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DRAFT

Project Two: summarize critiques of the effectiveness of the federal historic preservation function
since its original advent in the late 1960s and summarize proposals for its reorganization.
Since passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966, federal historic preservation
programs have been largely under the auspices of the National Park Service (NPS) within the Department
of the Interior. These activities have included grants-in-aid to State and Tribal Historic Preservation
Officers (SHPOs, THPOs) for identifying significant historic properties, financial assistance to the
National Trust for Historic Preservation (until the mid-1990s), and administering the National Historic
Landmark and National Register of Historic Places programs. The 1966 Act also created the Advisory
Council for Historic Preservation, which, among other duties, mediates over historic property disputes
involving federal funding and/or impacts on significant resources. Since 1966, these programs and
activities have been reorganized several times and further changes have been proposed. These
reorganizations and proposals will be summarized chronologically below.
1966-67:
As Congress drafted the National Historic Preservation Act, officials from both the
Department of Interior and the Department of Housing and Urban Development were interested in serving
as the act’s administrators. Both had legitimate claims. The 1916 National Parks Act gave the National
Park Service the mandate to protect historic sites within the parks and the Historic Sites Act further
extended the NPS role in historic preservation to landmarks outside of the parks. But HUD officials also
could make a strong case: Jane Jacobs’s path breaking The Life and Death of Great American Cities
(1961) cried out for urban historic preservation before progress and renewal destroyed the nation’s cities;
the very influential With a Heritage So Rich had come out of the U.S. Council of Mayors, and so much of
what had been accomplished with historic preservation was in the nation’s cities. In addition, the new
HUD secretary was charged with “fostering the orderly growth and development of the Nation’s urban
areas” within the department’s enabling legislation, giving the Secretary the authority to have a major
voice in historic preservation.
The National Park Service, however, won out in this bureaucratic tug of war. As a national
historic preservation law was nearing reality in 1966, NPS officials were concerned that the new law’s
responsibilities would lead to a fundamental change in how the NPS viewed its mission and its own land
holdings. One of the earliest issues to surface with federal historic preservation programs was the
possibility of the natural resources mission of the NPS receiving administrative precedence over historic
preservation functions. In May 1966, NPS Director George B. Hartzog, Jr., appointed a committee to
examine the then-existing historic preservation responsibilities of the NPS and the new responsibilities
that would come with the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act.
This internal NPS committee, the Brew-Connally-Lee Committee, echoed concern about the
subordination of historic preservation in the Park Service. 1 Committee members emphasized their
assumption that the public believed that the natural resources of the park system were the main focus for
funding and attention. Certainly, they concluded, many NPS officials thought that way. Adding new
responsibilities of the magnitude envisioned in the 1966 act, without ensuring a comparative funding
increase for the agency, meant that NPS would be forced to divert funding from the parks, national
monuments, national sites and battlefields. That reality happened, and has ever since been a source of
friction behind the discussion of what constitutes the “core mission” of the National Park Service.
1

Barry Mackintosh, The National Historic Preservation Act and The National Park Service: A History
(Washington D.C.: History Division, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, 1986),
http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/mackintosh2/index.htm (accessed June 8, 2010).

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The Brew-Connally-Lee Committee was not ready to recommend a separate historic preservation
bureau, but like others at the time they wondered if separation was not the best way to protect the
Service’s mission. The committee was clearly concerned about the potential for fragmentation within the
NPS. Still the committee encouraged Director Hartzog to ensure that historic preservation professionals
were welcomed in order to meet the new demands of the 1966 Act. The committee further recommended
that the staff in history, archaeology, and historical architecture be moved from their various divisions
within the NPS to a new Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP). Historian Bruce
Mackintosh notes that the OAHP “would consolidate the Service’s top-level historians, archaeologists,
and historical architects, although some would retain their duty stations in the regional offices,
archaeological centers, and three existing planning and service centers.” 2 Early in 1967, the OAHP was
formed in Washington, D.C. and headed by Ernest Connally.
1970-71:
In 1970, the Act to Improve the Administration of the National Park System, also known
as the General Authorities Act, was part of the Nixon administration’s attempts to bring greater efficiency
to federal agencies, viewed as bloated and even out-of-control after the years of programmatic expansion
during the Johnson administration. As such, it was part of a period of internal reorganizations within the
NPS. Mackintosh observes that the reorganizations replaced the centralized D. C. office with
responsibilities and staff placed with NPS regional offices. In this era of mail and telephone
communication, the regional offices placed OAHP staff closer to the ground, but also diminished
opportunities for collaboration and the unity of purpose among program staff at the national level.
OAHP therefore experienced lower levels of effectiveness. Ending the OAHP as a D.C.-based unit
reflected congressional, administrative, and agency pressure to reduce expenses in the D.C. office as well
as the hope that the staff distribution would also increase collaboration in regional service centers. One
observer also points out that marginalizing the OAHP in D. C. also was an effective way of diminishing
its potential power and influence. “Director Hartzog seemed concerned that the OAHP might amass too
much power and break away, with or without the historical parks--perhaps to the rival Smithsonian
Institution.” 3
In 1971, the OAHP was further diminished within the NPS by having Connally report to an
associate director for professional services instead of the NPS director. In May 1971, a presidential
executive order, No. 11593, put even more teeth, and the weight of the presidency, behind the programs
of the 1966 Act and underscored the need for an effective OAHP. The order significantly strengthened
the urgency for federal agencies to work with SHPOs for such programs as the National Register of
Historic Places; architectural, historical, and archaeological survey and planning; and the Section 106
review process. It further called on the Secretary of Interior to “develop and make available to Federal
agencies and State and local governments information concerning professional methods and techniques
for preserving, improving, restoring and maintaining historic properties.” The OAHP would lead the
effort to develop these technical leaflets and educational materials.
1972: The Conservation Foundation convened and supported an influential group of experts and park
officials for what it called its National Parks for the Future project. The group tasked with the
responsibility of determining how to best preserve national park values made eight recommendations, one
of which called for “expanded attention to the National Park Service's historical and archaeological
programs. . . An accelerated research effort is a priority item.” The foundation’s report also argued that
both the national and historical parks would be better administered separately and recommended the

