If 1997 was the "year of planning" at Gettysburg NMP, fiscal year 1998 was the "year of public involvement." Throughout the year, the park labored on the "proposal selected for negotiations" from the Request for Proposals for new visitor center and museum facilities, and upon the draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement. This effort included an unprecedented number of public meetings, briefings for interested individuals and groups, and briefings for interested Congressional members and staff. The planning process also attracted a great deal of media interest and coverage.
In the meantime, the year started on the very best of notes. Almost single-handedly, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) succeeded in obtaining a $1,032,000 increase in the permanent operating base of the park, in the FY98 appropriations bill. The additional funds were immediately invested in additional professional personnel, equipment, materials, and projects, all targeted towards the improved protection and preservation of the parks historic resources.
At the beginning of the year, the park was continuing two separate - and highly critical - planning processes: the Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new visitor center and museum complex, and the General Management Plan (GMP). In October, as the year started, both processes seemed to be running smoothly, and with a great deal of public support. However, due to circumstances beyond the parks control, the NPS soon lost the initiative, which gave a small number of die-hard opponents the time and opportunity they needed to shape the public debate on both processes throughout the remainder of the year.
Unfortunately, news of the panels recommendation leaked to USA Today, and was published the next morning. Opponents of the partnership, including two very disgruntled unsuccessful bidders, immediately provided sound-bites to the media, castigating the NPS for the "commercialization" and the "disneyfication" of Gettysburg. Several influential members of Congress were also upset, since they thought the NPS had released its decision on the RFP without giving them the courtesy of a prior briefing.
As the Director and his staff reviewed the panels findings and recommendation and conducted courtesy briefings for Congressional members and staff, the media continued to run stories analyzing the pros and cons what they knew or suspected of the proposed partnership. Unfortunately, the information available to the media was largely speculative, since the NPS could not discuss any of the details of the proposal selected for negotiation until the Director made the decision to approve the panels recommendation. That decision was made on November 6, 1997, and the actual details of the proposal were immediately provided to the public and the media. However, after three weeks of NPS silence, the damage was done. The framework of the debate concerning whether or not the proposed partnership for a new visitor center/museum complex was in the best public interest had been defined by the proposals opponents.
The proposal selected for negotiation was from a team headed by Kinsley Equities of York, Pennsylvania. The proposal suggested a partnership with National Geographic Television (a for-profit subsidiary of the National Geographic Society), and Gettysburg Tours, the largest single provider of tourist services in the Gettysburg area. The proposal provided all the resource management, interpretive and visitor service needs required by the NPS in the RFP. In addition, it suggested a large-format theater to be operated by National Geographic Television, a National Geographic gift shop, an arts and crafts gallery, a Gettysburg Tours gift shop, a Tour Center to be operated by Gettysburg Tours, and a full-service restaurant. The proposal suggested the formulation of a non-profit entity to lead the project. The $40 million required for the project would be derived approximately one-half from public and corporate fund-raising, and one-half from commercial loans. As soon as those commercial loans were paid off, in approximately 25 years, the proposal offered to donate both the land and the new buildings to the NPS.
The NPS immediately entered into negotiations with Mr. Kinsleys team, in a successful attempt to revise the proposal for the better interests of the NPS and park visitors. Negotiations lasted until June of 1998, when a Letter of Intent was executed with the newly formed 501(c)(3) non-profit, the Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation. The revised proposal reduced the large-format theater to a standard size, eliminated both proposed gifts shops and the arts and crafts gallery, made the Tour Center non-exclusive (i.e., available to all licensed tour operators), changed the full-service restaurant to a cafeteria and cut the size of the food service area in half. These revisions raised the fund-raising target to a minimum of $27 million, with commercial loans not to exceed $12 million. With the reduced commercial loans, the term of the proposed agreement was reduced to 20 years, after which both the land and the visitor center/museum facility would be donated to the NPS.
