Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail Long Range Interpretive Plan August 2019

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Long range interpretive plans (LRIP) provide guidance for National Park Service parks' planning and management decisions. Core components of this LRIP include a brief description of Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail and its purpose, significance, fundamental resources, values, and interpretive themes. An interdisciplinary team of National Park Service staff and partners met in March 2018 to review the trail's purpose, significance, and interpretive themes. Desired outcomes were identified that would help impart the trail's national significance through appropriate interpretive media. Issues were prioritized to be addressed throughout the expected five-to-seven-year life of this plan. Recommendations will be implemented and facilitated as staffing, planning, funding, technology, and resource conditions advance. In addition, this LRIP satisfies the requirement for an interpretive plan as established by National Park Service Director’s Order #6. Interpretation and Education.

 
The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781. By John Trumbull, 1756-1843.
The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781 by John Trumbull, 1756-1843.

(c) YALE UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY


Prepared by Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail Northeast Regional Office, National Park Service Harpers Ferry Center Interpretive Planning.

 
 

Introduction

 
Map showing several of the sites along the allied route today
Map showing several of the sites along the allied route today

NPS

Infographic Title: Along this Allied Route Today

Background image of a map with a series of trail routes beginning in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York running south along the coast and coastal waterways ending in Yorktown, Virginia. There are numerous towns and historic sites with small descriptive text along the route, a legend for the map, and Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail logo. For a detailed description of the map, see alternative text of the infographic in Part 1 Desired Interpretive Outcomes section.

Main text: Discovering a Revolutionary War Trail. "The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route comprises a network of roads and waterways used by allied forces in the Yorktown campaign. Although population growth and urban development have erased almost all traces of the rural campsites and small taverns that once sheltered Revolutionary War soldiers, the public can still visit historic sites that tell the Washington-Rochambeau story. Strolling the green in Lebanon, Connecticut, taking a sail on the Chesapeake Bay, seeing a Revolutionary War reenactment at Colonial Williamsburg, or exploring the battlefield at Yorktown, are just a few of many opportunities to interact with history.

Travelers driving I-95 from Massachusetts to Virginia now make the trip in less than a day, and GPS systems guide them to lodging, fuel, and restaurants. It is worth remembering, however, that in colonial times, most of this land was wilderness. If not for the detailed surveys by engineers and cartographers during the allied campaign, French and American troops might not have reached Yorktown. That they did so, defeated the British, and returned north—the French to go home, the Americans to win the war—remains an impressive feat."

Image of a sundail with a caption reading "Time of day and geographic location were of basic concern to soldiers on the march. To determine both, they may have relied on an instrument like this pocket compass and sundial. COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE MUSEUM MANAGEMENT PROGRAM AND MORRISTOWN NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK".

Image of a historic map of Connecticut with a caption reading "This map of Connecticut from Rochambeau’s personal collection is titled “Connecticut, from the best authorities.” In 1780-81 his special cavalry—Lauzun’s Legion—spent eight months camped just west of Lebanon Green. ROCHAMBEAU MAP COLLECTION, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS".

Text near Lebanon reads: "Lebanon provided winter quarters for some 220 of the 300 hussars of Lauzun’s Legion from November 20, 1780, until June 20, 1781."

Image of a book page with a historic illustration of a map of a town next to a river with a caption reading "This atlas page records a camp occupied by Rochambeau’s troops in Philadelphia, 1782. ROCHAMBEAU MAP COLLECTION, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS".

The larger image is overlain with paragraphs of text and images with captions pinpointing areas of interest along the trails. Pinpoints on the map following the trail from north to south are: Minute Man National Historical Park, Boston National Historical Park, Longfellow National Historic Site, Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Roger Williams National Memorial, Governors Island National Monument, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, Quinebaug & Shetucket Rivers, Valley National Heritage Corridor, Morristown National Historical Park, Independence, National Historical Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, Colonial National Historical Park, Prince William Forest Park.

Images and additional captions on the map following the trail from north to south are:

Caption over Boston, Massachusetts reading "Having marched all the way from Williamsburg to Boston, Rochambeau’s infantry sailed out of Boston Harbor for the Caribbean on Christmas Day 1782."

Caption over Newport reading "French forces under the comte de Rochambeau quartered in Newport from their arrival on July 18, 1780, until their departure for New York on June 11, 1781."

Image of a trail leading through a grass field with historic buildings. The caption and text read "Lebanon Green, Lebanon, Connecticut PHOTO BY SUSAN LAVIGNE". An arrow connects this image to Lebanon, Connecticut, on the map.

Image of a river running through a forested valley with caption reading "View of Hudson Highlands near Newburgh, New York ©VESPASIAN / ALAMY". An arrow connects this image to Newburgh, New York, on the map.

Text near Newburgh reads: "Having spent the winter of 1780-81 in and around Newburgh, Washington and the Continental Army broke camp on June 28, and joined Rochambeau’s forces near White Plains on July 4, 1781."

Image of a row of small cabins with a caption and text reading "Soldiers’ cabins, Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, New Jersey © BALEFIRE / SHUTTERSTOCK". An arrow connects this image to Morristown National Historical Park, New Jersey, on the map.

Image of a two-story white colonial home with a caption and text reading "Thomas Clark House Museum, Princeton Battlefield, Princeton, New Jersey ROBERT ROSETTA; ABOUTNEWJERSEY.COM." An arrow connects this image to Princeton, New Jersey, on the map.

Text under Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, reads "Generals Washington and Rochambeau arrived in Philadelphia on August 30, 1781. Their forces paraded before Congress from September 2 to 4."

Image of a clock tower on a tall red brick building with a caption reading "Independence Hall., Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ©DHORSEY / SHUTTERSTOCK, Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania". An arrow connects this image with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the map.

Image of a creek lined with marsh and trees with a caption reading "White Clay Creek near Hale-Byrnes House, Stanton, Delaware LOWELL SILVERMAN". An arrow connects this image with Wilmington, Delaware, on the map.

Text near Elkton, Maryland, reads "On September 9-10,1781, about 1,450 officers and men of the Continental Army, as well as about 1,200 of Rochambeau’s forces, embarked at Elkton for the journey to Virginia."

Text near Annapolis, Maryland, reads "Late in the afternoon of September 21, 1781, the rest of the allied forces, some 3,800 French and 200 American soldiers, sailed from Annapolis."

Image of a two-story white house with a red roof and prominent portico and cupolla with a caption reading "Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia ©CAROLYN M. CARPENTER / SHUTTERSTOCK". An arrow connects this image with Mount Vernon in Virginia, on the map.

Text near Mount Vernon reads: "Having left Elkton early on September 8, Washington covered the 120 miles to Mt. Vernon in two days, arriving at his estate late on September 9, 1781."

An image of boats in a marina with caption and text reading "Boats on the Chesapeake Bay ©BRENDANREALS / SHUTTERSTOCK". An arrow connects this image with Williamsburg, Virginia, on the map.

Text near Williamsburg, Virginia, reads "Reenactment in historic Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia ©MARVIN NEWMAN / STOCKPHOTOPRO".

An image of a cannon on a colonial street with image and text reading "Yorktown, Virginia ©CURTIS KUTZER / SHUTTERSTOCK Yorktown, Virginia." An arrow connects this image with Yorktown, Virginia, on the map.

Text near Yorktown, Virginia, reads "Reinforced by French forces under the marquis de St. Simon, as well as Continental Army troops under the marquis de Lafayette, the combined allied armies, 9,000 Americans and 9,000 French strong, set out for Yorktown on September 28, 1781. On October 19, 1781, Lord Cornwallis surrendered his forces to the victorious allies."

Text near Cape Charles, Maryland, and Cape Henry, Virginia, reads "The Battle off the Capes occurred near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on September 5, 1781. After the siege of Yorktown, Rochambeau’s forces wintered in Virginia. The troops headed north in summer 1782, continuing all the way to Boston, and departed the United States on Christmas Day 1782."
 
WARO logo
Official logo of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail.  

NPS Image

About Interpretive Planning

The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (WARO) Foundation Document (2018) provides basic guidance for planning and management decisions including the content of this Long-Range Interpretive Plan (LRIP). It includes a brief description of the park as well as the park’s purpose, significance, fundamental resources and values, and interpretive themes.

The LRIP advances planning by describing desired interpretive outcomes and by making recommendation for a variety of personal and non-personal interpretive services and partnerships that will communicate the trail’s purpose, significance, and primary stories.

This LRIP satisfies the requirement for an interpretive plan as established in Director’s Order #6.

An interdisciplinary team of National Park Service (NPS) staff and partners met in March 2018 to review portions of the Foundation Document, specifically the trail’s purpose, significance, and interpretive themes. During that two-day workshop, participants discussed targeted audiences based on personal opinion and anecdote that they felt would benefit most from enhanced interpretive outreach and media.

The group reviewed existing interpretation and identified desired outcomes that would help impart the trail’s national significance. They prioritized issues that appropriate interpretive media should address throughout the five-to-seven-year life of this LRIP.

Recommendations included in this LRIP will be updated regularly or as staffing, funding, technology, or resource conditions change. As noted in the document, further planning, funding, and staffing will be needed to implement some of the plan’s recommendations.

 

Part 1 Planning Blueprint

 
Yorktown Campaign Map (Mount Vernon Ladies Association)
Yorktown Campaign Map

(c) MOUNT VERNON LADIES' ASSOCIATION

Infographic Title: Yorktown Campaign, April-October 19, 1781.

The infographic is a map of the eastern coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina. Direction is depicted with a key eight pointed star inside a circle, outside the circle to the top is a fleur de leis.

There is a troop movement key to the bottom right of the map with a scale in 25-100 mile increments. The routes and troop strength displayed on the map include:

American and French troops moving by land are depicted by a series of solid blue arrows beginning in Providence, Rhode Island, with a note "Rochambeau 4,800" , then proceeding through Hartford, Connecticut, splitting into two routes through New York one labeled "Washington & Rochambeau 6,800", reconnecting in Princeton, New Jersey, proceeding through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, through Head of Elk, Baltimore, and Annalpolis, Maryland, picking up "Lafayette 900" before proceeding through Fredericksburg, Virginia, and to Richmond, Virginia. The route then proceeds north for a short distance and circles around south near Chalottesville, Virginia, and proceeds to Yorktown, Virginia, along the James River.

American and French troops transported by water are depicted by a series of dashed blue arrow beginning at Head of Elk, Maryland, and proceeding south through the Chesapeake Bay waterways to Yorktown, Virginia.

British troops moving by land and raids are depicted by a series of solid red arrow beginning in North Caolina with a note "Cornwallis (marching from Wilmington, N.C.) 1,500". The route continues north to Petersburg, Virginia acorss the James River circling around to Richmond, Virginia, with two breakoff raids in Charlottesville and Point of Fork in Virginia. The route crosses the James River at Green Spring, Virginia, proceeds through Portsmouth, and ends in Yorktown, Virginia.

French naval movements depicted by a dashed blue arrow. One route with a note "de Barras 12 ships of the line" begins in Rhode Island and follows the coast south to a clash at the Capes of Maryland and Virginia on the Cheseapeake Bay. Another route labeled "de Grasse 38 ships of the line 3,000 troops" heads north along the North Carolina coast and to a clash at the Capes of Maryland and Virginia.

British naval movements are depicted by a series of dashed red arrow beginning at New York City, New York, with a Note "Clinton 17,000". The route proceeds south along the coast with a note by Delaware reading "Graves 19 ships of the line". The route ends at a clash at the Capes of Maryland and Virginia.


A legend of Campaign Timeline reads:
Apr. 25 – Indecisive battle at Blandford VA
May 8 – Phillips at Petersburg, VA with 4,200 British troops
May 10 – Virginia government flees Richmond for Charlottesville; supplies sent to Point of Fork
May 20 – Cornwallis arrives at Petersburg with 1,500 troops, takes command
May 21 – 1,500 British reinforcements raises Cornwallis’s total to 7,200 men
May 23 – Lafayette decides to avoid combat
June 4 – Tarleton captures Charlottesville, Simcoe captures Point of Fork, VA government flees west.
June 7-13 – Cornwallis at Elk Hill Plantation
June 14 – Cornwallis moves east reinforced, Lafayette pursues
June 19 – Rochambeau departs Providence, RI with 4,800 French troops
July 6 – Indecisive battle at Green Spring, VA
July 7 – Washington & Rochambeau join forces at Dobbs Ferry, NY
August 1 – Cornwallis arrives at Yorktown, VA
August 21 – de Barras sails from Newport, RI with 12 French ships of the line
August 30 – de Grasse enters Chesapeake Bay with 28 French ships of the line and 3,000 French troops
August 31 – Graves sails from New York City with 19 British ships of the line
September 5 – French navy wins the Battle of the Capes, Graves withdraws
September 19-26 – Allied army transported by water to Yorktown vicinity
September 29 – Washington & Rochambeau arrive at Yorktown; allied army totals 16,650
September 29-October 19 – Siege of Yorktown
October 19 – Cornwallis surrenders 7,171 troops and 840 seamen

Cartographer’s mark on the map reads "Rick Britton"

A decorative label at the bottom of the infographic reads “George Washington’s Mount Vernon”.

