In dramatic contrast to last year, fiscal year 1997 may be regarded as one of the most important years in the modern history of Gettysburg National Military Park. By the close of the year, tremendous progress had been made on two of the parks most important goals: increase in the base operating funds for the park, and selection of a partner for the development of a new visitor center and museum complex.
At the beginning of the year, however, both goals seemed distant, and - at times - unattainable. Indeed, as we started FY1997, the primary emphasis was upon "the year of planning," which included implementing the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), starting a new General Management Plan (GMP) for the park, and continuing to work on the Development Concept Plan (DCP) and Request for Proposals (RFP) for the proposed new visitor center and museum complex. Predictably, the park staff dubbed 1997 as "the year of planning (dangerously)."
Although most of my time and attention was focused upon the these initiatives, significant progress was also made on a plethora of other issues and objectives, as discussed below. We are blessed at Gettysburg NMP by having one of the most professional and capable staffs of any park in the Service, and most of the accomplishments outlined below were carried by the responsible staffs with little of no guidance from above. The park has come a long way in the last several years.
Three planning efforts - the Government Performance Results Act (GPRA), the General Management Plan(GMP), and the Request for Proposals (RFP) - dominated both the staff efforts and the news throughout the year. All three of these efforts were coordinated, driven, and accomplished primarily through the efforts of Deborah Darden, one of the pre-eminent planners of the entire NPS.
Government Performance Results Act (GPRA)
The park used a three- part strategy to develop its Strategic Park Management Plan: an all-staff process to generate the park's mission, significance, mission and long term goals; a regular check-in with the park's key partners throughout that process; and, as a part of the park's GMP, involvement of the general public.
A GPRA team was established, which included the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Division Chiefs, Park Planner, and seven small group facilitators. The park planner and wildlife biologist acted as facilitators for the GPRA team. Each member of the park staff was assigned to a small group, and each group included representatives from every division, for cross-communication purposes. The small groups, led by volunteer staff facilitators, worked through the major elements and worksheets in the Northeast Region's Strategic Park Management Plan Handbook. The results from the small groups were then assembled and analyzed by the GPRA team; consensus reports were developed for each stage, which were in turn reviewed by the small groups. Although participation in the small groups was voluntary, about 95% of park staff participated in the process.
At each major stage (e.g., mission, mission goals, etc.), the superintendent held a meeting with representatives of the park's key partners: Eastern National, the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission, the Adams County Planning Commission, the Gettysburg NMP Advisory Commission, and the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides. The partner representatives were given a full report on the work of the small groups and the GPRA team, and were asked to comment on what had been prepared. The GPRA team revised each element using their comments. GPRA results have been fully integrated into the park's GMP, and the major GPRA strategic plan elements have been presented to the public in a series of GMP public meetings. Information about the GPRA process has also been included in the park's quarterly newspaper, as well as presented to the public at the park's quarterly Advisory Commission meetings. The park will consider its GPRA strategic plan as draft, until the GMP public process is complete.
As a whole, the full-scale involvement of park staff and key partners in this process proved to be extremely worthwhile, in the rebuilding of a strong sense of the park's long-term vision and mission, and in commitment of a vast majority of the participants towards that vision. The staffs' buy-in towards this vision can best be summarized in the winning nomination for a park slogan, which is
The only drawback to the new GPRA process is the total lack of ability for parks (or the NPS) to link GPRA long-range objectives and annual performance plans to the NPS budget process, as is well-known. Until that can be accomplished, we will be unable to show the Congress a direct line between GPRA work plans and budget allocations. Since resolving this deficiency is one of the Director's high priorities for FY 1998, however, we trust that this problem will be resolved.
An service-wide evaluation panel was selected to review the proposals. The panel included Chairman Mike Adlerstein, Associate Regional Director, NERO; Chuck Baerlin, Superintendent, Sandy Hook Unit, Gateway NRA; Cal Cooper, Chief of Project Management, DSC; Steve Crabtree, Assistant Regional Director, WRO; and Rich Rambur, Superintendent, Lowell National Historical Park. Team Advisors included William Alexander and John Rhodes, Wharton School of Business; Deborah Darden, Park Planner, Gettysburg NMP; Lars Hanslin, Office of the Solicitor, Department of Interior; and Jonathan Lane, ICON Architecture.
