This presentation is part of the online document Acknowledging Landscapes: Presentations from the National Register Landscape Initiative.
Susan Dolan: We’re going to begin by looking at the Park Cultural Landscapes Program of the National Park Service. That’s part of our Culture Resources Management programs. I’m going to begin by setting up our series of presentations by an intoduction to the program and also the methodology that we use in the National Park Service for analyzing and evaluating the integrity of cultural landscapes.
Once again, my name is name is Susan Dolan. I’m the program manager of the National Park Service, Park Cultural Landscapes Program, and I’m going to be talking a little bit about our methodology.
First of all, I’d just like to take a little pause to reflect on the progress that the National Park Service has made in the realm of cultural landscape preservation, really beginning in the 1980s when the Park Service hired its first park cultural landscapes program staff. In 1981, cultural landscapes were first recognized by the National Park Service. In 1984, we had the first analysis and evaluation guidance on cultural landscapes published. That was the Robert Melnick, Emma Jane Saxe, Daniel Sponn guidance about rural historic districts in the National Park System. In 1987 we had the first National Register guidance on cultural landscapes and that was in the form of Bulletin 18, the bulletin that deals with designed historic landscapes.
In 1992, we see this global interest in cultural landscapes become crystallized in the designation for the first time of cultural landscapes as a property type within World Heritage sites.
In 1994, we see the first National Park Service management policies on cultural landscapes. That was where cultural landscapes become equitable cultural resources in the Park Service, along with historic structures, archaeology, ethnographic resources, and museum collections.
Part of that complement of cultural resources, we have now cultural landscapes, in 1994 having their own cultural resource management policies for the first time. In 1996, we have the publication of the Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes. That really helps us tremendously, to standardize and to be consistent in our approach to treatment recommendations. In 1997, we have the Cultural Landscape Inventory of the National Park Service database first created and then came online later.
Then 1998, we have the content of cultural landscape reports standardized through the publication the Guide to Cultural Landscape Reports. That really means we’re taking a consistent approach to the preparation of cultural landscape reports for our park cultural landscapes, meaning the consistent approach to the preparation of treatment documents.
I would like to really be focusing today mostly on the Cultural Landscape Inventory and a little bit on cultural landscape reports, but really we have seen a tremendous evolution in the program since the 1980s, but we haven’t stopped there. We really are continuing to grow the scope of the services that we provide for cultural landscapes.
I’d just like to talk about a couple of new initiatives, current initiatives from the program. This is where we’re evolving to, if you like. The one thing is to really get the word out on our work and share it with the public and the preservation community. We’re doing that by now posting our cultural landscape documents online on an online library catalog that has the acronym IRMA I-R-M-A.
If Barbara puts this power point on that link that she shared, you will be able to click on this hyper-link and get to that library catalog site and search for a park or a landscape and find potentially cultural landscape inventories or cultural landscape reports and download them yourselves. We’re circulating most of these documents for noncommercial purposes so that you can download your own read-only copy. We also have a program website. This is how we’re communicating news and updates and guidance about cultural landscapes. We’re sharing a lot of other references to this site, NPS.gov/cultural_landscapes.
Then we also are using about six different kinds of social media to again get the word out about cultural landscapes in the park system and the work that we’re doing. We’re using Flicker, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Again, you can hotlink to any of these from there. Please consider following us.
In addition to getting the word out about what we do to the public and the preservation community, we’re also trying to sharpen and refine our professional practice of cultural landscape preservation.
We are catching GIS data now for all of our cultural landscape boundaries and the features within them, and we’re trying to be consistent in the way we collect metadata and the standards we use for the GIS data.
As far as stabilization needs for cultural landscapes and treatment data, the treatment need for cultural landscapes, we’re now aligning those recommendations with the world of facility management in the National Park System. This is an internal thing. We need to integrate these two spheres of management in the National Park System, cultural landscapes and facility management, and bring them together because the source of funds to do work on the ground to implement stabilization in cultural landscapes, to implement treatment in cultural landscapes is really from the facility management realm. The funding starts there and so we need to integrate our data in that world in order to be able to move forward and get good stabilization work done, get treatment work done that’s prescribed by CLRs.
We’re continuing to monitor the condition of cultural landscapes across the service and really have an eye to their vulnerability to change, particularly in response to a changing climate. We’re also emphasizing sustainable practices in both the ongoing preservation maintenance of landscapes or in their treatment design, really embracing the realms of sustainability.
