There were 361 visitors in January and 427 in February. Those visitors bought some new products from our park store, specifically two new shirts. One is made from RePreve – plastic bottles recycled into yarn! This shirt follows the conservation and preservation philosophy of the National Park Service (NPS). It promotes sound environmental principles in keeping with NPS efforts to reduce waste and promote sustainability.
Along the trail at the Visitor Center a sign reads, “This Native Garden is dedicated to Chief Lawrence Hart for his role in establishing Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, and to the members of The Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma who Provide Education & Assistance in Support of the Park’s Cultural & Natural Resources. 2010”
We have begun the process for a Resource Stewardship Strategy –
a long-range plan to achieve desired natural and
cultural resource conditions at
Washita. Park staff and National
Park regional experts reviewed Washita’s key
issues – concerns that affect park
resources and their conditions.
If you were the Washita Manager, would your Key Issues be the same as our
Can native animals and plants be intrusive? They sure can! Back in 2015, we had an invasion of Barn Swallows in our Overlook structure. So much so, that we had to quarantine the structure and not allow access due to the dangers of bird guano, mites, and possible disease. That structure no longer exists, but the new pavilion may suffer the same fate – a conference of the birds – nesting, guano, feathers, and other debris.
In National Park Service news feeds, an article by Alexander Neumeister talked “about the mental health benefits of volunteering – a sense of purpose, develops empathy, invokes passion, reduces stress, and increases social involvement.” 2020 also marks the 50th anniversary of the Volunteer program. The Volunteer In Parks (VIP) Act was passed by Congress on July 29, 1970 to allow National Parks to use volunteers.
You may have noticed more ‘construction’ has occurred at the recently completed Overlook and Trailhead facilities. After reviewing blueprints and consulting experts, we wanted to “ensure that all people, including…citizens with disabilities, have the highest level of accessibility” (National Park Service [NPS] Director’s Order #42).
On December 20, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which includes a provision that re-designates White Sands National Monument as White Sands National Park, making it the 62nd designated national park in the National Park System. White Sands contains great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand, the world’s largest gypsum dune field.
The Headquarters of the National Park Service is located in the Department of the Interior Building in Washington D.C. Founded in 1849, it currently employs more than 70,000 professionals and stewards one-fifth of the nation’s lands. Inside, there are more than 40 painted murals in which Oklahoma is greatly represented.
There were 411 visitors in December. As managers of public lands, we need to take into account the cultural significance of certain natural resources of the Native American community. Please take a moment and watch the Emmy award winning short documentary about Hawaii’s sacred tree, Saving ‘Ōhi’a, at savingohia.com – “The ʻōhiʻa is being threatened by microscopic fungi that recently invaded the Hawaiian Islands.