The major component of the preferred alternative is the proposal to restore the historic landscapes of all the "major battle action" areas of the park. Such restoration would include clearing of forested land, where land was clear in 1863, reforestation of limited areas which are now cleared but were forested in 1863, and restoration of missing small-scale landscape features which had an influence upon the course of battle, such as historic fence lines. The preferred alternative also included the revised proposal for the visitor center/museum complex.
During the course of these planning efforts, the park conducted an unprecedented public involvement campaign. During the year, five newsletters were released to the parks mailing list (which had grown to 3,800 by the time the draft GMP was released), 17 public meetings were held, and three open houses were conducted to allow the public a first-hand view of the abysmal collection storage conditions and a "behind the scenes" view of the Cyclorama Painting. The park provided briefings to 59 Congressional members and staff, and the Superintendent presented 23 speeches to Civil War groups and civic organizations from Pennsylvania to North Carolina and from Washington, D.C., to California. The public response was overwhelmingly positive. During this public involvement effort, the NPS received over 3,700 written comments, which assisted considerably in both the revisions to the visitor center/museum proposal and the GMP itself. Approximately 85% of the comments received indicated strong support for restoration of the parks historic landscapes and for implementation of the proposed partnership with the Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation.
Highly vocal but extremely limited opposition to the draft GMP, and particularly to the proposed partnership, still existed at the end of the year. The primary objections arose from a fear of Steinwehr Avenue merchants that removal of the current visitor center and its parking lot would have an adverse economic impact upon their businesses. Even though the NPS commissioned an economic impact analysis which projected just the opposite that implementation of the draft GMPs preferred alternative would increase visitor spending by $30 million per year the opponents refused to accept the findings of that analysis. The merchants leading the opposition were joined by those opposed to the parks white-tailed deer management plan (see below), by one of the unsuccessful RFP respondents, and by those still upset about the 1991 land exchange between the NPS and Gettysburg College. In essence, by the years end, everyone who held a grudge against the NPS for any reason had joined forces to oppose the draft GMP.
Primarily due to the loss of the "public relations" initiative suffered in the fall, the viewpoints and sound bites of the opposition were often played out of proportion by the media. This undoubtedly had an influence upon the decision of Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY), Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks, to hold Subcommittee hearings on the GMP and the visitor center/museum proposal in February 1998. Deputy Director Deny Galvin represented the administration. The NPS position was supported by testimony from Senator Santorum, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg. The NPS position was opposed by the Association for Preservation of Civil War Sites, by the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, and by the attorney for one of the losing proposers. Based upon the testimony delivered and follow-up meetings with Senator Thomas and his staff, the Chairmans concerns appear to be resolved.
By the end of the fiscal year, the draft GMP/EIS had been on public review for six weeks, and six of the nine planned public meetings had been held. To date, public sentiment and comments received overwhelmingly support the NPSs preferred alternative. With luck, the park hopes to revise the draft plan in accordance with the public comments received, and get it approved in fiscal year 1999. Once the GMP is approved, the NPS would then be able to enter into a long-term agreement with the Museum Foundation, so that work on the new visitor center/museum complex could begin. One thing the NPS has learned for certain this year, is that the selection of Mr. Robert Kinsley as the proposed partner was an inspired choice. Mr. Kinsley has been given a crash course in the NPS way of doing business, and has been subjected to some of the rude and disrespectful treatment which befalls public servants from time to time. Through it all, he has remained flexible, objective, and optimistic in his dreams of helping the NPS cure some of the major ills plaguing Gettysburg NMP.
Natural Resource Management
One of the most significant actions affecting natural resource management (as well as cultural resource management) at Gettysburg National Military Park, was the recruitment of Dr. Bruce Craig as the new Chief of Resource Management in June. Bruce brought with him a long and distinguished pedigree in park resource management, through previous experience in the NPS itself as well as a decade of service with the National Parks and Conservation Association, the National Park Trust, and the Conference of National Park Cooperating Associations.
