Scott Hartwig to Retire From National Park Service

img_1363-scaled500Yesterday I learned that Scott Hartwig, Supervisory Historian at Gettysburg National Military Park, will retire from the National Park Service at the end of this week. Unfortunately, I only had the opportunity to chat with Scott in person on a few occasions over the past few years. On the other hand, few NPS historians have taught me more about a broad range of topics related to public history and the challenges related to interpreting our nation’s Civil War battlefields. Scott’s list of accomplishments is extensive, from his most recent study of the Antietam Campaign to his work on developing interpretation and exhibits at Gettysburg’s new Visitor Center.

He is a talented historian, educator, and most importantly, a trusted custodian of some of our nation’s most significant treasures. His impact at Gettysburg and elsewhere will surely be felt for decades to come.

I trust that Scott won’t stray too far from the battlefield and a public that values his voice. Hopefully, retirement will give him the time to focus on research and new ways to engage the general public’s appetite for good history. No doubt, he deserves it.

I know I speak for everyone when I say thank you for all that you’ve done on behalf of the American people.

Jonathan Jarvis Goes To Washington

Jonathan JarvisI looked forward to sharing video of National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis’s testimony in front of a House committee that took place earlier today. Even though I found full coverage of the hearing I decided against linking to it in any way. As you might expect there was very little opportunity for Jarvis to share anything substantive concerning the implementation of park policies and I didn’t see any reason to give these people an additional platform. Continue reading “Jonathan Jarvis Goes To Washington”

I Am a Park Ranger

Tomorrow a House Republicans will have the opportunity to question National Park Service chief Jonathan Jarvis for his handling of a situation that Republicans themselves caused. I trust that Jarvis will stand up for his agency during those few moments where he is allowed to get a word in over the grandstanding and deflection that will most assuredly be on full display.

If mistakes were made than so be it. No doubt the Park Service will examine their policies and try to improve their management during these times of crisis, but I refuse to join the outpouring of vitriol that continues to be directed at some of the most dedicated and passionate federal employees that we have. Update: A few more thoughts to consider.

US Park Rangers Lodge Issues Statement

Yesterday the United States Park Rangers Lodge issued the following statement yesterday on its Facebook Page re: National Park closures. Those of you who are feeling inconvenienced by these closures and have chosen to take out your anger on people who are trying to do their jobs should read it. Continue reading “US Park Rangers Lodge Issues Statement”

Instead of Demonizing the National Park Service

National Park ServiceHere’s the thing. When the federal shutdown is over National Park Service employees will greet the large number of Americans who return to their sites regardless of whether their visitors blamed them for the closings or called for people to violate the barricades. All will get the same friendly welcome and will be able to take advantage of the NPS’s deep pool of talent and commitment to protecting our nation’s most important landscapes and material items. In the end, my friends in the National Park Service want nothing more than to return to the work they love. Continue reading “Instead of Demonizing the National Park Service”