National Park Service Seeks Public Comment on the Plan for Managing the East and South Barracks at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Contact: Elaine Huff, 360-816-6211
Vancouver, WA - In early 2012, the U.S. Army Reserve will formally relinquish all lands and structures within the East and South Vancouver Barracks to the National Park Service (NPS). This change will effectively end the longstanding military presence at the Vancouver Barracks, which was the first major U.S. Army post in the Pacific Northwest.
To prepare for this important event, the NPS carefully developed a master plan for the preservation and reuse of the East and South Vancouver Barracks as part of the nationally significant Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (NHS).
The East and South Vancouver Barracks Draft Master Plan/Environmental Assessment is a product of ongoing public involvement and consultation with other agencies. The planning team incorporated previous public comments to create and analyze four alternatives for the protection, use, and management of the barracks.
Park staff now invites the public to review the plan. Park Superintendent Tracy Fortmann welcomes continued participation in this effort. "Through this thoughtful public process," she says, "we will continue the tradition of serving the American people while protecting and sharing the histories of these highly significant buildings, archaeological sites, historic landscapes, and the many individuals who graced this site."
Overall, the Draft Master Plan/EA establishes the groundwork for future preservation, site design, and development of the East and South Vancouver Barracks. The NPS preferred alternative would create a dynamic, sustainable public service campus, where the multi-layered history of the East and South Barracks would be preserved and interpreted. Headquarters for Fort Vancouver NHS, other NPS administrative uses, and certain interpretive functions would be relocated to an East Barracks building along the historic Parade Ground.
To promote public service and sustainable historic preservation, the National Park Service would also encourage the adaptive reuse of other buildings for a mix of other tenants and uses, including offices for public agencies, retail and community functions. Sensitive rehabilitation of the cultural landscape would also be extensive.
All alternatives, as well as an analysis of their environmental effects, are described in more detail in the Draft Master Plan/EA, which is available on the project website (http://parkplanning.nps.gov/fova).
The National Park Service invites the public to review the document and help shape the future of these historically significant public lands. Public comments can be submitted online or mailed to the park between February 1st and March 5th, 2012.
The National Park Service will also hold two public meetings on February 22 & 23 to discuss the Draft Master Plan/EA. Meetings will be held at the Red Cross building, located at 605 Barnes Street within the Vancouver National Historic Reserve, on the northeast corner of Barnes Street and Hatheway Road.
The meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 22nd will be held from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., with a short guided site tour beginning at 12:30 p.m. The second meeting will be held Thursday, February 23,rd beginning with a short guided site tour at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting following from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Meetings will be conducted in an open house format to provide the public an opportunity to give comments directly to NPS personnel. Each meeting will begin with a brief presentation showcasing the proposed changes for the East and South Vancouver Barracks.
Established in 1948 through a bi-state grassroots effort, Fort Vancouver NHS is the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area's only national park. For over 60 years, the park has told the compelling stories of the colonial period in the Pacific Northwest, including contact with indigenous peoples, the fur trade, and the establishment of the first permanent U.S. Army post.
In 1961, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to ensure that the National Park Service would protect the historic East and South Vancouver Barracks once the U.S. Army vacates the site. The post to park transfer that is underway now satisfies that intention, and ensures that the rich history of the military post will be preserved and interpreted for generations to come.
For more information, please call (360) 816-6212.
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