The team reviewed the six proposals, requested clarifications from offerors, interviewed four teams, and unanimously recommended the Kinsley proposal as the best proposal received. and recommended that the Director select the Kinsley group for the negotiation of a cooperative agreement for the development of a new Gettysburg Visitor Center and Museum. The Kinsley proposal offered to have a non-profit corporation provide the facilities sought by NPS on an excellent site and ultimately would result in the donation of the facilities and land to Gettysburg NMP. The funding for the facility appears achievable. At the end of the fiscal year, we were waiting for the Director's decision on the evaluation panel's recommendations.
General Management Plan
In February 1997, the park began preparation of its General Management Plan (GMP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The GMP will establish a management philosophy for the park and the Soldier's National Cemetery. The park is managing the project with assistance from the Northeast Regional Office, the Olmsted Center, DSC and a planning consultant, ICON Architecture.
The park's current GMP was begun in 1967 but was not completed until 1982. Because conflicts between the park and community remained unresolved for more than a decade, the 1982 GMP merely recorded the park's then existing management strategies and deferred consideration of major issues, including the location of park facilities and management of the park's cultural landscapes, to future planning efforts. In 1990 a boundary adjustment added more than 1900 acres, or almost one-third, to the park's land base. Recent events, including the loss of a historic railroad cut, a failed landscape management policy, deer management, and the park's ongoing efforts to relocate its visitor facilities, have eroded public support for and trust in the park. Therefore, the GMP includes extensive public involvement and extended comment opportunities for the public.
The draft information created through the GPRA process forms the basis of park's GMP, and was shared with the public as a part of the GMP process. The initial newsletter, mailed to about 2,800 people, included the park's draft mission, legislative purpose and significance statements. This information was also presented at two GMP scoping meetings. The resource significance, banding and prioritizing information developed as a part of Northeast Region Guide Worksheet 2-1 was presented in the second newsletter, mailed to about 3,000 people, and presented at the park's second GMP park resources public workshops.
In August, five concepts were developed and presented to the public. These concepts included a no-action concept, a minimum action concept based upon meeting the park's GPRA strategic plan and three concepts exploring different avenues to rehabilitate the park landscape and enhance park interpretation. As a result of the August workshops, a sixth "combined" concept was developed. This combined concept was presented to the public in September. Actions in FY98 include development of alternative concepts, which will include the proposal selected for negotiation as a result of the park's collection storage, visitor center and museum RFP. A draft document is anticipated in May 1998, with a final document due in August 1998.
Natural Resource Management
The second year of the while-tailed deer management program began in October 1996 and continued through March 1997. The park's reduction guidelines were revised in address the concerns we had received from the public during the first year of reduction. Some of the changes included no large scale drives close to residential neighborhoods bounding the park, reduction only during hours when the park was closed, reduction close to the southern boundary of Gettysburg Borough only during the regularly scheduled Pennsylvania Game Commission hunting seasons, and the establishment of a Deer Reduction Safety Committee. This committee consisted of the Superintendent, the Chief Ranger and the Wildlife Biologist from the park, the Chiefs of Police of Gettysburg Borough and Cumberland Township, the Wildlife Conservation Officer from the Game Commission, and the Chair of the Gettysburg NMP Advisory Commission. The purpose of the Committee was two-fold: to give citizens a distinct line of communication to express any concerns, and to monitor and manage "rumor control." The Committee was highly successful on both fronts, and very few complaints were received during the six month reduction period.
Three hundred and fifty-five deer were removed from the park in FY 1997, and more than 22,000 pounds of field dressed deer were taken to butchers, with all the processed venison being donated to local and regional food banks. The annual spring count, after the end of the second year of reduction efforts, estimated the remaining population to be approximately 102 deer - a dramatic reduction from the 1995 spring count of 1148. Best of all, the reduction program in FY 1997 (as in FY 1996) was carried out with a perfect safety record. There were zero accidents or incidents involving either public safety or property damage. Primary credit for the programs success is due to Dr. Herbert Frost, the park's Wildlife Biologist.
