tv National Park Service 100th Anniversary CSPAN August 28, 2016 11:30am-1:31pm EDT
>> up next, connected history tv's coverage of the national park service centennial this past thursday. we were live in arlington house, the robert e lee memorial located in arlington, virginia, just across the river from washington, d.c. it is the most visited home in the american park system. >> this is the national park service is most visited historic on. it was on the stay in 1916 that president woodrow wilson signed the legislation that created the park service. why here to talk about the park service and their history.
will talk about this special has and how it is being preserved and interpreted by the national park service. formerjoined by a national park service director and a site manager at this house. monday to just start with you telling the story of how the national park service began. washe national park service authorized by an act of congress, signed into law by president woodrow wilson on august 25, 1916. therefore, we celebrate the 100 anniversary today. that legislation came about ofough the stellar efforts civic leaders throughout the country. we are proud to have that agency with us for 100 years. >> was a controversial at the
time it was signed into law? >> it was in the sense that there was a misunderstanding in terms of some of the constraints that may be imposed by having one federal agency administer our national parks. i think the american people have developed an understanding and by theation of the parks fact that there were already 35 national parks established before the national park service. by the time of 1916, the american public had a good understanding of what the parks were about and what their responsibility would be as well. >> who was the earliest president to reserve national land? >> my recollection is that president lincoln signed , passed by in 1864 .ongress
he created a preserve to be maintained by the state of california, although it was federal ownership, it was transferred to the state of california. time, that area returned to the jurisdiction of the federal government, and today we know it as yosemite national park. merges particular house the history of our first president george washington and robert e lee who was the leader of the confederate army. people will be surprised to know that these two had a relationship through marriage. i would like you to tell that story and how that all happened. >> arlington house was built in 1802 by a gentleman known as george washington park custis. he was the grandson of martha washington.
he was essentially raised by george and martha, as his parents. his father died when he was young. he was raised in mount vernon. home in 1802 as a memorial and home, but as a memorial to our nations first president. he had one daughter who survived to adulthood, and she married a young u.s. army officer, robert e lee. that is how he comes into this picture. arlington house robert e lee memorial. there is so much more that goes on here than just robert e lee. always refer to this as the custis-lee mansion. is that how is known? >> it was known as that for some time.
it became part of the national park service in the early 1930's. it was an act of congress in 1955 that established this firmly as the robert e lee memorial and as arlington house. the reason it became a memorial is not because of his duties and what he did during the civil war, but what he did after the war. >> a spectacular view. nation --, d.c., was nascent at the time. >> it was really a swamp. robert custis really thought it was important to overlook the capital. as a change of the time that he lived in this house into a federal city by the 19th century. >> i think so many people watching have been to arlington national cemetery, and this is
the house on the hill right up above john kennedy's grave. >> that is right. you can see the great from the front. it is a prominent location. estate -- iy, the , whicht was 1100 acres now under the park services, 19 acres. the arlington cemetery is situated on land that was originally by the custis-lee family. accidental that this is arlington national cemetery. i will have you tell a story about how this property, which was owned by robert e lee at that point became a great site for soldiers from the civil war. >> is a fascinating story because when it became a
cemetery, it was deemed to be owned by the federal government. they owned the property, it was in his wife's name. they had to play here at the beginning of the war. first they went to richland, then they left in 1871. on, there was a real issue on hand, which was what to do with the thousands of union soldiers who were dying in the hospital's. on the hillside, arlington house had been confiscated. in the early part of the war, and obscure law was passed which require certain people to pay their taxes in person. there was no way for mary lee, wife of the famous confederate general to come here and pay property taxes. the property was confiscated. it was federal property. in 1864, it was decided that
this would be the place to start tearing debt union -- burying d ead union soldiers. >> when people think about the national park service is, they think about beautiful parks around the country. there is a lot of inventory of historic places like that. can you talk about the merger between these spaces? >> the first areas administered by the park service was primarily in the west, created out of the federal domain through legislation and subsequently by president roosevelt under the antiquities act. throughuation continue 1933 when our second director was able to convince the secretary of the interior and president franklin delano
roosevelt to transfer the historical and cultural areas to the jurisdiction of the park services. president roosevelt did in fact approve, with the blessing of congress, the reorganization of these sites. roughly 60 areas were immediately transferred to the jurisdiction of the park service, loading the -- including the civil war sites, the statue of liberty, and the parks in the nations capital, plus this estate in 1933. >> this is also the time of the civilian conservation corps. did people go to work helping to establish these parks? >> i'm not sure there's a particular project here, my colleague might be able to, but particularly if you go to parks in virginia, clay smokies,
yellowstone, you can see excellent work that was ccc in theiby the late 1930's and early 1940's. >> what would be the most critical part in the park service history from the late 1930's? >> that is really tough. we went through significant changes since the 1960's, the 50th anniversary, what we call the mission 66 time. built,itor centers were and influx of money went into the park service. i would say mission 66 time had an impact. >> i would concur with that. mission 66 was authorized by congress in terms of funding, but it was the secretary of the
