The Historic Landscape Program seeks to advance the science and art of preserving and managing significant landscapes.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR NPS PERSONNEL
In FY2011, NCPTT partnered with other Park Service organizations to develop the NPS Career Academy for Cultural Resources. The Academy will provide park personnel working in cultural resource positions with a developmental pathway that allows them to acquire and refine their skills in meeting job requirements, position competencies, the NPS mission, and personal development goals. In support of this effort, the Historic Landscape Program hosted cultural landscape professionals engaged in the development of two online training resources. Through a cooperative agreement with Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSU), NPS landscape architects and horticulturalists worked with NSU education, media, and video specialists to outline, script, and record portions of two training videos: Managing for Historic Character and Introduction to Preservation Maintenance. Filming took place at Cane River Creole National Historical Park in Natchitoches, Louisiana and Natchez National Historical Park in Natchez, Mississippi. Video segments included interviews with park personnel and demonstrations of proper maintenance techniques. Final versions of these videos are still being edited.
IMPROVING SPATIAL DATA FOR CULTURAL LANDSCAPES
The National Park System comprises 398 areas covering more than eighty-four million acres in nearly every state. To track and maintain the vast array of cultural resources within this system, the Park Service utilizes geospatial databases. Examining resources within a geographic context allows preservationists to study the interaction of those resources and to identify larger trends across landscapes. Using digital tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to better manage and protect our cultural resources is therefore increasingly critical. With the implementation of such systems however, comes the need for improved data management, which in turn necessitates the development of standardized elements to facilitate data sharing and dissemination.
NCPTT and the NPS Cultural Resources Geographical Information System facility are partnering to create geospatial data that meets new Park Service cultural resource spatial data standards adopted in 2010. The project will ultimately allow communication between various NPS cultural resource databases, such as the List of Classified Structures and the Cultural Landscape Inventory. As part of the project, NCPTT will supervise two one-year interns through a cooperative agreement with NSU. The project includes creating spatial data using the new standards for legacy properties and using the NPS Cultural Resource Geospatial Data Model to link features to other cultural resource databases such as the National Register and HABS/HAER/HALS documentation.
Since 2008, NCPTT has used podcasts to explore progressive applications of science and technology with practitioners in historic preservation. In FY2012, the Historic Landscape Program recorded four podcasts with partners in the NPS and beyond. Jill Cowley, Cultural Landscape Lead for the NPS Intermountain Region spoke with NCPTT about the intersection of culture and nature and described the importance of protecting tangible cultural resources in areas set aside for their natural qualities. NCPTT also spoke with Steven Gonzales, Executive Director of the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association. The trail stretches from Natchitoches, Louisiana, west through Texas, all the way to the Rio Grande on the Texas-Mexico border. Gonzales described ongoing trail stewardship projects supported by an America’s Best Idea Grant from the National Parks Foundation.
Cindy Brandimarte, Director of Historic Sites and Structures Program at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, spoke with NCPTT in a two-part podcast series. Part one highlighted the contributions of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the development of the Texas State Park System and discussed texasCCCparks.org, an innovative website with extensive documentation of CCC work in the state. In part two of the series, Brandimarte focused on Bastrop State Park, one of only a few state parks in the nation designated as a National Historic Landmark. Texas Parks & Wildlife was recently awarded a PTT Grant to share lessons learned after a devastating wildfire that destroyed ninety-six percent of Bastrop State Park in 2011 and in which all but two small CCC buildings were saved. Based on experience learned at Bastrup, the grant project will include guidelines for protecting cultural resources from wildfires. It will also assess the effects of remedial treatments to building materials and offer advice on stabilizing structures after fires.