Additional text at the bottom reads "MountVernon.org/revolutionary war ©2014 Mount Vernon Ladies Association".
 
Painting of Washington by James Peale
Painting of Washington by James Peale

(c) INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK/NPS

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Background

The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (WARO NHT) is defined in the 2009 authorizing legislation (Omnibus Public Land Management Act, PL 111-11) as “The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail, a corridor of approximately 600 miles following the route taken by the armies of General George Washington and Count Rochambeau between Newport, Rhode Island, and Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781 and 1782, as generally depicted on the map titled Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail, numbered T01/80,001, and dated June, 2007.”

The following description of the trail appears in WARO’s draft Foundation Document:

Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (referred to herein as the Trail) includes more than 700 miles of land and water corridors that follow the routes taken by the French and American armies, under General Washington and General Rochambeau, to and from the siege of Yorktown, Virginia—a pivotal event in America’s War for Independence or the Revolutionary War. The national historic trail traverses nine states—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia—plus the District of Columbia. The main trail and its multiple side routes pass through the major metropolitan areas in the Boston-New York-Washington megalopolis. The national historic trail corridors connect parks, historic sites, natural preserves, and other public open spaces crossing a number of historic trails, scenic trails, and tour routes.

Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail recognizes those places that still mark the passage of French and American troops. The route offers a variety of experiences as it follows the steps taken by American and French soldiers. In a number of cities along the route—such as Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Alexandria, Virginia—historic buildings, roads, and open spaces still remain, despite tremendous growth since1781. In addition, more rural areas along the route, such as New York’s Hudson River Valley and Virginia’s rural farmland, the route of the historic road, broad landscape patterns, and portions of the older communities still remain from this Colonial period. The national historic trail moves through a transportation corridor used from Colonial times to the present. Some of the roads maintain their 18th-century character and continue to connect large and small towns along the way. In other segments, the original Revolutionary-era road has since been replaced by modern two-lane roads and interstates and the campsites and associated military resources have been covered over by modern development.

The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail has an intangible quality, as well as a physical location. The national historic trail provides the framework to support preservation activities, interpretation efforts, and celebrations of this remarkable achievement. It is a living collaboration between the French and American governments, participants and supporters, and hundreds of communities, 50 counties, and nine states along the route.

 
Painting of Rochambeau by Charles Willson Peale.
Painting of Rochambeau by Charles Willson Peale.

(c) INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK/NPS

Trail Operation & Partners

While the NPS administers the trail, the NPS owns no property and does not staff for operational support. Currently, there is no overarching management plan to guide implementation of the trail.

The National Park Service will assist in the protection of historic resources and the commemoration and interpretation of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail in collaboration with a broad range of private organizations and local, state, and federal agencies. The existing lead partner is the non-profit National Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association, Inc. (W3R-US), which represents the trail at the national level and carries out trail activities related to conservation, preservation, education, and interpretation.

The W3R-US mission is to partner with the National Park Service, W3R-US state, international and other organizations, historic sites, preservationists and conservationists along the 700 mile Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (WARO), to initiate, coordinate, and promote programs that engage, inspire and educate the public in the history of the American Revolution with a particular emphasis on how France and the French people provided crucial aid to the United States.

The NPS presence associated with the trail is in the 19 national parks, national monuments, national battlefields and national historic sites. Also, a national recreation area, nine national heritage areas, two national scenic trails, two national historic trails, and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network are along the trail.

In addition, there are hundreds of historic sites, museums, and state and local parks that include or physically access sections of the trail and/or relate to it thematically. These sites currently work with or could collaborate with the National Park Service and its primary non-profit partner W3R-US, to tell the WARO story.

 

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Trail Purpose

WARO was established with legislation adopted by Congress (Public Law 111-11) on March 30, 2009.

A purpose statement lays the foundation for understanding what is most important about the trail. It identifies the specific reason(s) for establishing this particular unit of the NPS.

The 2018 Foundation Document for WARO contains this purpose statement:

The purpose of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail is to preserve and interpret the routes taken by American and French troops from 1780–1783 and to commemorate the role of the critical French-American alliance in the victory over British forces at the siege of Yorktown, Virginia.

The National Park Service will assist in the protection of historic resources and the commemoration and interpretation of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail in collaboration with a broad range of private organizations and local, state, and federal agencies.

 
Campsite of Lauzun’s Legion on 12–13 September 1782, located near Paramus, New Jersey.
Campsite of Lauzun’s Legion on 12–13 September 1782, located near Paramus, New Jersey.

ELIZABETH CLARKE photo

Trail Significance

Significance statements explain why the trail’s resources and values are important enough to merit designation as a unit of the National Park System. They describe the distinctiveness of the trail and why it is important within a global, national, or NPS system-wide context.

The 2018 Foundation Document for WARO contains the significance statements below. The sequence of the statements does not reflect the level of significance.

  • This joint action, taken by Washington’s and Rochambeau’s allied armies, is the longest and most complex march / military maneuver of the Revolutionary War. The national historic trail corridor connects publicly accessible sites associated with the routes of the French and American troops on their way to Yorktown, Virginia, and their victorious return north.
  • The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail provides an outstanding opportunity to place the Revolutionary War within the context of the broader global struggle and to highlight the essential role of the French-American alliance in the success of the American Revolution.
  • Located within the most densely populated region in the United States, the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail provides trail users with recreational and educational opportunities and connects communities through a network of organizations and public agencies to other parks, sites, and trails related to the American Revolution.
 
A Crucial Crossing Stony Point
Wayside panel located at Stony Point, Kings Ferry Crossing, New York.

NPS

Infographic Title: A Crucial Crossing

Main text reads "Below you, between Stony Point and Verplanck on the opposite shore, the Hudson River narrows to a short ¾ mile wide width. During the Revolutionary War, this location was a crucial crossing point called King’s Ferry. Because the British occupied New York City, all Continental and French Army troops, supplies, and military and civilian communications passing between New England and colonies to the south crossed the Hudson here.

In September 1780, British Major John Andre crossed at King’s Ferry in an attempt to return to British lines after conspiring with American General Benedict Arnold. Arnold was attempting to hand over West Point to the British in return for money, command in the British Army, and a title of nobility. Andre was captured with Arnold’s demands. The Continental Army convicted Andre of espionage, and he was hanged as a spy on October 2, 1780."

Quote in upper right of infographic reads “His Majesty’s troops have taken possession of it, and are also fortifying the strong post of Stoney-point, by which we are masters of King’s ferry, and oblige the rebels to make a detour of ninety miles across the mountains to communicate the country east of Hudson’s river.” It is followed by text "Sir George Collier, Commodore of the British Royal Navy, after the British captured King’s Ferry in July 1779. (The Americans retook the location four months later.)"

Five images on the infographic from left to right across the infographic:
An image of a historic map of a river labeled "Hudson's River" with ships sailing along the coast that includes two prominent land forms. The caption reads "King's Ferry has been highlighted on this 18th-century map of Stony Point Battlefield by British Lt. William Marshall, 63rd regiment of Foot. Hstirocal Society of Pennsylvania."

An image of a historic map of two land forms one labeled "King's Ferry" seperated by a river labeled "Hudson's River". The caption reads "Detail from Plan of Attacks on the Forts Clinton and Montgomery upon Hudsons River showing King's Ferry, published by Wiliam Faden, Long 1784. New York State Library."

A map in the shape of a octagonal star with each point indicating a cardinal direction. The map is entitled "Path Map" and depicts visitor facilities and opportunities on a pennisula surrounded by the Hudson River and Haverstraw Bay. Upon crossing a Bridge in the northwest corner of the map, the road into the park immediately crosses over a railroad line. The road proceeds southeast into the park with an option to turn right to reach a parking lot. A walking path provides the option to proceed left or northeast towards a museum and the King's Ferry Overlook, or to proceed right or southeast to a comfort station and walking loop that includes a lighthouse and picnic pavilion. The King's Ferry Overlook has a marker reading "You Are Here". Numbers along the trail likely indicate points of interest that are not listed on this infographic.


A portait of British Major John Andre captioned the same.

A portrait of American General Benedict Arnold captioned the same.

The bottom left of the infographic prominently reads "Stony Point".


The infographic has a black banner on the top with text reading "Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail" and "National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior" along with the trail's logo and National Park Service's logo.

Information below the interpretive panel reads "36 x 24 inches, 40% of actual size, October 2013, Stony Point Kings Ferry, Wayside Exhibit, 020A".

 

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Interpretive Themes

Interpretive themes are the key stories or concepts that audiences should understand after visiting the trail. The themes define the most important ideas or concepts communicated to visitors about the trail and its stories.

Themes are derived from, and should reflect, trail purpose and significance. A set of interpretive themes is complete when it provides the structure necessary for NPS staff and partners to develop opportunities for audiences to explore and relate to all trail significance statements.
Interpretive themes are an organizational tool that can reveal and clarify meaning, concepts, contexts, and values represented by trail resources. Sound themes are accurate and reflect current scholarship and science. They encourage exploration of the context in which events or cultural and natural processes occurred and the effects of those events and processes. Interpretive themes go beyond a mere factual description of an event or process. They help explain why a trail story is relevant to people who may otherwise be unaware of connections they have to an event, time, or place associated with the trail. The following interpretive themes have been identified for WARO:

The French Alliance and Its Global Context: The alliance between the United States and France during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) helped achieve American independence and was part of a larger geopolitical strategy for influence (in Europe, Africa, India, the West Indies), international trade, and for control of North America.

The Yorktown Campaign: The Yorktown Campaign (June to October 1781), culminating in the American and French victory over the British Army at Yorktown, Virginia, marked “the beginning of the end” of the Revolutionary War that guaranteed independence for the United States.

 
Caring for the Troops
Wayside panel located at Old St. Peter’s Church, Van Cortlandtville, New York.

NPS

Infographic Title: Caring for the Troops

Main text reads "In the Revolutionary War, the French Army established three field hospitals in New York. One of these makeshift facilities was here at Old St. Peter’s Church.

In the 1700’s, medical care and equipment were primitive and crude. Hospitals could be as much a source of illness as a place of healing. Revolutionary War records show that soldiers were more likely to die from diseases caught in camp or in hospitals than from wounds inflicted in battle.

Look for seven memorial crosses to your left at the end of this building. These honor seven French soldiers who died from illness at Old St. Peter’s while aiding the colonies in winning independence."

Main picture: Four young adult males colonial clothing, with red stains. First lying, appears sick with red stains covering parts of his face, his skin appears pale, his mouth is half open and his eyes though wide open appear fixed on male toward his lower body. This second person, wearing eyeglasses, is standing with his back in view, and it appears the man is holding a tool and a cloth dripping red behind his back. Third person to the patient’s left is wiping the right side of the lying man’s head and holding the lying man’s clenched left fist. Fourth man wearing a blue and buff regimental soldier’s coat to the lying man’s right shows some fright in his facial expression, while holding the lying man’s right arm also with clenched fist.

Image caption reads “A soldier receives treatment for injuries. In the Revolutionary War, amputation was a common treatment for battle wounds.”

The infographic also includes and image of sheets of paper with indecernable handwriting and a caption reading "French army enlistment records distinguished between death from illness and death from battle wounds.”

Next to it is an image of an open wooden chest with medical supplies and a caption reading "R
evolutionary War era medicine chest”; credit for chest is given to CHESTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, West Chester, PA.

The infographic has a black banner on the top with text reading "Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail" and "National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior" along with the trail's logo and National Park Service's logo.

Below the interpretive panel is text reading "36 x 24 inches, 40% of actual size, October 2013, Old St. Peters, Wayside Exhibit 014A".

Trail Successes

Workshop participants identified a variety of successful interpretive initiatives.

