SUPERINTENDENT'S ANNUAL REPORT
Fiscal Year 1999
If we want to continue the "naming" of years in the recent history of Gettysburg NMP, whereby we labeled 1997 as the "year of planning" and 1998 as the "year of public involvement," then 1999 could only be called the "year of politics."As we entered the year, the public review of the draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (GMP) was almost completed - the culmination of a five-year public planning process dedicated to finding solutions for the long-term problems threatening the preservation of the park's resources.As public review drew to an end, however, the much less predictable process of political review was just beginning; a process which would engage the majority of our attention throughout the year.
Despite our preoccupation with GMP concerns, much good work was accomplished throughout the year. Thankfully, Gettysburg NMP is blessed with an extremely dedicated and capable senior staff and dozens of talented and hard-working employees.Due to their efforts, progress was made in the preservation of park resources and the education of our visitors.
Fiscal year 1999 got off to an unusual start, when on October 1st a local funeral director called for the removal of the superintendent during a public hearing on the draft GMP.The 60-day public review period for the GMP closed on October 17th.More than 500 written comments were received on the draft GMP, almost 75% of which supported the park's preferred alternative.This culminated an almost unprecedented level of public review for a park planning effort; over 30 public meetings were held and over 3,700 written comments were received during the GMP discussions.Of these comments, a steady 75% supported the park's efforts to enhance its preservation of resources and to expand its interpretive programs.Within the Civil War community, the level of written support soared to 85%.Significantly, the draft GMP was endorsed and supported by several influential and respected national preservation groups, including the National Parks and Conservation Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg.
Despite this overwhelming support, which would have been labeled a "landslide" or a "mandate" in a political election, a few but highly vocal opponents of the GMP persisted in their opposition.A group called "Concerned Citizens for Gettysburg" formed a loose organization led by a few local merchants who feared a future loss of business, joined by some of those opposed to white-tailed deer management (see below), and by one of the unsuccessful respondents to the NPS's Request for Proposals for a museum partnership.The purpose of the Concerned Citizens, in the words of one of its founders, was to "delay the management plan review so that legislators can investigate the issue and, if necessary, stop the proposed management plan and send the Park Service back to the drawing board."
Regional Director Marie Rust visited Gettysburg in late October to meet with some of the opponents.In response to a litany of local concerns, Ms. Rust pointed out that Gettysburg was a national park and that consequently the opinions of the citizens of Seattle were as important to the NPS as were the opinions of citizens of Gettysburg, as we searched for long-range solutions to the park's problems.The intended object lesson did not go over well.When assessing the sources of the local opposition, the Harrisburg Patriot-News came to a similar conclusion, with different words:"The idea that the interests of the owners of wax museums, restaurants and other businesses catering to the tourist trade should be put ahead of preserving the historical integrity of the battlefield is both selfish and short-sighted."
After reviewing all the written comments received on the draft GMP, the park and Regional staff briefed the Director on December 15th on the comments and the NPS responses.The Director approved the park's recommendation for a final preferred alternative and gave permission to print the final GMP, pending resolution of the status of the Cyclorama Building.
In December 1995, as one of the early steps in the planning process for a new visitor center/museum complex, the park completed a Determination of Eligibility, to assess whether or not the Cyclorama Building was eligible to the National Register of Historic Places.The park concluded that, even though the building had been designed by Richard Neutra, a Gold Medallist of the American Institute of Architects for his well-know work in modern architecture, the Cyclorama building did not represent one of his best efforts.In May 1996, the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Officer concurred with the NPS that the Cyclorama Building was not eligible to the National Register.Since the building was not considered historic, the NPS could propose its removal (in order to protect the Cyclorama Painting and rehabilitate the historic landscapes of Ziegler's Grove) without having to exercise the provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act.
However, the president of the Society of Architectural Historians took exception to the determination that the building was not historic, and in February 1998 appealed to the Keeper of the National Register.In September 1998 (after the draft GMP which called for its removal was already out for public review) the Keeper determined that the building was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.This finding meant that the NPS was now required to implement the regulatory procedures of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, to "consider the effects" of the proposed removal of a historic property.The process began in December 1998, when the NPS submitted a "case report" to the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and ten "interested parties" who had requested the opportunity for consultation.
In February 1999, after receiving and reviewing comments from the agencies and the interested parties, the NPS released a revised case report for further comment.In April 1999, the ACHP hosted a meeting at Gettysburg NMP to review all the comments which had been received, and to listen to the ensuing discussions.In summary, the debate centered around which of three historic properties could or should take precedence:the historic landscapes of the battlefield, which could not be rehabilitated without the removal of the Cyclorama building; the Cyclorama Painting, which could not be adequately preserved and protected within the current building; or the building itself.On May 14th, the ACHP released its findings.In a report aptly entitled "A Problem of Common Ground," the ACHP wrote
Gettysburg…represents a…turning point in national history…that has few if any rivals.It is of paramount important historically.The rehabilitation of this key battlefield site so that the battlefield can properly be interpreted must be regarded as a historic mission of the highest order….Neutra has a secure place in the pantheon of American architectural history.There are other Neutra buildings; there is only one Gettysburg Battlefield.…The Building must yield.
With the Advisory Council's approval of the removal of the Cyclorama building, the Director's condition on release of the final GMP was satisfied.Indeed, the level of approval for the GMP had recently soared up a step in the administration.On April 22nd (Earth Day) Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt visited Gettysburg and thrilled a crowd of park staff and supporters by publicly announcing his personal support for the GMP.Buoyed by this support, the final GMP was printed and released to the public on June 18, 1999.Theoretically, the GMP was now only one step away from final approval - a 30-day waiting period was required by regulation before the Regional Director could sign the Record of Decision
But in the meantime, concerns about the Gettysburg GMP - and particularly questions about the appropriateness of the proposed partnership for a new visitor center/museum facility - had entered the political realm.Some of the concerns were legitimate, but many were the direct result of misinformation circulated by the "Concerned Citizens" and other isolated opponents of the GMP.On February 11th, the GMP and its proposed partnership became the subject a second Congressional hearing, this one chaired by Congressman Jim Hansen (Republican, Utah), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands.As before, Deputy Director Denis Galvin testified on behalf of the administration.Joining the administration with testimony in support of the GMP and the partnership were Robert Kinsley, Chairman of the Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation (the partner) and Eileen Woodford, Northeast Regional Director of the National Parks and Conservation Association.
