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National Park Mystery Photo 28: Shelter from the Elements


Where in the National Park System does this setting stand?

The return of the Mystery Photo pulled this accompanying shot from our shallow pool of candidates. Do you know not just what it is, but where in the National Park System you can find it for your own photo?

Tomorrow we'll provide the solution, and even a little interpretation.


Bunkhouse Row, Grant-Kohrs Ranch

We have a winner, folks, but we're going to hold off on announcing it to give you all a bit more time to ponder this puzzler.

Dang it. Here's a contest I actually could have won. Should have checked NPT when I first came to work this morning.

Just for the record: it's Bunkhouse row at GRKO

So I spent my first hour today researching a coworker's question about Port Chicago, which led me to researching "affiliated areas", for which NPT was a great resource. But all the press releases and whatnot that said POCH was an affiliated area before it became an NPS unit didn't really mesh with the definition of affiliated area. The picture became clearer when I read this (

"[Prior to 2009,] Port Chicago [was] an “affiliated area” of the National Park Service, a status which is normally provided for sites that are owned and operated by other entities but are given technical assistance by the National Park Service. The Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial has more in common with units of the National Park System than affiliated areas because it is maintained, made accessible to visitors, and interpreted by the National Park Service. The National Park Service spends about $35,000 annually from the budgets of nearby park units to maintain and interpret the memorial, operate van tours, and organize a yearly commemoration of the accident. H.R. 3111 would give Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial the status in law that fits the actual role that the National Park Service plays in managing the memorial."

The coworker's larger question was whether and when NPS administers lands that aren't part of the National Park System. As you know, the answer is convoluted, so maybe you'd like to address that in an NPT article someday? From the NPS Index (thanks NPT for the link!):

"Besides the National Park System, four area designations—Affiliated Areas, National Heritage Areas, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and National Trails System—are linked in importance and purpose to areas managed by the National Park Service. These areas are not all units of the National Park System, yet they preserve important segments of the nation’s heritage."

And then there's National Capitol....

Back to Port Chicago. The NPS website for POCH makes it sound like all you have to do to visit is submit a request 2 weeks in advance. My coworker says that's far from the actual situation. The Navy can and does close access for months(!) at a time, and I believe it's closed right now. It sounds like there may be a bit more friction between DOD and DOI here than we've been told. People who dearly want to visit, people with personal connections to the site, apparently cannot get access through the NPS process. Maybe you could investigate?

Congrats to Catherine for getting the answer right, and to Ranger, despite being distracted by more important things, like work. Tomorrow we'll provide some history on Bunkhouse Row.

Also, Ranger, re affiliated areas, the professor delved into that perilous topic earlier this year:


And a year earlier:


And in various places in between;-)

On Port Chicago, my understanding is that the Naval base is in the process of being decommissioned - so eventually access should open up.

In terms of the question from Ranger's coworker, the term "administers lands" is tricky one. In general, land is administered by its owner, and in general, land that is *owned* by the National Park Service is part of a Unit of the National Park System. In addition to the Affiliated Areas, National Trails System, National Heritage Areas, and Wild and Scenic Rivers, the National Park Service also has a couple of "Partnership Programs" - like the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network and the Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom Program.

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