2

Ibid.
Ibid. Ironically the Smithsonian would create its own OAHP in 1986 in order to better manage the
preservtion needs of its buildings and landscape.
3

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removal of the historical parks from Park Service administration.4 Director Hartzog opposed this
measure, but the Nixon administration ousted Hartzog from the directorship in 1972. Ronald Walker,
nominated by President Richard Nixon, took over the following year. Although a committee formed by
Walker to investigate reorganization possibilities for the NPS recommended dismantling the OAHP,
Connally and others persuaded him to reorganize the OAHP instead.
1973-74: Starting in September 1973, the OAHP was charged with those services relating to
administering external preservation programs, including the National Register for Historic Places
Division, the Grants Division, the Historical and Architectural Surveys Division, and the Interagency
Services Division for Archaeology.
Prior to this change, some within the NPS accused the OAHP of favoring these external programs
to the detriment of needs within the park system. OAHP proponents thought that cultural resources had
been neglected for far too long. Connally felt: “that cultural responsibilities in the federal government
were dispersed inefficiently among the Smithsonian, the arts and humanities endowments, and the Park
Service. Historic Preservation was a peripheral concern in the Interior Department, and it would be even
more so in the [new cabinet office] Department of Energy and Natural Resources that the Nixon
Administration was planning to supersede Interior”. 5
The proposed new cabinet office had little traction in Congress. OAHP proponents suggested
that the better solution was a new cabinet level department that would oversee the OAHP, the historical
parks (which would be removed from the NPS), the Smithsonian Institute, the national endowments, the
National Archives, and performing arts administration. Already states had created such “Departments of
Cultural Resources,” like in North Carolina in 1971. At the least, Connally proposed that the OAHP be
moved to the departmental level within Interior. Assistant Secretary of the Interior Nathaniel P. Reed
denied both propositions. In 1974, Connally tried again, proposing that the creation of an Historic Sites
and Monument Service that would include the OAHP and the historical parks and report directly to
Assistant Secretary Reed. Reed rejected this proposal as well.
The debate within Interior on where it should lodge the new historic preservation functions was
mirrored in Congress, which kept shifting committee oversight for historic preservation in the 1970s. The
authorizing house subcommittee was Banking and Coinage, then the public lands subcommittee, and the
national parks' subcommittee next.
1975-76:
Gary Everhardt became NPS director in 1975. Everhardt’s administration halved the
OAHP’s budget request in 1977 in order to use those funds to repair the water system at Crater Lake
National Park. The State Historic Preservation Officers, who now had access to half the funds since their
grants-in-aid came through the OAHP, naturally protested this move, as did members of the National
Trust for Historic Preservation and other concerned members of the public. Truett Latimer, president of
the National Conferences of State Historic Preservation Officers, wrote to the chairman of the Senate
Interior and Insular Affairs Committee: “When a choice must be made between identifying, preserving,
and protecting historic resources across the country and upgrading park sanitation systems, it is time for
the two to be separated.” 6 Truett and others called for historic preservation functions to be removed from
the NPS to another organization.
In May 1976, the OAHP was yet again reorganized. Connally became Associate Director of
Preservation of Historic Properties and no longer worked with preservation within the Park System (those
4
5
6

Mackintosh, ibid.