On October 2, 1996, a lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, by a group of local citizens, seeking to halt the deer reduction program. This suit was subsequently denied by the Court due to lack of legal counsel and other procedural errors. A second suit was filed in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. on February 3, 1997 by three animal rights groups and six local citizens. In response to preliminary motions filed subsequent to the suit, a 12-volume Administrative Record was compiled in May and submitted to the Court. On August 15, 1997, attorneys for the plaintiffs and the NPS signed a Joint Stipulation whereby the lawsuit was stayed (at the NPS's request), pending NPS's re-initiation of Section 106 consultation processes with the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Officer and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. In turn, the NPS agreed not to reinstate the deer reduction program until the consultation process was completed and until further order of the Court. At the end of the fiscal year, the consultation process was underway and the deer reduction program was on hold.
As before, the main emphasis in cultural resources management at the park was the continuation of several basic data-collection and research projects which had been begun in previous years. The park was fortunate, through the continuing reorganization of the Service and down-sizing of central offices, to add an archeologist (Kristen Stevens) from the Denver Service Center and a cultural resources specialist (Bertram Herbert) from the Philadelphia Support Office. In addition, Curt Musselman, a historian/geographic information specialist, who worked for the park through much of the year under contract with Eastern National, was hired onto the park staff late in the year. Together, these three additions added considerably to the professional talents and capabilities of the park's Resource Management Division.
- The Level II documentation for the Cultural Landscape Inventory (CLI) was completed by the staff of the Denver Service Center (DSC) and delivered to the park in August. This documentation provides base information about the history and evolution of the battlefield and park landscapes, and maps, identifies, and describes the contributions of salient landscape features. Mapping data from the CLI has already been useful and has been incorporated into the park's geographic information system (GIS) for General Management Plan (GMP) purposes.Human Remains
- Following receipt of the CLI, research and draft narratives for the battlefield's Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) were initiated by park staff. With luck, this will be completed in FY 1999. In addition, a final draft CLR for the Soldiers' National Cemetery was submitted to the park for review by the staff of the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation. Both of these documents will provide the historical landscape documentation and analysis that will serve as the basis for treatment recommendations and management of battlefield and cemetery landscapes throughout the park.
- The final draft National Register nomination for the park and the national cemetery was also submitted by DSC to the park in FY 1997. The park consulted with staff from the National Historic Landmarks (NHL) program to determine how to proceed if the park decided to pursue Landmark status for the battlefield and the cemetery. Because of other priorities and major planning initiatives this year, it was decided to postpone NHL nomination but to proceed with finalizing the draft National Register nomination. This had not been completed by the end of the fiscal year, but is programmed for completion in FY 1998.
- The evaluation and revision of the Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District continues to proceed using funds from the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg and the American Battlefield Preservation Program. Because of imminent development of a U.S. General Hospital site east of the town, the state Bureau of Historic Preservation encouraged the investigator to submit a draft nomination form for the "Camp Letterman" site in order to determine its eligibility to the Register. Although the state concurred in determining that the site was eligible, its ownership by private enterprise limited preservationists' ability to halt development. The pending loss of this historic site reinforces the urgency of completing the revision of the boundaries of the Historic District in order to document and acknowledge the significance of other battle-related resources and sites in the greater Gettysburg area. Public understanding and use of the documentation of those historic sites should encourage local planning efforts which recognize the value of preserving significant historic resources.
- Unfortunately, the Valley Forge Center for Archeology and Historic Preservation made little (if any) progress in completing the revisions to the Archeological Overview and Assessment of the park. After a $300,000 investment of System-wide Archeological Investigation Program funds, four years of field work, and another year of waiting, the park still lacks its basic archeological study, which now represents the single biggest hole in our cultural resource management data base.
The Smithsonian Institution completed the analysis of the human remains recovered from the first day battlefield last year. The remains were verified as being from a battlefield burial of a soldier probably slain near the Railroad Cut where intense fighting took place on July 1, 1963. There was no conclusive evidence, however, regarding the soldier's identity. The remains were re-buried with full military honors in the Soldiers' National Cemetery on July 1, 1997, with the assistance of the 3d U.S. Infantry ("The Old Guard") from Arlington National Cemetery. A poignant highlight of the reburial was the personal attendance by two of the three still-living widows of Civil War veterans; one Union, the other Confederate.
