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NPS Seeking Deep Pockets for Cuyahoga NP Inn


    "Park Service Seeks New Developer."
    That's the headline in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and it serves as another example of the National Park Service being forced to sell off America's heritage because it's too financially strapped to maintain all the structures on its 84-million-acre landscape.
    OK, "sell" is probably too harsh of a word. But when the agency is leasing out structures for five and six decades, it might as well be selling them. And when it's allowing historic buildings to be transformed into restaurants, convention centers, and B&Bs, it's allowing history to be erased. Yet isn't that why some of these parks were established, to protect and preserve moments of history?
    The Plain Dealer's story is set in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a bucolic little setting near Cleveland. The problem is that a developer who signed a lease back in 1994 (under the Clinton administration, not the current administration. I point that out to demonstrate that this practice has been going on for some time and spans political parties) to transform two 19th century structures -- one a cavernous barn into a restaurant/banquet hall, and the other into bed-and-breakfast suites-- had to back out of his lease after failing to find financing for the project.
    If you're keeping track, this brings to at least three the number of deals the NPS is swinging with developers to transform our nation's cultural sites and heritage into commercial ventures. The others that I know of are the Fort Hancock endeavor at Gateway National Recreation Area in the New York-New Jersey area and the Fort Baker deal at Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
    If you know of others, please pass them on.


I think a park like Fort Baker... that is underused, in disrepair, without any south of th bridge public awareness.. will be a shining light in helping to promulgate and validate the spirit of the park, its call for environmental awareness, and sustainable focused society! The design and build team is pure LEEDS compliant, and the operators.. are.. well they talked the parks *DOWN* from trying to build some ugly behemoth. For now, the hotel will be rennovating and retrofitting the entire historic footprint.. so it will look like it did in its heyday. This process has gone on for 10 YEARS.. and everyone's been sued making sure this thing is PERFECT... historical footprint matched, environmental footprint matched... now people will not only know what Fort Baker is.. but what it was, and the ideals and mission of the property will bring the NPS to more hearts and minds than ever before. I think your "negating history" approach is rather naive and relatively ill informed. If you knew what was going on on these projects, you might actually be impressed. But with the close mind you are espousing, I worry about that. This issue is much more complex than you make it out to be. (I am a NPS dude, a reactionary, generally suspicious, generally pissed off at the government.. and fairly impetuous and conspiratorial.... what they are doing at Fort Baker is good. Trust me, the one that thinks everyone making decisions in Washington is exactly the opposite of what should be done)

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