Walter Powell, President of the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, Ted Streeter, Councilman from the Borough of Gettysburg, and Frank Silbey, a Washington-based attorney, testified in opposition to the partnership.Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, requested the opportunity to testify in support of the GMP, but for reasons unknown was not invited to the hearing.Chairman Hansen's opening statement listed his concerns about the selection process of the Request for Proposals, the site selected for the new facilities, the proposed removal of the Cyclorama building, local economic impacts, and the "commercialization" of the park.Although the NPS, naturally, believed that all those concerns were fully explained and resolved, Chairman Hansen remained unconvinced.
The next round of political excitement originated from a totally unexpected source.Congressman Ron Klink, a Democrat from western Pennsylvania, decided to run for the United States Senate in the 2000 elections.Since six other Democrats had already announced their intention of running, and since Mr. Klink was virtually unknown in the central part of the state, he apparently decided that he needed a "name recognition" issue in central Pennsylvania.What better issue that Gettysburg, where there was already an appearance of local opposition to the NPS plans, and where Senator Santorum (Republican) had already taken a stand as a strong public supporter of the park and the GMP?Without the inconvenience of ever visiting the park or requesting a NPS briefing on the GMP, Mr. Klink suddenly announced his opposition to the plan.
The stated concerns for his opposition, that the citizens of Gettysburg "had no voice in the process" and that "Gettysburg's tax base would crumble if the visitor center moved from its current location," indicated his level of understanding of both the unprecedented public involvement in the Gettysburg GMP process and the consultant's economic impact analysis which predicted that the new GMP and visitor center/museum complex would increase visitor spending in the Gettysburg area by $30 million per year.It also indicated the relative success of the plan's opponents in selling their message.Senator Santorum's response "was priceless", in the words of the York Dispatch,"Opponents of the proposed visitors center want the project to go their way and 'don't know the difference between listened to and being pandered to.'"
Mr. Klink's first move was to introduce an amendment to an authorizing bill for the Paoli and Brandywine Revolutionary War battlefields.His amendment would have required specific Congressional approval for the construction of a new visitor center/museum facility at Gettysburg, even if the facility were to be built with private dollars.The amendment was ruled out of order, and failed.But the warning shot had been fired.
On July 14th, during the House floor debate on the FY2000 Interior appropriations bill, Mr. Klink introduced an amendment which stated "No funds made available under this Act may be used to implement Alternatives B, C, or D identified in the Final Management Plan [sic] and Environmental Impact Statement for Gettysburg National Military Park dated June 1999."Despite the opposition of Congressman Goodling (Republican), the amendment passed by a vote of 220 to 206.The effect of the amendment was quite plain, and its potential was chilling.If passed by the House and Senate and signed by the President as part of the FY2000 appropriations bill, the NPS would be forbidden to spend any funds to implement the GMP during fiscal year 2000.
Reactions to the politicization of the Gettysburg GMP were pointed.The National Parks and Conservation Association had already listed Gettysburg as one of the "10 Most Endangered Parks" in the nation, due to "attempts by economic and other special interests to halt" approval and adoption of the GMP.The Harrisburg Patriot-News called the "Klink amendment a clunker" in an editorial, adding that Representative Klink "became interested in this issue, which has been fully aired, debated and considered, only after he decided to run for the Senate….The Senate needs to reject the amendment as the mindless inspiration of a political opportunist, and allow this nationally significant project to go forward."Senator Santorum agreed, declaring that the Klink amendment was "dead upon arrival" in the Senate.His word was good:the Senate appropriations bill, passed on September 23rd, did not include the amendment.
The final outcome of the Klink amendment, therefore, would rest with the House-Senate Conference Committee on the Interior appropriations bill for FY2000.In preparation for the Conference deliberations, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, and the Descendants of the 136th New York State Volunteer Infantry sent a joint letter to the conferees, urging them to strike the Klink amendment from the final appropriations bill.The conferees did just that when they met in October.Not only was the Klink amendment struck from the final appropriations bill, but the House-Senate Conference Committee inserted language into the final bill which left no doubt about their unequivocal support of the Gettysburg GMP:
The Committees, through previous appropriations, have supported the preparation of a new General Management Plan for Gettysburg NMP to enable the NPS to more adequately interpret the Battle of Gettysburg and to preserve the artifacts and landscapes that help to tell the story of this great conflict of the Civil War.Accordingly, the managers acknowledge the need for a new visitors facility and support the proposed public-private partnership as a unique approach to the interpretive needs of our National Parks.
Normally, this endorsement would have ended the political debate and allowed the NPS to move ahead with the final approval of the GMP.However, due to long-standing differences between the Congress and the President, final negotiations concerning other aspects of the Interior appropriations bill were not settled until mid-November.As a consequence, fiscal year 1999 ended without final approval of the park's GMP.
But in the meantime, there were plenty of political sideshows to keep everyone's attention.In mid-May, the owner of a local wax museum filed a Freedom of Information Act request, asking for all documents in park files which mentioned himself or his business.By mid-June, the park had responded.The greatest majority of materials found were volumes of letters from the businessman himself, complaining of park plans and activities.But included in the materials were fourteen photographs of his business.Convinced that he had (finally) found the ammunition to derail the GMP and discredit the superintendent, the businessman ran to the local paper with accusations of "secret surveillance" of him and his business (which the paper gleefully printed).When questioned, the park responded with the obvious answer, that the photographs were taken to show the proximity of the business to the park entrance and to show the nature of the business.Although it was obvious to all neutral observers that this was a classic tempest in a teapot, and that nothing illegal or unethical had taken place, the "secret surveillance" accusations were repeated over and over, until they inevitably reached the staffs of Congressman Klink and Congressman Hansen.Over the next several months, the NPS had the opportunity to respond to several letters of inquiry from Mr. Hansen concerning the photographs.