Another significant achievement was the implementation of a full-fledged Geographic Information System (GIS) for the park. Prior to FY98, GIS technology had been used to support individual studies of archeology and white-tailed deer, but no provisions had been made for its long-term use within the park. Motivated by the GMP process, digital data describing the resources of the park and surrounding area were gathered and integrated into the GIS. To date, over 80 layers of information have been loaded, including the conditions within the park in 1863, 1895, 1927 and 1993. A data-sharing agreement with Adams County has made available color digital orthophotographs that were created from aerial photos taken of the park in 1996. Lower altitude black and white aerial photographs were taken of the park in the April 1998. These photos will be used to develop large scale (1 inch = 50 feet) maps of very specific areas. Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) data can now be captured by park staff in real-time at accuracies smaller than one meter, due to the addition of a Trimble GPS receiver. The GPS unit has also been used to navigate to preselected points for natural resource sampling. The GIS was used to create over 400 individual maps for resource management, interpretation, protection, and maintenance use. The most appreciative users of the system have been the Superintendent and the Park Planner, who have discovered that the GISs ability to print maps for almost any occasion has been invaluable in preparation for public meetings, Congressional briefings, and speeches.
White-tailed Deer Management Program
The litigation concerning the reduction of white-tailed deer dragged on throughout the year. In accordance with the stipulation agreed upon on August 26, 1997 between the NPS, the court, and the plaintiffs, the park entered into consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and the Advisory Counsel on Historic Preservation, regarding the effects of deer reduction on the cultural resources of the park. On September 17, 1997 the State concurred with the preferred alternative for deer management and determined that it would have no adverse effect upon the historic resources of the parks. The states concurrence was then transmitted to the Advisory Council for review and comment. In December, the plaintiffs appealed to the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places to determine if the park qualified as a traditional cultural property. On January 21, 1998, the Keeper concluded that Gettysburg NMP does not qualify as a traditional cultural property as defined by the National Register. Consequently, on February 9, the Advisory Council concluded that the deer management program would not adversely effect the historic resources of either Gettysburg NMP or Eisenhower NHS.
In April, the annual population survey was completed and the density of deer was estimated to be approximately 62 deer per square mile of forest twice the density of spring 1997 and far above the desired density goal of 25 deer per forested square mile. Between February and June the park re-evaluated the reduction program and concluded that no new or significant changes had occurred and consequently that a supplement to the Environmental Impact Statement was unwarranted. That documentation was submitted to the court on June 8. The park issued a statement on June 19, stating it desired to reinstate the deer management program in October of 1998, thus lifting the voluntary "stay" in the lawsuit. A schedule of motions and cross-motions was established by the court, with a hearing scheduled for November 24, to hear oral arguments. The judge should make a decision some time in FY99.
Resource Management Plan
The Resource Management Plan (RMP) continues to play an integral part in getting projects funded at the park. Most of the funding calls, both on the national level and regional level, require that the project be part of the RMP. For natural resources, four projects were funded in FY98: 1) annual spring deer counts ($2000.); 2) continued monitoring and treatment of Hemlock Woolly Adelgids, an exotic insect pest, that have infested the hemlock trees in the National Cemetery ($3500); 3) partial funding for GIS support from the region allowed the park to establish a monument control network ($1300); and, 4) funding, through the NER Science Office, was secured to re-evaluate the effects of browsing on the historic woodlots in the park ($95,000). This study will begin in FY2000.
Inventorying and Monitoring
The northern bog turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergii) was listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened in November of 1997 and the park falls within the turtles potential range. Between May and June a survey was conduct by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on the Levan Tract, Fantasyland, Guinn Woods, and Powers Hill areas of the park for bog turtles or any potential bog turtle habitat. No turtles were found and no potential habitat was located. TNC also looked at other potential wetland sites throughout the park and concluded the likelihood of bog turtles occurring in the park was extremely low.
Funding through Eastern National and the Service-wide Inventory and Monitoring program, was obtained to initiate a park-wide survey of amphibians, reptiles, and terrestrial invertebrates. The scope-of-work has been completed and the fieldwork will begin in the fall of 1998 and continue through FY00. The Service-wide Inventory and Monitoring program also funded the baseline inventory for birds in the park. This project will also continue through FY00. Once these baseline inventories are the complete, only the mammal and vegetation inventories will be left to complete to meet the Services goal for natural resource inventories.
