Do Not Migrate

This presentation was part of A Century of Design in the Parks Symposium, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 21-23, 2016.

Robert Z. Melnick, FASLA, and Noah Kerr


Cultural landscapes embody a dynamic and often difficult facet of the National Parks’ 21st Century preservation mandate—places characterized by their essential reflection of both natural and human forces on the land. Cultural resource managers must often confront the growing stresses of climate change at the park unit level, demonstrating a need for strategic decision-making guidance responsive to both climate events and climate trends. This paper describes a synthesis of IPCC scenario-based projections and historic landscape field assessment methods; the approach focuses on selected case study sites located within the NPS Pacific West Region. Historic impacts as well as potential climate-related vulnerabilities facing character-defining landscape features are addressed, with implications for future management of NPS-designed historic landscape resources.


Robert Z. Melnick, FASLA, is professor of landscape architecture at the University of Oregon, and a Senior Cultural Resource Specialist with MIG, Inc, a consulting firm in Berkeley and Portland. His current work, with the UO Cultural Landscape Research Group in the Institute for Sustainable Environment, addresses the impact of climate change on cultural landscapes. Melnick is co-editor of the award winning book, Preserving Cultural Landscapes in America, published in 2000. In 2008, he was awarded the James Marston Fitch Award by the National Council for Preservation Education for lifetime achievement in historic preservation education.

Noah P. Kerr is a graduate research fellow at the University of Oregon, engaged in Ph.D. studies in landscape architecture. His work with the Cultural Landscape Research Group investigates climate change effects on cultural landscapes in the National Parks. Kerr’s previous work includes preservation consultation and cultural resource management research in the Pacific Northwest and New England. He also holds an M.S. in historic preservation, and served with the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School’s field assessment team from 2011-13.

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