Based upon recommendations made by a collections storage plan developed by the Northeast Museum Services Center (NMSC), the park archives were consolidated in an attempt to enhance physical security. Fire detection was installed in the maintenance facility which houses the archives, although fire suppression is still needed for the space. In conjunction with the consolidation efforts, the park closed the archives to researchers in an attempt to facilitate the processing of the 70 significance archival collections. Late in the fiscal year materials that were cataloged under contract with the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA) were returned to the park. With the return of these processed materials, the park is now able to provide access to three collections. Processing continues under contract using funding secured from the backlog cataloging source which provided $39,500 for this purpose in 1997. The park requested and received funding for a technical assistance detail from the NMSC to re-house the 10,000 maps, blueprints and drawings that were suffering damage due to overcrowding and improper storage. These materials were separated by print process and filed in acid free folders, inventoried and prepared for cataloging.
A Draft Collection Storage Plan was completed, through the Northeast Museum Services Center. ANCS data entry for over 50% of the Gettysburg collection was completed, utilizing a museum aid funded by the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, volunteers, and an intern from Shippensburg University.
As last year, some progress was made in land acquisition, but always at a painfully slow pace due to the reduced staff level of the Lands Resource Division in Philadelphia:
- Negotiations continued throughout the year on the terms for a major easement acquisition of 227 acres.Maintenance
- Negotiations also continued throughout the year on two land exchanges; one with Adams County and the other with the Gettysburg Area School District. With luck, both of these exchanges should be completed next year.
- The fee purchase of a 7-acre tract near the South Cavalry Field was completed.
- The Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg closed on two easements on behalf of the park, after the park had negotiated the actual easement terms with the landowners. Both of these easements (24 acres and 135 acres) should be transferred to the park next year.
In the words of the Chief of Maintenance, "As usual, FY97 was another exciting and challenging year." It was the first full year of the Landscape Preservation Branch's monument preservation program. Using funds from the cultural cyclic program, along with donated funds from Eastern National, the Friends, and Adopt-A-Position groups, work was completed on over 37 monuments. Major projects completed included the 44th New York monument on Little Round Top, the Reynolds Equestrian monument, the New York State monument in the National Cemetery, and the General John Buford statue. In addition, major remedial masonry work was performed on the dome of the Pennsylvania State monument by the Historic Preservation Training Center, with assistance from the park staff.
Using the same combination of fund sources, artillery cannon carriage restoration was preformed on a full time basis (for the first time) during the fall and winter months. Fourteen carriages were rehabilitated and placed back on the field this year, and 10 addition carriages were removed from their positions and sandblasted in preparation for rehabilitation work in FY98.
Considerable progress was also made in repair and rehabilitation of historic structures throughout the park. Again, using both repair/rehab and cyclic funds as well as donated funds, work was completed on 17 historic structures, ranging from roof replacement, to porch repairs, new gutters and down spouts, repointing of brick and stone exteriors, and painting. A historic structure report was awarded on the Patterson House, and work continued to complete the park-wide evaluation of structural conditions through the ICAP program. Finally, several non-historic buildings on lands acquired in previous years were removed.
Other maintenance accomplishments during the year included new roofs for the maintenance complex and the Cyclorama building, replacement of air conditioning units in the Visitor Center, installation of new waysides, vegetation of the Visitor Center parking lot islands, landscape rehabilitation of the High Water Mark area, major horse trail rehabilitation (with considerable assistance from volunteers), and interior office remodeling and improvements at the Visitor Center, the park archives, and the resource management offices.
The Federal Highway Administration contract for phase one of repair/repavement of Gettysburg park roads, which was funded through FY95 Federal Lands Highway Program appropriations, and which was started in FY96, was finally completed in the spring of 1997.