About 3 years ago, natural resource management staff noticed the Eastern Hemlock trees in the National Cemetery were invested with hemlock woolly adelgids, an Asian insect that decimates hemlock trees. For the past three years, foliar applications using horticultural oil had only minimal effectiveness on the population and the park was on the verge of loosing all 28 hemlock trees in the cemetery. After consultation with the U.S. Forest Service and the regional IPM coordinator, a systemic insecticide was injected into the soil in May followed by an additional foliar application of horticultural oil in late June. Infested trees around the Visitor Center were only treated with horticultural oil. Preliminary monitoring in October indicates 100% control of the adelgids in the National Cemetery. Follow-up monitoring in November verified the October observations, but several trees around the Visitor Center appear to still be infested.
Exotic vegetation control was completed on approximately 110 acres throughout the park. The areas treated included six woodlots, two pastures, and several sites containing small infestations. Techniques used were hand cutting, hand pulling, and herbicide application. Species of plants removed included multiflora rose, Japanese barberry, ailanthus, and mile-a-minute weed. Volunteers contributed at total of 553 hours through hand cutting. A crew consisting of two park employees spent a total of 421 hours using herbicide applications.
In October of 1997, the Pennsylvania Game Commission approached the park about entering a cooperative project with them to enhance the nesting habitat of loggerhead shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus) on the park. Loggerhead shrikes were once listed as extirpated in Pennsylvania but the status was upgraded to threatened in 1992. Before then, the last confirmed sighting was in 1934. In 1992, two nests were located in Adams County and in 1994 that had increased to 5 nests. In 1996, the PA Game Commission initiated a long-term recovery and management plan for shrikes in the state. The management plan concluded that Eisenhower National Historic Site was the best site in the state for habitat enhancement. This was based on the following criteria: 1) the land is already protected because of its federal ownership; 2) it is in close proximity to known active nest sites; and, 3) it has extensive pasture, barbed wire, and hedgerows which are critical components for shrike habitat. Nine potential territories were identified: four on Farms 1 and 2, two on Farm 3, and three on the Redding farm. In conjunction with the Eisenhower staff, two sites were selected, one on Farm 1 and one on the Redding Farm. Twenty trees, purchased by the PA Game Commission, were planted in July. At each site, five native hawthorn trees and five eastern red cedar trees were planted. In addition, a vehicular survey route was established to monitor the status of the population.
The wrought iron fence around the Copse of Trees was removed during the fall for repairs. The resource management staff concluded this would be a good time to evaluate the trees and other vegetation growing on the site. Research was completed to determine what tree species were there historically. In addition to looking at historic photos, consultation was done with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry to help with the site evaluation, tree health, and suggestions for replanting. This area is located on dry ridge and only certain species will grow under those conditions. In addition, several of the white ash trees were infected with ash yellows and consequently removed. Corrective pruning was done to prolong the health of the remaining trees and the removal of native and exotic herbaceous vegetation was done to reduce competition for water and nutrients. A series of recommendations were made and will be implemented over the next year in order to maintain the sites historic species composition and appearance.
Cultural Resource Management
A combination of park interpretive, planning, and resource management staff continued work on the Cultural Landscape Report for the battlefield portion of the park. Basic research was completed and several sections of the document, including a description of the military topographic features of the battle, were written. Also during the year, draft mapping of landscapes and landscape resources were completed and entered into the parks Geographic Information System (GIS) as part of the GMP planning process. The research and mapping were invaluable in transmitting information to the public about the historic eras of the park, the changes that occurred over time, and the impacts of the four GMP alternatives. Completion of the CLR for the battlefield will occur in 1999.
Progress on the National Register nomination was limited this year, but included a major staff review and assessment of the draft that was completed last year. In order to reflect more accurately the landscape resources that contribute to the significance of the park, it was decided to undertake a revision of the document. During this year, all of the contributing and noncontributing resources lists were revised to incorporate topographic and other landscape features that were omitted from the first draft. In addition, many battle and commemorative features were categorized to more accurately reflect their contributing significance. The form and narrative will be further revised next year and submitted as a National Historic Landmark nomination.