Ibid.
Ibid.
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responsibilities were removed to the newly formed Cultural Resources Management Division). The
OAHP, originally conceived to house all preservation activities and unify preservation professionals, now
only worked with external preservation programs.
The ability of the NPS to effectively mediate between their preservation responsibilities and
providing public access to resources led to, in 1976, the Advisory Council being removed from the
administration by the Park Service due to a conflict of interest in the Section 106 process of the 1966 act.
For the time being, the Council was placed directly under the Secretary of the Interior. Prior to that date,
the OAHP, under the NPS, prepared the official comments on the Section 106 review cases that came
before the Advisory Council. 7 Glass notes that “under the rules [created for implementing Section 106 of
the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966], Connally and the OAHP were responsible for both
evaluating a federal project in preservation terms and preparing a report for the [Advisory] council based
on the opinions of the federal agency, as well as the preservation view. The difficulty of the same
organization performing both tasks credibly soon became apparent.” 8
The case that brought this conflict of interest to the spotlight occurred in 1972. In Gettysburg,
near the national battlefield park, a local businessman wanted to construct a huge tower where visitors
would pay to overlook the Battlefield. Harthon Bill was both deputy director of the NPS and executive
director of the Advisory Council. Bill, in his NPS role, asked Benjamin Levy to “prepare a justification
for the bureau to grant an easement for the tower,” and in his council role, asked Levy to “prepare an
assessment of the impact of the tower on the historical qualities of the battlefield.” 9 Following this clear
conflict of interest, Park Service officials and others began working to solve the problem. In 1976, a rider
was attached to the Land and Water Conservation Act which removed the Advisory Council from the
Department of Interior and made it an independent federal agency. 10
1977-78:
In a move to further distance federal external preservation programs from the NPS,
Congressman John F. Seiberling, chairman of the public lands subcommittee, proposed a bill, “The
National Historic Preservation Policy Act of 1977.” 11 This bill would remove the remaining historic
preservation functions from the NPS (at that time overseen by the OAHP) and would place all federal
preservation programs, except for park preservation, under the Council on Historic Preservation (the
renamed Advisory Council), which at that time reported directly to the Secretary of Interior and not the
Park Service. The recently autonomous Council helped to draft this legislation. Bob Utley, formerly of
the NPS and deputy executive director of the Advisory Council, wrote in support of this move: “Past
record with the program, including deficiencies in management of historic resources of the National Park
System, subordination of historic preservation budget and personnel needs to other priorities, delays in
issuance of needed regulations caused in part by perceived inconvenience to Interior land managers, lack
of interest in or understanding of historic preservation by key management officials, continuing inability
after forty years to adopt original principles urged by historic preservation specialists.”12
NPS Director Everhardt convinced the Secretary of the Interior’s Advisory Board on National
Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings, and Monuments not to support this move and to act against it. No action
was taken on the proposed Seiberling bill, as under the Carter Administration there was a new move to
combine preservation and recreation efforts. In May 1977, as the Advisory Council and others were
mounting support for the Seiberling bill, the Secretary of the Interior Cecil D. Andrus formed a National
7

Glass, Beginnings of a New National Historic Preservation Program, 51.
Glass, 49.
9
Glass, 62.
10
Ibid.
11
Mackintosh.
12
Ibid.
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Heritage Trust Task Force to “consider the preservation of natural and cultural resources and the
provision of recreational opportunities.” 13 However, the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, under Chris T.
Delaporte, a Carter appointee, came to influence the outcome of the task force. Based on task force
recommendations, Secretary Andrus reorganized the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation in 1978.
1978-1980:
The Bureau of Outdoor Recreation embraced many different agendas, including those of
the OAHP and the NPS National Landmarks Program. To reflect its multiple, some argued muddled,
agendas, the bureau was renamed the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (HCRS). While
preservationists were hopeful about the new HCRS, they were soon disappointed as the outdoor
recreation concerns outweighed preservation issues just as they had before. Mackintosh notes that
Delaporte proved unconcerned and sometimes combative when it came to preservation issues. SHPOs
particularly resisted the changes that he made, including moving most preservation personnel from
Washington, D.C. into regional offices. In the perceptions of the state partners, the shift to regional
offices created an additional layer of bureaucracy for SHPOs to negotiate. Also, many in the preservation
community felt that Delaporte forced respected preservation leaders Ernest Connally and Bill Murtaugh
(Keeper of the National Register) out of the HCRS.
The new HCRS also had new regulatory responsibilities come its way in 1979 when Congress
passed the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. Attempting to counteract the increasing
vulnerability of cultural resources on public and Native American lands, the bill also gave the Secretary
of Interior new responsibilities, such as making “efforts to expand the archaeological data base for the
archaeological resources of the United States through increased cooperation between private individuals .
. . and professional archaeologists and archaeological organizations.”
In August 1979, Seiberling introduced another bill, the “National Historic Preservation
Amendments of 1979.” This bill had several agendas and proposed creating a new independent Historic
Preservation Agency, which would assume the functions of the former OAHP/HCRS. Further, the bill
would reconstitute the membership of the Advisory Council, although it would remain separate from the
new Agency. In 1980, Congress approved various amendments to the 1966 Act, including the creation of
the Certified Local Government program and the recognition of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers.
Congress, however, did not create the independent Historic Preservation Agency.
Antagonism between Carter administration officials, members of Congress, and supporters of
historic preservation grew tense in 1980. At the National Conference of State Historic Preservation
Officers meeting in New Orleans in late 1980, SHPOs made a bold statement. They declared “we can no
longer in good conscience urge anyone to seek participation in the national program.” 14 Echoing the
statements of the NCSHPO, Wolf Von Eckhardt, a journalist for the Washington Post, summarized the
criticism of the Carter administration and Delaporte at HCRS in particular: “Members of Congress and
citizen organizations concerned with heritage and recreation seem unanimous, as one spokesman put it,
that ‘Delaporte’s outfit is an unmitigated disaster’.” Congressional dislike caused money cuts.
Professional dislike caused resignations. “Chris [Delaporte],” as the executive of a leading citizen
organization told me, “caused nothing but chaos.”15
Somewhat lost in the bitter dialogue on the federal external preservation program was the NPS’s
own State of the Parks report of 1980. The Service emphasized how parks faced serious external threats
by development and environmental degradation on lands and regions surrounding park boundaries.
Changing public perception and dialogue about the lands and ecosystems adjacent to national parks
13

