Information About Claude Moore Colonial Farm

What’s going on with Claude Moore Colonial Farm?
There continues to be a lack of understanding about the agreement the National Park Service offered to the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm. We acted in earnest to ensure the relationship’s future, exhausting all possible legal options to continue the relationship including a potential lease, a potential concessions contract, and finally a proposed 10-year cooperative agreement.

Since 1981, the National Park Service has had an agreement with the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm to present living history programs in the park on behalf of the National Park Service. The agreement, which originally expired in 2006, was extended multiple times over the years.


A long-term agreement would have required the organization to comply with current laws and policy and terms that are standard for thousands of national park partners across the country, while offering some flexibility to accommodate the organization’s interests. Although we negotiated in good faith; in the end, these terms were not accepted by the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm.

In early March, the National Park Service presented a final offer to the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm, which declined to sign a new long-term agreement and will, therefore, discontinue their relationship with the National Park Service on December 21, 2018.

The National Park Service never had the intention of closing Claude Moore Colonial Farm. All this means right now is that the farm will close to the public as winter approaches, as it always has. It's possible that the National Park Service could still provide living history programming with the farm's existing volunteers, its possible a new partner could step in to provide programming, it's also possible something different could happen altogether. Rest assured that we have absolutely no intention to sell or commercially develop the park land that is known as Claude Moore Colonial Farm.

We value the memories that people have made at the farm, and we will work with you, the community, and the farm’s many dedicated volunteers to determine its future. If you would like to stay in touch with us, please share your contact information via this form.

Q: Why won’t the National Park Service grant a longer term agreement?
A: The typical maximum length of a cooperative agreement is 5 years. Case by case, the NPS may establish a longer term with in-park cooperators to reflect the longevity of the relationship, as well as, the sophistication and standing of the organization. The NPS has offered the Friends a 10-year term in recognition of the relationship’s longevity and the valuable service the organization provides.

Q: Why does the National Park Service require approval of what is sold in the bookstore or gift shop?
A: This is no different from any bookstore or gift shop in any other national park. The intent is to make sure that items sold in parks are compatible with the park’s purpose and educational mission. For example, if the organization wanted to sell a postcard with a picture from the farm that would likely be allowed since it's directly related to the park. However, if the organization wanted to sell video games and astronaut ice cream that probably wouldn’t make sense since it’s not tied to the purpose of the park or educational programming the friends organization is there to provide.

Q: Why does the National Park Service require reporting on financials?
A: Federal regulations (2 C.F.R. §200.327 and §200.328) require financial reporting, and the privilege of operating in a national park comes with certain expectations of accountability to the American people. These measures ensure that the revenue generated by the use of public land and buildings is properly handled and reinvested to support the operation or park and not being used inappropriately. You can view the required one-page financial reporting form, called SF-425, online.

Q: Why does the National Park Service require an Annual Work Plan?
A: Annual work plans are a standard business practice, and most boards of directors require them for their organizations. They are often used to set goals, budgets, plan for special events, and set fundraising goals for the year. In this case, an annual work plan also allows both partners to lay out roles and responsibilities and set expectations for public programming, services, and maintenance projects for the year. This is a standard requirement for all organizations that conduct similar activities in national parks.

Q: Why did the National Park Service require the friend’s organization to operate the pavilion directly?
A: We recognize that income from the pavilions is vital revenue for the friends group. The arrangement between the friends organization and a single, for-profit company to provide food and entertainment at the pavilions, restricts the public’s options. In trying to come to an agreement with the friends, the National Park Service proposed to allow the friends to recommend a specific caterer, but allow the public to choose their own caterer, or for people to have no caterer at all. This would ensure the friends organization could still collect income for pavilion rentals, enable the pavilions to be more affordable for the public, and allow the public more freedom with how they used the space. Additionally, when a cooperating partner earns income from an activity in a park it should be related to the purpose and educational mission the group is there to provide. Outsourcing this business opportunity to a for-profit third party with no connection to the farm’s purpose stretched this too far.

Q: Why does the National Park Service provide oversight when the farm is operated privately and with no federal financial support?
A: While the National Park Service and park visitors benefit from the services of partners, concession operators and volunteers, national parks belong to all Americans, and none of them are privately operated. Since 1981 the friends organization has received federal funding from the National Park Service – more than $1.3 million since 2001, to construct new facilities, support educational opportunities, and pay some utility costs. In addition, the National Park Service has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to design a sewerage system for the farm, to conduct safety and food inspections, and to share maintenance responsibilities such as snow-removal and tree trimming with the friends group. The federal financial support to the friends, at its core, is the free use and value of the federal land and facilities.

 

Last updated: June 7, 2018

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