Major progress occurred this year in drafting the national register nominations for revision of the Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District. Through an American Battlefield Protection Program grant to the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, this project is entering its final phases through a private contractor. This year, draft nominations were completed for the Seven Stars and Marsh Creek Skirmish Site, McKnightstown and Flohrs Church, Fairfield, the Fairfield Cavalry Battlefield, Union hospital sites, and the Hunterstown Cavalry Battlefield. A public meeting sponsored by the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg was held in September for the Cashtown district nomination.
As is usually the case in a park environment, the archeological program in FY98 was long on compliance activities in support of maintenance and development, and short on research. Most of the archeologists time was devoted towards coordinating archeological surveys, testing, monitoring and mitigation in support of line-item construction projects, as well as projects funded through one-year NPS funds and donated funds. This year's research efforts have gone towards registering archeological sites on the Archeological Sites Management Information System (ASMIS). The park submitted 78 Pennsylvania Archeological Site Survey (PASS) records to the SHPO. Both, the ASMIS and PASS registration projects were primarily compiled by students or by contract.
In May 1998 the park received the second draft of the Archeological Overview and Assessment from the Valley Forge Center for Archeology and Historic Preservation. Unfortunately, the document is still not ready for prime time, so the park still lacks its basic archeological study. In order to remedy this void, the park has determined to take over the revisions to the Overview and Assessment, which will be the park archeologists top priority in FY99.
The processing of archival collections continued during fiscal year 1998. Due to staff schedules at both the park and the Northeast Museum Services Center (NMSC), processing is a year behind funding. During May of this year 26,594 items were removed from this collection and hand carried to Boston for processing with FY97 funds. The park received $39,500 in backlog cataloging funds and made a matching obligation (from Eastern National donation returns) bringing the total for FY98 to $79,000. The materials to be processed with this funding will be picked up late in the calendar year when the FY97 items are returned fully processed to the park. Processing is once again being done by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities through a cooperative agreement with NMSC.
The park has continued the internship program with Mount Saint Marys College. Susan Bailey, the student intern for the fall semester came fully prepared with archival experience and has been able to provide much needed support to prepare for upcoming projects.
The park received $15,000 in NPS funds to purchase artifact storage equipment, and $18,500 for the rehousing of archives in the museum collection. This project was completed with the on-site assistance of a team from the Northeast Museum Services Center. 13% of the catalog descriptions of the museum collection were upgraded to full catalog status, and the database was converted to the new ANCS+ system.
The protection branch of the park made substantial progress this year in enhancing basic abilities for resource protection. 100% of the park boundary was patrolled to determine posting needs and to look for and document boundary encroachments, and 20% of the known boundary was marked or posted. Three new resource protection waysides were designed and installed at two of the heaviest visited sites in the park in an effort to increase visitor awareness and sensitivity to their impacts upon these historic resources.
Members of the protection staff received training on structural fire protection for historic structures and museum collections, and for disaster planning for museum collections. All of the park fire extinguishers were tested and replaced as necessary, the fire suppression systems for the visitor center museum and storage area was tested via contract, and site visits were conducted with the local volunteer fire companies in order to improve their suppression planning.
With the receipt of a significant operating increase, the park negotiated a deal with the Northeast Region Lands Resource Division, which resulted in a Realty Specialist (Bunny LaDouceur) being duty-stationed in the park. This one-person land acquisition field office will focus exclusively on acquisition of the 100+ tracts of unprotected land within the park boundary. Under the terms of the deal, the park has agreed to fund the salary, benefits, and all the expenses of the position for no less than four years.
The deal has already proven its value to the park. In FY98, two tracts (12 acres) were acquired, including the site of Company B of the famed 20th Maine Regiment on the shoulder of Little Round Top. (The Friends had purchased the site last year, and title was formally passed to the NPS this year.) The parks (sadly) outdated land acquisition maps were updated to depict all the tracts added by the 1990 boundary legislation.