Ibid.
quoted in Mackintosh.
15
Ibid.
14

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eventually led park advocates to alliances with local and state preservationists to improve the stewardship
ethic of the many gateway communities to the national park system. Park personnel stepped outside the
boundaries of parks to work with communities on local and regional preservation and conservation
agendas.
1981-85:
President Ronald Reagan appointed as his Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt and
gave him wide authority to reorganize and eliminate programs throughout the Interior department.
Historian Alfred Runte in his authoritative National Parks: the American Experience has an excellent
perspective on the controversial Watt years. The new secretary, who unabashedly advocated more of a
forest service (public access and recreation) perspective over the NPS tradition of preservation, also
subtly but effectively turned around the nature and the language of the debate about national parks and the
nation’s cultural resources. Runte explains:
Watt, in other words, sensed that he might support the national parks without actually
supporting preservation. The key to his subterfuge was in the nature of the parks he
endorsed. Protection of the original park system required that Watt respect only park
tradition; no new lands and few natural resources of great economic value would be
affected by his approval of past policies designating the natural ‘wonders’ of the nation as
its ‘crown jewels.’ By the same token, the policy kept preservationists constantly on the
defensive. Once again, they were forced to convince the public that the protection of
monumental scenery alone no longer met the meets of environmental preservation. As
Watt realized, tradition was on the side of monumentalism. Because he did not directly
attack the legitimacy of Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and their counterparts,
the public was not as likely to oppose his conviction that urban parks especially were
frivolous and wasteful. 16
A similar approach was applied to the federal preservation program. Programs of the 1966 Act
were not eliminated but since they were not the “true” landmarks of the American landscape, scant
funding in a time of budget shortfalls would be their reality. In a climate where dollars are few and the
consensus assumption was that landmark national parks must be protected, a mindset began to expand
that external historic preservation programs were not “core mission” and that their comparatively meager
needs should be met with external partnerships, and funding. HCRS, for example, did not survive Watt’s
term as Interior secretary. The historic preservation functions of the HCRS were reorganized and
returned to the NPS under the Archaeology and Historic Preservation associate directorate. In 1983 the
NPS History, Historic Architecture, and Anthropology divisions were combined with Archaeology and
Historic Preservation under the Cultural Resources associate directorate. Watt’s stint at Interior did not
last the entire Reagan presidency, but preservationists ever since have dealt with the flip side of his clever
change of the debate as well as the administration’s decision to mingle programs and budgets for external
historic preservation programs with those of national park activities
1986-1987:
By the mid-1980s, some preservationists, including the SHPOs, once again voiced their
dissatisfaction with the NPS administration of external preservation programs and advocated for their
removal to a separate agency. They had good reason to do so. The past decade had certainly seen
constant bureaucratic shifts in the federal external preservation program. The original Office of
Archaeology and Historic Preservation, which began as a discrete office in the NPS, was gone forever as
its duties had first been shifted to the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and then the Heritage Conservation
and Recreation Service. The Reagan administration had taken the Carter administration’s reorganization
efforts one step forward. There was no discrete office anywhere by the mid-1980s: some preservation
functions had been moved back to NPS, where they were intermingled with national park activities and
16

Alfred Runte, National Parks: the American experience (Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, 1997), 261.

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then the National Register program had been separated from all other functions. In 1986 the NCSHPO
produced several studies evaluating the advisability of once again separating federal preservation
functions from the NPS and possibly the Department of the Interior as a whole. 17
1988-1989: Congress introduced several bills in 1988 to address historic preservation. In March 1988,
the American Heritage Trust Act was introduced in both the House and Senate. This proposal was
designed to strengthen funding for historic preservation. It would have established the American Heritage
Trust, combining the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Historic Preservation Fund, to provide
funding not only for historic preservation but for “natural, historical, cultural, and outdoor recreational
areas.” Moreover, both funds would be required to invest an undefined “portion” in public debt
securities. The proposed law would have extended the authorization for the Historic Preservation Fund to
2015. Any interest gained from the public debt securities for the LWCF would have been returned to the
Treasury but interest gained from HPF investments was required to be used for the “preservation of
historic sites.” The bill further provided that a percentage of the federal funds would be allocated to
SHPO trust funds.
The administration, with representatives from both the departments of Interior and Agriculture,
and the Office of Management and Budget opposed the bill. It never made it to a floor vote in either the
House or Senate.
In October 1988, near the end of the Reagan administration, Senator Wyche Fowler introduced
the Comprehensive Preservation Act of 1988, which would have revolutionized the administration of
historic preservation at the federal level. 18 Fowler’s bill called for the creation of a Historic Preservation
Agency (HPA), with an administrator appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The bill
would have transferred to the new agency “all functions and authorities contained in the National Historic
Preservation Act of the Secretary of the Interior and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.” The
HPA would not be able to own or manage land, but was allowed to acquire real property as long as it was
transferred to an owner who would preserve the property and that any funds gained by the acquisition and
transfer would be placed in a trust fund for the agency. In the budget, it would not be a sub-set of NPS
but its own agency within the interior department. It also was given control of the Historic American
Building Survey and the Historic American Engineering Record.
The HPA also would have several specified committees to assist its work: the Federal
Preservation Coordinating Committee (coordinating federal agencies); the Archeology Advisory Board;
and the Preservation Advisory Committee, designed to advise the HPA administrator on national
preservation policy. For greater technical expertise and support, the bill also proposed the creation of a
National Center for Preservation Technology as a private, nonprofit HPA subsidiary, with its executive
director chosen by the HPA administrator. (This idea eventually bore fruit as the National Center for
Preservation Technology and Training, under NPS.) The Technology Center was also authorized to
create its own “analytical or technical research laboratories and service facilities.”
In fact, education was a core component of the Fowler bill, and it set aside 10% of the annual
appropriations from the HPF for educational activities. The HPA was directed “to implement a
comprehensive preservation education and training program to include: (1) new standards and increased
17

See National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, “The Case for a Consolidated and
Decentralized National Historic Preservation Program,” (March 1986), and The Executive Office of The National
Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, “A Historic Preservation Bureau within the Department of the
Interior: an Assessment,” (July 1986).
18
Senator Wyche Fowler, Jr., S. 2912 (100th Congress), September 1988, and Senator Wyche Fowler, Jr.,
S. 1578 IS (101st Congress), August 1989.

