement from Native American tribes and the National Trust, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation formally entered consultation with BLM. 

Through the Section 106 process, the National Trust and many other groups have since been participating in year-long negotiations about the impacts the West Tavaputs Project could have on significant sites in and around Nine Mile Canyon. Furthermore, due to our efforts, BLM agreed to revise several important determinations required by the Section 106 regulations. BLM agreed that the project could potentially impact a larger geographic area than originally identified, and for the first time ever, acknowledged that oil and gas traffic in the canyon had the potential to adversely affect not only individual rock art sites, but also the landscape setting of those sites.

The outcome of these negotiations will be documented in the formal NHPA Programmatic Agreement that will be signed today. In short, the agreement calls for more archaeological surveys, National Register nominations for sites in the canyon, development of conservation treatments for rock art impacted by dust, continuing research into the effects of dust on rock art, and development of visitor interpretation sites in the canyon.

The National Trust is cautiously optimistic that the terms of the Programmatic Agreement will be beneficial to Nine Mile Canyon's impressive collection of rock art and other significant resources, and that it will help mitigate the effects of the West Tavaputs Project. Once the agreement is signed, we will monitor its implementation and hope that it will serve as a model for other BLM projects in the future.

Learn more about Nine Mile Canyon, the West Tavaputs Project, and the Programmatic Agreement being signed today.

Amy Cole is a senior program officer in the National Trust's Mountains/Plains Office. Ti Hays is a project attorney for public lands who is based in the same office. Both have been heavily involved in the National Trust's efforts to protect Nine Mile Canyon and its fragile cultural resources over the past ten years.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

63 Sites in Nine Mile Canyon Added to the National Register

Posted on: December 1st, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Written by Amy Cole

The pregnant buffalo rock art panel is one of the sites just listed in the National Register.

The pregnant buffalo rock art panel is one of the sites just listed in the National Register.

Great news for Nine Mile Canyon! The National Trust for Historic Preservation is pleased to report that 63 sites in Nine Mile Canyon, Utah, including sites from the prehistoric and historic periods of occupation, have just been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The sites were nominated to the National Register by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is a major property owner in the Canyon, located near Price, Utah. The National Trust has long advocated for the protection of the vast collection of historic and prehistoric resources in the Canyon, including listing it as one of 2004’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The listing of these sites, and the promise by BLM to continue nominating additional sites, marks an important turning point as both BLM and the National Register now formally recognize the significance of Nile Mile’s historic and prehistoric places.

Read the BLM's press release here.

Amy Cole is the senior program officer/attorney for the National Trust's Mountains/Plains Office in Denver, CO.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Gains Important New Acreage

Posted on: November 24th, 2009 by Guest Writer

 

Written by LouAnn Jacobson

On Friday, November 13--an easy day for me to remember--the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Canyons of the Ancients National Monument acquired 4,573 acres. There are seven individual parcels: six are inholdings inside the monument boundaries and surrounded on all sides by BLM land; one is an edgeholding adjacent to the Monument boundary with BLM on three sides.

The family that owned the property listed it for sale in 2006 and it was to be sold at auction in late August 2009. The Conservation Fund--a not-for-profit organization committed to protecting America's working landscapes--negotiated a contract to purchase the property with the understanding that the BLM in turn would buy the land. Starting in 2006, the road toward purchase had a lot of twists and turns. It's amazing to me that last spring (2009) I was ready to give up and on November 13, I uncapped the yellow magic marker and colored in 4,573 acres that are now part of the Monument.

When we realized the acquisition might become a reality, literally dozens (46 and still counting) of people stepped up: staff at all levels of BLM and the Department of the Interior worked on funding, title reviews, the appraisal, inspections, and the myriad tasks required for the federal government to purchase private property; The Conservation Fund worked directly the seller's Realtor; and the National Trust for Historic Preservation put the project at the top of their preservation priority list and reinforced the significance of the property.

Why did BLM acquire the property? There are 25 currently-documented cultural sites and we predict there could be as many as 700, including one of the earliest documented sites in the southwestern United States. Documented by the Hayden survey and photographed by William Henry Jackson in 1874, this site helped bring Colorado archaeology to the attention of scholars and the general public more than a decade before the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde were discovered by Anglo ranchers. A second known site, first photographed in 1908, includes a tower with massive standing walls, a signature of Late Pueblo III Ancestral Puebloan sites. The property also include a one-of-a-kind Ancestral Puebloan solstice marker.

In addition, three of the parcels include riparian areas--a rare ecosystem in southwest Colorado. Purchasing these parcels presents an opportunity to reclaim and protect these riparian areas. Blocking up public land will help us improve rangeland health conditions and better manage the associated grazing allotments. The parcels are isolated and mostly roadless, providing panoramic vistas with deeply-incised canyons, sheer sandstone cliffs, and opportunities for solitude, bird watching, and hiking.

... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.