interior at the time and president eisenhower who celebrated the 50th anniversary through a major rehabilitation of all the parking areas, and it from 1966 -- 1956 to 1966 as the mission 66 program. recall iswe must subsequent to 1933 m the transfer of areas to the jurisdiction of the park service, we shortly after world ed by the korean war. many resources were directed to the war resources, and consequently the parts did not have a lot of the resources for quality of care. this was a major effort after the korean war to rehabilitate the parts -- parks. >> the park service now has 413
sites as of yesterday. funds are always type. how is this centennial year in used to help advance its mission? >> there is a number of ways. one way is by increasing, not just the numbers of people who go to the national parks, but the diversity of people who go to national parks. we are really trying to reach a younger, more diverse generation. we have seen leading up to the centennial the grain of our visitors, if you will. trying through new technology and reaching out to different groups to get a more representative population of americans into these national parks. that has been one of the big stresses of the centennial. >> no question that it is critically important to really discharge the full responsibility of the park
service, which is to connect with all-america. there are some communities that are not truly connected, with our collective heritage. congress, thist invention nation and prior administrations, have given us the tools to achieve some of those objectives. one of them is through the employment of young people, through the youth conservation corps authorized in 1970 as the subversion of our 75th anniversary, congress enacted a bill into law that authorizes the park service to transport through its own resources young people from neighboring communities into parts for education and recreational purposes. trying to make those connections to generate relationships with the parks.
>> american history tv is coming to you live from arlington house. we are overlooking washington, d.c., one of the most visited historic sites. coming up next, we will get a little bit of a twur. -- tour. >> here we are in the main hallway. it was designed to impress, remembering that george washington parke custis wanted this house to be a memorial to george washington. he designed it to be like a gallery, to be monumental, to impress what he thought would be some of the most important people in the country who would visit. over the years, presidents, congressman, and senators would visit him here to learn more about george washington. , georgeinal architect
washington personally invited him to america from england to do design work on the capital. he was one of the most prominent architects of his day. this house has a great history and architecture and the history of this country as well. it is not just because of the people who lived here, but the structure itself had meaning. whereone of those places sometimes a historical house takes on a meeting because of there,nts that happened but this house was built to be consequential. it has that history as well. that. e lee married into and his parlor, june 30, 1831, under the archway where you can the uniform and dress on display. married anna
randolph custis, the only surviving child of the owner, the sweetheart of his, and a great-granddaughter of martha washington. this is not the only wedding that took place here. it was not even the first wedding. the first wedding took place 10 years earlier when mariah carter .arried charles side effects what made that wedding important in the history of this place is that mariah and charles were both enslaved here, and mariah was believed to have been the daughter of the master. fromas in enslaved woman some type of relationship that existed in which george washington parke custis fathered a child by an enslaved woman here. us, in manying
ways, to re-examine how we interpret the history of arlington. here we have the story of slavery. this place represents the founding ideals of this country. this home built to celebrate george washington, values and beliefs of the father of the country, built by slaves, but then you have the family as well, the relationship. george washington parke custis had two daughters in essence, one was white, his heiress, married robert e. lee, the other was enslaved. both great granddaughters of martha washington. in that regard, george washington parke custis as a representative of the first first family of the country, who spent 55 years of his life promoting and celebrating that, of also representative
another aspect of this country. the simple truth is the first family of this country was biracial. reenacted that wedding with descendents of the family in attendance, representing both charles and mariah. there was another wedding that took place here. that was a wedding of celina norse and grade. action great work in an -- worked in a mansion. and her family would live in one of the two store slave quarters -- historic slave quarters that we maintain and it will be restored as part of this project. this room is somewhat empty, and that is representative of the fact that we are in the process
of removing furnishings, artifacts from display, so that by the end of the year we will begin this restoration. all the furnishing has to be removed before we can do that. you can see boxes and preparation being made. as we walked down the hallway, you also see empty places on the walls. historically, there were numerous portraits in this hallway, of the washingtons and other members of the family. however, some of those have been removed. at the same time, there are holes in our collection. our new restoration project, through the generation -- generous donation, will allow us to acquire more original ofifacts and reproductions
original artifacts, including paintings so that we can represent the appearance of this house as it was. examples that we will leave like this, this bear patch of plaster on the wall. this plaster is not just something we chose to leave exposed for no good reason. what we discovered during a recent restoration seven years down to we strip paint the plaster and repainted different rooms, we found graffiti. some of this writing, it is hard this we think the days the civil war. -- predates the civil war. perhapsthis goes back to the earliest construction of the house.