Let’s just reflect now on the core work of the Park Cultural Landscapes Program in the National Park Service. Really the core work is on the left side here, cultural landscape inventories and on the right side, cultural landscape reports. We’re mostly then going to be talking about cultural landscape reports, but I wanted you to be sure to understand the differences between them. On the left side here, cultural landscape inventory is baseline documentation. I like to think of what’s on the left side here, the CLI as stock taking. It’s taking account of what you’ve already got, what you know you’ve got versus a cultural landscape report, which is really a future vision document, what you want to do in the future with that landscape.
Cultural landscape inventories, every landscape in the National Park Service gets an inventory, every cultural landscape that’s potentially eligible. We do the CLI on every single one of them, one landscape, one CLI. On the right side, cultural landscape reports, they are only prepared if management objectives in a park really constitute the need to prepare a future vision, a CLR, if there are, basically management objectives are the status quo, we don’t do a CLR. These are prioritized according to need, but CLI is done for every landscape.
We use the CLI to determine the National Register eligibility of the landscape and to identify management information also. These go beyond the scope of DOE, the nomination. They really get into a lot of detail about the condition of the landscape, sources of instability it has, the impacts upon it, stabilization needs that are needed to halt further deterioration of the condition, the character, the integrity of that landscape. This fulfills our Section 110 responsibilities as directed by our National Park Service Management Policies and Guidelines so that we are taking account of our cultural resources. We are documenting. We are understanding them. Of course, once we have inventories, it informs our review of work that parks propose to do in those landscapes in the future. For 106/NEPA, we were able to do an assessment of the facts. We refer to the CLI and the depth of information that it has in there to understand the appropriateness of proposed work in the future.
On the right side here, the cultural landscape reports, rather than just a stock taking of everything that we’ve got that’s precious to preserve, we’re also clarifying future management objectives. Is there perhaps a plan to install an interpretive trail of this landscape? Is there a plan to change the plant community for some reason to adapt it better at a visitor center, add some parking, anything. Is there an objective to make some change that warrants the need for a future vision planning document, the CLR? We use the CLR to identify the desired future historic character and condition of the landscape, what we’re shooting for in the future. We of course, use it to prepare a treatment plan. This of course can be used to facilitate our Section 110 and NEPA undertakings as we implement that treatment plan in the future.
Let’s turn to CLIs for a minute here, so one CLI for every potentially eligible cultural landscape in the system. We’re looking at one for the White Grass Ranch in Grand Teton National Park here. The contents are the same for all CLIs. We have a standardized table of contents for all of them. I just wanted to share that with you here. The contents really contain a site plan, the existing conditions of that landscape. Ideally on that site plan, we have the cultural landscape boundary and all of the contributing features called out, labeled on that site plan.
Site plan, concurrence status, geographic information, management information, National Register information, chronology and physical history, analysis and evaluation of integrity, condition, treatment if there’s one already recorded for that landscape, and bibliography and supplemental information.
I’ll call these out in detail. For the concurrent status, our guidelines for cultural resources management and service requires that every CLI receive a SHPO consensus determination in order for it to be completed.
A CLI that doesn’t have a SHPO consensus determination is not complete. To bring the CLI, the cultural landscape inventory to completion, we need the concurrence of the SHPO. We also receive the concurrence of the park superintendent on the document until they sign off on it. We’re asking the SHPO to concur with the level of significance, the type of significance, the statement of significance, the period of significance, but also the landscape characteristics and features that contribute, that retain integrity.
We’re asking the SHPOs to basically give us a consensus on the eligibility of the landscape for the register. That is required. We need it in the service. It’s required in order to complete the CLIs. In the management information section of the CLI, we’re putting a lot of information about the condition of the landscape, good, fair, or poor condition, relatively stable, forces of instability. We also prescribe stabilization measures, things that are needed to prevent the further deterioration of that landscape.
The National Register information is about if there is currently an existing National Register listing for that landscape, for that property. Any kind of listing at all is included there in that section. The chronology and physical history is the physical evolution of the landscape, expressed as either a chronicle list or as an extended narrative text. One or the other or both may be present in the CLI. Those are optional, one or the other format. The analysis and evaluation section is really the heart of the document. We’re analyzing the existing conditions, we are comparing them with the historic conditions, and we are evaluating what parts of the landscape retain integrity.
The parts of the landscape that we regard as retaining integrity, we view as a system, an integrated system of landscape characteristics and associated features. We think of each landscape characteristic having associated features within it. The condition of course, that’s where we’re assessing the good, fair, poor and we’re talking about the impacts and things like this. Let’s just focus on that analysis and evaluation section right now because that’s really the core of the cultural landscape methodology for the National Park Service.