On June 9th, Mr. Hansen requested that the Government Accounting Office investigate the activities of the Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Commission, and relationships between the park and the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg - two of the independent groups which had endorsed and supported the preferred alternative in the GMP.The Government Accounting Office report to Mr. Hansen (submitted on December 9th) satisfactorily answered all his questions, and found no wrong-doing on the part of the park, the Advisory Commission, or the Friends.
On July 1st, Representative Klink introduced a bill in the House of Representatives, ironically entitled the "Gettysburg Preservation Act."The bill stated that "the Secretary of the Interior may not authorize the construction of any visitor's center or museum in the proximity of or within the boundaries of Gettysburg National Military Park, unless Congress has specifically authorized the construction of such visitor's center or museum."The bill was sent to Mr. Hansen's Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands for consideration, and was scheduled for "markup" on July 15th.Naturally, the Department of the Interior formally opposed the bill.The scheduled markup was cancelled, allegedly because Mr. Hansen's subcommittee members quietly informed him they could not support it, and it was laid aside.(Note:the bill formally expired in December 2000, with the adjournment of the 106th Congress.)
Cultural Resource Management
Despite the necessary preoccupation of the park with the planning and politics swirling around the GMP, significant strides were made in the preservation of the park's cultural and natural resources.The most dramatic step forward took place in the realm of artifact and archival curation and preservation, where we managed to take several significant steps forward, and only one back.
The step back was the lawsuit filed by nine members of the Eckert and Rosensteel family against the NPS in March.The lawsuit claimed that the NPS had not properly cared for the artifacts donated by the Rosensteel family to the NPS in 1971, and that consequently they were in danger of irreparable deterioration.(In one of the many ironic twists in which 1999 seemed to delight, this is exactly what the NPS had been saying since 1995:that the current Visitor Center building was totally inadequate to properly care for and preserve the collection, and that a new museum facility was desperately needed.)The lawsuit asked that the collection be returned to the family (without describing how they would care for it) or that the NPS be required to care for the collection "according to the highest service standards."Most observers were puzzled about the true motivation behind the lawsuit, since one of the principle goals of the new GMP was to obtain a new museum facility so that the NPS could properly care for the collection.The attorney representing the plaintiffs was a long-term critic of the park, and an officer of the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association.Even though the lawsuit did not appear to have a lot of legal merit, the park, represented by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg, methodically started the process of going through "discovery."
Interim Storage Building
In the meantime, when the Director had approved the GMP for printing in December 1999, he had asked the park how long it might take before a new museum facility was built.When the answer was four or five years, he decided that was too long to wait, and that the NPS needed an interim solution to enable the park to accelerate the curation and preservation of its artifact and archival collections.Early in 1999, the park received approval to build an interim storage building, for the preservation of its high-risk and medium-risk collections until the new museum was completed.In April the park reached agreement with the Washington Office on the square footage required and the cost estimates, and in May the park received $536,000 in "emergency lump sum construction funding" for the new building.The park immediately began work on a design-procurement contract with Butler Construction Company
Save America's Treasures Grant
In the same conversations back in December, the Director had encouraged the park to apply for a Save America's Treasures grant, for the purpose of dramatically accelerating the curation and preservation of the park's artifact and archival collections.On May 19th, at a White House ceremony, the park received a grant of $514,000.The grant required a 100% match from private funds.The Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg raised the majority of the required match, the park allocated some of its available Eastern National donation returns to the match, and the National Park Foundation kicked in a small contribution.Suddenly, the park had over $1 million to spend on the curation and preservation of its collections, and less than two years in which to wisely obligate the funds.
Fortunately, the park had already been working on this initiative for the past several years, and had a new Collections Management Plan upon which the Save America's Treasures grant application had been based.Work began quickly, and included the first phase of re-housing the archival collections in the visitor center storage area, conservation treatment for several special artifacts and the edged weapons collection, and conservation surveys, re-housing of the hat collection, re-housing of the oversize Tipton photographs, and survey of the building files and the historians' vertical files.Another contract was awarded to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities for another phase of backlog cataloging.To date, they have processed 94,800 items from previous contracts.
Completion of the Cultural Landscape Report for the battlefield was held in abeyance throughout the year in consequence of the protracted and unforeseen schedule for the GMP.The GMP contained an overview of the cultural landscape evaluation process, based on the research and assessment thus far developed by staff for the park.Additional research continued, however, particularly for the NPS and pre-battle era landscapes.The Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation is working on a CLR for the national cemetery.The park entered into a project agreement with the Center to complete a report and landscape treatment/maintenance plan for Codori-Trostle Thicket as the park’s first demonstration project of the GMP’s rehabilitation alternative.Progress on the National Register nomination was limited again this year because of the schedule of the GMP.
The only archeological progress this year has been in support of line-item construction projects.A concerted effort was made this year to begin to take actions that in the long run will reduce archeological costs.With the move of the park archeologist’s office to Cemetery Lodge, construction of a new archeological lab was completed.The on-site archeological lab will lower artifact collection management costs associated with mitigation and research work.
However, despite that fact that revisions to and completion of the long-delayed Archeological Overview and Assessment was the park archeologist's top priority for the entire year, no progress was made.Consequently, the park still lacks its basic archeological study.
During FY 1999, the Geographic Information System (GIS) began the creation of a large-scale, long-term geographic database to be used for facilities and resources management. Using the aerial photos taken in 1998 and survey control points, very accurate, detailed maps were created at a scale of one inch equals fifty feet.This digital data was acquired for all of the Eisenhower NHS and for East Cemetery Hill, and it shows one foot contour intervals.In addition, the bearings and distances from the original Patterson surveys were used to create a digital file containing the boundaries of many of the NPS tracts. These projects established data capture standards that will be followed in future geographic data acquisition projects.