Partnerships are among the trail’s most obvious success stories including community engagement. The formal partnership between the NPS and W3R-US has allowed the latter to build its capacity to assist other organizations.

Protected sections of the original trail (Prince William Forest Park, for example) exist in some places as actual and possible interpretive nodes.

A limited number of wayside exhibits already produced and installed (Morristown National Historical Park for example) have connected site specific stories to the trail’s significance.

New York State has developed a plan for wayside exhibits and the latter have been installed at a dozen sites along the national historic trail (NHT) in New York.

Temporary exhibits (in the visitor center in Independence National Historical Park for example), and temporary fabric banners installed on poles along the route, at Colonial National Historical Park, along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, and at Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia help build trail identity and brand.

Full-color brochures with maps and contextual information are available.

Eastern National’s passport stamp program attracts visitors to individual NPS sites along the trail route.

Paintings (such as David Wagner’s) and other historical art have been very effective at capturing the historical events and making them immediate to trail visitors.

Special events have called attention to the trail and heightened visibility of historic sites along the route.

Online audiences visit existing websites (NPS for WARO, W3R-US, and March to Yorktown.org for re-enactors) and data about what pages they view could provide insight into what kinds of information attracts attention. The W3R-US website is updated regularly and is easier to navigate than the previous version.

The NHT logo is valuable. It helps trail visitors appreciate and understand the brand identity and is closely monitored and administered by the National Park Service.

Communities see value in being connected to the NHT (Lebanon, CT is an example of a model trail community).

 
Kiosk at the Zabriskie-Steuben House, River Edge, New Jersey.
Kiosk at the Zabriskie-Steuben House, River Edge, New Jersey.

ELIZABETH CLARKE photo

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Visitor Needs

Workshop participants identified what they perceived as audience needs. Audience understanding is largely anecdotal. Partner sites do not have data about their visitors and what they know about the trail Participants believe that a variety of groups travel the trail or visit individual sites. These visitors do not necessarily know they are visiting the trail. Generally, existing trail audiences seem primarily interested in history; however, family-oriented events and programming with a variety of activities seem to have broad appeal.

Even with little data, there appear to be multiple, currently untapped opportunities that would meet audience needs:

  • Increasingly, audiences access information online. The trail’s web presence, however, is fragmented. Multiple websites (nps.gov/waro, W3R-US, and W3R state websites) would benefit from increased coordination. Individual websites need more robust and easy-to-access content that is updated regularly. This needs to be made a priority.
  • Use of digital technologies depends on expertise at partner sites. Coordination of effort is uneven.
  • Audiences do not have access to (and may not seek) basic contextual and background interpretation related to the trail’s significance and primary themes. In many cases, it’s unclear how individual sites and stories fit into a larger historical framework.


The original WARO Unigrid brochure reflects the trail identity and connects it to the NPS brand. Reprinting costs, storage, and distribution of brochures create ongoing sustainability issues. Current brochures require at least a high school education to read and understand. Rather than enhance brand and identity, the state brochures have the potential to “balkanize” the trail and create confusion about trail identity

  • Beyond brochures, the trail does not have interpretive material that effectively connects individual sites because planning tends to be by state and locality rather than trail-wide.
  • Although the trail is making progress toward an identity and effective branding, work remains. Few people know the trail exists or when they are on it.
  • There are few interpretive materials for families and youth, and few ways to engage the latter in a meaningful way. There is the additional challenge of how best to engage thousands of school districts along the 700-mile trail.
  • There is little coordination with potential partners focused on recreation, trails, and tourism and much more needs to be done to connect, promote, and share information about the NHT.
  • There are few intact sections of the historic route that visitors can access physically. There is no consensus on the historical alignment of the trail on the ground because much of the fabric and character of the colonial landscape at the time has been erased by modern development. Existing GIS mapping of the trail does not distinguish between historic, intact sections of trail and those modern roads that were identified as being as close as possible to the original route of the trail. This raises questions about how interpretation will address sections of the trail that are intact versus those “close to” the original land and water route(s).
  • Visitors would benefit from an understanding of the primary march route/corridor on the ground that is part of the Yorktown Campaign, and an understanding of the ancillary routes followed by specific troops or individuals for related purposes.
 
Ft Mifflin with commercial Airplane
Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

DAVID SMITH photo.

Future Audiences

While all people are welcome and invited to participate, some audiences are targeted for focused attention because they may be inadequately served by existing interpretation, need different strategies for engagement, or require specific methods to open communications or to establish or sustain relationships.

After discussing both existing and potential audiences, workshop participants felt that during the expected five-to-seven-year life of this LRIP, interpretive media should be used to reach the following groups.

Greatest Impact During the Life of the LRIP

  • Facilities and museums such as the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Colonial Williamsburg, Mount Vernon, etc.
  • Local residents, towns, cities, organizations, schools adjacent to the trail route (consider targeting specific age groups).
  • Convention and Visitors Bureaus; tourism professionals; state agencies; city, county, and state planners; AAA; Amtrak, etc. Professional planners are a relatively small group, but they can get the trail into state regional and local master plans and they have great networks. Railroads and departments of transportation are important because they own or lease rights-of-way for sections of trail and serve the many riders and drivers along the route. Tourism organizations have a huge opportunity to use the NHT to market and promote visitation and interest among residents and visitors.
  • Virtual audiences, online audiences, etc. especially through the www.nps.gov/waro website.
  • Recreational groups, hiking and biking groups (for instance, East Coast Greenway Alliance) and boaters will help connect natural and cultural resource interests.

Other Audiences to Consider in the Future

  • Historical societies (Can distribute maps and guides, and promote and sponsor trail related activities).
  • Environmental and horticultural groups, land conservancies and open space preservation interests, other parks along the trail.
  • Opinion leaders = local/state/federal politicians, news organizations, civic and community groups, clergy, etc.
  • Living history groups and organizations, including round tables and speakers’ bureaus.
  • Military facilities and veterans groups.
  • Genealogical groups.
  • France and the French.
 
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail Map
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail Map

NPS

Map showing a series of routes that were taken by Generals Washington and Rochambeau's armies in 1780-1781 from Massachusetts to Virginia.

North Arrow pointing toward the top of the map.

Scale of map showing increments of 20 kilometers and 20 miles

Legend: National Historic Trail Route
Solid blue line for the French Army route
Dotted purple line for the French Army-water route
Solid red line for the Continental Army route
Dotted yellow line for the Continental Army-water route
Green squares for related NPS units
Solid pink line for Interstate 95

French Army route indicated by a solid blue line: Route starts in Newport Rhode Island, then heads North to Providence Rhode Island, then west towards Lebanon, Connecticut, branches into three westward routes that overlap paths through southeastern New York converging north of New York City and continuing south along Interstate 95 past Baltimore Maryland, detours from Route 95 temporary to Annapolis, Maryland, continues to follow Interstate 95 to Fredericksburg, Virginia, then southeast ending at Yorktown, Virginia. This route passes Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, Rhode Island; near Quinebaug & Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor in northeastern Rhode Island; near Governors Island National Monument in New York City, New York; Morristown National Historical Park in northern New Jersey; Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; near Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site and Valley Forge National Historical Park in eastern Pennsylvania; Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland; Prince William Forest Park in eastern Virginia; and Colonial Naitonal Historical Park in Williamsburg, Virginia.

French Army-water route indicated by a dotted purple line: Route starts in Philadelphia and heads along the river through Wilmington, Delaware, and Elkton, Maryland, to the Chesapeake Bay, continuing to Baltimore, Maryland, then Annapolis, Maryland, and south ending at Yorktown, Virginia. This route passes Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland; the Chesapeake Bay Geteways Network, and Colonial National Historical Park in Yorktown, Virginia.


Continental Army route indicated by a solid red line: This route starts in New York City, New York, then has branches that head north to Newburgh, New York, and southwest into New Jersey converging in Trenton, New Jersey, then continues south along Interstate 95 to Fredericksburg, Virginia, then heads southeast ending at Yorktown, Virginia. This route passes Governors Island National Monument in New York City, New York; near Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area north of Newburgh, New York; Morristown National Historical Park in eastern New Jersey; Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; near Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site and Valley Forge National Historical Park in eastern Pennsylvania; Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland; Prince William Forest Park in eastern Virginia; and Colonial National Historical Park in Yorktown, Virginia.

Continental Army-water route indicated by a dotted yellow line: Route starts in Trenton, New Jersey, then heads south to Elkton, Maryland, through the Chesapeake Bay, continuing to Baltimore, Maryland, then Annapolis, Maryland, and south ending at Yorktown, Virginia. This route passes Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland; the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network; and Colonial National Historical Park in Yorktown, Virginia.

Interstate 95 indicated by a solid pink line: Route starts in Boston, Massachusetts, then heads south to Virginia passing through Providence, Rhode Island, New York City, New York, Princeton and Trenton, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wilmington and Stanton, Delaware, Elkton and Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, DC. Fredericksburg, Virginia, and continues south. This route passes Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Boston National Historical Park, Minute Man National Historical Park, Longfellow National Historic Site, in Boston, Massachusetts; Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, Rhode Island; near Quinebaug & Shetaucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor in northeastern Connecticut, Governors Island National Monument in New York City, New York; Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; near Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site and Valley Forge National Historical Park in eastern Pennsylvania; Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland; and Prince William Forest Park in eastern Virginia.

Desired Interpretive Outcomes

Experiences the Trail Should Provide

In addition to the interpretive content (themes) offered to trail audiences, workshop participants discussed experiential opportunities that could reinforce the trail’s national significance. The group felt that during the five-to-seven-year lifespan of this LRIP, interpretive planners should develop media and programs that challenge audiences to:

  • Explore the variety of motives behind support for the War for Independence. In particular, why did families choose independence and what led men to join the military? Why were the French involved? How were the responses of soldiers related to their cultural backgrounds and to reasons they left their home countries? Workshop participants felt it is important to personalize the story of the trail with biographies. Diaries and artwork are available to humanize the story.
  • Explore the local history and local connections that help tell the trail story. People are interested in personal connections such as through genealogy. Emphasize that the War of Independence came to their backyards and how it affected local populations.
  • Discover the demographic diversity that existed in the combined armies: German, French, Haitian, American, including African American and Native American.
  • Struggle with the logistical demands of successfully marching a large 18th-century army long distances—finding passable roads, feeding the army, clothing the army on the march, setting up camps, method of communicating across languages, coordinating supply lines, dealing with sickness, injury, and death, etc.
  • Think about the impacts of the march on regional, national, and global levels as well as the changes that it bought to individual participants, be they soldiers or citizens. What changed as a result of the march? What happened to march participants?

Other media should allow audiences to:

  • Quickly and efficiently discover options for learning about the trail and the trail’s significance, scale and scope.
  • Place the trail’s chronology into historical context. What came before and what happened in the aftermath?

What Will Interpretive Success Look Like?

It is important to think about factors that define interpretive success. At the end of the five-to-seven-year lifespan of this LRIP, NPS and its partners expect that:

  • The trail will have a stable organizational structure with clearly defined roles for W3R-US and the NPS and a partnership plan. A framework describing how partnerships work will be created, identifying roles and relationships among NPS and the trail partners, and agreements that spell out the functions and responsibilities of each partner. The partners will be focused on core missions and avoid diversions that dilute interpretive efforts tied to national significance.
  • The trail will focus on creating a strong, dynamic, and visually interesting (not overwhelming) online presence with linked and well-coordinated web content and, potentially, with social media. Individual partners will focus on posting what they do best. Information will be accurate, up to date, and complementary rather than duplicative. Decisions regarding audiences will be deliberate.
  • The trail will have a unified identity and brand that are widely recognized along the trail and among heritage tourism professionals and synonymous with authenticity, high quality interpretation, and scholarly integrity.
  • Partners will reach a consensus on the trail’s route(s) and how to address authenticity.
  • Trail partners will share information about interpretive programs, scholarship, and technical expertise. A curated list of resources will identify what interpretive materials and programs are available. A contact list maintained by the W3R-US Executive Director will identify W3R-US and its state affiliates as well as participating historic sites and other partners.
  • Trail partners will agree on a way to identify and map intact, historical sections of trail and distinguish them from more modern alignments.
  • Trail partners will consult existing data sources to reach consensus on a primary visiting strategy. For example, they will reach agreement on whether trail venues and interpretive programming will be organized to encourage multi-day trips or will visitors be able to understand the trail’s significance at any one of several geographically positioned interpretive nodes? Will there be interpretive hubs with basic visiting and historical information at locations already in operation and capable of handling additional info distribution efficiently and effectively, such as national parks? Consider hubs in terms of theme, location and readiness. (Note: Four potential anchor communities/interpretive hubs were identified: Providence, Elkton, Annapolis, and Yorktown.)
  • There will be a similar strategy for addressing future types of audiences. Before moving forward, the NPS and trail partners will consult with educators and youth group leaders to discuss sustainable interpretive materials and programming that may be useful to them.
  • There will be a method and criteria for identifying interpretive venues that are the most important to telling the trail story and ready to serve audiences according to professional standards. Trail partners will reach out to historic sites to participate indecisions and events as part of this process.
 