We think of landscapes as retaining integrity through a system of landscape characteristics, an interwoven matrix of landscape characteristics and what we call landscape characteristics is the stuff that existed historically and still exists today. In order that something can be identified as a landscape characteristic, it needs to retain integrity. Everything that’s on this list here, we see this as the means by which a landscape can retain integrity.
The definitions for these two clumps of landscape characteristics, some things which are systems, they’re process oriented. Then there are things that are physical elements that physically manifest. The definitions of all of those can be found in both the Cultural Landscape Inventory Professional Procedures Guide, shown here with the beautiful photograph of Acadia. That’s available online. You can download it from the program website or also in the Guide to Cultural Landscape Reports is the document that standardized our approach to treatment documents, the Guide to Cultural Landscape Reports. You can also find the definitions of each of the landscape characteristics that we use in this document too, again downloadable from the program website.
Let’s just take a look at a few. First of all, let’s look at the some of these systems, natural systems and features, spatial organization, land use, circulation and cultural traditions. Then we’ll get to the physical elements. We see, recognize, a total universe of potentially 13 types of landscape characteristics here on this list that can be found at any potential cultural landscape. Not all of them are found in every landscape. Only some of them may apply. It basically depends upon the significance and history of that landscape, whether we can find them there or not, whether they existed historically, whether they still exit today.
These terms aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive either. Some phenomenon in landscapes may fit better into one or the other or both, and you make a choice which one do you want to nest this system under? Really what matters is consistency and being able to fully evaluate, document, and describe and capture all that retains integrity in this landscape. First, before we look at individual landscape characteristics, really this is the heart of the paradigm of cultural landscapes for the NPS.
Cultural landscape is a historic property. It’s eligible for listing on the National Register as a historic district or a historic site. That’s how we fit them in, but in addition to that, we regard cultural landscapes as a system of landscape characteristics and their associated features. We regard them as retaining integrity through the extent landscape characteristics and features. We really do not use the concept of setting. I’m going to get to that a little bit later. This is really at the core of the paradigm of cultural landscapes for the National Park Service.
First of all, natural systems and features. When we call out natural systems and features in cultural landscape inventories or in cultural landscape reports, as a landscape characteristic, we’re seeing that the natural systems and features that gave rise to that landscape historically are still recognizable today. They still are conferring and supporting and sustaining that landscape. Clearly this landscape here in the valley bottom in Canyon De Chelly, this agricultural landscape that’s still used and worked by Navajo people, is here because of the natural systems and features that gave rise to it.
They are the reason why the people came here in order to make use of this land to turn it into the landscape that it is today. We identify natural systems and features as a landscape characteristic if the natural systems and features that were there historically that helped to give rise and evolve that landscape influences development are still evident today. When we say that spatial organization is a landscape characteristi,c we’re saying, that the spatial organization, the organization of spaces in the landscape that historically are still recognizable today, clearly in this plan of Meridian Hill Park in Washington, D.C. design landscape with a very strong bilateral symmetry. The layout of spaces today is still recognizably the layout of spaces that existed historically in the period of significance. Spatial organization is a landscape characteristic here. The associated features with it may be an array of spaces that exist within the spatial organization landscape characteristic.
When we say that land use is a landscape characteristic, we’re saying that the land use that continues today is the land use that existed historically or the pattern of the plethora of land uses historically are recognizable today. That’s so important with landscapes that are vernacular landscapes that if the historic land use can be perpetuated, it’s a part of the integrity of that landscape to have that land use continue today. Of course circulation, where circulation is a landscape characteristic today, we are seeing that the systems of movement in the landscape whether they are paths, trails, or roads are recognizably the same today as they were in the period of significance.
In cultural traditions, what we’re seeing is that the traditionally associated people, the culture of the people that gave rise to the landscape historically, their traditions that are imprinted on the landscape are still recognizable today in the physical manifestation of the landscape, that their cultural traditions are expressed in the physical imprint on the land and that tradition is still recognizable today. Here at Manzanar, a Japanese American interment site in California, we’re seeing rock gardens, Zen rock gardens that the internees created in the period of significance. Clearly they are still reflective of Japanese American culture on the landscape today. We say that here in this landscape, cultural tradition is a landscape characteristic that retains integrity.
Topography. When we say that topography is a landscape characteristic, we’re saying the human response to topography or the human created topography is still recognizably the same today as it was developed or used historically. Here at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery in Virginia, we see a stair step beautiful terracing that’s part of the historic design landscape. It was important, the design historically, and it still exists today.
Vegetation, when we say vegetation is a landscape characteristic, we’re not necessarily talking about every blade of grass or shrub or plant that exists on a piece of land. We’re talking about the vegetation that people used in their development of that landscape or their use of that landscape historically or they planted, that they introduced into it. The vegetation that people interacted with culturally is that the patterns of it or the vegetation itself is still evident today.
