February 14, 2001

Dear Friend:


Almost since the creation of the National Park Service in 1916, one of our oldest traditions has been the Superintendent's Annual Report.This report was meant to contain, in the superintendent's own words, a summary of the major events effecting the park over the year.Although there has never been an iron-clad format which must be used, most reports included descriptions of the park's successes and failures, the accomplishments achieved, the threats perceived, and a general rendering of what happened.

Because of the nature of these reports, they have always been considered a principal resource for historians and others who are interested in the operation and development of our parks.

Last year, for the first time, the National Park Service did not ask for the superintendent's annual report.Instead, we were required to submit an "annual performance report" as one of the bureaucratic requirements of the Government Performance Results Act.We did so, of course.However, that annual report primarily contains numbers, percentages, and a lot of "achieved" or "not achieved."In other words, it is a valuable report on performance, but it is not a narrative report, in context, about what happened in the park, or why.


After some thought, we have decided to carry on the tradition of the old-fashioned superintendent's annual report for Gettysburg National Military Park.Although it takes considerable effort - both on my part as well as the staff's - to put it together, we think it will continue to serve as an invaluable historical narrative of a year in the life of the park.


Consequently, we are pleased to submit to you the Superintendent's Annual Report for fiscal year 1999.We know it's somewhat late to be providing you with a report on 1999 activities, but it took us a while to decide that the effort of putting the report together was worth the effort.With luck, we will be able to follow up with the Annual Report for fiscal year 2000 within a few months.






Dr. John A. Latschar