This presentation is part of the Texas Cultural Landscape Symposium, February 23-26, Waco, Texas.
Julie McGilvrey: We have a couple of minutes for questions if anyone has any for our panelists. Do you want to step up to the microphone? Thank you, Susan.
Speaker 2: A question for Rolando. I’ve heard that the US Fish and Wildlife Service can provide assistance with seed drilling if the vegetation is restoring habitat for birds that they’re interested in managing. I wondered if you’ve had that offer from the US Fish and Wildlife Service?
Rolando Garza: That was actually the USDA Plant Materials Center. And their mission is to kind of restore native vegetation and find commercial uses for native plants and cord grass is one of the pet projects. Fish and Wildlife helped match money to restore prairie for the Aplomado falcon. Then also they let us go on their land where they burn, so we can get seed that have a higher germination rate. But then they’re going to provide… they’re the only fire crew in town, so they’ll actually be doing the burning because our fire management officer is out of Big Bend. The fire crew’s out of Big Bend. There’s such small windows to do burns down there, we’re going to have to use the local Fish and Wildlife in coordination with our FMO. So yeah, they’re a big part. Also, what we’re doing in learning to restore the coastal habitat and maintain it, it benefits all the other people trying to restore and maintain open prairies.
Speaker 2: Thank you.
Rolando Garza: You’re welcome.
Julie McGilvrey: Do we have any other questions? Oh, you can stay back there, Susan. Okay, sure.
Speaker 3: Hello, Ms. Jackson. Do you have an opinion on the aviation marker on top of Texas’ proudest, tallest peak, Guadalupe?
Elizabeth Jackson: What do you mean by an opinion?
Speaker 3: Well, some of us that frequent that spot wonder is it in the right place?
Elizabeth Jackson: You know what? Rather than trying to commit political suicide up here… in all honesty, it’s been up there so long. We get a lot of questions on that. We really do. I have no opinion. I have no opinion on that. What I find most inspirational is… I don’t know if I mentioned in my talk, that hike up to Guad Peak is six to eight hours for the average person. The elevation gain, in less than a mile and a half, is about 3000 feet. It’s work. When you earn that and you are at the peak, that feeling that you get, and like I said, connection to the landscape. I think that’s what we focus on.
Elizabeth Jackson: We love to see pictures of people hiking, signing the book. There’s a ammo can up there that you can sign the book. We actually do keep those signatures and those messages that people write in those books and bind them. People come back 20 years later and say, “My dad climbed the peak in such and such a date and in this year, and we’ll go find it.” So you can see that signature. I think for us it’s the inspirational opportunity that we seek for that. Guadalupe Peak is just a really fun hike. I encourage everybody to come and visit us, and do that hike or part of it.
Julie McGilvrey: I would add to that, and I may be controversial. The marker marks part of the cultural landscape. Because that marker is marking the way you saw the landscape, and the way you navigated on the second run of mail through that area. The first was a stagecoach. The second were the biplanes flown for the first mail routes and they would use El Capitan and Guadalupe Peak as a marker in the landscape, and they navigated from those. That’s why the marker is there. So the story at Guadalupe Mountains is incredibly layered. It is exactly what Elizabeth was speaking to. There’s so much there. A lot of people look at the park as a Permian Reef and a great hiking park, and it’s stunningly beautiful. But the cultural history is just as rich as the geological and natural history there, so yeah.
Speaker 4: Just sort of an observation in terms of education and outreach, beyond just educating and interpreting cultural landscapes for the general public. One thing that we’ve heard today, whether it’s the Department of Energy, other agencies that you might be working with as preservationists. We have an obligation to help educate people who don’t necessarily have this preservation mindset, agencies that don’t focus on preservation.
Rolando has mentioned Fish and Wildlife Service. I know in Hays County, in San Marcos, there’s been a long preservation battle against Fish and Wildlife because they wanted to remove historic Cape’s Dam from the San Marcos river to allow a certain sort of water species to be able to swim down the river to the next dam. But that dam is eligible for the National Register. So there’s been a battle there in terms of educating Fish and Wildlife about the significance of that dam.
We’ve also found too, with groups, organizations that focus on landscape preservation, a lack of maybe focus or interest in the cultural resources. As preservationists, I think we’re learning to look at the landscape in addition to some of those buildings, as well. So take what you learn here and help to educate your partners and different agencies, and units of government that may not understand and appreciate things the way we do.