Armed with this information, which was required in order to order appraisals and title searches, negotiations were continued with willing sellers for 7 tracts of land (276 acres) and new negotiations were started with willing sellers for 10 tracts of land (228 acres). In addition, Bunny assisted considerably in the land acquisition program of the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg (see below).
Dave Dreier, Chief of Maintenance, started his annual report with the remark "Needless to say, there is never a dull moment working at Gettysburg National Military Park." Thats a pretty accurate summary. The addition of $1+ million to the parks operating base enabled the maintenance division to accomplish more than weve ever done before in a single year. With a portion of the new base funds, a new exhibit specialist and a new preservation specialist were hired. The park also fared well in the competition for one-year funds for repair/rehabilitation, cyclic maintenance, and cultural cyclic maintenance. The park received $364,000 from these sources, in addition to donated funds from Eastern National, the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, and Adopt-A-Position groups.
Highlights of the work accomplished this year with the additional funds and staff available include:
The Gettysburg Municipal Authority (finally) awarded the contract for the construction of the Gettysburg NMP and Eisenhower NHS sewer system late in the fiscal year. Construction is expected to start in December 1998, and to take approximately a year to complete. The project will take 17 park buildings off individual septic systems and connect them to local sewer systems. The project design and construction is being accomplished by the Gettysburg Municipal Authority, with funds made available by the NPS through the FY96 line-item construction appropriations.
The FY99 Federal Lands Highway Program contains $3 million for phase two of the park road rehabilitation project at Gettysburg. Preliminary design for the project was completed this year, and final design is well underway. The funds available will make possible the rehabilitation of Buford, Doubleday, Howard, South Confederate, Sedgwick, Pleasonton, North Confederate, East Confederate, East Cavalry Field, Humphries, and Wainright Avenues, as well as Millerstown Road, Granite School House Lane, Wheatfield Road, and the Eisenhower front entrance lane.
Late in the fiscal year, the park was informed that the Presidents budget request for FY2000 would include a line-item appropriation request for the Gettysburg fire suppression system. This project, which made the service-wide construction priority list this year, would provide for fire detection and suppression systems for 47 historic structures throughout the park which currently have no such protection. Preliminary design for the project is expected to start early in FY99.
The level of public service provided by the park to our visitors continued to increase in both quantity and quality in FY98. These improvements were partially due to increased funds available and to steadily increasing opportunities made possible by donated funds and volunteer efforts. However, the primary cause of the improvement in quality and diversity of visitor programs goes to a highly capable staff that has wholeheartedly adopted the new interpretive themes which were developed through the Government Performance Results Act. In addition, the Chief of Interpretive and Protection and key members of his staff played an important role in the development of the visitor services portions of the draft GMP.
Four new programs were added this year to the personnel services schedule, all of which spoke to the broader themes and issues associated with the Civil War (The Civil War Soldier, The Civilians War, Casualties of War and Culps Hill). A new Student Education Program curriculum guide on Lincoln and the National Cemetery was produced with input and review through teachers workshops. It will be presented and revised for the first time this fall season. In order to provide better service and information to our "virtual" visitors," the park web page was completely redesigned. It is now consistently the most visited Web site in the NE Region. Finally, a full rehabilitation of the visitor contact portion of the main Visitor Center was completed, in order to facilitate the new reservation system and improve visitor information exchange.
The Park Watch program continued to grow in size and maturity throughout the year. Three training sessions for new Park Watch volunteers were conducted during the year. At the end of the year we had 107 certified Park Watch volunteers, who collectively provided 12,325 hours of service (and increase of over 2,000 hours from last year). The Ranger staff worked with the Park Watch volunteers to institute a newsletter to provide information, updates, and professional tips. Without a doubt, the Park Watch program has become an invaluable extension of the park protection program they constitute our "eyes and ears" on the battlefield.
For the fifth straight year, visitation to the park remained extremely high, although there was a minor decline from 1997. Total park visitation in calendar year 1998 was 1,776,060, a 1.4% decrease from last year.
