Category Archives: National Park Service

Park won’t try to replace historic Grand Canyon gift shop

[Source: Associated Press] — The National Park Service says it won’t try to find another company to run the historic Verkamp’s Curios gift shop on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, ending a 100-year run for the family owned store. The Verkamp family decided not to bid to run the shop when the Park Service asked for proposals last year. The Park Service has decided not to seek other bidders and will find other uses for the building once they buy out the family’s interest in the building. The family began selling trinkets out of a tent and built the shop in 1906, living there until the mid-1980s. Millions of visitors have bought curios, Indian blankets, baskets, pottery and other souvenirs at the site. It is set to close in September.

Ancient land in northeast Arizona provides modern-day example of sustainable tourism

[Source: Travel Video Television News] — Several of the tenets of sustainable tourism – reuse, restore and preserve – are clearly exemplified in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, an ancient land in northeastern Arizona. The nearly 84,000 acres that comprise Canyon de Chelly are located on the Navajo Reservation and jointly operated by the Navajo Nation and the National Park Service. Here, an entire culture is being preserved, and visitors are encouraged to visit the land lightly. Examples include a century-old building still being used; vehicles built more than 50 years ago still provide motorized tours, but are now powered by clean-burning propane; and the majority of wares in a gift shop are produced locally by highly skilled artisans. “Our own brand of sustainable tourism is a devotion to preserving the environment by focusing on the integrity of our local culture as well as minimizing the adverse effects of tourism on the natural environment,” said Mary Jones, owner and operator of the Thunderbird Lodge, the only concessioner in the monument. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

National parks robbed of heritage

[Source: Judy Keen, USA Today] — Looting of fossils and archaeological artifacts from national parks — such as Native American pottery and Civil War relics — is increasing as demand for such items rises on the Internet and the world market, U.S. National Park Service officials say. Over the past decade, an average of 340 “significant” looting incidents have been reported annually at the 391 national parks, monuments, historic sites and battlefields — probably less than 25% of the actual number of thefts, says park service staff ranger Greg Lawler. “The trends are up,” he says. It’s “a chronic problem that we simply have not even been able to get a grasp on,” says Mark Gorman, chief ranger at South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.

Park service investigators search websites and the FBI helps track looted items, some of which are sold to collectors in Europe and Asia. Prices are rising for some items, including Native American pottery and garments, says Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, manager of the FBI art theft program. The most coveted items can cost “in the tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars,” she says. Thieves caught last year at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park sold a Confederate belt buckle for $3,300 and buttons for $200 each. The park service has 1,500 law enforcement rangers and 400 seasonal law enforcement rangers — one for about every 56,000 acres. “We really don’t have enough manpower,” Lawler says.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Andrew Councill, USA Today. Pictured: Park Ranger shows a buckle recovered from an “illegal” sale and a bayonette recovered at a Park Service storage facility in Va.]

Noted architectural historian to speak at UA on Feb. 20

Noted architectural historian, Dr. William Seale, will speak to University of Arizona students and faculty on Historic Preservation in the U.S.: The White House, State Capitols, and Beyond.

  • Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2008
  • Time: Noon
  • Place: Harvill Building, Room 115, UA

The presentation is made possible by the University of Arizona Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit and the National Park Service. If you have questions and to RSVP, contact Kristy Schmidt via e-mail (click on name) or 520-621-9597.

William Seale is an independent historian who specializes in the restoration of historic houses. He was born in Beaumont, TX, and received his B.A. from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, and Ph.D. from Duke University in Durham, NC. For the past three decades, Seale has been involved in the restoration of historic buildings across the nation, specializing in state capitols and other public buildings, including opera houses, courthouses, historic homes, and museum village buildings. His recent historic house projects include the George C. Marshall House in Leesburg, VA; Ten Chimneys near Milwaukee, WI; and Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, LA.