it is something we are leaving exposed because it is representative of that history, and we want to be able to preserve it, and perhaps find a way of even interpreting it. we are not sure exactly what it says, so it is industry that will be left to us to solve in the future. we asked arlington house are very excited that our recent to restored ability the mansion and create new possible,s not only but that it coincides with the centennial of the national park service. it gives us an opportunity to examine and re-examine what this placement over the last -- place meant over the last several decades, and what it means moving into the future.
as a country, we always need to examine and re-examine our --tory in order to design decide where we want to go. arlington house is an amazing place to be able to do that. we can examine the meaning of the civil war. we can examine the meaning of the life of robert e. lee, his family, the impact his decisions made on history, allies of the insulated people here, the consequences of that war. surrounding the spansion, arlington cemetery was created as a means to honor the dead and as a way of gaining revenge or justice against robert e. lee. country view the events of that war and
reconstruction? arlington house is determined and the national park service is determined to seize the opportunity, to move forward and perhaps the nation -- lead the nation in an effort to come to terms with that time and make something of it that can help us move as a nation and as a culture into the future. the theme here is the vision and reunion. is easier to define, but reunion, what does that mean? we know the country was reunited, north and south. culturally and racially in many ways this country remains divided. what can be learned here at arlington house, the robert e. lee memorial that will help
americans and people from other parts of the world, too, to see what theynd can make of it moving into the future? arlington house, on the centennial of the national park service. we are talking about it live from the most visited site overlooking washington, d.c.. housell tour of arlington will follow our life program tonight. we will talk about learning and interpreting the second. i want to give some statistics to our audience. this is from the washington journal, part of what we are learning. the market value of the and 80ies is $62 billion
.4 million acres. $591 million from sites. 221,000 volunteers. you are not think about those volunteers and how important they are -- nodding about those volunteers and how important they are. newpresident announced a site in the inventory this week. >> over our lifetime, americans began more aware of the need to not sanitize our history, to tell a complete and complex story. that fell largely at you -- on you at the park service. >> it's happened inside in terms
thatployees understanding there needs to be more factual with respect to the american experience, drawing upon thelarship, as an example, organization of american historians, using the best scholarship to reveal to the american public as they visit the national parks the full stories of the individuals involved. i must say that the american people also felt that it was time to really reflect on all of the circumstances that brought century in 21st terms of the liberties and freedoms we enjoy today, and as a result, through the efforts of the american public, congress enacted a bill signed into law giving the park service the
responsibility to commemorate eliminate theat controversial aspects of our history. what is the american experience and its to tally is what we want to know. -- totality is what we want to know. >> rethinking about the properties we already have. what is experience where you had to rethink and reinterpret for the public a site you work on? >> arlington house is a fascinating example. we are fortunate that we have this opportunity to take this opportunity to look at how we tell that story. many generations that have visited here early in its history learned about certain occupants and certain people who live here. they learned about robert e lee,
george washington parke custis, their wives and children. this is not a place where six or 10 people live. this is where 80 people live. the majority of them were enslaved african-americans. we have to do a better job of telling that story, that inclusive story about what it , whatke for those people their experiences were like, and how the groups lived and worked together. you cannot tell just one story, just inside the house, and then the slave story out back. they were in both places. what is important is for us to tell that story as one story of everyone together impacting everyone. >> one thing people may not know is how much scholarship goes into the work of the staff and volunteers who work here.
can you tell us about the training that people go through before meeting the public. >> as much as some people might like to come you don't want to go out on your first day and start talking to the public. it is important to shadow other park rangers. for new rangers and volunteers, we have an extensive library, on and asubject imaginable, dozen or so that our staff can history ofsed on the the occupants here. for the people doing this research, sometimes it is staff, sometimes it is different universities around here where we have phd candidates and folks coming in spending a great deal of time and effort to perform this research that continues today. >> we have worked with the park service a lot over 37 years.