 

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Interpretive Issues

Workshop participants identified several issues that need to be addressed to facilitate high quality interpretation and achieve the desired interpretive outcomes. They include:

  • The need to develop institutional capacity and continuity, adhere to NPS policies and guidelines, get partner consensus on roles, and stabilize the organizational structure. There is an overriding need for communication and coordination. Partners need administrative guidance and oversight from NPS, and an NPS point of contact, for consistency across the trail. Consider the skills needed to manage the trail—partnership development, outdoor recreation planning, preservation and management of historic sites, and interpretation.
  • The need to coordinate interpretive activities and regularly share information among partners and trail neighbors. As part of that process, NPS, W3R-US, and the state affiliates should strengthen their respective web presence that in turn will help to recruit and identify partners. Potential new partners will be approached in writing to begin to develop more formal relationships beyond the existing NPS-W3R-US Cooperative Agreement. Formal agreements enable the support of interpretive activities through funding and technical assistance, are more long-term and sustainable, and provide some quality assurance. W3R-US administrators will learn more about NPS Agreements and what is needed from them for successful agreements.
  • Interpretive media and programming can easily become random rather than strategic. Enhanced interpretation needs to be specifically designed by professionals to reach specific audiences and focused on addressing a limited number of pressing concerns. Be aware that making assumptions about audiences or applying older methods can easily detract or make a project irrelevant. Partners should consult research and learn about newer approaches to interpretation media and programming.
  • The need for consistent branding, protection of the brand by an insistence on high quality interpretation, and expanded efforts to publicize the trail’s significance, identity, and visiting options. All partners should be presenting the same key messages and stories (listed in the theme matrix) consistently and helping to create realistic expectations about trail visits, including what type of trail it is (on or off road, public/private, historic, commemorative, or recreational, etc.) and how to best enjoy and learn about it.
  • The need to develop a single strategy for the use of the web and social media, and for managing online content, including public feedback.
  • Use local information and proxy data to plan interpretive media and programming. Local convention and visitor bureaus can tell historic sites along the trail who their audiences are and what experiences these audiences are seeking. Strava Global Heat Map technology was suggested as a way to track visitors using mobile apps. It was also suggested that history visitor centers (such as Lebanon, CT) may have local visitor data related to their trail exhibits.
  • Recognition that data shows that place-based visitation to historic sites and other venues is decreasing. Only about 32% of the population is a potential visitor; 16% are already (historic) visitors and 16% are “high propensity” visitors. (According to Colleen Dilen Schneider at Know Your Own Bone, a data sharing website). Fewer people seek out personal services programming than in the past. People seek on-line, mobile access to information. How do we set aside our own assumptions and preferences to reach today’s visitor?
  • Training that will increase the quality of interpretive management and presentation. The trail is not a national park with rangers, so trail partners should seek out training provided by organizations such as the American Alliance of Museums, American Association for State and Local History, and the Institute for Museum and Library Science. The Visitor Studies Association and Partnership for the National Trails System should be consulted for training opportunities. The latter represents a network of newer and well-established national historic and scenic trails that can provide invaluable technical and educational support to the WARO NHT partnership on every aspect of planning, protecting and managing a national trail.
  • Recruit and curate new partners, with additional interpretive venues and staff expertise. Make sure that these partners reflect 18th-century society and its diversity, and can tell the complete story.
  • Recognition that the strength and visual identity of the trail largely lies in the historic sites along the route, and not the route itself. Much of the original march route lacks historic integrity, has been erased, or is otherwise not accessible. A different interpretive strategy will be required for intact sections of the historic route (Prince William Forest Park, and sections in Connecticut) as compared to those sections where the 18th-century landscape has been significantly altered.

Part 2 Action Plan

 
 
British Surrender at Yorktown.
British Surrender at Yorktown.

KEITH A. ROCCO image

Introduction

Part 2 of the LRIP describes the actions that NPS staff and partners will take during the next five-to-seven-years to accomplish the desired interpretive outcomes and goals discussed in Part 1.

A Dynamic Document

As conditions change, this LRIP provides a framework for considering interpretive proposals as they emerge and for developing priorities for funding requests. Part 1 should function as a yardstick against which new ideas are measured. Does a new idea reach targeted audiences, address an identified issue, offer a desired audience experience, etc.? When properly used, Part 1 provides priorities that can help move interpretive programming in a consistent direction despite changing times.

Experimentation

The interpretive partners associated with the trail need to be willing to explore promising ideas, to experiment to see what is effective. To encourage experimentation, several recommended actions are flagged as PILOT PROJECTS. These ideas seem worthy, but only a good faith attempt at implementation and thorough evaluation will prove or disprove their long-term value.

 

Areas of Interpretive Focus

Since this LRIP purposefully focuses on the next five-to-seven-years, it is important that recommendations address the most pressing concerns. Based on workshop discussions, and the unrealized goals developed for a strategic plan in 2010/2011, participants recommend focusing on six areas:

  1. Create a coordinated strategy for an online presence, especially the www.nps.gov/waro and w3r-us.org sites, and the use of social media. Interpretively, this area of focus has priority. Effective online communication has the potential for significant audience outreach, and is capable of driving audience attention to all other interpretive programming.
  2. Develop a strategy to create, share, and install/distribute branding materials that expand targeted audience awareness of the trail, the role the march played in national history, and the ways that knowledge of the trail can enhance local history.
  3. Develop an outreach strategy for W3R-US designed to build relationships with new partners and trail neighbors. This plan will focus on trail wide projects. Although coordination with W3R-US is critical, contacts at the local level with communities, educators, organizations, and agencies along the trail are best handled via area representatives.
  4. Develop a strategy that will help travelers easily follow the trail: a) identify and endorse trail routes; b) identify interpretive venues along the routes that are ready to serve audiences according to professional standards and that can address the trail’s interpretive themes; and c) provide easily accessed and consistently high quality information about exploring the trail.
 
Rippon Lodge Entry Drive panels in Woodbridge, Virginia.
Rippon Lodge Entry Drive panels in Woodbridge, Virginia.

ELIZABETH CLARKE photo

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This area of focus will be influenced by a “WARO Access and Development Assessment” that currently (April 2019) is in progress. That assessment has several goals. It will:

  1. Identify WARO’s high potential historic sites and high potential route segments.
  2. Identify focal areas along the historic route that offer the greatest opportunities for developing high quality experiences. These will be areas where visitors can learn about the routes taken by American and French troops and the role of the French-American alliance at Yorktown.
  3. Identify priority actions for interpretation, education, signage, communication, and landscape resource/artifact protection.
  4. Assess the potential to expand existing trails and connections within focal areas in order to expand access for outdoor recreation opportunities (a Secretary of the Interior priority).
  5. Develop a shared understanding of the NPS, W3R-US, and partner roles in developing trail experiences.
  6. Strengthen partner organization. Define roles and responsibilities. Foster and oversee quality interpretation. This should be the top priority for W3R-US.
  7. Initiate a coordinated planning effort to prepare for the 250th anniversary of the march, and to create a strategy to use special events to reach targeted audiences with the trail’s primary themes. Actions designed to observe the 250th anniversary will be noted in this plan as a 250th INITIATIVE in the text.


During workshops held in July of 2018 and April 2019, participants identified the limited number of achievable actions that follow. The number of recommendations is purposefully controlled in order to build organizational unity, bolster success, and strengthen the W3R-US/NPS partnership. Each action item was chosen carefully to correspond to one and sometimes multiple areas of focus.

Two actions are paramount. They require immediate action.

  • Improve nps.gov/waro and w3r.org and take steps to bring both websites into compliance with accessibility requirements. Improvements will be based on a clear strategy that will produce a visible, easily accessed on-line presence for the trail. This online strategy will align the WARO and W3R-US websites and establish social media standards. (Area of Focus 1)
  • Develop a plan to strengthen the internal organization of W3R-US. The proposed plan will include strategies to: enhance communication and decision-making within W3R-US and state affiliates, ensure that decisions related to audience outreach are data-driven; improve both internal and external communication related to interpretive programming and progress on interpretive media development; and enhance W3R-US’s ability to function as a co-equal partner in providing high quality interpretation. (Area of Focus 6)
 
 
NPS Junior Ranger Badges
NPS Junior Ranger Badges

NPS

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Recommended Actions

Area of Focus 1: Website and Social Media Strategy


The W3R-US and NPS websites both need thorough assessment and updating. Participants attending planning workshops suggested possible website changes captured in this plan. Because workshops participants were unaware of the standard structure of nps.gov websites, they viewed the website as typical users. From that perspective, they suggested that the NPS website should focus on the context of the march and impacts of the march. It should provide access to WARO reports and planning documents, existing information for educators, the NPS map of the trail, sources of photos and AV in the public domain, and a calendar of events at NPS sites related to the trail.

Revising the W3R-US website is a critical priority that brings with it an ongoing workload. Participants felt that W3R-US should focus on: basic information about the march; individual sites along the route; research sponsored and collected by W3R-US including site specific quotations, biographies, structural histories, etc.; a version of the current interactive map; membership information specific to W3R-US; and news of W3R-US events.

Specific action items include:

  • The NPS needs to devise a strategy, including work assignments, to thoroughly review nps.gov/waro, identify deficiencies, bring it to standard, and make it fully accessible (Section 508 compliant). Find more information about Department of the Interior Section 508 policies. It should reference the existence of the W3R-US website in a more prominent way.
  • The W3R-US website needs a thorough review to identify deficiencies followed by a plan for improvement. This review should include consultation with NPS interpreters and media specialists and discussions with professionals working with other national historical trails and corridors.
  • The current W3R-US website contains considerable information that is useful for in depth exploration of trail history. However, most sections are text heavy. Generally, it needs more images to make it visually attractive and user friendly. The interactive map is an important feature, but should be reviewed for ease of use. The W3R-US website (and its content and attachments) should be as accessible as possible.
  • Both the NPS and W3R-US should consider the complementary roles their websites should play as a clearinghouse for accurate and up-to-date information. After current website content is reviewed and adjusted, both entities should upload content that supports the trail’s primary themes and that is chosen to appeal to targeted audiences.
  • W3R-US also needs to develop a sustainable social media strategy. Actions include consultations with the professional staff of other national trails and knowledgeable NPS staff, training on social media protocols, and then implementation of best practices.
  • Both W3R-US and NPS staff should participate in a basic course in the use of #hashtags so that scheduled events related to trail themes will appear on social media calendars.

Area of Focus 2: Branding, Messaging, and Awareness


Public awareness of the existence and the historical importance of the trail remains low. Past attempts to elevate visibility need to be reviewed, consolidated, and enhanced.

During the lifespan of this LRIP, WARO partners will:

  • Talk with Eastern National about how the trail can be integrated into or become a corollary to Eastern’s successful passport program. PILOT PROJECT Locate funding to create a digital program that focuses on raising awareness of the trail and provides orientation to trail themes and trail venues, specifically the focus areas that will be identified in the “WARO Access and Development Assessment.” 250th INITIATIVE
  • Focus the purpose of W3R-US sponsored speakers. While individuals already give talks to interested organizations, W3R-US has a more specific goal. The speakers enlisted by the national organization will focus on heightening awareness of the trail and trail programs. Those presentations can be an effective way to spread knowledge of the trail and build support for trail development.
  • Both the NPS and W3R state organizations have Unigrid brochures related to the trail. However, supplies of full color publications are difficult to sustain and distribute. Generally, a Unigrid brochure with multiple folds and landscape cover image is not an effective or cost-effective tool for roadside visitor centers.
  • W3R-US should confer with NPS interpreters for technical publication advice, particularly related to publications intended to promote the trail and orient travelers to focal trail locations. The same brochure is not designed to meet both needs. An attractive “rack” card might be a less expensive and more effective way to reach travelers. PILOT PROJECT

The NPS currently is re-evaluating materials offered via the Junior Ranger program. The goal is to heighten the interpretive value of the program and to encourage intergenerational participation.