For the fourth year, the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg provided the funding to produce an economic impact analysis of Gettysburg NMP and Eisenhower NHS upon the local economic of the greater Gettysburg area. The analysis showed direct NPS and its partners (Eastern National, Licensed Battlefield Guides, and the Friends ) expended over $6.5 million in the local economy in 1997. Visitors to the parks spent over $109 million while in the area, resulting in direct total expenditures of over $115 million for the year. These expenditures, in turn, generated state and local tax revenues of $7.2 million.
Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg
Once again, the Friends had a magnificent year, particularly when measured by service to the parks. The Friends funded the parks Junior Ranger program, provided funds for the last phase of the burial of utility lines on Emmitsburg Road, provided funds for cannon carriage restoration and monument repairs, and purchased and donated several rare items to the museum collection. Friends volunteers provided over 1,200 hours of service to the park, including the annual peach orchard sales and the annual volunteer weekend painting project. In their spare time, the Friends raised over $161,000 for monument restoration, and adopted and endowed the 20th Maine position and its monument.
Best of all, the Friends land acquisition program sprang into high gear. They purchased a private residence on Mummasburg Road, and are holding it for transfer to the park. This will allow the park to remove one more modern intrusion from the battlefield. In addition, they purchased a 23-acre farm on the edge of the 1st Days battlefield. The Friends plan to place an easement upon the entire property (which is partially inside the park and partially outside), donate the easement to the NPS, and then sell the property and recycle the funds into their land acquisition program. Finally, they donated to the NPS a 6-acre parcel on Little Round Top, the actual battle site of Company B of the famed 20th Maine.
In cash, goods, and services, the Friends provided assistance to the park in FY98 with a total value of over $584,000. Not a bad year.
As before, Eastern National continued to provide invaluable services in the day-to-day operations of the park. In addition to its bookstore operation, Eastern provided personnel services to operate the interpretive fee programs for the electric map and the cyclorama, and provide custodial services for the visitor center, the cyclorama building and the administration building. The new reservation system which was inaugurated this year worked well for the electric map and cyclorama programs, but the software provided by the contractor for Licensed Battlefield Guide reservations proved incapable of handling the myriad of complexities involved in the guide reservation system. As a result, the park returned to a manual reservation system for FY99. We hope that the down year will provide us with enough time to work all the bugs out of the guide reservation system, so that it may be reinaugurated in FY2000.
Eastern Nationals donation returns to the park in FY98 (from FY97s operations) was slightly over $551,000. Of this total, $31,000 was carry-over from FY97, $156,000 was from the bookstore percentage donation, $277,000 was from the electric map, $82,000 was from the cyclorama, and $5,000 was from the Eisenhower interpretive fee program. Funds from these donation returns were used to support the parks living history program, to purchase museum storage and archival equipment, to conserve museum artifacts, to contract for a park-wide fauna inventory, to underground the utilities on Emmitsburg Road, for exotic vegetation removal on Little Round Top, and a host of smaller projects.
Licensed Battlefield Guides
In 1998, 115 Licensed Battlefield Guides (67 full-time, 26 part-time, and 22 part-time weekend) provided interpretive tours of the battlefield for park visitors. Collectively, the Guides provided 21,700 tours for 246,182 visitors. Both the number of tours offered and the visitors served declined slightly from 1997, with 684 less tours (-3%), and 26,209 less visitors served (-9.6%). This was a sharper decline that the 1.4% decrease in total visitors to the park.
The Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides continued to work closely with the park on a number of issues of mutual concern, particularly in trying to work out the bugs in the new computerized reservation system. Many individual guides also participated in the parks planning process and provided comments upon the draft GMP. In addition, the Guides continued their traditional volunteer activities, including free evening tours of the National Cemetery in the summer, placing flags on gravesites for Memorial Day and Dedication Day, conducting professional educational program and seminars, and providing volunteer brush-cutting crews to assist the park in keeping viewsheds and vistas cleared for interpretative purposes.
