Presidio Historical Association President’s Report
Submitted by Lucia Bogatay, President of PHA
Amazing, a whole new year! We had a fine holiday party at my house with lots of delicious salmon, bubbly and fruit punch. And always Carol Brownson’s wonderful gougeres. One guest was Rob Thomson, Federal Preservation Officer for the Trust. He is going to take interested members on a tour of the Gorgas Warehouses which are currently under renovation. It will be a hard-hat tour. Rob is providing the hats and we will give him a count. This will be on January 31 at 4:00 PM. It should be a fascinating tour.
We were delighted to learn that our former staff, Steven Krefting, has made a complete recovery! We imagine him singing away through the holiday season with his wonderful baritone.
We are looking forward to our table at the History Weekend at the Mint. We look forward to the event which we are at the beginning stages of planning. Volunteers will be needed to man the tables. The organizing committee includes Sharon Gadberry, Bob Cherney, and Jason Wright. I will also be helping.
People for the Parks and Presidio met on the 18th of January, and due to the Government shut down, there were no representatives of the National Park Service. Since the Trust is self-financing, Patrick Hannon, Chief Communications Officer, was able to give a thorough report on Trust activities. Downed trees are being recycled. In particular, a very large one is being turned into nearly 100 outdoor benches for the Tunnel Tops and Rob Hill campground. Staff has been pruning vegetation which might cause fires in high winds, which work is paying off. Caltrans has delivered almost all of its agreed-upon payment, in lieu of contractual work on the Tunnel Tops that the Trust prefers to carry out themselves. The Trust staff is helping out the Park Service by removing trash in Area A, and the park police are working “on a promise” of pay. The Fort Winfield Scott proposals are due February 12. Look for them on Valentine’s day on the Trust’s Fort Scott website. Comments are due before April 24 when the Trust will make a selection. NEPA/NHPA process will be complete by June 29. Work on reducing the grassed areas to save water is proceeding. Tree planting now includes more redwoods, and replacement of heavily topped and dying cypresses is proceeding with shorter varieties. Clearly these are both issues which might affect the cultural landscape.
Clara Wallace discussed the Academy in the Presidio which teaches the technical side of Presidio operations. This is a course which might be of interest to our members!
Amy Meyer commented on the damage the shut down is doing to poorly supervised but open parks such as Joshua Tree. Also, of concern is the fact that there is no permanent director of N.P.S., just a series of temporary directors. The Land and Water Courses Fund has been allowed to atrophy, so that NPS can no longer buy out pockets of private land within the park system.
Bob Siegel discussed a group which is proceeding to develop a cross-town trail of 16 miles. Blessed by NPS, his group is planning to inaugurate this trail with pop-up ceremonies on June 2. They are looking for sponsors. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The route is described in a proposal (link). Paul Wermer suggested developing material to identify historic places and events along the route as a way to help animate the experience. This is possible project for PHA!