When that re-evaluation is complete and a new direction finalized, W3R-US could open dialogue with the NPS to explore a sustainable plan to participate. (Be aware that managing program and distribution of Junior Ranger badges is a challenge in any unit that does not have ample on-site staff and a central visitor location with broad and predictable public hours.) Virtual solutions have been less satisfactory from visitors’ points of view and require a significant regular and ongoing workload.

 

Area of Focus 3: Building Relationships with Trail Neighbors

This area of focus concentrates on ways that W3R-US can build new partnerships with trail neighbors and support local efforts to contact local communities, educators, organizations, and agencies.

During the life of this plan W3R-US will:

  • Purchase a portable display system and define the content for an exhibit(s) that can be used at special events, festivals, and fairs or in public locations like libraries and schools. The exhibit will provide a brief introduction to the march accompanied by colorful and attractive images of trail sites. PILOT PROJECT
  • In order to control the costs (monetary and administrative) involved in getting the exhibit to display locations, W3R-US will purchase multiple exhibits and position them at several locations along the trail for easy pickup and storage.
  • W3R-US will maintain a list of educational partners—school systems, colleges, librarians— who have participated in WARO programs or expressed interest developing or sharing educational materials about the trail. These partners could become a source for developing or fine-tuning outreach to students and teachers.
  • W3R-US will serve as the primary contact for participation in the NPS Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program. Working collaboratively with the NPS, W3R-US will explore opportunities to use the program to develop educational materials such as collections of primary sources (rather than lesson plans that have proven less useful to educators) that can be used at multiple venues along the trail.
 
Historic Kenmore Plantation, Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Historic Kenmore Plantation, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

ELIZABETH CLARKE photo

Area of Focus 4: Trail Routes, Interpretive Venues, and High Quality Markers


The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route NHT sometimes follows modern highways that diverge from historic roads used during the march. In addition, the armies of Washington and Rochambeau marched along more than a single route; the sheer size of the armies could not occupy the same route at the same time. In some places, certainly if one also considers encampments and the impacts of the march, the trail resembles a broad corridor more than a pathway. As Washington and Rochambeau crossed the Delaware River, the Delaware Bay and its navigable tributaries became an attractive alternative to narrow, dusty, or muddy roads for some of the troops. At river ports like Annapolis in the Chesapeake Bay, the soldiers clambered onto boats. Only the army’s wagon train of supplies proceeded farther south across land.

Today, these dispersed routes mean that there is no single trail as might be imagined. There is an auto trail (a commemorative trail that generally follows the broader corridor), and walking trails that are closer to the actual route of march, and water route(s). This modern reality is not unique; the Natchez Trace Parkway is an excellent example of just such a braided corridor and how it can be interpreted and marked

Most of the route followed by the armies is known and marked on maps. The mapped routes, however, do not distinguish between the modern commemorative route and those trail sections with historic integrity. The maps prepared during planning and the interactive map on the W3R website provide considerable guidance even though questions remain about which routes constitute the primary trail that should be marked. Currently there are interpretive signs at important sites along the route of march (See Existing Conditions in the appendices), and some portions of the trail have route markers.

Workshop participants agreed that it is time for a comprehensive approach to marking the entire trail. An important step is underway, preparation of a “WARO Access and Development Assessment.” When the assessment is complete it will: identify high potential historic sites and high potential route segments; identify focal areas along the historic route that offer the greatest opportunity for developing high quality experiences; and assess the potential to expand existing trails and connections within focal areas in order to expand access for outdoor recreation opportunities.

Pilot programs can test the potential for: focused interpretation at sites that also offer recreational opportunities; sites that offer interpretive/recreational experiences in urban areas; and day trips that connect urban residents with sites within a few hours’ drive.

A comprehensive look at directional and interpretive signs, resulting in a WARO sign plan, will raise traveler awareness. (See the Media Report for examples of sign systems and the guidelines that determine design and placement).

During the lifespan of this LRIP, WARO partners will:

  • Develop consensus on the primary route for the trail, whether portions are commemorative or historic in nature, and how to address “side” or related routes.
  • Develop a graphic identity including a graphics standards manual for a family of signs and markers (see the Media Report for examples). The manual will describe a family of official signs and route markers—the types of signs, conditions for installation, and approved appearance (typeface, color palette, sizes) that meet NPS policy and Director’s Orders, as well as graphic identity and design standards. NPS policy, specifically DO#52 A, B, C, can be found at Director's Orders and Related Documents. Graphic identity standards can be found at NPS Graphic Identity and Style Guide. Signs installed at historic locations will meet several basic criteria; e.g., the site will be documented in contemporaneous records and will retain historical integrity—21st-century visitors will be able to see historic infrastructure or landscapes that evoke 1781. These signs and markers are critical components in enhancing the trail’s brand and heightening public awareness.
  • Create and then maintain a central inventory of all trail-related signs already installed—that includes route markers with some version of the trail logo, all interpretive signs (wayside exhibits), and banners. The inventory should include location, sign material, condition of the sign with installation date if known, who paid for production and installation, and a photograph (see the Media Report for an example).
  • As part of comprehensive sign planning, conduct a potential site inventory for displaying colorful banners that call attention to the trail route in certain strategic locations. Depending on the success of the location inventory (are there appropriate locations with feasible installation requirements?), proceed to design and purchase the banners. A W3R-US sign committee can create a procedure for choosing banner locations, promoting their use, and monitoring their condition (see the Media Report for information on banners created and installed along the trail in the past). 250th INITIATIVE
  • Create a phased schedule to fund and install route signs and markers, and use that schedule to raise money for implementation. Pilot new signs along segments of the trail that are willing to raise funds and support installation. 250th INITIATIVE/PILOT PROJECT
  • Locate existing best practices for sign planning and installation, or create a trail specific document that describes a step-by-step process for signing the trail.
  • Use the “WARO Access and Development Assessment” to proceed with the idea of creating venues for focused interpretation of the trail. Identify urban settings, associated with the trail that also can be used for focused trail interpretation. PILOT PROJECTS
  • Work with NPS and NHL itinerary experts to develop and pilot one or more day trip itineraries that provide urban residents living along the trail with opportunities to explore march sites within a few hours’ drive. PILOT PROJECT
 

Area of Focus 5: Planning for the 250th Anniversary of the March and Other Special Events


Anniversaries can be a vehicle for expanding audience awareness. To prepare for the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution, materials developed for the 225th anniversary will likely be reviewed and refreshed by the NPS.

  • W3R-US will monitor the NPS planning that already is underway for the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution (2025-2033), and determine how to coordinate and fund trail-related activities.
  • Since trail-related NPS sites have their own calendars of events, W3R-US will discuss ways to build trail awareness via those events.
  • W3R-US and partners will seek funding for and develop the projects recommended as 250th initiatives.
 
 
Eastern National
Eparks Passport

(c) EASTERN NATIONAL

Area of Focus 6: Partner Strength and Administrative Structure


While administrative structure is not a subject commonly addressed in an LRIP, workshop participants felt that partner strength depended on a fresh evaluation of how W3R-US and its state organizations interact with the NPS, each other, and with other partners. Communication, roles and responsibilities, and budgeting each have considerable impact on the nature and quality of interpretation provided along the trail.
A shared sense of urgency led to action. During the development of this LRIP, the NPS chose the superintendent of Valley Forge National Historical Park (VAFO) to provide stable park support and additional guidance for WARO, and hired a trail administrator.
Workshop participants discussed a variety of other possible recommended actions that might strengthen the W3R-US-NPS partnership including a thorough review of W3R-US’s organizational structure, board membership, and roles and responsibilities. The following should be considered preliminary ideas that need to be confirmed during and at the conclusion of the recommended review.

  • W3R-US and NPS need to collaboratively realign the roles and responsibilities of their relationship and modify how they work together. (This realignment is complete.)
  • W3R-US needs to take a leadership role in refining roles, responsibilities, and decision-making and reach consensus on operational procedures and strategies to adhere to interpretive best practices. W3R-US and its state organizations need to standardize communication (when communication is desirable, related to what subjects, and how often?).
  • W3R-US needs to take the lead in developing committees that address the areas of focus identified in this plan—marking and branding the route, outreach to communities along the trail, website and social media, and information management (for example, data on programming and audiences, inventory of interpretive materials and signs, important contacts, etc.) in addition to finance and membership.
  • W3R-US will seek the technical advice of NPS interpreters and the professionals associated with other national trails to locate existing assessment tools and identify best practices that can be used as standards to ensure quality interpretation and accurate information along the trail.
  • As W3R-US matures, it should increase dialogue with existing and potential partners. For example, W3R-US might benefit from additional dialogue with Eastern National (EN) generally, and EN’s passport program specifically.

Additional Area of Concern: Accessibility


Both the NPS and W3R-US must take steps to ensure that new or updated interpretive media meet accessibility standards. For guidance, see the Programmatic Accessibility Guidelines for National Park Service Interpretive Media, Version 2.3, May, 2017, prepared by the Harpers Ferry Center Accessibility Committee.

 

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Recommended Actions Matrix

 
Sidney King illustration of the French artillery park, Yorktown, Virginia.
Sidney King illustration of the French artillery park, Yorktown, Virginia.

NPS

Recommended Actions Matrix


The matrix that follows indicates when to expect action on the recommendations included in Part 2 of this plan. It notes whether a recommended action will be primarily accomplished by NPS staff or by a non-NPS partner, and indicates potential sources of funding, if other than NPS operating funds.

This matrix is a visual summary with shortened notations for quick reference. The narrative in Part 2 of the plan provides more complete explanations of each recommended action, identifies PILOT PROJECTS and 250TH INITIATIVES.

The recommended actions are divided into three priority categories—high, moderate, and low. Generally, recommended actions identified as high priority need to be accomplished first, in the first two years of this plan.

 

Area of Focus: Website and Social Media Strategy

Action High
Priority
Moderate
Priority
Lower
Priority
Who Funding Deliverable
Review and revise WARO website:align with target audiences X NPS with W3R Fully built out content
Review and revise W3R websites X W3R with NPS Coordinated with NPS but different Content
W3R-US develops a sustainable social media plan with targeted audiences/implement social media X W3R with NPS Grant Coordinated with NPS but different Content
Use hashtags to post calendar events X NPS Website instruction;using hashtags

Area of Focus: Branding, Awarenss, Messaging

Action High
Priority
Moderate
Priority
Lower
Priority
Who Funding Deliverable
W3R-US increases participation in Eastern's passport program X W3R & NPS WARO stamp available at NPS sites
Develop digital media X NPS & W3R Grant AV will provide orientation to story/places
Organize speakers bureau to heighten recognition & speak to specific audiences X W3R Speakers promote/interpret the trail
Review the use of publications for branding X NPS & W3R Publication plan
Participate in Jr Ranger Activitiesusing new approach to content X NPS & W3R Online Jr. Ranger site

Area of Focus: Building Relationships with Trail Neighbors

Action High
Priority
Moderate
Priority
Lower
Priority
Who Funding Deliverable
Develop portable display about WARO X NPS & W3R Grant Create several for focus area use
Identify educational partners along the trail X NPS & W3R W3R-US keeps up-to-date list
Explore T-R-T for willing schools X NPS & W3R Grant ID where and submit request

Area of Focus: Trail Routes, Venues, and Markers

Action High
Priority
Moderate
Priority
Lower
Priority
Who Funding Deliverable
Decide what routes to mark in progress NPS Access and development assesment
Develop a graphic identity/banners in progress NPS Graphic ID plan
Create/maintain sign inventory in progress W3R & NPS Online inventory
Create phased schedulefor new sign; pilot in willing state X W3R & NPS Grant Production and installation plan
Locate existing interpretive best practices/tool kit X W3R & NPS Online toolkit
identify interpretive focus venues and pilot programs X NPS &W3R Access and development assesment; pilot new partners
Identify settled areas that can be used to engage in day trips and pilot X NPS & W3R Access and development assesment; pilot new partners

Area of Focus: 250th Anniversary and Special Events

Action High
Priority
Moderate
Priority
Lower
Priority
Who Funding Deliverable
Begin planning for 250th anniversary X NPS & W3R Coordinated events/projects
Special events, inventory of what exists In progress at local level W3R Online calendar

Area of Focus: Partner Strength and Administrative Structure

Action High
Priority
Moderate
Priority
Lower
Priority
Who Funding Deliverable
Evaluate & strengthen W3R-US organization X(first step) Executive Director Training and coordinated annual workplan
W3R-US & state organizations refine roles X(will follow first step) Executive Director & W3R board Coordinated annual workplan
Develop a committee structure X(will follow first step) Executive Director& W3R board Coordinated annual workplan
Locate existing best organizational practices & assesment tools X(will follow first step) Executive Director& W3R board Coordinated annual workplan
Modify W3R-US/NPS relationship Completed NPS & W3R
Identify other partners with complimentary interests X NPS & W3R Access and development assesment
 

Appendices

 
Reenactors soldiers and camp-followers returning to camp
"The Soldiers Return"

PAMELA PATRICK WHITE image

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Appendix 1

Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail Interpretive Theme Matrix


Theme #1 - The French Alliance and its Global Context

The alliance between the United States and France during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) helped achieve American independence and was part of a larger geopolitical strategy for influence (in Europe, Africa, India, the West Indies), international trade, and for control of North America.