The FY96 line-item construction appropriation of $2.55 million for the installation of park-wide sewer systems at both Gettysburg NMP and Eisenhower NHS, was obligated late in FY96 to the Gettysburg Municipal Authority (GMA). Through a pass-through funding agreement, GMA completed the design of the new system in FY96 and expected to award the construction contract in FY97. However, due to lengthy delays in the premitting processes required by two townships, one borough, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, award of the construction contract is now expected to take place in the spring of 1998.
The level of public service provided by the park increased considerably in FY97, due to both reorganized efforts within the park and substantially increased opportunities made possible by donated funds and volunteer efforts.
- Living history programs on the battlefield increased in FY97, due entirely to donated efforts and capable staff coordination. Individual living history programs were funded from Eastern National donation returns, while the group programs - provided entirely by volunteer Civil War re-enactment units - grew substantially. Twenty-one re-enactment units (who met the park's standards for historical accuracy) provided over 7,000 hours of living history programs for park visitors throughout the year. Programs were presented by infantry, artillery, cavalry, medical, and ladies relief units, as well several musical programs provided by fife and drum units and regimental bands. The living history program included eight black powder firing demonstration weekends, including both infantry and artillery.Special Events
- The park hosted a six-month exhibition of paintings by renowned Civil War artist Don Trioni in the Cyclorama Center. For those unable to visit the park, our primary web site was upgraded and a new site created on the museum collections and exhibits. In addition, in order to assist researchers (both on-site and off-site), the effort to enter the Library's collection of books, manuscripts, vertical files, and periodicals into a standard finding aid (Pro-Cite) continued. Over 7,000 items were added to the finding aid, almost completely due to volunteer efforts
- The Student Eduction Program continues to be so popular that we cannot satisfy all the requests which are received. Consequently, the Education Specialist completed an Educator's Guide which will be provided to schools who we cannot accomodate. In addition, the park's first traveling trunk program was initiated this year, with 3 trunks going out to 30 schools.
- Ranger programs were expanded and modified to reflect the park's new GPRA educational goals. New programs provided for the first time this year included one on Blacks in the U.S. Military and anotehr on "From Slavery to Soldiery." A third new program, "The Gettysburg Campaign," was established especially to get volunteers more involved with presenting programs to the visiting public.
- The annual Remembrance Day celebrations, one of the park's primary special events, attracted several thousand Civil War re-enactors for the annual parade and ceremonies at the park in November.Visitor Protection
- Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O'Conner was the featured speaker the next week, at the annual Dedication Day ceremonies in the Soldiers' National Cemetery, celebrating the 134th anniversary of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., celebrations (in conjunction with Black History Month) were highlighted by a keynote address from recently-retired (and soon-to-be Director) Robert Stanton.
- The park's annual Gettysburg Seminar was highly successful, as usual. The Seminar was planned and conducted in coordination with the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg.
- The third annual Field Music Muster was also very successful, thanks to the participation of two fife and drum corps and the Wildcat (regimental) Band.
- The year's most dramatic special event was the reburial of the human remains which had been discovered on the first days' battlefield last year. The reburial ceremonies took place on July 1, the presumed anniversary of the soldier's death, and attracted a crowd of thousands.
The Park Watch program, which was just started last year, grew magnificantly in numbers and effects throughout the year. Under this program, volunteers receive training from the protection staff, and a qualification ride with a patrol ranger. Following their qualification, they are given a park radio and (using their own vehicles) they are assigned a patrol sector of the park. When seeing anything unusual, they immediately call the ranger on patrol and monitor the scene until the ranger arrives. The volunteers are carefully trained not to interfere personally, but merely to act as extended eyes and ears for the protection staff.
Through the year, four training sessions were held for prospective new volunteers, and by years end the program had qualified 125 volunteers who were contributing over 1,000 hours per month. With the help of the protection staff, the Park Watch volunteers even began organizing themselves, publishing a periodic Parkwatch newsletter, and gathering twice a year for group events. As a direct result of this volunteer effort, incidents of theft and vandalism at Gettysburg NMP and Eisenhower NHS are down 35% from last year. In 1997 we had only two "significant events," as compared to over 20 the previous year.