The Historian/GIS Specialist provided technical assistance in developing, revising and implementing various park plans and reports (most notably the draft GMP).GIS was used to create over 200 individual maps and posters for Resource Management, Interpretation, Protection, Maintenance, the Superintendent’s Office as well as various park partners and cooperating entities.
Natural Resource Management
The litigation concerning the reduction of white-tailed deer continued throughout the year.On November 24, oral arguments were presented before Judge Paul L. Friedman.On December 31, 1998, the court granted summary judgements for the NPS, allowing the park to reinitiate the deer reduction program.Four days later, on January 4, 1999, the plaintiffs filed a motion asking the Judge to reconsider and amend his ruling.On January 26, 1999, Judge Friedman upheld his initial ruling, denied the plaintiffs motion to “amend and reconsider” and told the park it could reinitiate the deer reduction program in 14 days, pending an appeal.An appeal was not made immediately, however, the plaintiffs did notify the court they would appeal at a later date.Consequently, the deer reduction program was resumed on February 17th and continued through March 11th.
The 1998 spring estimate for the park was 63 deer per square mile of forest, as compared to the density goal for the park of 25 deer per square mile of forest.Seventy-six deer were removed from the park during abbreviated 1999 reduction effort, with all the meat being donated to the local food banks.Dr. Gerald Storm conducted the annual spring estimate during the first 2 weeks of April.The 1999 spring estimate revealed that due to the annual increase of the population because of normal reproduction, migration in and out of the park, despite the parks abbreviated reduction program, the estimated population was 58 deer per square mile of forest.
On July 7, 1999, the plaintiffs filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.The NPS filed a reply brief on August 20th and the plaintiffs filed their reply brief on September 15th.Oral arguments are scheduled for November 9, 1999.In the meantime, the NPS has the authority to continue its deer reduction program, pending a final ruling by the Court of Appeals.
The first full year of fieldwork was completed on the park-wide survey of amphibians, reptiles, and terrestrial invertebrate.Due to the drought that occurred during most of the summer, sampling was not as productive as it was expected to be.However, the work did find a species never documented in the park or in Adams County, the Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens).During a one-week intensive sampling period in July at the base of Big Round Top, over 15,000 individual insects were collected.A second intensive sample effect was completed in the Codori-Trostle thicket area of the park in August.
The first full year of fieldwork was also completed for the park-wide inventory of birds.Researchers from Penn State are surveying birds at Gettysburg and Eisenhower along with six other parks in the area.Sampling plots and vehicle survey routes were established throughout the park.Surveys for migrating and breeding birds were done in the spring and summer.In addition, nest searches for specific species of grassland birds were competed.Survey routes to monitor the breeding and nesting success of Logger-head Shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus), a state listed species, were also completed.Vegetation analyses at the sample plots were completed throughout the summer
In coordination with the PA Game Commission and the Vertebrate Museum at Shippensburg University, a survey for Least Shrews (Cryptotis parva) was initiated at the Eisenhower Farm.Least Shrews are on the PA State list of Threatened and Endangered Species and the only other known population of Least Shrews in Adams County is in East Berlin.During the last week in September, Least Shrews were captured at EISE, one at the Redding Farm and one at Farm 1, indicating a possibility of 2 distinct populations.Luckily, both of these locations are in low visitor impact and park use areas.Perhaps the biggest threats to these populations are feral cats.
A park-wide survey of bats was initiated this year by park staff.Initial work included surveying park buildings for the presence or absence of bats, attempting to count the number of bats exiting from the buildings in the evenings, and mist netting bats throughout the park.Through the use of mist netting, two new species of bats were documented at the park, the Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis) and the Long-eared or Northern Myotis (Myotis evotis).The Myotis is also a PA State listed species of special concern.
The second year of exotic vegetation control consisted of treating exotic vegetation including multiflora rose, ailanthus, Japanese barberry, Japanese honeysuckle, and mile-a-minute weed.A variety of methods were used including herbicides, mowing, and weed eaters, hand-pulling, and hand-cutting.Fifty-four acres in the park were treated in 1999.The park also entered into an agreement with three private landowners to control mile-a-minute weed on private land along the Rock Creek drainage to prevent it from invading additional land inside the park.Approximately 11 acres of mile-a-minute weed was eradicated on private lands, mostly along the edge of Rock Creek in areas bordering the park.
The eastern hemlock trees in the National Cemetery were treated for an infestation of hemlock woolly adelgids using an application of horticultural oil in late July.Only three trees in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery were infested.They were treated along with five additional trees infested with spider mites.The mite infestation was contributed to the use of a systemic insecticide used to control the adelgids the previous year.The hemlock trees around the Visitor Center were also infested and treated with an application of horticultural oil.
The park is continuing with the vegetation clearing and maintenance on Little Round Top (LRT).In the spring, approximately 1000 lbs. of warm season grass seed was sown in the areas that were cut and treated last year.The Natural Resource staff set-up four permanent transects on LRT to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments and to monitor the occurrence of exotic species in the areas being sprayed.Forty-one acres was again treated using a combination of broadcast foliar treatment and cut stump herbicide treatment.
In conjunction with the PA Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry and the Gettysburg Municipal Authority (GMA), approximately 100 Missouri Gooseberry (Ribes missouriensis) plants were transplanted.Missouri Gooseberry is a State endangered plant but occurs throughout the northern portion of the park.These plants were transplanted from the right-of-way held by GMA for a sewer and water-line project along Route 30 at the Willoughby Run bridge.These plants were moved from the right-of-way to adjacent park land to minimize the impact these projects would have on this species.Monitoring throughout the rest of the summer and fall indicated most of the plants survived the translocation.
The five-year cycle of assessing the status of the soils in the park’s agriculture fields was completed this summer.Two interns collected over 1000 soil samples in over 200 of the park’s fields currently being managed through the agricultural lease program.Samples were air-dried and sent to Penn State for analysis.This year’s data, along with all previous year’s data were entered into a spread sheet and will be used to monitor the status of the soils in conjunction with the annual soil samples provided by the farmers who lease the fields.