This theme is about global context and influences, stakes for various parties, why these matter, and the consequences. This theme explores the “so what/why does it matter” of the Yorktown campaign and puts it into a global context.

Concepts

Topics and Stories

Global Context, Influences, and Consequences
Global Context and Balance of Power: Explore how the War for Independence and the American Revolution were part of larger, global conflict. Place the war and the revolution into context as a global conflict for trade, power, and European control of North America. Describe the conflicting roles and aspiration of Britain and France for global control in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

French Alliance and its Significance: Describe the terms of the French-American alliance (1778): that expanded French financial support, naval support and supplied troops. Describe how the alliance was celebrated at Valley Forge on May 6, 1778.

Value of Alliance: Trace and describe the benefits to the United State in allying with France. Describe the advantages and benefits to both the United States and France. Describe the significance of the recognition of the United States as an independent nation by a foreign power and how this sent a powerful signal around the world.

Context and Background: Describe how after almost a century of conflict between the British/Americans and the French in Canada and on the colonies’ western frontiers (King William’s War 1689–1697, Queen Anne’s War 1702–1713, King George’s War 1740–1748 and the French and Indian War 1754–1763) an uneasy alliance resulted at the beginning with the French who were initially treated with suspicion. Describe the practical aspects of turning a recent military foe (in the French and Indian War) into an ally.

The Enlightenment: Describe principles of the Enlightenment, principles of natural law, and how these affected and influenced the thinking of ordinary Americans. Explore the paradox and evolution of concept of freedom and limited enfranchisement.

Civil Aspect of American Revolution - Describe the civil aspect of the American Revolution and how it triggered internal conflict, and as power and influence shifted new alliances were created, and opportunities appeared to even old scores.

Regional Interests: Describe how Washington and others were challenged by and acted to balance regional interests. Describe how Washington was able to overcome reluctance and prejudices of the states and their people to unify the army and the country.

Diplomacy - Describe the roles that Franklin, Adams, and other revolutionary-era diplomats had in establishing and maintaining the French-American alliance. Examine their respective diplomatic styles and the resulting conflicts.
Treaty of Paris 1783 - Describe the terms and peace treaty that ended the American War for Independence. Describe the roles of the peace commissioners—Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams in the peace process.

People
People:
Describe some of the primary figures in the French Alliance on both sides and their roles in the revolution. (For example: Ben Franklin, Comte de Vergennes, St. Simon, etc.). Describe the role of Louis XVI in the decision for alliance. Describe the role of Benjamin Franklin as diplomat in the French court and as ambassador for America and the roles that Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay played in negotiating peace.

Balancing Regional Interests - Describe how the Continental Army was challenged by regional interests that differed in influence, capability, financial support, supply, and recruitment. Washington was able to overcome reluctance and prejudices of the states and their people to unify the army and the country. Soldiers from different states became acquainted with each other as brothers-in-arms united in a common cause. Describe how Washington was challenged by and acted to balance regional interests.

Political Legacy - Explore the political legacy of the Yorktown Campaign, and specifically, the American officers who participated in it, their later participation in American politics that shaped the nation. For example, during the Federal Convention that resulted in the US Constitution, ascribing to oppositional political theories for the new nation, serving in government, etc.

Results and Legacy
Strong Allies -
Describe how the personal and professional relationships among the French and American allies changed American attitudes to embrace the French as heroes after the victory at Yorktown. Trace the interactions among allies from France, Prussia, Spain, and other European nationalities that led to greater American understanding of European cultures and a cultural identity separate from Great Britain.

American Isolationism Policies - Explore why, after the war, America’s policies suggested isolationism; explore Washington’s warnings and thoughts on the fear of foreign entanglements.

Political Aftermath of the American Revolution - Describe the complex French Revolution, Louisiana Purchase, Monroe Doctrine, etc. Explore whether Rochambeau’s units took the ideas of the Declaration of Independence with them. Explore the sides officers and enlisted men took after 1789 and evaluate if their American experiences influence their decision.

Building Toward an American Identity - Describe ways in which the American Revolution contributed to a shared American identity that united both individuals and states around the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence, despite the paradox and tension inherent in subordinating individual liberties and state interests to common goals and the common good. Trace the role of the Continental Army and state militia service and their interaction with French forces during the war in building American identity.

Common Interests - Discuss the ways in which the American Revolution forged an American identity that united both individuals and states around the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence, despite the paradox and tension inherent in subordinating individual liberties and state interests to common goals and the common good.

  • French Alliance
  • Rochambeau
  • Washington
  • Louis XVI
  • Lafayette
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • John Adams
  • Continental Congress
  • Diplomats
  • Treaty of Paris 1783
  • Valley Forge
  • Saratoga
  • French Alliance
  • French Revolution
  • Global economics including
  • Slave trade
  • Chesapeake Bay
  • Trade
  • Slavery and enslavement?
  • European powers
  • Colonialism
  • Legacy of the campaign
  • US Constitution and Federal
  • Convention

Theme #2 - The Yorktown Campaign

The Yorktown Campaign (June to October 1781), culminating in the American and French victory over the British Army at Yorktown, Virginia, marked “the beginning of the end” of the Revolutionary War that guaranteed independence for the United States.

This theme is about the Yorktown Campaign and the people, events, and circumstances that comprised it.

Concepts

Topics and Stories

Military and Naval Campaign
Context for the Yorktown Campaign - Place the Yorktown Campaign and the siege of Yorktown (September to October 1781) into the larger context of the American Revolution and its role in the war. Provide the broad context of the American Revolution up to the point of the Yorktown Campaign including the precipitating events, geography, chronology, and the varied motivations of participants.

Strategy and Strategic Value - Describe the strategic value of victory at Yorktown (for General George Washington, the Continental Army, France, Britain, etc.). Describe Washington’s strategy that focused on staying in the game: holding the army together and turning it into an effective fighting force. Describe how the march and Newburgh, New York (for the Continental Army) to Yorktown illustrates and reflects the conflicts, complexities, and contradictions inherent in the American Revolution and the War for Independence.

Scale and Scope - Provide a sense of the scale and scope of the Yorktown Campaign and what it took to move American and French troops and their supplies. Describe how this movement of troops can, in some ways, be considered unprecedented and was among the most complex military maneuvers of the war based on the numbers of people involved.

Naval Siege - Describe the coordination and good fortune by the French navy to converge on Yorktown at the right moment. Describe the effect the naval siege had on the outcome of the action at Yorktown.

Civilian Impact - Describe the effect that the sudden influx of thousands of soldiers, support personnel, and equipment on the civilian population along the Army’s route (from Newport Rhode Island and Newburgh, New York) to Yorktown Virginia (including crime, disease, and economic upheaval or advantages). Illustrate the impact of sheer numbers of soldiers compared to civilian populations. Describe the how war affected institutions and infrastructure (businesses, churches, courts, etc.), the personal stories, and the toll that war takes. Describe what happened in areas that were strongly patriot. Describe responses by locals upon encountering Frenchmen and/or forces for the first time. Explore, compare, and contrast how reactions were informed by ethic and cultural backgrounds (for example, Huguenots and the French, reactions of slaves, etc.)

Topography - Illustrate the geographical advantages of routes end encampment sites selected in the march from Rhode Island to Virginia. Describe the advantages of choosing this route and describe how roads were selected to allow for advantageous troop movements.

Relationships - Describe Washington’s personal and professional relationships with the French and American allies. Describe Washington’s relationships with his military aides and their careers. Describe Washington’s relationships (personal and professional) with his generals, the Continental Congress, and others. Describe the personal and professional relationships between Washington and his foreign allies. Describe how these relationships affected the progress of the war effort for Americans. Describe Washington’s reputation abroad.

Leadership and Strategy - Compare, contrast, and analyze the respective roles of Rochambeau and Washington in the leadership, strategy and tactics in the Yorktown Campaign and in the Battle (Siege) of Yorktown.


People in Wartime
Continental Army and Diversity
– Describe how (and while it may look homogeneous to sensibilities) the Continental Army was a diverse mix of people, religions, cultures, and personalities with conflicts, complexities, and contradictions that characterized early America, the American Revolution, and the War for Independence. Trace, over the course of the war, how the army became a catalyst for creating an American identity. Describe the effects of the growing identity on American politics and leadership through the early days of the republic.

Soldiers’ Experiences - Place the Yorktown Campaign into the context of American, French, and British soldiers’ war experiences. Compare and contrast the Continental Army and the Yorktown Campaign with earlier military actions. Describe differences and lessons learned for the Army in these previous experiences. Describe that by fall 1781, most of the soldiers were experienced veterans accustomed to military life. Describe how these factors contributed to success at Yorktown.

Motivations - Describe how stories of military and civilian participants of the Yorktown Campaign reflect a spectrum of motivations and actions for their participation in the struggle for independence. Explore how differences of opinion about the revolution were based on region, interests, class, gender, religion, age, and a mix of other factors. Describe how the historical record reveals a complex and nuanced story of people who were divided by geography, culture, and class and torn by internal strife and uncertainty. Trace how Americans’ individual motivations and decisions about involvement in the American Revolution and the War for Independence ranged from the ideals of the Enlightenment, loyalty, and religious conviction to practical issues such as daily survival, the promise of freedom, and a secure economic future.

Divided Loyalties - Describe stories of behavior of people in wartime (especially the less than noble behavior). Explain how divided loyalties caused deep (and often lasting) divisions in families and communities. Describe what life was like for civilians during the encampment period. Describe the treatment of patriots, traitors, and neutral parties.

Camp Followers - Describe the role of camp followers. Explore the lives and circumstances of some of the women, children and families who were part of the Army and their roles in the military system.

People of African Descent - Describe the roles that people of African descent had on the American Revolution and the Revolutionary War.

Diversity -Describe how the Continental Army had a mix of people and personalities and the conflicts, complexities, and contradictions that characterized early America, the American Revolution, and the War for Independence.

Civilians - Discuss treatment of civilians and Washington’s instructions about this.

Civilian and Military Authority
Civilian and Military - Explore how the principle that the military was subordinate to civilian authority guided the actions of Washington and others. Describe the effects of this principle, and in particular how Washington acted to respect it. Provide examples of ways that Washington demonstrated political savvy in relationships and dealing with Congress and established precedents for military relationships with civilian authorities.

Washington’s Relationships - Describe Washington’s relationships with the Continental Congress and the states and his reasons for maintaining those relationships and strict protocols—even though he had the personal power, loyalty, and capital to act independently of them. Describe Washington’s relationships (successful and strained) with people such as Lafayette, Rochambeau, St. Clair, Wayne, Stewart, Huntington, Stark, Tilghman, McHenry, Laurens, Hamilton, and others.

Washington’s Leadership - Trace and explore Washington’s career as a professional soldier. Trace his growth as a tactician and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army culminating in the Allied victory at Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781.

Commemoration and Memorialization
Lafayette’s Triumphal return in 1824: Describe Lafayette’s Triumphal tour of the United States as an elder statesman in 1824, nearly fifty years after the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Describe how Lafayette was received and how his trip captured the imaginations of Americans and fostered a resurgence of patriotic spirit.

Commemoration - Describe how the Route taken from Newport Rhode Island to Yorktown Virginia is commemorated today as the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route. Explain that the armies used well-traveled 18th century transportation corridors--many of which are still used today-- and illustrate where vestiges of the 18th century route can be seen today. Describe the significance of Yorktown through works of art such as Trumbull’s Surrender of Cornwallis.

