First Annual National Park Service Historic Preservation Conference
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Glen Gray

As manager of a small area, Mr. Gray summed up his problems as one of poor communication between WASO, DSC, the regions, and the parks. The park is often not told when decisions are made and almost never why they are made. Region and DSC are probably not told as often as they should what decisions have been made.

A manager responsible for an area should be aware of what is going on or being planned in his park, and should share in the decision making process. There is a need for close dialogue between DSC and Region; Region can speak for the park, but hopefully not until after the park has a chance to speak for itself. Everyone must be involved in more person to person communication. Those working on park projects must know the park and staff reasonably well.

For lack of coordination between WASO, DSC, Region, and the park we had paths designed that cut through a historic slag-pile and ended in a river; a parking lot that cut off a corner of a historic house, and an archeology program where Denver, after a brief visit to the park, tells the archeologist the exact details of the on-site program. The park never sees the contract, does not know the proposed details until after the contract archeologist visits the park, and finds that the proposal does not meet the needs of the park.

The park maintenance staff, Mr. Gray said, must have a feeling or sympathy for historic preservation, and must know when to act or not to act. We send our maintenance employees to courses in maintenance skills on historic preservation. They seem to be told to go back to the parks and preserve. Under the existing set-up, we do not have sufficient historical architects to direct each parks' maintenance staff on a day to day basis. Some preservation work has to be done by the staff. However, we don't need a "Jack-of-old-Trades." A maintenance skills course is not good enough from this point of view. We need a person who knows one or two crafts well and knows enough to stay away from other projects. The service has all the necessary skills - painters, blacksmiths, carpenters, masons, etc. This skill should be shared either on a park-to-park basis or by a traveling team of experts to do the many small jobs.

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Last Updated: 14-Jul-2009