witheet a lot of rangers masters degrees and phd's helping the american public by their history. >> stay abreast with new scholarship, as it were. and there have been many more use of primary materials that ae revealing, some unknown or some untold stories. and his storians and interpreters and preservation preservationists stand fully abreast of those changes. i might just add -- this is a philosophical view. there have been many areas added to the national park system within the past three, four decades that really commemorate some very difficult periods in our history. but i liken that unto the maturing of a people and a nation in that we can recognize and hopefully learn from some of the grievous mistakes that we've made.
and we're not ashamed to tell the story, that we made some mistakes. brown versus board of education, little rock central high school, tuskegee airmen that we fought as a segregated military. we tell those stories in hope that we would gain from the -- and i would just conclude, we were very fortunate in the park service to have the volunteer leadership and contribution of one of america's most his storians, the late dr. john hope franklin franklin. and he observed that those places that commemorate difficult chapters in our history is not places that we could allow ourselves to be wall low in remorse but rather be moved to a higher resolve to become better citizens. that's the bottom line.
>> one specific question about this place again, over the past couple of years we seem to be in another period where we're examining as a nation as we feel about the people who fought in the civil war on the confederate side. there he's been the big debate in south carolina about the flying of the confederate flag. memorials are coming down, statues are coming down. but here we have a place recognizing robert e. lee. help me understand how you're in the midst of something that could be quite controversial and helping people learn. >> i first do want to clarify. we get that question a lot. why is there a memorial to , hert the robert e lee lost. he was a traitor. and again the reason is because of what he did after the civil war in reconciliation, reunification, ending the war, telling former confederates to embrace the union again and make the country great again basically. he really felt strongly about that.
in terms of telling that story, we hope this can be a place for dialogue with a lot of new exhibits and interpretive opportunities here we want people to ask those questions. we want to hear what people think about these symbols and what they mean to them because they mean different things to different people. and we hope that -- here in the parks service we want to provide the context and create the dialogue for people to really be able to continue that conversation. it's a constant conversation. right now today it's the confederate flag. it could another thing in another five or ten years. >> i might add that in 1966 congress passed a bill signed into law by president johnson authorizing the national historic preservation act. the first time to have a comprehensive national program to address the caring for or collective heritage resources, but also in caring for them is to tell the full dimension of the american experience. and by the way, we're celebrating the 50th anniversary of the national historic preservation act. it's a great opportunity for the american people to sort of reexamine where we've come in 50 years and where we'll be going in terms of the preservation and
the interpretation and the understanding of our collective heritage. >> we often hear this is a uniquely american idea to preserve these spaces. is that really true? when you travel to other countries, which i know you've done extensively. >> it's attributed to an outstanding writer and philosopher. wallace stag ner said the national park is the best idea one can debate. but what set the parks aside are different from other countries in that these were public parks open to all who could come. where parks maybe had been established for a select audience. but these were the people's park. and that was the whole intent when congress first set aside yellow stone as our first national park. and subsequently yosemite came back to the federal jurisdiction. >> speaking of dialogues, we're hoping to have one with you in our program. we're going to open up the phone
lines. eastern and central time zone viewers with 202-748. 8900, mountain and pacific time zone viewers, 202-748-88901. dial that carefully so you get to us and not someone else. tweet us at c-span history or you can go to our facebook page, facebook.com/c-spanhistory. the dialogue is about the national parks service on its centennial, any questions you might have about it, if you want to tell us about your favorite park that you visited and why it's important to preserve it. and if you have specific questions about arlington house, we're here to answer those as well. we're about to hear about charles cyfax just briefly as we go into this bit of tape. who is he again? >> he was one of the enslaved african-americans here and we husband kind of one of the head housekeepers or butlers, if you will, keeping the house.
and he's very significant long other things for who he married in that story here at arlington house. >> we're going to hear from stephen hammond who is very much involved in telling the story of his family members and also the others who worked here to put this whole place together, some 60-plus people for the lee family and we're going to learn more about how that history is being preserved next. >> my name is steve hammond. i'm a retired department of interior employer. i worked for the u.s. ge logical survey for about 40 years. the geological survey is a sister agency to the national parks service. in my work there i actually was the deputy associate director for natural hazards, dealt with earthquakes, vol cain noes, landslides, a variety of national disasters. my connection with the sphyfax
family is an interesting one. my grandmother's brother was charles syphax who was a slave here. and we go way back in terms of their connection to mount vernon and the local area here. charles was a dower slave at martha washington's estate at mount vernon. we believe he was born about 1791. he basically became kind of a support footman for george washington parke custus.