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training opportunities for Federal workers involved in preservation-related functions and for other
individuals with an avocational interest in preservation; (2) opportunities in federally-sponsored survey
and excavation work for avocational archaeologists; (3) assistance to historically black colleges and to
colleges with a high enrollment of American Indians to establish preservation degree programs; (4)
dissemination of information on preservation technologies and the implementation of a national media
program on preservation topics; (5) distribution of model preservation curricula for schools and adult
education programs; (6) preservation internship programs for U.S. and foreign students; (7) training and
skill development in trades and crafts related to historic preservation in Federal training programs; and (8)
support for analysis, curation, and display related to preservation.”
The Comprehensive Preservation Act of 1988 also proposed to reorganize the National Park
Service itself. It proposed transferring “all functions and authorities” given to the Secretary of Interior to
be carried out through the Park Service to the NPS Director, “except the authority and responsibility of
the Secretary to convey information regarding the National Park System to the cabinet.” It then required
the NPS Director “to develop and implement a plan to increase the effectiveness of the remaining external
programs in the National Park Service.”
The bill kept the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks, but
offered to amend the programs in significant ways. The HPA was required to “(1) expand and maintain
the National Register and establish criteria for properties to be listed on, or removed from, the Register;
(2) identify and preserve such properties; (3) nominate properties for the World Heritage List; (4)
consider appeals of nominations or removals of properties for the National Register and the World
Heritage List; (5) notify the owner and any local or tribal government when a property is being
considered for the National Register or World Heritage List; (6) cooperate with SHPOs, TPOs, CLGs, the
National Park Service, other appropriate organizations, and the general public in the National Register
program; (7) oversee the review of effects on such properties; and (8) assess the National Register, at least
every three years, to determine what properties are being endangered or underrepresented.”
Fowler also proposed amending the Historic Sites Act to require NPS to “(1) expand and
maintain the list of National Historic Landmarks and establish criteria for properties to be designated or
removed as National Historic Landmarks; (2) preserve and establish boundaries for such landmarks; (3)
consider appeals of all designations or removals of National Historic Landmarks; (4) notify the owner and
any local or tribal government when a property is being considered as a National Historic Landmark; (5)
cooperate with SHPOs, TPOs, CLGs, the Preservation Agency, other appropriate organizations, and the
general public in the National Historic Landmarks program; and (6) report annually to the Congress on
the condition of National Historic Landmarks and units of the National Park System.” The NPS was
further directed “to develop protection standards for threatened National Historic Landmarks and National
Parks and to take remedial action if such units are threatened.” The act finally declared that “if the
owners of any property [public was not excluded] object to such property's designation as a National
Historic Landmark, such action will not be taken unless the objection is withdrawn.”
Archaeological resources were a major concern of the Fowler bill. The HPA was directed “to
establish Regional Archeological Review Groups to identify regional research problems,” requiring
federally funded projects to at least address one or more of these research questions. The Archeology
Advisory Board, would establish guidelines for the search questions and “provide for the analysis and
reporting of research findings.” The HPA was further empowered to create “a program for the voluntary
registration of all artifacts removed from archaeological sites in the United States and abroad.” The
voluntary registration was the first step in a larger program to make the federal government pro-active in
the international antiquities trade. The HPA was asked to create an international conference on the issue,
provided “that the focus of such conference will be on providing proper controls and incentives to ensure
that traded artifacts are the products of properly conducted excavations.” The bill wanted “a more

