National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interior
Partnership header Making music at the Ashville festival, Blue Ridge Parkway
Old Fort Militia

Description: Old Fort Militia friends group at Fort Smith National Historic Site was established in the mid-1980's to help raise funds to construct a historically accurate replica of the original 100-foot flag pole for the second Fort Smith. This project was completed in 1986. The organization is a part of the civic affairs committee of the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce. The militia is activated when needed to support park projects.

Geographic area covered: They have been only active with the National Historic Site but could include other entities in the local area.

List of Partners and Relationships: Fort Smith National Historic Site.

Accomplishments to date: Raised funds to purchase and erect the 100-foot flagpole for the park. Militia was the grantor on several grants in the mid-1990's that allowed the park to do a number of projects.

Key success factors:

  1. The park friends group had a single project purpose originally. After that was accomplished, the organization has become active when another need or purpose is identified.

  2. The leadership of the organization was only interested in fund raising and left the actual construction of the projects to the NPS. They were never a threat or hindrance in the park accomplishing the work as originally planned.
  3. The leadership of the organization also does not meet regularly, or constantly try to find projects. They wait until park management contacts them.

Frustrations: Most of these individuals were in private business and found it difficult to understand the length of time it took the park to complete projects. There was a long learning curve for them to understand our restrictions under environmental and cultural laws and regulations. However, these frustrations were minor and never caused problems.

Most important lessons learned to date: This group of people is interested in getting things done. If you don't have something they appreciate not being bothered so they can help others. In this community there are numerous non-profit organizations that need assistance on a regular basis. If we need them, they are there.

What would you do differently next time: Worked harder to come up with a good project for them every two or three years.

Suggested resource materials(related to the case study):

For more information:

Name: William Black
Affiliation: Superintendent, Fort Smith National Historic Site
Phone/Fax: 479-783-3961

Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)

Fundraising _X_; Capital Improvements__; Facility Management __; Trails __; Design __; Program Delivery __; Visitor Services __; Tenant Organizations __; Concessioners __; Natural Resources Management/Restoration __; Cultural Resources __; Education/Interpretation __; Arts __; Information Services __; Transportation __; Mutual Aid __; Fire Management __; Planning __; Tourism __; Community Relations __;

Other ____________________________

Prepared by: : William Black Date posted: 8/5/03
Phone: 479-783-3961

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