Memorialization - Explain how and why the myths surrounding the transformation of a formerly ragged Continental Army came to represent an "American resurrection" story with implications and connections to "civil religion" and patriotism and came to symbolize redemption through suffering, commemorated sacrifice and hardship, then evolved into a symbol of American ideals and identity. Trace the circumstances, reasons and means by which this came to symbolize the Continental Army.

Memorialization of Washington - Trace how attempts to enumerate George Washington’s accomplishments and commemorate his legacy have occupied the attention of generations of historians and regular Americans and spawned numerous efforts to preserve sites related to him, including the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route through MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, and DC.

National Historic Trail: Describe community and grassroots efforts to create a national historic trail including the W3R-US organization and its state chapters, French diplomat support, the National Park Service, and local historic, tourism, and community organizations.

  • Newport, RI
  • Yorktown, VA
  • Naval siege
  • “Grand Reconnaissance” around the British troops in NY
  • Officers
  • Enlisted men
  • Camp followers, families
  • Civilians
  • Women and families
  • Children
  • Diplomats
  • Landscape
  • Enlistments
  • Differences between the states
  • Continental Congress
  • Professional Army
  • Effect of experience and "veteran” soldiers
  • Balancing the Individual vs. common good
  • Militia
  • Spies
  • Foraging parties
  • Quakers and pacifist groups such as: Mennonites and Amish
  • African Americans
  • Officers' wives
  • Neutral parties
  • British officers and soldiers
  • Spain
  • King George III
  • Cornwallis
  • Comte de Grasse
  • French and other officers and foreign volunteers
  • Behavior of people in wartime
  • Memorialization of the route
  • Private and public partners
  • Trumbull painting Surrender of Cornwallis
  • Washington
  • Leadership
  • Fort Necessity and French and
  • Indian War
  • Integrity
  • Washington’s orders, actions, and correspondence
  • Washington keeping Congress informed (how and why)
  • “Mentoring” by Washington
  • Balance of regional interests
  • Concept of revolution as a civil war
  • Soldier/diarists such as JP Martin, Thatcher, etc.
  • Military discipline
  • Commemoration
  • W3R-US organization (and state chapters)
  • Relationship with France
  • Civilians
  • Continental Army as catalyst for shaping American Identity
  • 1st Rhode Island Regiment
  • Militia
  • Continental Army

Appendix 2

Existing Conditions

Staff in the NER prepared these brief and general descriptions of visitor experiences and interpretive services and programs that existed in 2017. It is important to note that there are limited sections of the 700-mile national historic trail (NHT) that are on federal lands. While administered by NPS, those sections of federal land are not managed for the direct purpose of the trail. There is no Comprehensive Management Plan for the NHT. Therefore, visitor facilities, programs, and interpretive services have been initiated and conducted largely on an ad hoc basis from state to state and site to site.

Access and Accessibility

Current NPS materials are not compliant with accessibility law. NPS Northeast Region’s standard is that all new interpretive media is 100% accessible and existing media is brought into at least 80% compliance. It is not known to what extent NHT-related historic sites not administered by NPS are accessible and there is no assessment of these sites.

Cultural Assets

The cultural assets include hundreds of historic and archeological properties on the National Register of Historic Places that are administered by state and local governments, and private non-profits. Eighteen national park units and national heritage areas include trail-related assets. In addition, there are museum collections in various institutions that include archeological, historic, archival, and ethnographic objects related to the Yorktown Campaign. Because much of the original historic route has been altered or erased, these materials may include the only extant objects reflecting specific troops on site during the march and battle.

Directional and Wayfinding Signs

Consistent official directional signage is needed for the entire route. Consistent wayfinding design for signage is also needed. Large street banners bearing the NHT name and the official NHT logo were produced by the NPS circa 2009 and installed in Center City Philadelphia, along the route of the allied march. These banners became worn and were discarded by 2017. Several also were installed along a section of the Schuylkill River Trail near 30th Street Station to mark the site of French and American encampments. The digital file for the banners is missing and there is no inventory information about the numbers, size, material, or mounting hardware.

These signs pre-date the NHT designation in 2009 and do not include the official NHT logo or name of the trail. Many of the original signs are missing.
The W3R-US and individual W3R-US state chapters have developed directional and wayfinding signs for some sections of the trail. For instance, NPS NER worked with Harpers Ferry Center and W3R-US to develop and design interpretive panels/waysides for 15 historic sites in New York, with input from the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and NY Department of Transportation. Forty-two signs were originally installed around 2006 by the Delaware Department of Transportation northbound (21) and southbound (21) along the route for Delaware’s 26-mile section of the NHT. These signs pre-date the NHT designation in 2009 and do not include the official NHT logo or name of the trail. Many of the original signs are missing.

There is no consistent directional signage throughout the NHT. Interpretive signage is generally developed ad hoc by individual state chapters of W3R-US and partner historic sites.

Education

NPS PowerPoint presentations are available in several versions of different lengths, and customized to specific states (Delaware and Pennsylvania). The various PowerPoints have been used as part of middle and high school curricula in Delaware, New Jersey, and Florida, and for presentations to historical groups.

Publications

There is an official NPS Unigrid brochure available for the entire trail route.

Unigrid brochures developed for Pennsylvania and Delaware are not available in languages other than English and do not meet current accessibility standards.
W3R-US has distributed grant funds to create additional brochures and maps for each state, and the District of Columbia, along the national historic trail. Rhode Island has completed a prototype brochure that uses elements of the NPS Unigrid standards to maintain a consistent look to match the existing Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail brochure for the entire trail. When produced, the brochures are to adhere to the NPS interpretive themes. (Be aware that the role and usefulness of paper publications is changing with society.)

Exhibits

Eight fabric banners and stands were located at Independence National Historical Park (INDE) and are now stored at Fort Mifflin. They are not currently displayed. They were intended to be on future display at the INDE Visitor’s Center, but the visitor center has undergone a recent redesign that does not include these banners. A series of panels designed by INDE staff provided a synopsis of the American Revolution in a global context, the key players in the Yorktown Campaign, the critical role of the French, the armies and military strategy, the march to and siege of Yorktown, the NHT general description and segment in Pennsylvania. The banners were produced in 2016, and INDE has the original print files.

In addition, individual historic sites and NPS units have produced their own trail-related exhibits. For instance, the Maryland Veterans Museum has provided trail exhibit content, education curricular materials, and special events. The museum developed a Revolutionary War gallery with WARO exhibit that covers areas beyond Maryland. These materials do not comply with NPS standards (style, content, accessibility, etc. Morristown NHP developed an interactive exhibit on the Yorktown Campaign.

Family, Intergenerational, and Youth Programming

There is no NPS programming for youth and families related to the trail.

Foreign Language Materials

A translation of an NPS PowerPoint introduction to the trail is available in Spanish. No other official NPS materials are translated into other languages. The NPS will examine creating a French translation.

Personal Services Programming There is no regular, consistent programming featuring the NHT. It is not known which historic sites, museums, and other NHT-related sites in each of the states currently interpret the NHT themes or identify themselves as an NHT-related site.

Social Media and Technology

The NPS created a Facebook account for WARO. In a medium that needs to be consistently updated to be relevant, it has not been updated since 2016. There is no one to manage this social media site and W3R-US also manages a Facebook account for the trail. The NPS does not anticipate having staff to manage WARO social media.

Special Events

There is no consistent event programming advertising along the trail. While the NPS website Content Management System is set up to accommodate and promote events, WARO has never used the system of tagging on nps.gov to advertise its events. W3R-US promotes the NHT and its interpretation through coordinating and posting a calendar of events in each state and DC on its website. There have been several “one off” events organized by W3R-US, or with W3R-US participating, prior to and following NHT designation.

Visitor Facilities

The national historic trail has no visitor centers. However, nine NPS units along the trail offer an NPS passport cancellation stamp for WARO and trail-related exhibits from time to time.

Websites

The official NPS website, www.nps.gov/waro, was created by the NPS Northeast Region Communications Division. There is no NPS capacity to update this website. (Most of the Communications Office has left and the positions may not be replaced. Their responsibility was only to create the site when WARO was created.) The website provides basic trip planning information and links to Google maps for each state that feature the NHT auto tour routes. A pdf of the NPS Unigrid brochure is available that shows the NHT corridor as a whole through nine states, and identifies the national parks and other nationally designated areas along the route. The website is text heavy, out of date with incorrect contact information, no events listed, and an archive of newsletters dated no later than September of 2015.

A partner organization, W3R-US, maintains a website (http://w3r-us.org/) for the trail that has recently been updated and re-organized to improve its use by the public as well as W3R-US members. The website includes historical detail for historians and researchers, but limited information for visitors who wish to learn more about the NHT, where to go, and what to do.

Some individual state chapters of W3R-US maintain their own websites for the trail. They tend to present information from an administrative point of view rather than a visitor point of view.
The Delaware Department of Transportation maintains a Delaware Scenic Byways Story Map for the NHT.

Baseline Information/Data

There is no information on the status of programs in most of the states that could inform an interpretive strategy. There is currently no system for managing, updating, and adding to the GIS map database of historic trail resources or for making the information accessible to the public. The GIS database does not distinguish the original historic march route versus the modern route formed by current roads, making it difficult to sign the route.

Interpretation Standards

Identifying and prioritizing the most important sites out of hundreds for telling the WARO NHT story is needed as are standards and criteria for site selection. Phased support for interpretation is needed at selected sites. The capacity of the NPS, W3R-US and other NPS partners to develop consistent, high quality interpretive materials and programming for 700 miles of trail is a challenge.

Trail Identity

In part due to a mix of old and new signage in a variety of jurisdictions and fragmented administration, the NHT’s identity is inconsistent and confusing. Existing interpretive materials, products, and programming may need to be phased out and eliminated or repackaged, especially if they do not meet accessibility standards or cannot be kept current.

Audiences

There are challenges inherent in attracting newer and younger audiences, the need for diversifying (age, race, ethnicity) the membership and boards of current partner organizations and, the desire to recruit new partners. There is a need to bring in new approaches and virtual access to trail interpretation, particularly important for a route that has little historic integrity.

 

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Appendix 3

Possible Actions for local partners

The Participants in the LRIP planning workshops contributed a vaviety of ideas that local partners might choose to take. This appendix preserves those ideas.

  • Identify and distribute information that will help residents and educators who live along the trail understand the significance of the Washington-Rochambeau march. Initially focus delivery on enhanced websites and social media that have easy-to-find information by location. All materials must be 100% accessible.
  • Talk with educators from schools near the trail to understand what historical resources or information they need to help them connect local history with the march. Understand that their needs may be different from our needs and all material posted must be 501 compliant and fully accessible.


Best practices stress providing educators with “raw materials” rather than creating lesson plans. It is important to remember that the most successful programming is developed WITH partner involvement.
For general reference, get a copy of the national standards. Teachers will be more responsive if educational materials offered by trail partners clearly support these standards. Search local school district goals to align with local education needs.

  • Establish relationships with librarians and discuss materials related to the march and trail that may have potential to be added to library holdings. As libraries increasingly become community centers, alive with a widening variety of activities, explore ways to use the evolving role of 21st-century libraries to share the trail’s stories. Consider working strategically through the Institute of Museum and Library Science (IMLS) to understand needs of modern libraries to serve constituents before contacting librarians.
  • Build a shared database of biographical information related to individuals who participated in or witnessed the march. Organize the data by locality. Make it accessible on websites for public use.
  • Identify schools and colleges near the trail that have service learning programs. Develop a list of projects that will help students fulfill their requirement and provide benefit to the trail or trail partners.
  • Build on existing expertise by exploring ways to participate in the NPS scout ranger program.
  • Where the route of march is near a military facility, enlist military personnel to offer junior “staff rides” that explain the strategy, logistics, and impact of the march to students. Document these programs so they can be preserved and shared when personnel are not available for live programs.
  • Develop a corps of regional leaders who can offer “familiarization tours” to local tourism organizations and professionals including invitations to trail-related sites, particularly the locations of special events associated with trail history.