he was living on the estate with his grandparents and he inherited arlington estate once martha died in 1802. about 1802 we believe that he actually had relations with a slave, airy carter, another dower slave at mount vernon, and together they had a daughter name mariah carter who ultimately married charles sphfax here at the arlington estate in 1821. it's interesting that they both grew up here. charles, i think, as a young man had an affinity to watch mariah grow up who probably worked here at the house once she became of age. interesting enough george washington parke custus allowed the couple to marry here at the house in the parlor which is unheard of in regard to a slave
family that is actually owned. not too many times has that happened. they were married in 1821. shortly after that they began to have children. first child born in 1823, a second one in 1825. and shortly after the second child was born, william spyfax wrk george washington parke custus decided to selma rye ya. the folk lore in our family suggested that he simply freed mariah an her children and gave her 17 acres of property. but in the last several months we've found documents in the alexandria circuit courthouse that select that george washington parke custus somd mariah and her two children to a quaker. quakers were really on ligsists in terms of war and slavery. it was their goal to free the slaves in the area. from the deed that we have here, in 1845 from william stapler, we know that they actually freed mariah and all of her children. but this deed dates back to a previous deed that her -- his father, edward state her who was
the apothecary shop owner in alexandria and george washington parke custus struck? 1825 to actually free them. it's interesting because in the laws of the state at that time were such that if you were freed and you couldn't support yourself, you needed to leave the state in terms of being a freed slave. but george washington parke custus wanted mariah to be close by. so if you follow my story here, her husband, charles spyfax was not freed. he continued to be a slave but mariah and her children were freed but were given 17 acres of property at the south end of arlington estate where they lived free for the rest of their lives. and as a result of having following children, all of them were born free as well. there are a couple of children that are very prominent in the
family. one these children were freed, they had an opportunity for education. one of the prominent older children, second child, first son of the spyfax is william. we know he was probably educated in alexandria arlington area as well as georgetown. he ultimately went to work for the department of the interior in the 1850s. he worked for a number of secretaries of the interior. and actually became a head messenger for the department of the interior. and went on to become the first president of the colored trustees of the colored schools in washington, d.c. there are a number of ancestors and descend dent os f these folks, the spyfaxs that have made a prominent impact on our country. one example is this tuskegee airmen. we had a number of women that went on to teach here and around
the country. we have 30 that we know that attended howard university. several of which turned around and became teachers at howard university. we have a well-known surgeon, mickey spyfax who died a couple of years ago near the age of 1007 who was a prominent surgeon, professor teacher at howard university. and we have julian dixon who was a congressman from california who passed away in 2000 but served in the u.s. congress for close to just over a decade. they have a long legacy here at arlington estate. in the 1860s when the civil war began, the lees left the property. robert e. lee left, departed, became general in the virginia army.
and his wife also left fearing that there would be problems with the federal government. or lington estate was taken over by the u.s. army. i was considered a strong hold, a way to protect washington, d.c. and so it was overrun by a number of u.s. army soldiers. the lees when they left this property asked the slaves to tend it, believing that they would return here after the war. had no idea how long the war would last but they felt that they would return. as a result of that, several years later, the u.s. government modified the tax codes stating that owners of property needed to pay their taxes in person. lee could not pay her taxes in person. and as a result, the property was taken by the u.s. government as a result of taxes not being paid. in addition to that property being taken, the syfax property at the southern end of the
estate was taken but there was no proof that they owned that property. so years later, about 1866 the syhfax's oldest son had the opportunity to work with congress to make a plea to have the property returned. by the late -- mid 1866 the bill was taken up by the congress and to this day we know that a bill was approved and signed by the president andrew johnson, i believe, in june of 1866, which returned 17 acre to mariah shyfax to live there in perpetuity. so that's a big deal to the family knowing they had this compounden but they couldn't prove that they owned it. but now we had congress to prove that this was their property. i've been doing family history for close to 40 years.
it's really something that's a passion of mine. it's been something that my ancestors passed down to me in terms of understanding a little more about our history. and it's been really important to me and my cousins to basically pull together with the parks service, with the research staff at mount vernon, with the leadership of the white house historical association as well as with the new african-american history museum in washington, d.c. being opened by the smithsonian just a month or two to work together to try to help tell a more clear, fully laid out story about the african-americans, and particularly the shyfax family here at arlington. i believe that while the story of robert e. lee and george washington parke custus is important, there are so much richer story in terms of the enslaved people that looifd here.