For the fourth straight year, visitation remained extremely high - a trend started in 1995 after the consecutive release of Ken Burn's Public Television series "The Civil War," and Ted Turner's movie "Gettysburg." After three consecutive years of over 1.7 million visitors, the visitor count barely inched over the 1.8 million mark in 1997. Total visitation for the year was 1,801,470, a 5.5% increase over 1996.
For the third 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 economy of Gettysburg and Adams County. The analysis showed direct NPS expenditures of $3.7 million in the local community in 1996. In addition, park parners, such as Eastern National, the licensed battlefield guides, the Eisenhower concessionor, and the parks' agricultural permitees spent $2.3 million in the economy as a result of their operations on park property.
Visitors to Gettysburg and Eisenhower spent $105 million while in town. This, combined with the direct spending of the parks and their partners, resulted in total direct spending in the local economy of $111 million. In addition, the analysis showed that this direct spending created $6.8 million in local and state tax revenues, and that for every federal dollar invested in the parks, the local community enjoyed a return of $24.59 spent in the local economy.
Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg
The Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg continued to grow in size, maturity, and value to the parks. Their contributions, including financial support, volunteer support, and institutional support, have become instrumental to the success of the park in preserving resources and providing visitor services. In FY97, the Friends purchased easements on 159 acres of highly significant historical lands at Little Round Top and the East Cavalry Field; funded our Junior Ranger program; purchased artifacts for the museum collection; provided funding for a temporary curatorial aid to assist in cataloging; provided funds to repair two monuments and six cannon carriages, to reproduce historic photographs, and to repair and rehabilitate historic fences; and provided over 1,300 hours of volunteer labor.
In all, the Friends provided assistance to the parks worth $839,982 in FY97 - a tremendous achievement and an increase of $500,000 over the value of their assistance in FY96. Since the incorporation of the Friends in 1989 they have now contributed over $1.8 million to resource protection and visitor services at the parks. Truely, they are growing in wisdom and stature!
As always, Eastern National played a pivotal role in the park's operating programs in FY96. In addition to their "normal" bookstore operations, Eastern provided personnel services to operate the interpretive fee programs for the electric map and cyclorama, and provided custodial services for the visitor center and cyclorama buildings, as they have done in the past. In addition, Eastern worked hard with the park staff throughout the year on the introduction of a new reservation system for the park, which will enable our visitors - for the first time - to book advance reservations for the electric map, the cyclorama program, and for licensed battlefield guides. Approximately half of the start-up costs for the new system were provided by Eastern, through a $50,000 improvement grant. The implementation of this reservation system in FY98 promises to bring the park into the 20th century in that aspect of visitor services. (See also the annual report for Eisenhower NHS for Easetern's enchanced services to that park.)
Eastern National's donation returns to Gettysburg NMP in FY97, from fiscal year 1996's operations, totaled $407,232. Of this, $149,134 was the donation return from bookstore operations, $$139,574 was the return from the interpretive fee program for the electric map, and $118,524 was the return from the interpretive fee program for the cyclorama. Funds from these returns were used to repair and replace roofs, porches, windows, shutters and siding of historic structures on the battlefield; to repair a historic bridge; to support the park's living history program, student education program, and fledgling website efforts; and in support of special park events such as Black History month and the annual field music muster.
Licensed Battlefield Guides
In 1997, the park used the services of 118 licensed battlefield guides (69 full-time, 25 part-time, and 24 weekend guides). The guides provided 22,384 tours for 272,391 park visitors over the year. In addition to that basic - and invaluable - interpretive service, the guides also assisted the park in the Government Performance Results Act planning process, in "scoping" issues for the General Management Plan, and worked closely with the park and Eastern National in the plans for the new reservation system. In addition, the guides continued their traditional volunteer activities, including providing free evening tours of the National Cemetery, placing flags on the gravesites for Memorial Day and Dedication Day, conducting "frozen finger" interpretive walks, hosting weekend seminars, and providing brush-hog crews to assist the park in keeping viewsheds and vistas cleared for interpretive purposes.