Clearly here, you have a historic orchard in Capitol Reef National Park, apricot trees that date back to the 1920s. We say in this landscape, vegetation is a landscape characteristic because it retains integrity. It introduces the cultural vegetation that it still remains recognizable today.
If we move on more to those physical elements from the systems that we were just looking at, we also recognize views and vistas that historically were important in the development of the landscape or the use of the landscape and are still evident today.
Buildings and structures of course, regard those as a landscape characteristic. The whole pattern of buildings and structures on the landscapes that existed historically are still evident today.
Constructed water features where we have man-made manipulated water bodies, like this acequia here at San Antonio Missions. It’s a water channel built historically, still exists today.
Archaeological resources, the ruins and traces that are typically part of that period of significance, that landscape, they’re still evident today. We include those as a landscape characteristic.
Then small scale features. This is a final catch-all category as a landscape characteristic. All these small items in a landscape that provide a depth and understanding and kind of a texture to the landscape, like this wonderful little grave marker here at the Kennecott Cemetery in Wrangell-St. Elias. These fences, depending upon how diminutive they are, how large they are, we capture these in small scale features as they existed historically and they still remain today.
What I’m trying to get at here is that we perceive the integrity of a cultural landscape being held through a whole system of landscape characteristics. We don’t just think of the landscape as the setting for a more important thing that exists within it, perhaps such as the setting, the envelope, the stage, the repository of a building. I think this is the place that we came from and the cultural landscapes program has helped to move us away from this thinking. If you just indulge me for a second in my blueberry muffin theory here. I think of this old paradigm as the blueberries in a muffin. We saw the landscape as the muffin dough and what was important about that historic property with the blueberries, perhaps they were the structures or the monuments and the dough it was almost like it was a passive bystander.
What the cultural landscapes program has attempted to achieve is a change in thinking, a shift in thinking of a paradigm where as we think of that dough as being as important as the blueberries themselves. We think that the dough of the muffin has helped to give rise to where the blueberries exist, the character of the blueberries, etc., the relationships between the blueberries.
In actual fact, the system of landscape characteristics that we use for analyzing and evaluating the integrity of landscape leads us more into a rug model rather than a blueberry muffin. The rug is like a matrix of interwoven warp and weft. If you think of the warp and weft as the system of landscape characteristics that are all inextricably connected. We don’t have Meridian Hill Park without the spatial organization. We don’t have that farming landscape in the Canyon De Chelly without the natural systems and features that gave rise to it. We don’t have Manzanar Japanese American Internment Camp without the cultural traditions that are expressed in the landscape.
We have an interwoven matrix. Everything is inextricably connected to the other. If you look at a rug, there is no setting. All of it is kind of an equal player in the overall matrix. If we just repeat those things then, it’s the cultural landscape paradigm. We’re dealing with historic properties that are eligible for listing on the National Register as districts sites. They are composed of a system of landscape characteristics and features. They retain integrity through these extended landscape characteristics and features. We do not use the concept of setting.
Just think just for a moment, one landscape in mind here, the Buckner Homestead Historic District is a remarkable landscape in this Stehekin Valley of North Cascades National Park on the eastern side of the Cascades in Washington State. This is an early commercial orchard that was a family run operation that existed from the 19-teens onward. We have really quite a remarkable landscape in that we have a large collection of the progenitor of red delicious variety apple trees here. The hawk-eye is what we find here because this is so early in the use of red delicious as a commercial apple orchard.
There’s a building cluster here. There’s a road system here, a circulation system. We’ve also of course got integrity expressed through vegetation, which is the system of trees. We can talk about the irrigation channels, which you see up and down the rows of all of those trees, those hand dug ditches with sluice gates and things as being a system of constructed water features that retain integrity. We also have a remarkable natural systems and features landscape characteristic here that has given rise to this flat valley bottom in a glacially carved valley with a river and a creek that feeds the irrigation ditches, all of this is supporting of why the family chose to homestead here and build here.
We’ve got a spatial organization pattern clearly of retro-linear arrangement, a cross of circulation punctuating quadrants of orchards. Over on the left side, you see a big open area of pasture for the livestock for the horses that were used to plow, etc. It’s a system that works together. The landscape is a cultural resource in its own right. The landscape is not just the setting for the Buckner Homestead historic buildings and structures. We see this as a system of interwoven landscape characteristics all of which are equally part of the cultural resource that is the cultural landscape.
These are finally come back to this again. If you have questions, please e-mail me. Please check out our website. Please consider joining us on any of these social media and again, you’ve got a hotlink to each of these from this presentation.