our goal is to really try to help inform the public about what actually occurred there. what actually occurred there. one of the things that we would like to do as a result of the land being taken away is to really recognize the lives and the efforts that people put into this. you know, one of the goals that i have for this is that one day we would be able to -- in the tours that we have here at arlington, to be able to say, this area over sheerhere is where they lived. they had a role along with many other enslaved americans who are free and have done things for our country. >> on this 100th anniversary, we are live from arlington house, overlooking washington, d.c., talking about the park system and how it interacts with the american public to tell the american story. our guest, bob stanton, former director of the park service and brandon buys who spent his career in the national park
service and is charged with reinterpreting this house, a big project over the next year. we will learn how he will do it. what an interesting story about the syphax family. we heard about how many family members and the community were part of re-telling the story. how much does that happen in other sites around the country where descendents are wanting to be part of retelling stories? >> it's a critical part of the story that's been told at a number of sites throughout the country. as well as sites that represent
major events. for instance, take the tuskegee airmen national historic site in tuskegee, balancealabama. many of the men who fought in the military as tuskegee airmen have been interviewed. they visit with the public there at the historic site, at many of the sites in which we have the commemoration of american indians, many of the indian tribes participate in the pref preservation and youth outreach program at those sites. it's something that we did not do -- i still say we, having spent 35 years with the park service. we did not do on a large stale many, scale many years ago but it's an important feature of how we interpret these storyies in these areas. >> we have asked people to send us messages by facebook. we're going to start taking telephone calls. i wanted to mix in a couple of our facebook apps. how can the national park service better serve and engage the public? here is a comment, for example. the national park service, says michael turenski, does a great job engaging americans at both kinds of parks. if americans better supported by lobbying the representatives and
getting funding, those parks might be better maintains, and sustained and be better to visit. that's music to your ears. what is the relationship like with congress and in a time of tight budgets does the park service get its due? >> is someone i can defer this question to? >> you are retired so -- >> right. the question of budget is always a point of discussion. and one has to recognize that the national park service is a bureau within a department of the interior and within the executive branch. and each department, each bureau within the department have to compete for discretionary federal funding. so it's incumbent upon the leadership of the park service with the support of the secretary and the president's office through office of management and budget to make the best case for its need. whether it be rehabilitation of the bridge which has been in the news recently or the preservation of the fragile
ecosystem in the everglades, the magnificent structures at mesa ses verdi in colorado. all the parks have needs. the federal budget can be spread so far. it's incumbent upon the park service, secretary of the interior to make the best case for an increased budget. >> here is the flip side of that from sandra lamott who wrote, the park's management must recognize parks are for everybody, not just upper income and make access easier ad less expensive expensive. as congressional support declined, fees have climbed to a point where one-third of the americans cannot afford the lodging or the campgrounds. a $20 or $25 entry fee is keeping people out of the parks. >> economic circumstances certainly has to be weighed in
terms of trying to achieve full accessibility for all americans, all america. recognizing that congress, too, has attempted to give the park service new authorities. for instance, all recreational entrance fees that are paid by the visiting public now are retained 100% by the national park service to be used for resource preservation, enhancement of educational and recreational programs. so there's a direct benefit of the fees that the public pays. but also there's a recognition that some individual may not ever have the resources to travel from washington, d.c. to grand titon. new areas have been added to the national park system in close proximity to urban centers. take for an example, gateway national recreation area in new york. seine santa monica in los angeles, in many cases those parks are within walking distance of a large, significant population. as a result of the american people saying we need to have parks to meet our outdoor educational, recreational needs
and congress again representing the american people have responded by adding those areas to the park system. >> it costs money to visit arlington house? >> it does not. there's no cost to visit here. in fact, within the district of columbia, which we are just outside, no national parks charge fees for entry. i would say that i believe the majority of national parks, as in over half of them do not charge fees. >> that's correct. >> so there should be a number of parks close to hopefully many, many people that they can visit with no fees. those parks that do collect fees, the fees do pay a critical role to the infrastructure in that 80% of the fees stay within the park to go right back to things that can help the visitors, new facilities, new trails, new exhibits. >> the other 20% is applied or
made available to the parks that do not have the benefit of fees. >> we are wrapping up our first of two hours talking about the national park service on its centennial. it's time to mix in your phone calls. first one is from calvin in georgia. welcome to our conversation. caller: thank you. thanks for taking my call. this morning i was torn by the betrayal -- i think it was the april 16 celebration of the 100-year of the national park service and i learned a heck of a lot about the national park service. but also my basic question is, is there an effort to capture volunteers for the national park service? i would very much like to be engaged in such as a retiree. i'm an avid fan of parks.
i visited the cumberland park down on the coast of georgia. it's really on a barrier island and also the natural area here in atlanta in which i used to run a lot there and whatnot. my basic question is, is there an effort to capture volunteers for the national park service? if so, how can that be accomplished? >> yes, sir. >> lots of head shaking. >> i am -- i want to commend you on your offer to be of service. yes, the national park service has the benefit of over 200,000 individual volunteers as well as many groups that make substantial contribution of
their own skills and talents to the parks and enriching the visiting experience. if you have a particular park -- you mentioned chatahoochie, call the chief ranger or e-mail them or walk into the office and say, i want to volunteer. they will gladly accept your services. it's a question of how best to match your interest and your skill with the wide array of functions for which the park service is carried out in a given park area. >> next up is will in tulsa.
you are on our program. welcome. >> caller: thank you very much. i would like to say, happy centennial to the national park service. i have had the lovely experience of going to the grand canyon. i wasn't able to spend as much time as i would like. my question is, osage county, next to tulsa, native american lands, is there any prospect or hope that perhaps some of the prairie in the midwest can be saved for national park designation designation?
i know it's boring, see a bunch of tall grass. the terryheritage is such that i would be interested. thank you for the question. >> thank you. there is, in fact a tall grass prairie park. but obviously, it's a small representation of the vastness of tall grass throughout the midwest. there may be some areas that might warrant study to see whether or not the good could possibly be preserved either by the federal government, the state or by private interests. >> this is not always hearts and roses though. when a parcel of land -- when the government has its eye on one for preservation, you get into state issues and private property issues. how does that all get worked out? >> yes. it's interesting to note that there's two things that the national park service cannot do through its director. it cannot create a national park nor when a park gets created to divest its interest in
preserving that park. parks are created through two primary sources, through an act of congress, to pass a bill, sign into law, creating the park. or the president can exercise his authority under the act of 1906. it's an act which has been used extensively by president -- i think president roosevelt, one of the conservation legacyies -- length ends have used it in 19 times. i believe president obama used it. i was a member of clinton administration. president clinton used it i
system. but only through an act of congress can an official study be authorized to spend x number of dollars to do a feesibility, suitability study. >> we have a tweet here from a viewer called ska city. we will use it as a jumping off point for the broader topic. asking, have there been any confirmed mountain lion sightins on the appalachian trail in the past couple of years? is that something either of you would know? >> i could not -- >> let me ask you about the intersection of wild life in the parks and the people coming to see them. how you both keep the public from being in danger at the same time preserving and conserving the species that's part of the mission of the park service as well. >> it's a continuing challenge. the way to really counter, if you will, native animals and people contact or conflict is to really acquaint the american public with what is expected of their conduct as a visitor to the park. parks are not zoos. and they are not tame animals. they are wildlife. in their own habitat. the american public has to be respectful of that. and through this educational orientation process, there has been a continual reduction in terms of the conflict between wild animals and people who
really want to enjoy the wild animals in the habitats. >> now that everyone has cameras in the cell phones -- last time i was in yellowstone, i was amazed at people getting out of their car and getting what looked like awfully close to some of the wildlife that are not there for photo ops. >> that's true. we discourage -- i say we. the national park service discourages that. we understand that there is a tendency to get as close as possible to get the right sht and say i saw a bison or elk in the native habitat. it's not encouraged. >> a lot of the examples people think of western parks. even here in the urban areas we have encounters. we had owls and foxes and we recently have coyotes confirmed on the property here just overlooking washington, d.c. in cases we have animals that get sick. we need to educate our visitors that the park service typically does is we allow the natural processes to move through. that's what's best for nature. we try to inform people of that and let them see things. but not rush in to save the day if there's a sick animal or something like that. >> david is watching us in new orleans. you are on, david. welcome. >> caller: hi. my question has to do with what you all refer to arlington house. my question is, number one, when was it built?