Both individual and group volunteers were crucial to the park's success in FY97, as they will undoubtedly continue to be in the forseeable future. In almost all respects, the park's volunteer programs grew in size, numbers, and accomplishments, as compared to FY96. For the year, the park recorded an all-time high of 2,451 volunteers, which represents a ratio of 25 volunteers for every paid employee. We are not certain, but we think this may be a National Park Service record. Total hours donated by our volunteer forces was 41,466, which is equivalent to having 20 additional full-time employees, or the equivalent of a cash donation of $532,000. Three of the park's primary volunteer programs which flourished this year were the living history program, the adopt-a-position program, and the park watch program (details of each program have been included above).
Twenty-one re-enactment units (with 819 members) volunteered for 13,690 hours over the season, and provided over 7,000 hours of living history interpertive programs for park visitors. 157 groups adopted 239 regimental and battery positions throughout park, and provided 1,528 volunteers who worked for 7,068 hours of labor to clean and repair elements of their adopted position. In addition, 17 of the adopt-a-position groups have raised and donated to the park $30,000 for the repair of their regimental monuments, including three groups who raised $15,000 for a perpetual maintenance endowment fund for the future care of monuments. Finally, the Park Watch program (described above) grew dramatically in FY97, to 129 individuals who donated 8,119 hours of watching over park resources and park visitors.
(Note: As compared to last year's annual report, the reader will notice that total volunteer hours reported in FY97 (41,466) appears to be a dramatic decline from the 86,048 hours reported last year. The discrepancy, however, is due to the new "truth in reporting volunteer hours"philosophy adopted by the park this year. In FY96 (as in previous years), for example, the park reported 45,903 "volunteer" hours by licensed battlefield guides, even though those guides were paid by visitors for their time. Last year, as in previous years, the park also reported the paid time of Eastern National employees who provided cyclorama interpretive programs and paid contractors of Easetern who provided individual living history programs (14,001 hours). In summary, in FY97 we have deleted approximately 59,000 hours of "paid" time from our volunteer report, which makes the true volunteer time of 41,466 hours reported in FY97 compare very favorably with the true volunteer time of 26,144 hours which should have been reported in FY96.)
Civil War Constituency
A major factor in the success of our volunteer programs, we are certain, is our continuing efforts to reach out to the Civil War community at large for assistance in preserving and maintaining the battlefield. As we visit with and thank the Adopt-A-Position groups for their time and effort, for example, they in turn thank us profusely for allowing them to participate in battlefield activities and gain a sense of pride and "ownership" through their efforts. Naturally, our speaking engagements through FY97 reflected the special emphasis upon this community. The superintendent gave the keynote speech for the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War at the November 1996 Remembrance Day celebrations, and spoke at the Youngstown (Ohio) Civil War Round Table, the annual meeting of the Military Order of Loyal Legion of the United States, the annual meeting of the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, the annual meeting of the Gettysburg Discussion Group, at the Civil War Round Table of Eastern Pennsylvania, and at the third annual Longstreet Symposium.
Numerous members of the park staff participated in Sub-Cluster, Cluster and Northeast Region committees, task forces, and advisory groups, throughout the year. With the retirement of Bill Wade, Chair of the Chesapeake Cluster, in June, I stepped up from Vice-Chair to Chair of the Cluster Leadership Council for the remainder of the year. In addition, I chaired the Choosing By Advantages (CBA) team for the allocation of the cluster's FY97 repair/rehabilitation and cyclic funds, and served once again on the Region's CBA team for line-item construction priorities.
Dave Dreier, Chief of Maintenance, again served admirably on the cluster's Maintenance Advisory Group and as a member of the CBA team for repair/rehab and cyclic funds. Brion FitzGerald, Chief Ranger, served on the Northeast Region's Museum Service Steering Committee, and the cluster's Protection Management Group and Interpretive Advisory Group. Rusty Thompson, Adlministrative Officer, continued to Chair the cluster's administrative advisory group, as well as the Information Management Advisory Group.