Appendix 4

Workshop Participants

Jason Albright, NPS-Harpers Ferry Center
Julie Bell, NPS-Northeast Region
Joanne Blacoe, NPS-Northeast Region
Jennifer Bolfon, NPS-Valley Forge National Historical Park
Kim Burdick, W3R-DE
Jeff Canning, W3R-NY
Johnny Carawan, NPS-Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route NHT
Paul Carson, NPS-Colonial National Historical Park
Bill Caughlan, NPS-Independence National Historical Park
Patricia Coyne, W3R-PA
Joe DiBello, W3R
Toni Dufficy, NPS-HFC
Kathy Faulks, W3R-NJ
Lorin Felter, NPS-First State National Historical Park
Tim Fenchel, Schuylkill River Greenway NHA
Randy Flood, W3R-VA
Noemi Ghazala, NPS-Women’s Rights National Historical Park, NER detail
Eugene Hough, W3R-PA
Todd Lacy, NPS-Independence National Historical Park
Ellen Lefebvre, W3R-PA
Pierre Lefebvre, W3R-PA
Neil Mackay, NPS-Harpers Ferry Center
Helen Mahan, NPS-Northeast Region
Eric Olson, NPS-Morristown National Historical Park
Daniel Paschall, The East Coast Greenway Alliance
Robert Reyes, W3R-MD
Elaine Schaefer, Schuylkill River Greenway NHA
Bob Selig, W3R
Janice Selinger, Crossroads of the American Revolution NHA
Steve Sims, NPS-Valley Forge National Historical Park
Kevin Sullivan, W3R-NJ
Mary Swarbrick, W3R-NJ
Ellen von Karajan, W3R-US
Ron Thomson Facilitator/Writer, Compass
Brent Ward Media Specialist, Riggs Ward Design

 
WARO sign variety
A variety of signs are in use to aid visitors to WARO, however consistency would make the message clearer. (1. Brown NHT) (2. Green route) (3. Historic Marker) (4. W3R)

1. NHT sign with CROSSROADS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION sign, Trenton, NJ
2. Route sign, Colchester, VA
3. Historic Marker along the WARO route in Bridgewater, NJ–ELIZABETH CLARKE
4. W3R sign outside Museum of Newport History, Newport RI--NPS/ BILL LANGE

Appendix 5

Media Report: Signs and Route Markers

Background

This discussion of WARO’s signs and route markers was completed as part of a project to prepare a Long-Range Interpretive Plan (LRIP) for the trail. It provides a summary of existing conditions along with information that supplements the LRIP Recommendations Workshop held in July of 2018.
Before undertaking any interpretive project, W3R-US should use the enhanced channels of communication and strengthened organizational structure recommended in the LRIP to seek advice and identify existing best practices.
In particular, the NPS has both experience in developing interpretive signs and route markers and standards for appearance and placement. NPS staff can guide U3R-US toward established processes for accomplishing many of its interpretive goals including those related to signs and wayfinding.

A Brief Glossary of Terms

There are several terms used in this report that may need definition.
Directional Sign: Directional signs help travelers navigate along a specified route usually with arrows or directions added to an identifiable graphic (logo, route number, etc.)

Identification Sign: Identification signs have the name of a feature and, in the case of historical sites, sometimes include a date for context.
Interpretive Panel: Interpretive panels use images, words, and sometimes three-dimensional tactile add-ons to not only provide information but also to explore why a topic, place, event, or object is relevant. They make emotional and intellectual connections with the viewer. Interpretive panels are one of the most common interpretive techniques, particularly along trails.
Route Marker: A route marker is a sign, ideally with a distinctive graphic, that informs travelers that they are on a historic or scenic roadway.
Wayfinding: A term used for a variety of interpretive media that help visitors and travelers navigate, keep from getting lost, and efficiently find their way to interpretive destinations.
Wayside: A wayside is an exhibit along a trail or roadside. Waysides provide users with information, interpretation, or both. They generally consist of a single panel, but may be a cluster of panels at more complex sties.
Signs, Route Markers, and Banners as of July 2018
In July 2018, at a workshop held to determine interpretive solutions for WARO, participants stressed the importance of enhanced directional trail signs and wayfinding. The existing mix of old and new signage in a variety of jurisdictions is confusing, inconsistent, and detrimental to the creation of an easily recognized trail identity.
In the past, directional/orientation, route signs, and interpretive panels were generally developed ad hoc by individual state chapters of W3R and partner historic sites.
The NPS produced several fabric street banners for WARO as well as a set of floor-length interpretive panels. The large street banners bearing the national historical trail (NHT) name and the official NHT logo were produced by the NPS circa 2009 and installed along the route of the allied march through Center City Philadelphia. Several other banners were installed along a section of the Schuylkill River Trail, near Amtrak’s 30th Street Station, to mark the site of French and American encampments. The digital file for the banners is missing and there is no inventory information about the numbers, size, material, or mounting hardware.

In addition, eight fabric banners and stands are located at Fort Mifflin, but are not currently used. They were originally intended to be displayed at the Independence Visitor Center in Philadelphia. They are full color, single-sided, retractable banners with stands for floor exhibit, and are 36” wide by 96” high. The series of panels designed by the staff of Independence National Historical Park (INDE) provides a synopsis of the American Revolution in a global context, the key players in the Yorktown Campaign, the critical role of the French, the armies and military strategy, the march to and siege of Yorktown, and the general description and the NHT segment in Pennsylvania. The banners were produced in 2016, and INDE has the original print files.

The W3R-US and individual W3R state chapters have developed directional and wayfinding signs for some sections of the trail.

The Northeast Region of the NPS worked with Harpers Ferry Center and W3R-US to develop and design interpretive panels/waysides for 15 historic sites in New York, with input from the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and NY Department of Transportation. In 2006, 42 route markers were installed by the Delaware Department of Transportation northbound (21) and southbound (21) along the route for Delaware’s 26-mile section of the NHT. These signs pre-date the NHT designation in 2009 and do not include the official NHT logo or name of the trail. Many of the original signs are missing.

Other types of route markers that have been installed in many of the states along the NHT including the familiar blue and gold state historical markers that commemorate individual historic sites as well as other local markers in different color schemes. Many of these markers were installed decades before the NHT’s designation in 2009, although W3R-US and/or its state chapters placed some at historical sites associated with the trail since 2009.

An up-to-date database of historical markers in the US and other select countries is available at Historical Marker Database (HMDB) on state historical markers can be obtained through the relevant state historic preservation offices as well. For lists, locations, and photos of signs in all the states along the trail see w3r sign archive. For additional signage on Washington, Rochambeau, and France’s role in the Yorktown campaign, see Waymarking and HMDB.

NPS Arrowhead and NHT Logo Use

During the July 2018 workshop, participants raised questions about the use of the NPS arrowhead, particularly related to publications and signs.
Use of the arrowhead is closely guarded and monitored as an agency trademark and requires specific permission from the NPS for every use. NPS Director’s Order 52D provides the guidance and approval process needed to use the arrowhead.

Questions also surfaced about the appropriate use of the National Historic Trail logo for WARO. NPS Director’s Order 45 provides guidance on the development, use, and approvals needed for individual trail logos as well as the national trails system and national recreation trails program logos.

Section 3.19 says:

The National Trails System Act directs development of a distinctive trail marker logo for each national scenic, historic, and recreation trail. It also directs the Federal administrator of such trails to provide such markers to managers of non-Federal segments. (16 USC 1246(c)). For national scenic and historic trails, the trail’s logo design is approved as part of the trail’s CMP and must be published in the Federal Register as a public notice. All NRTs use the same logo (protected as a Federal insignia), but individual NRT names and symbols may be added by each trail’s manager.

It is the responsibility of individual trail superintendents to retain the original electronic logo files for each national scenic and historic trail administered by the Service, and to provide a copy to the appropriate Washington Office. The National Trails Office will prepare a supplement to the NPS Sign Manual that gives the sizing, layout, and installation specifications of all the National Trails System-related signs and logos. Authorization for permitted use of a scenic or historic trail logo under 18 USC 701 is the responsibility of individual trail superintendents, while permission for use of the NRT logo is given by the NRT program leader in the Washington Office.

W3R-US originally used a shield-shaped logo with three fleur, several stripes, and no stars. In 2005, Harpers Ferry staff advised that this design had too many small elements for easy recognition from a car driving down a highway. They supported the current W3R-US logo with one fleur, four stripes, and six stars. After the NPS recommended W3R-US get service-mark registration ® for this logo and for the W3R in our acronym, W3R-US applied for and received registration and now uses it on signs and in correspondence.

Sign Standards and Guidelines

Typically, heritage trails and corridors establish standards or create guidelines that partners can use as they develop new media and programs.

The use of the WARO NHT logo must occur within the context of sign plan development and application of graphic identity standards and guidelines to not only signage but also other interpretive media. The LRIP for WARO recommends development of a graphic identity including a graphics standards manual for a family of signs and markers. The manual should describe the types of signs (directional/road signs, site identification for instance), conditions for installation, and approved appearance (typeface, color palette, sizes). Signs installed at historic locations will meet basic criteria: The site will be documented in contemporaneous records and will retain historical integrity.

There are challenges in developing and applying graphics standards uniformly throughout the trail as compared to national historic trails where federal land ownership is common. Land ownership and management along WARO NHT is a patchwork of private, state, county, and municipal lands and crosses multiple political jurisdictions. Sign design and installation will require close coordination with state departments of transportation, local public works departments, and some federal entities such as national parks.

Other trails associated with national heritage areas with partnerships similar to WARO offer models in the development of graphics standards. Typically, national heritage trails and corridors establish standards or create guidelines working with many different partners to address their specific needs and requirements. Partners can use these guidelines as they develop new media, including signage and programs. Working together, the NPS and W3R-US should produce a set of general guidelines that provide a menu of sign options for NPS partners. The guidelines should be easy to implement.

The on-the-ground realities of WARO suggest a family of signs composed of a limited range of images, materials, and colors intended to reduce complexity and clutter in the historic corridor, to establish a clear identity and continuity of experience, and to account for the existing design guidelines of partner agencies and organizations.

The guidelines should complement a range of interpretive media; elements of the guidelines should be applied to other future media including websites, mobile phone and tablet applications, brochures, maps, guides, and more.

Guidelines will incorporate best practices to enhance accessibility, see Programmatic Accessibility Guidelines for National Park Service Interpretive Media Version 2.3, May, 2017 Prepared by the Harpers Ferry Center Accessibility Committee.

As one of the many entities that have successfully solved the challenge of marking a historic trail, the National Trails Intermountain Region created a useful step-by-step guide and webpage: How to Create Your Sign Plan.

Examples of Graphic Standards, Sign Manuals, and Sign Types
Examples of trail sign guidelines in the region bisected by the trail include the Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area and Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor has a graphics standards manual that guides “the efforts of the Erie Canalway and its partners to overlay a consistent, cohesive visual identity across a diverse range of new and existing resources for promotion, interpretation and orientation.” Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor, Grapic Standards The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail website offers useful advice on establishing a sign program. The website for Harpers Ferry Center offers advice and examples for a range of informational and interpretive signs.

Sign Inventory

As signs and route markers are installed along the NHT, it is important to create and maintain an inventory with basic information— photographs, location, sign material, sign specifications and date of installation. Periodically, partners should review and report the condition of signs and markers including any that are damaged or removed. That information should be noted in the inventory so that rehabilitation or replacements can occur.

Because of cost and workload, signs and markers created to provide a more complete, beginning to end story of the march, will necessarily be installed in phases. While the inventory referred to above documents past and present, a map showing potential interpretive locations along the “commemorative” auto route including portions that are appropriate for hiking, and embarkation points for the water route will provide a look toward the future. A phased schedule of new signs can be used to track progress and raise funds. Inventory notes should identify the landowners and their contact information.

All signs not on NPS property require agreements, and W3R-US should consult with the NPS about the agreement process; it can be long and arduous and require sustained management of agreement terms.

Other Types of Markers and Interpretive Devices

The trail used banners in the past to raise awareness of the NHT and mark the route of march. No study was conducted, but anecdotal feedback was positive. A pilot project to install another generation of banners along the driving route near major population centers, monitored by professional transportation and sign planners, could examine banner effectiveness.

Among a variety of technologies, electronic beacons, designed for indoors or outside, have interesting interpretive potential. These Bluetooth transmitters can send notifications to personal phones when they are in close proximity. Once the message is received, a user can simply open the notification on the phone to view each beacon’s content.

Electronic beacons require app development and a method for users to download the app onto personal phones. However, they eliminate the visual intrusion associated with wayside installations, avoid vandalism since they can be easily hidden from view, and are inexpensive to purchase. Unlike interpretive panels, beacons can offer text, images, sound, and video. At present, beacon battery life is roughly 12 months.

Last updated: September 26, 2019

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