The continued growth of the parks volunteer forces was one of the highlights of the year. Both individual and group volunteer programs grew in size, complexity, and value of services rendered. 3,242 individuals volunteered their time, efforts, and expertise to the park in FY98. This broke the existing park record, which had just been set last year. Collectively, the volunteers contributed 47,520 hours of labor, which again eclipsed the previous years total. As we tell the volunteers, these numbers are the equivalent of 23 extra full-time employees for the park, or a cash contribution of $617,776.
The four main areas of volunteer efforts, as before, were visitor services, living history, park watch, and adopt-a-position. 175 individuals volunteered in the visitor service areas, contributing 9,658 hours. Living history re-enactment units included 871 members who provided 13,920 hours of interpretive programs to visitors. The 107 certified members of Park Watch patrolled the battlefield for 12,325 hours, and 1,757 members of Adopt-A-Position groups provided 8,125 hours of labor to clean up and fix up the battlefield.
The Adopt-A-Position groups also continued to raise funds for repair and endowment of monuments associated with their adopted sites. In FY98, 25 groups donated $34,627 for monument repairs, and 3 groups donated $28,000 for maintenance endowments of four monuments. In addition, Columbia Gas formally "adopted" the Peace Light Memorial, and donated $65,000 to the Friends of the National Parks of Gettysburg for its repairs.
Civil War Constituency
As part of the public involvement in the formulation of the draft GMP and the visitor center/museum proposal, public relations with Civil War constituencies was very important this year. Over the year, the Superintendent gave 15 speeches to Civil War Round Tables and similar groups in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, North Carolina, and California, reaching an estimated 1,200 individuals. Highlights of the year included being inducted as an honorary member of the Robert E. Lee Camp, North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
Appropriated Base Operating Funds
FY96 (after assessments) $3,026,000
Other Appropriated (One-Year) Funds
General Management Plan 166,300
Fee Enhancement 149,000
Cyclic Regular 87,000
Cultural Cyclic 118,000
Backlog Cataloging 39,500
Equipment Replacement 109,000
Forest Protection 6,000
Total One-Year Funds $ 961,800
TOTAL APPROPRIATED FUNDS, FY98 $5,474,255
Housing (quarters) $ 91,594
Agricultural Fees 33,431
Licensed Battlefield Guide Fees 25,720
Special Park Use Fees 6,038
TOTAL FEES $ 156,783
Eastern National $ 571,663
Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg 206,902
Adopt-A-Position groups 62,627
General donations 7,883
TOTAL DONATIONS $ 849,075
TOTAL FUNDS AVAILABLE $6,480,113
In addition, Congress released $2.95 million in appropriated funds for land acquisition at Gettysburg NMP.
These funds were from the FY98 Title V Supplemental appropriations.
Since becoming a Servicing Personnel Office in October 1996, the park has not only provided full delegated personnel authority to Gettysburg NMP and Eisenhower NHS, but has provided classification service to Fort McHenry, Hampton NHS, and Asseateague Island NS. In October 1997, Gettysburg NMP began providing these services to Fort McHenry and Hampton, and in August of 1998, to Asseateague island. In all, over 700 personnel actions were processed in the FPPS System during the year. Other related documents not included in this number are employee benefits, direct deposits, savings bonds, etc.
Staffing actions included 24 recruitment bulletins and vacancy announcements and two requests for OPM certs. The staff processed eight promotions and one retirement, and classified 38 positions, and processed 38 awards.
CONCERNS FOR THE FUTURE
One major concern expressed over the last several years the status of the park operating base budget was tremendously alleviated in FY98, due to the $1,032,000 increase in the parks operating base received in the FY98 Congressional appropriations, thanks to the careful shepherding of Senator Santorum. Armed with this budget increase, we were able to add 10 permanent and 12 seasonal positions to the park staff, and accomplish 37 (small and large) resource preservation and interpretive projects that we could not have accomplished without the budget increase.
As before, however, there are several significant initiatives underway, the accomplishment of which will go a very long way in making this park ready for the 21st century: