2010 FAC Meeting Notes

Please scroll down to find the Meeting Notes for 2010:
  • December 16, 2010
  • September 16, 2010
  • June 17, 2010
  • March 18, 2010
 
December 16, 2010
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park
Federal Advisory Commission Meeting
December 16, 2010
Strasburg Town Hall
Strasburg, Virginia

I) General Introductions

II) Review of Minutes from June 17, 2010, and from September 16, 2010

III) Updates and Status Reports
General Management Plan New Positions
Office Move

IV) Presentation and discussion: Shannon Kettering, ASLA, AICP: Interim Interpretive Plan
for Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP

V) Old Business

VI) New Business

Meeting Notes
Commission members in attendance: John Adamson, Belle Grove; Mary Bowser, private
landowner; Carl Bernhards, Middletown; Patrick Farris, Warren County, chair; Stanley
M. Hirschberg, Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation; Diann Jacox, Designated Federal Official (DFO); Eric Lawrence, Frederick County; Sarah Mauck, Strasburg; Rob Nieweg, National Trust; and PamSheets, Shenandoah County.

Commission members absent: Nick Picerno, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation; and Jim Smalls, U.S. Forest Service

Others in attendance: Joanne Blacoe, NPS Northeast Regional Office; Eric Campbell, NPS; Fay Goolrich, ECOS Environmental Design; Bob Grogg, NPS volunteer; Tonia Horton, NPS; Shannon Kettering, ECOS Environmental Design; Elizabeth McClung, Belle Grove; Cassandra Moore, NPS; Peggy Scherbaum, NPS, Harpers Ferry Center; and
Elizabeth Stern, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
Chair Patrick Farris opened the meeting at 8:30 a.m. Everyone in the room gave their name and affiliation. With a quorum present the commissioners approved the meeting notes from both June 17, 2010, and September 16, 2010.
Diann Jacox said that the original idea had been to issue a press release to accompany the release of the GMP. Plans, however, went awry, and the GMPs were mailed before the park was notified, so no press release was issued. Jacox congratulated everyone on having reached this milestone in the park’s development. She also said that that the GMP becomes official once the Record of Decision (ROD) is signed, and that is yet to happen. She expressed her desire to have the regional director travel to the park once the ROD is ready to be issued.
Jacox introduced Cassandra Moore, the new administrative assistant. She also announced that a facilities manager has been hired. He will be reporting for work January 3, 2011 Five staff persons will be moving to the 8693 Valley Pike property soon. Furniture has been ordered and delivery is expected soon. The lease on the Middletown office expires August 2011, and the office will be retained until that date. The park has not determined whether it will continue to staff the Middletown office until August 2011. The park also plans to open an interim visitor contact station, and the Middletown office may be one of several spaces considered for that purpose. Leasing is done through a competitive bidding process, and the park is working with the General Services Administration (GSA) to solicit competitive bids for space for an interim visitor contact station.
Shannon Kettering and Fay Goolrick then took the floor to report on their work on the interim interpretive plan since the commissioners’ last quarterly meeting. They reported several observations since compiling suggestions and analyzing the content.
  • American Indians should not be lumped in with natural history or archeology; they should be interpreted as part of the colonial settlement theme. For too long Indians have been included within natural history and the tribes have chafed at this categorization.
  • Because the NPS wants to move on getting the park operational, the focus is on the interpretive programs and interpretive media with other needs being addressed as soon as possible thereafter.
  • The partners have differing needs and levels of expertise in interpretation.
  • The NPS does resource-based interpretation keyed to locations, which is important in preparing the plan.
  • What locations are suitable for interpretation?
o Interim visitor center
o Belle Grove
o Cedar Creek headquarters
o Hupp’s Hill
o Winchester-Frederick County visitor center
o Front Royal visitor center
o Strasburg museum


Cedar Creek & Belle Grove NHP
December 16, 2011
Federal Advisory Commission
3 of 4
o Fisher’s Hill
o Middletown town hall
o Heater house
o Bowman-Hite property
o Long Meadow
o Valley Pike
o Bowman’s Mill road
o Stickley property
o Vermont monument
o New York monument
o Ramseur monument
o Harmony Hall
o Bowman’s fort
o Nineteenth corps entrenchments
o End of Sheridan’s ride
o Middletown cemetery
o Meadow Mills road
o Miller house
o Wayside Inn
o St. Thomas Chapel

Having listed all these sites as possibilities, the commissioners narrowed the list down to the five sites that would provide the best opportunities for interpretation:
  • Interim visitor center
  • Belle Grove
  • Cedar Creek headquarters Heater house
  • Valley Pike

Kettering and Goolrick closed by saying that interpretation is about universals, and that this concept would be their guiding theme as they take the information about locations, put it with the themes talked about in the September meeting, and prepare the recommendations document.

Old Business
Farris reminded anyone who had not signed in, to do so.

New Business
Sarah Mauck wants to meet with the NPS and Belle Grove about the website that is going up January 15, 2011.

Carl Bernhards reported that the feasibility study for the water line from Strasburg to Middletown is not encouraging. Nevertheless he wants to have some discussion to see if there is a way that this could work. There are three alternate routes to consider for the possible 5.2-mile length of the project.

Patrick Farris reported that he is teaching a course -- Anthropology of the Shenandoah
Valley – and he plans to bring student groups to the park in the coming months.

Beth Stern commented on the updating work for the Frederick County Comprehensive Plan. Public hearings will take place in February and March. The county does not get into viewshed considerations, but they will take comments until January 5, 2011, from the website. Eric Lawrence will send a link to all commissioners so that they can see the draft document.

Elizabeth McClung suggested that everyone bring family and friends to Belle Grove between now and December 23, 201. The house will also be open December 23–30, 2010.

The Key Partners and NPS staff will meet with Kettering and Goolrick at the Valley Pike offices at 1:15 p.m.

Chair Patrick Farris adjourned the meeting at 11:45 a.m.

The next meeting will be at the Middletown town hall, March 17, 2011, at 8:30 a.m.

Handouts
FAC Meeting Agenda for December 16, 2010 Meeting Notes from June 17, 2010
Meeting Notes from September 16, 2010 FAC Meeting Schedule 2010-2011
Meeting Agenda for Interim Interpretive Plan Pre-Design Charette
Interim Interpretive Plan Pre-Design Charette handout

 
September 16, 2010
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park
Federal Advisory Commission Meeting
September 16, 2010
Warren County Government Center
Front Royal, Virginia

I) General Introductions

II) Review of Minutes from June 17, 2010

III) Updates and Status Reports
General Management Plan
Status of Commission nominations New Positions
Interpretive Program

IV) Presentation and discussion: Shannon Kettering, ASLA, AICP: Interim Interpretive Plan
for Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP

V) Old Business

VI) New Business

Meeting Notes
Commission members in attendance: Diann Jacox, Designated Federal Official (DFO);
John Adamson, Belle Grove; Fred Andreae, National Trust; Mary Bowser, private landowner; Patrick Farris, Warren County, chair; Stanley M. Hirschberg, Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation; Eric Lawrence, Frederick County; Sarah Mauck, Strasburg; Elizabeth McClung, Belle Grove; Nick Picerno, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation; and Pam Sheets, Shenandoah County

Commission members absent: Carl Bernhards, Middletown; Rob Nieweg, National Trust; Jim Smalls, U.S. Forest Service

Others in attendance: Joanne Blaco, NPS Northeast Regional Office; Eric Campbell, NPS; Fay Goolrich, ECOS Environmental Design; Bob Grogg, NPS volunteer; Terry Heder, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation; Shannon Kettering, ECOS
Environmental Design; Rick Redmond, Strasburg; Peggy Scherbaum, NPS, Harpers
Ferry Center; Russ Smith, NPS, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP; and Elizabeth
Stern, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

Chair Patrick Farris opened the meeting at 8:30 a.m. Names and affiliations were provided by
everyone in the room. Without a quorum present, the meeting notes could not be approved and were held over until the December meeting for action. Diann Jacox announced that the GMP is at the printer and will be available later in the fall. She also announced that six new commissions members have been appointed, three have been reappointed, and three more nominations remain to be made.

For the Administrative Support Assistant position Jacox reported that there were 209 applications; she is ready to offer the position to one of the applicants. For the Facilities Operations Specialist position, there were 89 applications and she will begin interviews next week.

Eric Campbell reported on this past summer’s interpretive programs. Approximately 103 programs were offered; visitors showed up at 76. Learning what worked and what did not work in the operation of the programs has been an ongoing activity. For instance, the staff learned that Sunday morning programs were a failure. Most people did not know that the park exists. Several commission members expressed their appreciation and approval of the programs. “We have put markers on the ground and will grow from here,” was a sentiment that everyone agreed with.

The bulk of the meeting was taken up with a presentation and discussion led by Shannon Kettering and Faye Goolrick of ECOS Environmental Design, contractors hired by Harpers Ferry Center to prepare an interim Interpretive plan for the park. They described the process and told how making connections between the park—the resource—and the public would engage visitors and ultimately build a sense of stewardship for all who come to know the park. The GMP is a very sound foundation on which to build this effort.

The discussion began by exploring the opportunities and the challenges that introducing
interpretive programs provides. They are:
  • Trails
  • Orientation
  • Mix of public and private land and endeavors
  • Digital information; using technology
  • Branding and integration of individual sites into a whole
  • Protection of water and trails, and promoting wildlife education
  • Fractured landscape and roles for each partners
  • Are partner and NPS identities important to visitors?
  • Finding the right mix of identities for park and partners
  • Partners: one place or six places?
  • Changes outside the park boundaries—quarry, I-81 expansion, development
  • Finding the newest and most relevant history and making it part of the program
  • Archeology
  • Lack of park infrastructure—road system
  • Connect the story of Cedar Creek to those at other nearby sites in the northern Shenandoah Valley
  • Take advantage of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Attract visitors year round
  • Visitor Center
  • Partners need to be coached on financial opportunities with the NPS (This item was moved to the parking lot.)

Next the commission members looked at the themes developed and agreed upon in the GMP, fleshing them out and providing supporting ideas.
  • A fertile land Transportation
  • American Indians and early European settlers Colonial era
  • Antebellum society Military
  • Political
  • Post-Civil War
  • Geography—this is one of the key elements, both the north-south orientation of the valley along
  • with the limestone geology and its influence on agriculture, building style, etc.
  • Colonial land grants and the encouragement of settlement
  • True “specialness” of the Shenandoah Valley is key to NPS programs

The discussion moved on to think about (1) the actual physical places for interpretation and (2) what the most outstanding things park visitors can do.
  • Families can interact together
  • Walk in the footsteps—the battle happened on this very land Re-enactments
  • Another place in time
  • Understand the size of a battlefield To see oneself in the story
  • To see or handle artifacts—employ the senses To understand the human dimension
  • Make people feel “rewarded”


What are the challenges and opportunities to the implementation of the plan, once
completed.
  • Land preservation in the face of ongoing development
  • Land ownership
  • Making the various landowners and partners into one park
  • Recognizing all local and grassroots efforts, not just those of the NPS
  • Nonprofits are self-supporting and dependent on raising funds. How do partners survive under these conditions?
  • As the NPS confronts a new century, should this model—a partnership park—be promoted to the public?
  • All activities should be planned together. No single partner wants to read about another partner’s programs in the newspaper for the first time.
  • Overcome the branding problems
  • Interpretation has to be available at all times of the day and wherever visitors want it.
Old Business
None

New Business
The finals of the national sheep dog trails will take place this coming weekend at Belle
Grove.

October 2, 2010, marks the tenth anniversary of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

The next meeting will be held in the Strasburg town Hall at 8:30 a.m., December 16, 2010.
Chair Patrick Farris adjourned the meeting at 11: 35 a.m.


 
June 17, 2010
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park
Park Advisory Commission Meeting
June 17, 2010
Middletown Town Hall
Middletown, Virginia

I) General Introduction

II) Review of Minutes from March 18, 2010

III) Updates and Status Reports
  • General Management Plan
  • Status of Commission nominations
  • New Positions
  • New Employees
  • Interpretive Program

IV) Meeting Schedule 2010-2011: Dates, Time, Location

V) Presentation: Building Public Support for Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP,
Gary Adelman, Director of History and Education, CWPT

VI) Old Business

VII) New Business

Meeting Notes
Commission members in attendance: Diann Jacox, Designated Federal Official (DFO);
Fred Andreae; Mary Bowser; Patrick Farris, chair; Sarah Mauck; Elizabeth McClung; Pam Sheets; and Jim Smalls.

Commission members absent: Roy Downey, Gary Rinkerman, Dan Stickley, Kris Tierney

Others in attendance: Gary Adelman, Civil War Preservation Trust; John Adamson, Belle Grove board member; Carl Bernhards Jr., Middletown council member; Eric Campbell,

NPS; Bob Grogg, NPS volunteer; Stanley M. Hirschberg, Cedar Creek Battlefield
Foundation; Tonia Horton, NPS; Stephanie Pendleton, National Trust for Historic Preservation member; Cameron Seals, U.S. Forest Service; Jonathan Steplyk, NPS; and Elizabeth Stern, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

Chair Patrick Farris opened the meeting at 8:30 a.m. Everyone at the meeting gave their names and affiliation. The meeting notes from March 18, 2010, were approved as written. Farris announced that though there was not a quorum present the meeting could proceed and any item requiring a vote would be held over until the next meeting.

Diann Jacox reported that the General Management Plan is at the printer. The park is committed to having the document printed and in the public’s hands before the end of the year.

Jacox reported that nominations to fill the expired terms on the Commission are in the Washington Office but have not yet been approved. The holdovers on the commission will be Patrick Farris, Diann Jacox, Sarah Mauck, Pam Sheets, and Jim Smalls. Jacox is waiting to hear from the state government about the representative for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Two new full-time positions—facilities manager and administrative assistant—will be advertised within the month. Both will be advertised all-sources and government-wide. The park has hired two seasonals—Jonathan Steplyk and Shannon Moeck—who will present interpretive programs throughout the summer season.

Jacox reported that the aim of the programs will be to tie all park stories together showing how various topics are related—geology, settlement, American Indian stories, the Civil War, the Valley’s recovery, and growth in the 20th and 21st centuries. The stories and interpretation are not confined by park boundaries and real estate lines. It is exciting to see people began to react to the emerging public fact of the park.

John Adamson, Belle Grove board member, reported that one of Eric Campbell’s programs occurred while the Belle Grove board was meeting. The board adjourned to attend the program. Adamson reported that he “learned more in one hour than I had learned in the previous ten years about the area.” Everyone is hopeful that these interpretive programs will make people curious about other aspects of the area’s story.

Jacox stressed that these are pilot programs, and that the park will be assessing all aspects of their impact. She voiced the hope that Belle Grove would benefit from the NPS interpretive programs and that visitors would not think the NPS programs were the only opportunities to learn about the plantation. Passport stamps at Belle Grove, the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation and the park are all slightly different; their popularity should be a draw as well as the programs.

The commission discussed that meeting schedule for the next twelve months. The
consensus among those present was that the rotation among the sites should continue, and that meetings will be four times a year and on the third Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Diann Jacox will submit the times and locations and that information will be published in the Federal Register. Meeting dates are:
  • September 16, 2010 Warren County Government Center
  • December 16, 2010 Strasburg Town Hall
  • March 17, 2011 Middletown Town Hall
  • June 16, 2011 Warren Country Government Center

Gary Adelman, Civil War Preservation Trust, spoke on how interpretation can be used to
build public support for a park. Interest and commitments to a park begin with visitors wanting to learn more. Interpretation leads to understanding, to support, and finally to preservation. Park Days, when visitors can help with clean-up and projects to spruce up an area, inevitably lead to commitment. Trails lead to less mischief; those who use them come to have a sense of ownership.

Seldom will visitors be interested in who owns the land, for they want to see all areas that they
consider to be the park look well cared for and parklike. Interpretation, along with bringing the
site and the stories to life, makes people care. And interpretation is good for the partners; it
inevitably draws them together as they respond to visitors’ perceptions.

Old Business
None
New Business
On July 15 William Barker will be at Belle Grove as Thomas Jefferson. The occasion is the Hite Family Days, $100 per person, black tie, and period food of 1815 will be on the menu.

Belle Grove will host the finals of the National Sheep Dog Trials on September 18-26, 2010.

Warren Heritage Society will be honoring the 75th Anniversary of Shenandoah National Park and of the NPS and CCC in Warren Country.

Planning for the train pull for the Memorial Day 2011 weekend continues. This will commemorate Stonewall Jackson’s move of locomotive and boxcars from Martinsburg to Strasburg in 1861.

The Route 11 yard sale, from Stephens City to New Market will take place Saturday, August 14, 2010.

Planning at Fishers Hill by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation continues
apace with the hope that the work be completed during the fall of this year.

Next Meeting
The commission will meet September 16, 2010, at the Warren County Government Center at 8:30 a.m.

Handouts
1. Agenda
2. Press Release announcing interpretive programs
3. Meeting Notes from March 18, 2010.

Chair Patrick Farris adjourned the meeting at 9:44 a.m.

 
March 18, 2010
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park
Park Advisory Commission Meeting
March 18, 2010
Strasburg Town Hall Strasburg, Virginia


I) General Introduction

II) Review of Minutes from December 17, 2009

III) Updates

IV) Proposed Interpretation at Cedar Creek & Belle Grove NHP, Eric Campbell

V) Discussion, Patrick Farris

VI) Old Business

VII) New Business

VIII) Next Meeting—June 17, 2010, Middletown Town Hall, Middletown, Virginia

Meeting Notes
Commission members in attendance: Diann Jacox, Designated Federal Official (DFO); Fred Andreae; Patrick Farris, chair; Sarah Mauck; Pam Sheets; and Jim Smalls.

Commission members absent: Mary Bowser, Roy Downey, Elizabeth McClung, Gary Rinkerman, Dan Stickley, Kris Tierney

Others in attendance: John Adamson, Belle Grove board member; Carl Bernhards Jr., Middletown council member; Cynthia Burton, Winchester Star; Eric Campbell, NPS; Bob Grogg, NPS volunteer; Terry Heder, Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation; Stanley A. Hirschberg, Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation; and Toni Horton, NPS.

Chair Patrick Farris opened the meeting at 8:30. Everyone in the room gave their na e
and affiliation. The minutes from December 17, 2009, were accepted and approved.
Diann Jacox began by talking about vacancies and terms that are nearing their end on the Federal Advisory Commission. She has written Belle Grove, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Frederick County, the National Trust, private landowners to provide her with nominations for these vacancies. Jacox
and Jim Smalls will be renominated and remain in place on the board. Names for the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, Middletown, and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation have been submitted to the NPS Washington Office for approval. The representatives for Warren County and Strasburg are eligible for re-nomination when their terms expire.

These changes will represent major changes in the composition of the advisory commission and they also come at a time in which the focus of the advisory commission will turn from planning to implementation.

The consultants has completed their work on the General Management Plan, and it is on the way to the printer.

The park will be hiring two seasonal interpreters as well as an administrative assistant and a facilities manager.

Eric Campbell gave a PowerPoint presentation on the proposed interpretive programs that will be instituted this summer. The goals are to meet the expectations of both the public and the Key Partners and to let everyone know that this park is a unit of the National Park System. The programs are also meant to complement, not compete with, existing program managed by the Partners
and to build up local support for the park. Park staff are also investigating other means of reaching the public such as podcasts, iPhone apps, and a visitor contact station. Some programs will be geared to special events at the park; others will be directed toward off-site presentations. One such program -- Cedar Creek in a Box
-- may be appropriate for schools.

Campbell also reported that the park has received funding for doing an interpretive plan; that work will begin later this summer.

Jacox reported that she wanted Eric Campbell to operate primarily as the chief of interpretation. To that end the new seasonal interpreters will have the primary responsibility for presenting individual interpretive programs, while Campbell will be responsible for leading and managing the overall interpretive program.

Stan Hirschberg suggested that Professor Joseph Whitehorne could make some good suggestions.

Someone asked if the programs were geared towards the SOLs (Virginia Standard of Learning). Campbell replied that he will look into that issue. He continued, saying that these programs are only a beginning. The staff will learn what works and what does not work. The programs being proposed for this season will be refined – and may differ in future years. His top priority this
year is to simply get an NPS presence on the ground.

Jacox mentioned that relatively speaking, the GMP has been prepared in a record time. Other park staff are focusing on resource stewardship, so that the facilities and historic properties that the national park owns will not be simply mothballed. Heretofore, Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP has been mostly a theoretical concept. Now that interpretive programs are coming online, and stewardship activities are under way, the visiting public will begin to perceive Cedar Creek &
Belle Grove NHP as an authentic national park.

Old Business
None

New Business
Jacox reminded everyone that June 17, 2010 is the last Federal Advisory Commission meeting whose date has been published in the Federal Register. A quorum must be present to vote on the coming year’s meeting dates, so please remind as many members as possible, to be present.

She also told members that there still are many interpretive issues that need to be addressed, including signage issues. Nonetheless, with public programming beginning soon, we are moving in the right direction.

Next Meeting
The commission will meet June 17, 2010, in the Middletown Town Hall at 8:30 a.m.

Handouts
1. Agenda
2. A Plan for Interpretation
3. Meeting Notes from March 18, 2010

Last updated: January 13, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 700
Middletown, VA 22645

Phone:

(540) 869-3051

Contact Us