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effective program for controlling looting and trafficking in stolen artifacts in time for the celebration of
the 500th anniversary of the Columbus discovery voyage in 1992.”
The Fowler bill further directed considerable attention to the archaeology and public lands. The
HPA was authorized “to establish regulations authorizing Federal and Indian land managers to issue
permits for the excavation of archaeological resources on Federal or Indian lands,” but limited approval of
the permits to cases where “(1) the applicant is qualified to do the permitted activity; (2) the activity will
further scientific knowledge or protect the archaeological resource; (3) any artifacts and other material
removed from public lands will remain the property of the United States; (4) the applicant demonstrates
conservational skills and identifies curational facilities for all artifacts and records produced by the
excavation; and (5) the activity is not inconsistent with the land management plan.” It even directed new
attention to archaeology on private property. It called on HPA “to develop a plan to: (1) identify
significant archaeological resources which are in danger of destruction; (2) provide information to the
owners of such sites on the need for protection of such resources; (3) offer information to such owners on
the tax and grant assistance available for the donation of the site, its archaeological resources, or a
preservation easement; and (4) provide for the site owner to retain ownership of any artifacts found on
such site and for the artifacts to be registered by the antiquities registration program.”
The HPA was required to “develop a comprehensive policy on the reburial of human remains and
grave-associated artifacts” and “to establish standards to govern the ultimate disposition of archaeological
resources removed from public and Indian lands.” These concerns were addressed in later the Native
American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act.
In step with its proposed changes to cultural resources management, the Fowler act also redefined
Section 106 and Section 110 of the NHPA. Section 106 first: federal agencies, “having jurisdiction over
any undertaking which might affect historic properties,” were directed to: “(1) consult with the State,
tribal, or local preservation officer to establish methods to minimize harm to the properties and make
productive use of such properties to promote their preservation; (2) provide an opportunity for the
Preservation Agency and other interested parties to participate in the consultation process; (3) document
that such properties have been evaluated and that the undertaking will not adversely affect such properties
or that an agreement has been reached with the appropriate preservation officer and the Preservation
Agency to minimize harm or, where no agreement has been reached, that there was no feasible way to
follow the Preservation Agency's recommendations; (4) provide that the agency will undertake remedial
measures or request the Preservation Agency to undertake such measures if unanticipated adverse effects
develop on such properties.” The Fowler bill also required “any Federal agency involved in an
undertaking where an historic property is threatened with destruction to make records of such property for
future public use,” or “in the case of a threatened archaeological resource, to conduct the archaeological
recovery.”
Section 110 would have been replaced with a program, which would have required “all Federal
agencies having jurisdiction over land or that provide grants, licenses, or other forms of assistance to
undertakings and that cooperate with State, local, or tribal governments in planning and land use activities
to: (1) establish internal preservation policies and designate an official within the agency as a preservation
officer; (2) identify and notify the Preservation Agency of all sites under their jurisdiction that appear to
qualify for the National Register or as a National Historic Landmark; and (3) establish a management
program for all historic properties which the agency owns or controls.” The bill also required programs
to: “(1) provide for the protection and restoration of such properties; (2) establish a preservation
maintenance plan for the agency's historic buildings and structures; and (3) cooperate with nonfederal
agencies in the use of such buildings and ensure coordination with nonfederal preservation plans. “

9

The Fowler bill also redefined state historic preservation programs and would have required each
SHPO to submit a state preservation program to the new HPA administrator for approval. On the other
hand, once approved, SHPOs would have gained much independence from the HPA. If a state program
had HPA certification, it could assume control of survey, the National Register program, tax credit
program, and the 106 process and the HPA would provide “full compensation to the State for carrying out
such responsibilities.”
Finally, the Fowler bill recognized the creation of tribal preservation programs; continued and
strengthened the CLG program; and extended the HPF to 2015. It also extended the federal preservation
tax credit program to archaeological sites and historic landscapes.
Fowler’s bill certainly lived up to its name of “comprehensive” and that spelled its downfall as it
called for the reorganization and re-prioritization of established programs with entrenched audiences and
supporters. It never made it out of committee, although parts of it did appear in the creation of the
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, the 1989 amendments to the Archaeological
Resources Protection Act, the 1992 amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Native
American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).
1992: The 1992 report to the NPS director, “National Parks for the 21st Century: The Vail Agenda,”
summed up the impact of a decade of change, sometimes subtle more often startling in its collective
impact:
the Park Service lacks the information and resource management/research capability it
needs to be able to pursue and defend its mission and resources in Washington, D.C. and in
the communities that surround the park units; that the mission and the budget of the
Service is being diluted by increasing and tangential responsibilities; that there is a
mismatch between the demand that the park units be protected and the tools available when
the threats to park resources and values are increasingly coming from outside unit
boundaries; and that communication within the Service repeatedly breaks down between
field personnel and regional and headquarters management. The result of these perceptions
is that the National Park Service faces significant morale and performance problems. These
threaten the agency's capacity to manage and protect park resources in the short run, and
can impede the agency's future. . .
At the same time, the report recognized that all of the “heritage and recreational resources under
its management” were a great source of strength, second only to the dedication of its employees. The
report authors admitted that NPS resources “now encompass a markedly diffuse range of public values”
where the level of citizen engagement and support could vary markedly. The authors even granted the
idea that “some specific park units or programmatic responsibilities might, arguably, be better placed with
other private, state, local, tribal, or federal agencies.” Yet, the report proclaimed “the broad range of
resources and functions now managed by the National Park Service represents a permanent reality.
Effective management of such a diffuse system requires the abandonment of any hope for a single, simple
management philosophy.”
If one “abandoned all hope,” then how could the Service, with its parks, monuments, recreational
programs, and its external partnership programs move forward? It had a “portfolio of assets;” there was
no choice: “it must implement the strategies of a portfolio manager.” But the Vail Report authors also
presented specific recommendations that shaped federal policy for the rest of the decade and into the new
century. In this focus on external preservation programs, the following recommendations proved
influential:

10

!

RECOMMENDATION—Natural resources in the park system should be managed under
ecological principles that prevent their impairment. Cultural diversity and social and historical
contexts should be recognized as significant values in the protection and stewardship of historical
and cultural resources.

!

RECOMMENDATION—The National Park Service should seek active public and private
partners engaged in resource protection, research, education, and visitor enjoyment that are
consistent with the objectives of protecting park values and conveying their meaning to the
public.

!

RECOMMENDATION—Programs, such as an American Heritage Area program, should be
established to preserve and protect natural, cultural and historical resources that are worthy of
national recognition, but that do not meet the requirements necessary for full inclusion in the
National Park System. Such programs should make use of public and private sector partnerships,
technical assistance, and Park Service support.

!

RECOMMENDATION—The National Park Service should fully implement, and be provided
requisite funding for, existing legislative mandates under Public Law 88-29, requiring the
Department of Interior to produce at five-year intervals a nationwide recreation plan; the Land
and Water Conservation Fund Act; the Urban Parks and Recreation Resources Act; the Historic
Preservation Fund Act, and related statutes.

!

RECOMMENDATION—The units and programs of the National Park System should be viewed
as critical components of the nation's infrastructure. Congressional funding of the National Park
Service must be fully adequate to meet the responsibilities of maintaining and enhancing this
infrastructure.

!

RECOMMENDATION—Funding under programs such as the Land and Water Conservation
Fund Act should be provided to the National Park Service to the full extent authorized.

Another key finding of the Vail Report—that too many responsibilities could stretch the Park
Service’s abilities and funding too far--became even more pronounced as one century ended and another
began. Today’s NPS Historic Preservation Grants division not only funds SHPOs, THPOs, and CLGs but
also provided support for such disparate programs as Save America’s Treasures, Preserve America,
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, American Battlefield Protection Program, the Japanese
American Confinement Sites, National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, and the Native
American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Program.
1994-1996:
Already one external program gave the Service a window into seeing what an assets
management approach might mean for the preservation and conservation of significant cultural resources.
As earlier noted, the federal concept of National Heritage Areas launched in 1984 and slowly gained
momentum in the next ten years. Then, following in the footsteps of the Vail report recommendation in
1994 and lasting the next two years, individual congressmen and senators lobbied for new additional
heritage area designations. In late 1996, Congress obliged with the Omnibus Parks Bill of 1996, which
created nine new national heritage areas. Fourteen years later, 49 congressionally designated National
Heritage Areas exist.
Heritage areas were a different approach to the conservation and interpretation of significant
resources and initially were controversial. Opponents objected that the NPS had no means of evaluating
qualifications for Heritage Areas (no program bill has ever existed), no administrative oversight for

11

established management plans, and no way to assess how the federal funds allocated to them through the
NPS were managed. 19 Barry T. Hill, Director of Natural Resources and Environment, when testifying
before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, argued that as a result of these issues,
“the Congress and the public cannot be assured that future sites will have the necessary resources and
local support needed to be viable or that federal funds supporting them will be well spent.” 20 Hill and
others argued that either Congress or the Secretary of the Interior should instruct the NPS to take action to
better manage Heritage Areas by reviewing management plans, establishing regional managers to
supervise and assist Heritage Areas, and by requiring results-oriented performance measures in the
cooperative agreements. 21
In the years since, NPS has carried out these recommendations, creating a stronger relationship between
NPS and the individual heritage area. Data reported by the National Heritage Areas office of the National
Park Service shows that on average heritage areas are leveraging their funding at levels reaching 7 nonfederal dollars for each federal dollar appropriated.
Daniel M. Rice, CEO of the Ohio & Erie Canal way Coalition, testified to a further issue
involving National Heritage Areas before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Subcommittee on National Parks in 2006. Rice pointed out that the public/private partnership, which
forms the basis for National Heritage Areas (as well as other external preservation programs), would
begin to dissolve if the NPS withdrew financial and administrative support. 22 Rice argued that state,
local, and private partners would likely follow suit, sensing the lack of federal support. Again, the NPS
response has been to recognize the value of and support National Heritage Areas. In the 2009 NPS
Second Century Commission report, the commission acknowledged the value of National Heritage Areas,
recommending that Congress permanently authorize them to give Heritage Areas perpetual funding and
full program support from the NPS. 23 According to the January 2010 report of the Congressional
Research Service, the report’s key recommendation was “to establish a legislative foundation for a system
of NHAs in the Park Service, based on specified concepts. Concepts include requiring a feasibility study
to demonstrate that future proposed heritage areas meet certain criteria; setting standards for management
planning that include a business plan; and protecting the rights of private property owners. Another
recommendation is to develop performance measures for NHAs” 24
1998: The Vail Report’s concerns about deteriorating resources in national parks, monuments, and
historic sites were mirrored by local and state institutions across the nation who owned or managed
National Historic Landmarks. The Clinton administration’s Save America Treasures program became an
effective tool to allocate federal funding to nationally significant resources, most of whom were located
outside of national park boundaries. To date, the program has supported over 1,110 projects. Its
administration is led by the Historic Preservation Grants division, in partnership with the National Trust
for Historic Preservation, the National Endowments for the Arts and for the Humanities, the Institute of
19

Barry T. Hill, “Testimony Before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate:
National Park Service: A More Systematic Process for Establishing National Heritage Areas and Actions to Improve
their Accountability are Needed,” (GAO-04-593) (Washington, D.C.: United States General Accounting Office,
2004).
20
Ibid., 15.
21
Ibid., 16.
22
Daniel M. Rice, Testimony before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on
National Parks, United States Senate, June 22, 2006.
23
Howard H. Baker, Jr. and J. Bennett Johnston, et al., Advancing the National Park Idea: National Parks
Second Century Commission Report (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 2009), 23.
24
Carol H. Vincent, “Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues,” Congressional
Research Service, January 7, 2010, p. 8.

12

Museum and Library Services, and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
2003: President George W. Bush’s executive order 13287 established the Preserve America initiative,
which has in the years since become a signature program for the Advisory Council on Historic
Preservation. The Council administers the program in a broad partnership with such executive agencies
as the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban
Development, Interior, and Transportation; U.S. General Services Administration; National Endowment
for the Humanities; President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities; Institute of Museum and
Library Services; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality. Preserve America promotes
preservation of significant resources with an eye toward their use as heritage tourism assets or for other
types of sustainable community development projects.
2006-2009:
First Lady Laura Bush and the Advisory Council convened a Preserve America Summit
in New Orleans. The administration and a wide range of preservation and park advocates gathered to
evaluate the national historic preservation programs and to propose ideas to improve those programs.
Amongst the many proposals were several that called for a cabinet level position focusing on historic and
cultural heritage. An entire panel was dedicated to improving the Historic Preservation Infrastructure.
This panel came up with several options for historic preservation programs independent of the NPS, or
through restructuring the current NPS preservation programs and recommended these avenues be fully
explored. 25
In late 2007 the National Academy of Public Administration published an analysis of the impact
of the National Historic Preservation program. The executive summary of the report concluded: “the
ambitious vision the National Historic Preservation Act set forth more than four decades ago is largely
being realized. Far beyond ‘saving old buildings,’ historic preservation has become a primary driver of
economic development in hundreds of communities. Each year, historic preservation leverages billions of
dollars in private investment, which revitalizes downtowns, generates jobs, creates affordable housing,
spawns small businesses and expands property tax rolls.” The National Academy also noted that this
success had placed significant burdens on agencies and programs still at their inflation-adjusted funding
levels from 25 years earlier. The report concluded “that increased workloads are straining the resources
of state and tribal historic preservation offices and the National Park Service. To increase the benefits of
the National Historic Preservation program, the Panel suggests improvements to build capacity, enhance
performance, and strengthen national leadership.”
The following year, NAPA reviewed the cultural resources program of the National Park Service
and criticized the agency for not doing enough. The NAPA panel documented how NPS cut cultural
resource staff positions at a much higher rate than natural resources positions between 2005 and 2008.
The cultural resources program lost 147 full-time positions, or about 16 percent of its workforce,
compared to a loss of 19 full-time positions among natural resources program, equivalent to just over 1
percent loss of workforce. Funding for cultural resources had also significantly decreased—19 percent-leaving resources threatened, even in peril. A 2005 reorganization of the D.C. cultural resources program
also led to what was called a “disengaged and ineffective leadership team.”26 NAPA concluded that more
funding and staffing were critical needs for an effective national cultural resources program.
Based on the recommendations from the summit, and spurred on by the NAPA reports, the
Chairman of the Advisory Council and the Deputy Secretary of the Interior created another panel to
25

Preserve America, “Preserve America Summit Preliminary Issue Area Reports,” (Washington, D.C.:
Preserve America, 2006).
26
Kurt Repanshek, “National Park Service Chastized for Poor Cultural Resource Oversight,” National
Parks Traveler website, posted November 25, 2008.

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explore options for improving federal historic preservation programs. 27 In 2009, this expert panel came
up with seven key recommendations, most of which revisited the need for external federal program
reorganization:
!

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) should be headed by a chairperson who
is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The chairperson should
lead the agency full-time. Additionally, to recognize the role historic preservation can play in
addressing many national issues, the chairperson of the ACHP should be appointed as a member
of the Domestic Policy Council.

!

Within the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, a new Office of Preservation Policy and
Procedure (OPPP) should be established to oversee implementation of the NHPA throughout the
entire Department of the Interior’s bureaus and offices. The OPPP would provide leadership and
direction in the coordination and achievement of historic preservation performance, evaluate
achievement, secure appropriate levels of funding, and provide for a coordinated and unified
approach and response to historic preservation issues and compliance with the NHPA.

!

The Expert Panel proposes the creation of an Associate Director for Cultural Resources within the
Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

!

The Expert Panel recommends ensuring the full implementation of Section 110 of the NHPA and
Section 3(e) of Executive Order 13287 (Preserve America) concerning the appointment and
visibility of Federal Preservation Officers (FPOs) and Senior Policy Officials (SPOs). SPOs and
FPOs should have agency-wide real property portfolio management responsibilities.

!

The Expert Panel recommends fully funding the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) and allocating
additional funds to Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs).

!

The Expert Panel recommends greatly enhancing the visibility and capacity of Tribal preservation
efforts through comprehensive training for tribal leaders, through the creation of a dedicated
position within the OPPP to address Native American issues, and through dispensing adequate
funding to THPOs and to the Native American Advisory Group (NAAG) located in the ACHP.

!

The Expert Panel members strongly reaffirm that oversight of Section 106 of the NHPA is the
most important function of the ACHP. ACHP involvement in individual Section 106 cases has a
substantial and beneficial influence on the outcome of the consultation process and should be
encouraged and expanded. Therefore, additional resources should be provided to support the
ACHP’s crucial role in Section 106 involvement, oversight, and training.

!

The Expert Panel members strongly reaffirm that oversight of Section 106 of the NHPA is the
most important function of the ACHP. ACHP involvement in individual Section 106 cases has a
substantial and beneficial influence on the outcome of the consultation process and should be
encouraged and expanded. Therefore, additional resources should be provided to support the
ACHP’s crucial role in Section 106 involvement, oversight, and training.

Congress recognized the success of both Preserve America and the earlier Save America’s
Treasures program by approving the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which permanently
27

Doug Wheeler, et al., “Recommendations to Improve the Structure of the Federal Historic Preservation
Program” (Washington, D.C.: Preserve America, 2009).

14

authorized both programs. The Preserve America grant program was placed within NPS while
administration remained with the Council and its executive agency partners.

draft, 9/29/2010

15