Appropriated Base Operating Funds
FY95 (after assessments) $2,877,000
Other Appropriated Funds
Fee Enhancement $ 159,000
Hazardous Waste 13,300
Cyclic Regular 180,000
Cyclic Cultural 95,000
Equipment Replacement 93,000
Equipment Replacement (ADP) 41,300
TOTAL APPROPRIATED FUNDS $4.074,350
Housing (quarters) $ 86,515
Agricultural Fees 33,236
Licensed Battlefield Guide Fees 15,720
Special Park Use Fees 3,775
TOTAL FEES $ 139,246
Eastern National $ 407,232
Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg 55,998
(Limber Chest donation returns)
Adopt-A-Position groups 31,307
General donations 16,868
TOTAL DONATIONS $ 511,405
TOTAL FUNDS AVAILABLE $4,725,001
In October 1996, the administrative office at Gettysburg became a full Servicing Personnel Office, providing full personnel authorities to Gettysburg and Eisenhower as well as providing classification service to Fort McHenry, Hampton NHS, and Assateague Island NS. Approximately 50 positions were classifed at Gettysburg in 1997, and approximately 500 personnel actions were locally processed through the FPPS system, saving both Gettysburg and the other serviced parks considerable time. In addition, the office provided personnel support for filling 8 permanent and 35 temporary positions, 5 promotions, 4 reassignments, 2 retirements, 8 resignations, and 16 terminations.
Key personnel who joined the park staff in FY97 (in addition to those mentioned previously) included Clyde Bell, our new Supervisory Park Ranger for Interpretive Operations; and Jim Johnson, Management Assistant. We were sad to lose Laurie Coughlan, but are extremely proud that one of our graduates is now the Site Manager for Hampton NHS.
CONCERNS FOR THE FUTURE
My concerns for the future of Gettysburg NMP are no different than this time last year. At the end of FY97 park is still broke, and is nowhere near having enough personnel or financial resources required to carry out our mission of preserving our resources for the enjoyment of this and all future generations.
However, the outlook for the future is considerably brighter than it was this time last year, due to two potential break-throughs: the pending decision of the evaluation panel on the Request for Proposals for a new visitor center/museum complex (discussed above), and the potential for a substantial increase to the base operating funds of the park. Through the singular efforts of Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), the FY98 Interior appropriations bill as passed by the Senate contains a $1,052,000 operating increase for Gettysburg NMP. If this increase is approved by the House-Senate conference committee and is approved by the President, Gettysburg NMP will receive the single largest operating increase in the history of the park.
The additional funds are targeted specifically towards preservation of park resources, and will be used to repair and rehabilitate historic structures, monuments and cannon carriages, and to improve artifact and archival conditions. Although this potential increase will not solve all the financial problems for Gettysburg NMP (i.e., it won't touch any of our capital funding needs), it will substantially increase our ability to preserve and sustain the historic resources of the park.
We must acknowledge the significant contribution of the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, who played a quiet but highly effective role in working with Senator Santorum and his staff to bring the plight of the park to their attention, and to help both the NPS and the Senator's office through the oft-confusing maze of the appropriations process.
Plans for the Future
As we look to the future, the general feelings at Gettysburg NMP are more hopeful than they have been in the recent past. If we can successfully pursue the significant initiatives which have been begun over the past several years, we have a very real chance of making the park ready for the challenges of the next century.
- We will continue to make the Request for Proposals for the new Visitor Center and Museum complex our highest priority throughout FY98. If we can select a partner to negotiate with, and can bring those negotiations to a successful conclusion, we will have found an appropriate way to acquire $40+ millioin in private funds for capital improvements so desperately needed, and thus solve some of the park's most crucial long-term problems. Best of all, if we can do it right, we may be able to provide other parks with a process which they could adapt to their own particular needs to solve similar problems throughout the Service.
- We will strive to bring the new General Management Plan to completion. It has been decades since this park has had a meaningful long-term plan to guide management priorities and decisions. The new GMP, based upon the principle of making resource rehabilitation and preservation the number one long-term priority of the park, promises to give both current and future management and staff an invaluable tool to guide such decision-making.
- We will continue to seek all feasible and possible means to increse the flow of "non-appropriated" revenues and donations in support of the park budget. This includes working with our principle partners, Eastern National, and the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg.
- We will continue to emphasize our volunteer programs, including both the individual programs and the group programs such as Park Watch, Living History, and Adopt-A-Position. Although the growth and success of all these programs has been phenomenal over the recent past, we see no reason that they cannot continue to grow in size, strength, and contributions to park resource preservation and visitor services.