Funding was finally secured through the Water Resources Division of the Washington office to evaluate the effects of additional daily withdrawals of surface water from Marsh Creek just before it enters Eisenhower NHS.The Gettysburg Municipal Authority has proposed a plan is to replace the surface water with water pumped from a nearby well.A detailed study plan is being developed to evaluate the difference in water temperature and chemistry, and the effects it might have on biotic organisms living downstream in the park from the proposed withdrawal and deep well supplement.
Throughout the past 2 years, the Natural Resource staff had noticed that the 400+ cannons around the park served as a haven for a variety of birds and insects.A study was initiated in 1999 to evaluate how these important cultural resources are influencing a portion of the park’s faunal species.During the winter of 1998-99, all cannon tubes on the field were cleaned out of old bird’s nests, wasp nests, and garbage deposited over the years.During the breeding and nesting season, all cannons were surveyed twice to assess species of birds using the cannons, incidence of new insect nests, and the incidence of recent garbage in the cannons.Preliminary results indicate that these structures provide a haven for starlings, hornets, wasps, and garbage.Other species, such as bluebirds, mockingbirds, gray squirrels, snakes, and deer mice also use them for nesting, rest sites, and food caches.
The protection staff began documenting and monitoring easements which the NPS acquired over the past several years.Active files opened on 6 of the 10 easements and four baseline inventories were conducted.
20% of the park boundary was marked, and seven segments were noted that will need to be surveyed and posted by a professional surveyor.12 of 33 boundary encroachments which had been noted were cleared by property owner or park action.
Numerous upgrades and changes were made to the fire and intrusion alarms at the visitor center and Cyclorama building, that will improve collections security as well as life safety.The Park Watch Patrol program continued to grow in both quantity and quality, contributing approximately 11,200 hours of patrol time protecting both park resources.
Through an unusual combination of events, Gettysburg NMP received $3.95 million in land acquisition funds in FY99.One million of this was through the normal appropriations process for FY99, while the other $2.95 million was from "supplemental" FY98 appropriations which were not released to the NPS until the final FY98 budget compromises between the Congress and the White House were resolved (which didn't happen until well into FY99).
Via the cooperative efforts of the NPS and the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, solid progress was made in the implementation of the park's Land Protection Plan.The park closed on two acquisitions in FY99, one of which was a donation of an acquisition made by the Friends.The real progress, however, was in the number of willing sellers with whom the NPS was making substantial progress.At the end of the year, the NPS was dealing with over a dozen willing sellers, with the promise of being able to acquire or protect almost 400 acres within the boundary.
The Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg continued in their active and successful program of land protection.The Friends acquired a private residence on Mummasburg Road, which they donated to the park.(The park subsequently removed the modern residence and restored the landscapes.)The Friends also purchased a major farmstead on the 1st Day's battlefield, placed an easement on the entire farmstead, and resold the property.The easement on the property was donated to the NPS by the Friends.Finally, the Friends purchased a residence on Baltimore Pike just outside the park boundary, placed an easement on that property to ensure that it could not be used for commercial purchases, and then resold the property.
The park's new partner in battlefield preservation, the Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation, made its presence felt in a dramatic fashion.In January 1999, the Foundation closed on the 45 acre site selected for the park's new visitor center/museum facility.Previously, the Foundation had purchased a recreational vehicle repair shop (outside the park boundary) at the corner of Hunt and Baltimore Avenues, and announced its intention to remove the buildings and restore the landscape of that parcel.
The Land Conservancy of Adams County also participated in battlefield preservation.Although the Land Conservancy does not usually operate inside the park boundary, they successfully obtained an easement on a 77-acre property at the south end of the battlefield, from a property owner who did not wish to deal with the NPS.
1999 marked the beginning of the end of the National Gettysburg Battlefield Tower, which had been variously described by historic preservationists as "monstrous," "an environmental insult," "a new low in historical tastelessness" and a "cheapening and commercializing" of the battlefield, ever since its construction in 1974.At the request of the Department of the Interior, and to the delight of all battlefield fans, the President's fiscal year 2000 budget request, submitted to Congress in late winter of 1999, included $5.7 million in land acquisition funds for Gettysburg, for the acquisition of the tower and other properties.The budget justification for the funding request was to "eliminate adverse development" from the battlefield and to restore the "historic integrity" of the park.
Excited by the new initiative, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Parks and Conservation Association, the Civil War Trust, and the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg all contacted the House and Senate appropriations committees, asking for their support in approving the funds for acquisition of the tower.In the meantime, the NPS once again started the appraisal process for the tower property.Negotiations were also reopened with the property owners, to see if they would be willing sellers.
By the spring of 1999, events at Gettysburg NMP were attracting Departmental attention, particularly the park's draft GMP and proposal for a partnership for a new visitor center/museum complex.Primarily for that purpose, Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt scheduled an Earth Day visit to Gettysburg that April.In a short speech to assembled park staff, guests, and media, Secretary Babbitt stood next to the statue of General Meade on Cemetery Ridge and announced his support for the GMP.Then, dramatically, he turned around, pointed at the tower looming over himself and General Meade and announced that he intended to "take that tower down, on my watch."
The FY2000 appropriations bill, when passed by Congress, included only $1.6 million in new land acquisition money for Gettysburg NMP.However, as the appropriations committee noted, Gettysburg still had $4.5 million in unobligated land acquisition funds from previous appropriations, which should be more than enough to "provide for the acquisition of the Tower."The committee also noted that the NPS's appraisal of the value of the property was $3 million.
FY 99 was another exciting year for the Maintenance Division.The amount of work accomplished, in spite of some of the problems and obstacles that we encountered throughout the year, was truly amazing.Over $400,000 of NPS cyclic and repair/rehab funding was successfully obligated.In addition, $100,000 of various historic preservation projects funded through Eastern donation returns were completed, $26,000 in Limber Chest donations were used for other projects.Maintenance received over $90,000 in donated funds from the Friends and other groups for monument repairs.Additionally, the Friends received a $460,000 grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, to complete studies of the Pennsylvania Memorial, and that three-year project got underway.Maintenance also received $536,000 to construct the interim storage facility and $48,000 for equipment replacement and repair.Overall, the Maintenance Division received over $1.6 million dollars from NPS and donated sources.
In addition to their normal mowing, trimming, cleaning and snow removal duties, the Landscape Preservation branch raised and straightened over 3,000 headstones in the National Cemetery, and repaired or rebuilt 23,000 feet of historic fences.
The Structures Preservation Branch completed almost three dozen specific projects throughout the year.Chief among these were replacing roofs on six historic structures, repairing three summer kitchens, painting the outbuildings at five historic farmsteads, and completing the rehabilitation of the Butterfield House for occupation by the administrative staff.With the ripple of moves of several offices into new locations, the branch patiently assembled (and counted) 178 new pieces of office furniture.In their spare time, 144 individual work requests were accomplished.Most important, by the end of the year, 73% of the park's historic structures were in good condition (13% over the NPS goal), and 95% of employee housing was also in good condition.
With the new Cannon Carriage facility provided by the Friends coming on line in March 1999, the Monument Preservation Branch was able to increase their rehabilitation of cannon carriages by 100% over FY98.Twenty-four carriages were completed in FY99.In addition, the Monument Preservation Branch completed major repairs to five monuments, and cleaned, powerwashed and/or rewaxed 129 monuments and tablets throughout the park.
The efforts of the park maintenance staff were enhanced considerably by its growing volunteer programs.The Adopt-A-Position program continued to grow.Fifty-five new positions were adopted in 1999, bringing the total number of Adopt-A-Position volunteers to 1,994.These volunteers contributed 12,435 hours of work on clean-up and fix-up projects on "adopted" positions throughout the battlefield.In addition, the Monument Preservation Branch started its own volunteer program in the new Cannon Carriage facility.The immediate response was very favorable, with 63 volunteers spending 375 hours painting carriages that had been repaired by the park crew.All in all, the Maintenance Division's volunteer programs included 2,279 volunteers who generated 13,275 hours of volunteer labor.
Construction of the Gettysburg NMP and Eisenhower NHS sewer system finally got started in the spring of 1999, and continued throughout the rest of the year.This project will take 17 park buildings off individual septic systems and connect them to local sewer authorities.The project design and construction is being administered by the Gettysburg Municipal Authority, with funds made available to the NPS from the FY96 line-item construction appropriations.
The final design for phase two of the park road rehabilitation project was completed, and a $2,187,590 construction contract was awarded in May.Construction started on August 12th.The second phase of road rehabilitation includes work on Buford, Doubleday, Howard, South Confederate, Sedgewick, Pleasonton, North Confederate, East Confederate, East Cavalry Field, Humphries, and Wainright Avenues, as well as Millerstown Road, Granite Schoolhouse Lane, Wheatfield Road, and the Eisenhower front entrance lane.
Preliminary design for the Gettysburg fire detection and suppression system started in FY99.This project will provide fire detection and fire suppression systems for 47 historic structures throughout the park.None of these structures currently have any protection except for battery-power smoke detectors and garden hoses.The President's budget request for FY2000 included a line-item construction request of $1.1 million for the project.If the project proceeds as planned, an additional $1,323,000 will be requested in FY01.
Much of the emphasis in interpretation in FY99 was centered upon the interpretive objectives of the GMP, particularly "to provide opportunities for people to learn about the Battle of Gettysburg in the full social, political and cultural context of the Civil War and American History."With this objective in mind, the park began to introduce more programs dealing with the social, economic and political contexts of the Civil War era, while simultaneously continuing to offer its traditional programs on military history.The interpretive staff introduced dozens of these new subjects in ranger programs and campfire programs throughout the year.
Other new visitor opportunities included the "Free at Last" traveling exhibit on slavery that was developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute.The exhibit was displayed at the park during the busiest season of the year, providing potential exposure to a quarter-million visitors.During his time in the park, our "Summer Scholar" (see below) made three presentations to the general public as special evening programs in the Cyclorama building.
As another part of this initiative, the Scout Heritage Trail Guide to Gettysburg and Eisenhower was rewritten, with a new trail section called Historic Gettysburg.This trail takes the Scouts and leaders through the borough itself and explains the impacts of the battle and its aftermath on the local population and ties it into the impacts across the nation.The trail goes through the Lincoln Cemetery (the local African American Cemetery), which includes the graves of a number of United States Colored Troops veterans (including a Medal of Honor recipient), as well as a number of free blacks who lived in Gettysburg or on the battlefield in 1863.
To help prepare the staff for the new emphasis, the park hosted a "Critical Issues in History Education" workshop with four prominent scholars presenting and discussing current scholarship with the staff.We also inaugurated a "Summer Scholar" program, whereby a visiting scholar conducted 12 workshops for the staff, addressing the broad areas of Civil War history.In addition, interpretive rangers attended two symposiums (on Lincoln and Frederick Douglas) aimed at increasing their knowledge in the broader scope of the war.
With the assistance of the park's webmaster and student education specialists, the park started to reach out meaningfully to "virtual" visitors for the first time.Working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency staff at the facility in Emmitsburg as well as with teachers in Indiana and western Pennsylvania, the park conducted four remote educational broadcasts to students at those schools.The broadcasts were tailored to tie the students learning about the War and the Battle to the impacts on soldiers and families in their areas.
Finally, we completely revamped our Web page to include a virtual tour of the park.The response to this work has been overwhelming and we have received very favorable comments on every aspect of the page.Gettysburg is consistently ranked as either the 1st or 2nd most visited site in the Region (either ahead of or just behind Shenandoah).
The efforts of the Interpretive Division were enhanced by its growing number of loyal volunteers.Forty-five volunteers working in visitors services, answering visitor questions and providing directions for 8,813 hours.The Living History program was active over 25 weekends this year.989 living history volunteers spent 16,110 hours providing 340 interpretive programs to 102,000 visitors.
·The annual Remembrance Day ceremonies in November, as usual, were the emotional high point of the year for much of our re-enactment constituency.Several thousand re-enactors showed up for the parade and joint ceremony, before splitting off into scores of individual ceremonies and wreath-laying at individual monuments.
·Professor Emeritus John Hope Franklin was the distinguished guest speaker at the annual Dedication Day ceremonies in the Soldiers' National Cemetery.
·The park sponsored a series of events to mark Black History Month, including a lecture by Dr. James Horton and an appearance by the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry re-enactment unit.
·As usual, the park co-sponsored the Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration and the Black History Month Essay Contest.
·Two annual special events commemorating the role of music in the Civil War ear were sponsored or co-sponsored by the park; the Gettysburg Brass Band Festival, and the Field Music Muster.
It being the year of politics, it should not be surprising that the park hosted a swarm of politicians throughout the year.In addition to Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt's visit in April, the park welcomed Assistant Secretary John Berry, Director Robert Stanton, Deputy Director Denis Galvin, Regional Director Marie Rust, and Governor Tom Ridge.Senator Santorum, who visited several times, led a long list of 25 Congressional members and staff who took the now-famous "dismal tour" of the current park artifact and archival storage areas.
The Park Watch Program continued to grow in both participation and quality throughout FY99.Fifty-four new Park Watch volunteers graduated from training during the year, for a total of 107 qualified Park Watch volunteers at the end of the year,Together, they contributed 11,200 hours of volunteer patrols of the park, dramatically increasing the "eyes and ears" of the ranger staff.
Total visitation to the park was 1,716,238, a decrease of 3.4% from 1998.Although the interest in the Civil War era which was sparked by the PBS series and the movie "Gettysburg" has kept visitation at Gettysburg above 1.7 million for the sixth consecutive year, 1999 was the second consecutive year that visitation had declined from the previous year.
For the fifth year, the Friends at the National Parks of Gettysburg provided the funding to produce an economic impact analysis of Gettysburg NMP and Eisenhower NHS upon the local economy of the greater Gettysburg area.The study, published in July 1999, showed that during 1998 visitors to the parks spent nearly $109 million in the local economy.The NPS and its partners (Eastern National, licensed battlefield guides, and the Friends) spent almost $7 million in the local area, brining the total direct economic impact of the parks to almost $116 million.This spending, in turn, generated state and local tax revenues of almost $7million.
Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg
The Friends continue to grow in strength and stature, and to increase their invaluable contributions towards accomplishment of the parks mission.In 1999, the Friends obtained a $460,000 grant from the Pew Charitable Foundation, to begin a three-year study for the restoration of the Pennsylvania State Memorial.The Friends also donated funds for the repair of the Sedgwick equestrian statue, the Slocum equestrian statue, and the cleaning of the New York Memorial in the Soldiers National Cemetery.
As noted above, the Friends donated a 23-acre easement on a historic farmstead on the 1st day's battlefield to the NPS, as well as a residential property on Mummasburg Road, and joined other conservation groups in petitioning the Congress for the funds to acquire the National Tower.
In April, the Friends celebrated the removal of the "last pole" of the utility lines on Emmitsburg Road, marking the completion of a four-year project to remove all the power, telephone and cable TV lines and poles from both Emmitsburg Road and Millerstown Road within the park boundary.They donated $35,000 to the park, to assist in the beginning of research leading towards the cultural landscape treatment plan for the Codori-Trostle thicket area - the park's first demonstration project for historic landscape rehabilitation.
Because the lack of space in the park's maintenance complex was hampering the park and Friends' joint initiative for cannon carriage restoration, the Friends rented and remolded space in a downtown warehouse for the park's new Cannon Carriage Restoration Shop.The new facilities, provided to the park at no cost, has enabled the park to double the pace of carriage rehabilitation.
Other Friends' activities included the donation of artifacts to the park's museum collection, the annual volunteer weekend which attracted 150 volunteers from across the nation to clean, scrap and paint historic fences and barns, the annual March for Gettysburg, and underwriting the costs of the park's Junior Ranger program.All in all, the cash value of actual donations from the Friends to the park throughout the year was $330,000 (not counting grants such as the Pew Charitable Foundation).
But the Friends' most crucial support of the park cannot be counted in dollar values.Throughout the long political debate concerning the park's GMP, the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg proved to be a staunch and valued defender of the preservation of the park's precious resources.Without their help, the NPS may not have prevailed in the political battles.It is no wonder that I took such personal pleasure in being a part of the Friends' tenth anniversary celebrations in April.
As always, Eastern National provided invaluable day-to-day services for both the park and its visitors.In addition to the bookstore operation, Eastern provided personnel services to operate the interpretive fee programs for the electric map and Cyclorama, and to provide custodial services for the visitor center, Cyclorama building and several other NPS office buildings.Happily, software problems plaguing the reservation system for licensed battlefield guides were finally resolved, and the system came back on line in the fall of 1999.
Eastern National's donation returns to the park in FY99 (from FY98 operations) was $571,663.Of this, $418,322 was the net return from the interpretive fee programs, and $153,341 was the return from bookstore operations.Funds from these programs were used to support a myriad of park interpretive and resource preservation programs, such as support of living history programs, conservation of museum artifacts, repairs to the Culps Hill observation tower, archival equipment, archeological investigations, and backlog cataloging.
Licensed Battlefield Guides
In 1999, 117 Licensed Battlefield Guides (57 full-time, 36 part-time and 24 part-time weekend) provided interpretive tours of the battlefield for park visitors.Collectively, the Guides provided 20,714 tours for 258,469 visitors.Although the numbers of total tours declined by 1,000 from 1998, the number of visitors served increased by 12,000 over the previous year.The difference is found in the increase of almost 500 bus tours in 1999 over the previous year.
The Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides continued to work closely with the park on a number of issues of mutual concern, such as working out the bugs in the new reservation system.Both the Association and many individual guides followed the evolution of the park's GMP very closely, and made appropriate and constructive comments during the public review sessions.In addition, the Guides continued their traditional volunteer activities, including free evening tours of the National Cemetery, placing flags on gravesites for Memorial Day and Dedication Day, conducting continuing educational programs and seminars for their members and guests, and providing volunteer brush-cutting crews to assist the park in maintaining the historiclandscapes and viewsheds of the battlefield.
Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation
With the GMP on political "hold" at the end of the fiscal year, the NPS was unable to officially consummate its long-term agreement with the Museum Foundation for the development of a new visitor center/museum complex.Thus, we were still not officially "partners."However, the Museum Foundation demonstrated the type of partner it will inevitably become, when Robert Kinsley, Chairman of the Foundation, announced in January 1999 that the Kinsley Family Foundation made a $2 million grant to the Museum Foundation.The Museum Foundation, in turn, used those funds to close on the purchase of the 45-acre site off the corner of Hunt and Baltimore Avenues, which will be used for the development of the new facilities.With a new partner like that, which is willing to make a $2 million commitment before it is even an official partner, how could the future be anything but bright?
Borough of Gettysburg
In October 1998, a new partnership between the park and the Borough of Gettysburg started on its first faltering steps.Due to joint concerns that the hyperbole and hysteria surrounding the supposed economic impacts of moving the visitor center were masking tremendous opportunities, the park and the Borough signed a Letter of Intent that month.The letter pledged both parties to work together toward shared objectives of encouraging park visitors to visit key historic sites within the Borough, to protect those sites, and to use them (jointly) to enhance visitor understanding of both the Battle of Gettysburg, its aftermath, and its impacts upon the civilian population (all part of the preferred alternative of the GMP).
The park provided $30,000 to hire a consultant to start work on a Borough of Gettysburg Interpretive Plan.In order to broaden the new partnership, a Steering Committee was formed to oversee the plan, composed of representatives of the Borough, the Chamber of Commerce, the Retail Merchants Association, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, MainStreet Gettysburg, Gettysburg College, the Lutheran Seminary, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the park's Advisory Commission, and the park.As the year progressed, progress on the plan itself was almost equal to the progress which the members of the Steering Committee made in learning to respect and work with one another.
The continued growth of the park's volunteer forces in both size, capabilities, and value of services rendered played no small part in the operational success of the park throughout the year.3,419 individuals provided volunteer services to the park in 1999, a 5% increase over 1998, and setting a new park record for the number of active volunteers for the third straight year.Collectively, these volunteers donated 50,714 hours of love and labor to the park, an increase of 6% over 1998.These numbers can be converted into the equivalent of 24 extra full-time employees, or a cash donation of $659,000.The four main areas of volunteer efforts, as before, were in the visitor services, living history, park watch, and adopt-a-position programs.
Civil War Constituency
The park's dialogue with the Civil War community continued throughout the year, primarily focusing upon the debates surrounding the park's GMP and the proposed partnership for a new visitor center/museum facility.We were well pleased that 85% of the Civil War groups which provided written comments on the draft GMP supported the park's preferred alternative.
Appropriated Base Operating Funds A(after assessments)
General Management Plan$33,700
Total One-Year Funds$705,350
Total Appropriated Funds, FY99$5,456,017
Housing$87,300Agricultural Fees33,500Historic Orchards2,100
Special Park Use Fees2,700
Commercial Use Licenses2,400
Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg (cash donations only)47,350
Eastern National (all donations)571,663
Total Cash Donations$678,848
Total Funds Available$6,279,065
In addition, Congress appropriated $1,000,000 for land acquisition at Gettysburg NMP, and the Washington Office made $536,000 in emergency, lump-sum construction funds available for the design and construction of the interim storage building.
Gettysburg NMP continued as the Servicing Personnel Office for Eisenhower NHS as well as Fort McHenry NHS, Hampton NHS, and Asseateague Island National Seashore.Over 1,040 personnel actions were processed in the FPPS system during 1999 for these five parks, not including routine services such as processing changes in employee health insurance, life insurance, direct deposits, and savings bonds.38 recruitment bulletins and vacancy announcements were advertised for the client parks, including reassignments, promotions, and transfers, and 45 positions were classified.
At Gettysburg, the park processed two career-ladder promotions and five retirements, 66 performance awards and 40 time-off awards.Twenty local students worked at the park through the "school-to-work" program and through the Student Temporary Employment Program.
And, of course, the finance, budgeting, procurement and contracting personnel within the administrative division helped the Superintendent and the staff accomplish both the routine and special project work throughout the year by budgeting, accounting for, procuring, and contracting for all the supplies and services necessary to efficiently and responsibly spend over $6 million.
CONCERNS FOR THE FUTURE
Fiscal year 1999 was not a pleasant year for the park, or for friends and supporters of the park.After carefully building a broad public consensus on the most viable methods of solving the park's long-term problems - indeed, in political terms, a mandate - the park suffered through a seemingly endless litany ofattacks upon the draft GMP from those who had either political or personal axes to grind.In a cycle which is not uncommon in public service, the opponents first attacked the substance of the draft plan itself.However, when broad public support validated the NPS's position that the plan was best for the preservation and interpretation of park resources - and when the economic analysis validated that the plan would provide substantial benefits to the greater Gettysburg community, the opponents dropped down a level and attempted an attack upon the planning process. Complaints about not enough time to review the draft documents, or that the NPS did not pay enough attention to local citizens (particularly to those opposed to the plan), or that the NPS had not followed its own planning process appropriately, were the order of the day.When that line of attack failed, the criticism dropped down to the base level of personal attacks upon the superintendent, under the assumption that if the superintendent could be personally discredited then the NPS would abandon the draft GMP.This produced calls for his removal and drummed-up allegations of surveillance of private citizens.
Although the NPS and the administration put no faith in these allegations, at the end of the fiscal year the park's General Management Plan had still not received final approval.That, plus the ongoing saga of the plaintiffs' appeal of the white-tailed deer management lawsuit, and the strange new saga of the Rosensteel-Eckert lawsuit, summed up year in which successes seemed to always come with the requirement to engage in rear-guard actions to protect the progress which had been made.With so much that needs to be done to guarantee that the resources of this park will still be here, unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations, it is frustrating that so much energy had to be wasted.Perhaps the breakthrough will come with the new millennium?