who built it? i've never been there personall. but from the images on ss on television, it appears to be a monumental greek temple. i mean, where did that come from? >> thanks. we did tell a bit of that history which clearly you missed. if you could briefly tell bus that. >> absolutely. i'm thrilled to take that. the house was built over a period of 1802 to 1818 by george washington park custis. it was built by a sizable number of enslaved african-americans as well as other laborers. it was designed by george hadfield who was an early designer of the u.s. capitol building. it is made to -- the greek revival style. it's a massive property. the room we are in is 18-foot ceilings. it was really made to look almost like a temple-like structure as a memorial monument to george washington. >> washington, as you said, was a swamp at the time. how did the family survive the summers here? >> yeah. it was pretty hot. but they would sometimes, especially down by the river he sometimes the river was a blessing, but sometimes it was
a curse. there could be cool breezes but also if you went down there was a lot of swamps and mosquitos. it was not always a pleasant place. they didn't have air conditioning back then. up here on this hill, there's a nice breeze sometimes. you open up the doors and windows in the front, the doors and windowsed in the ss in the back and you did the best you could. >> the family was connected to mount vernon. george washington was the step grandson of the first president. how long distance is it between here and mount vernon? how long would it take to travel there when he lived here? >> we're probably 15 miles or so north of mount vernon from here. there would have been accomplishable in a carriage ride over a few hours. it wouldn't have been like it was today. but you could probably do that trip in less than half a day or so. the family, when they lived here, frequented alexandria, now old town alexandria, took carriages there, went to church there and so that's really
probably about an hour carriage ride away from here. >> how long did martha washington survive the president? >> a year. >> she would have had been passed away and he wouldn't have been -- >> correct. by the time he began construction here in 1802, martha washington had passed away. >> julia is in california. you are on. >> caller: hi. thank you so much to the national park service for all of the wonderful things that they have done for all of us. i am so fortunate and a lot of times we look past the gifts that we have closest to us, that i lieve in colorado and we're approximately an hour from sequoia national park and kings canyon national park. i was there for my birthday. this past weekend. ten years our city has had a shuttle for $15, you can go round trip from our city up there to sequoia national park where general sherman tree is. one of the challenges everyone faced up there was when the park service made the determination that they needed to go back to the natural state, because the
giant sequoia trees, the root system was being threatened by the building and markets and the cabins there. they did an incredible job moving out -- it's a 24 acres of asphalt and buildings. so my question is, first of all, to thank you and happy birthday. we just had our 75th anniversary and 150th sequoia and kings national park. my question for you today is, i wonder what challenges face the national park service in the next 100 years. >> great. thank you for that question. don't spend too much time. we will talk about that in more detail later on. what's the biggest challenge to the parks? >> i think we have alluded to on several occasions is that while
we could argue that one of the challenges is budget, additional staff, innovative species and other adverse impacts on the preservational resources, the biggest challenge is to first recognize that we are a nation of over 300 million citizens of all walks of life, all backgrounds. we have the obligation to connect, at least provide opportunities for those citizens to connect with their heritage known as national parks or the national park system. there are many gaps in that
connection. and that is a great challenge. it's ultimately the salvation, if you will, the park through individual citizen carrier. if we don't create that opportunity for them to have that connection with their own parks, they will not be ultimate supporters or stewards of the parks. that is a continuing challenge. >> a tweet from yolanda paris who wants to know once they have a property, how do you figure out trails and allowing the trail system so that people can enjoy it and preserve the environment? >> the park service is given the responsibility to develop a park to meet the needs of the visiting public. and obviously has to be very sensitive to creating trails and other facilities that respect fellow citizens with disabilities. but any facility that is to develop in a park is subject to a planning process in which the american people, through the established procedures, have an opportunity to comment on the merits of that given area. in many instances, it might require an environmental assessment. to some degree, it might require an environmental impact statement to reach a sound decision. and the public, if hearthey're not satisfied with the decision reached through that process, can go to the courts. there have been many cases in which the american public, through their own right, have taken the park service to court saying that we do not believe it's an appropriate way to
develop the park. but it's a public-involvement process process. i cannot underscore enough the importance of public involvement in that process. >> we're going to go back to touring this house, arlington house. by the way, we should explain, this actually gave rise to the city that's right here, the name of this place. arlington came from? >> we believe it came from england originally. there's a town in england called arlington. there was the earl of arlington. that was the basis for the name of a plantation on the eastern shore. that was established many, many years before this arlington when george washington park custis built this house here. he took the name, he borrowed the name electric thatfrom that arlington plantation on the eastern shore, brought it here, called it arlington, that then turned to arlington cemetery, arlington city and everything we call arlington here. >> a thriving area across the river from washington, d.c. we will go back to touring this place. matt will tell us more about the
interpretation of robert e. lee's life here. let's listen. >> here we also have the one portrait of robert e. lee in the mang mansion. it shows him as a young officer. it's not the version most people expect. most think of robert e. lee at the great general. what arlington house represents is his life before the civil war. his family life, that he married his wife here, that six of their seven children were born here. that this was the place he sacrificed to make the choice he did at the beginning of the civil war to side with virginia. to fight for a larger concept of what he considered to be his
home and family. and that was virginia. but it came with a very knowing sacrifice. and while robert e. lee would be in the minds of many during that war and the years to follow, somewhat of a villain in history, labeled a traitor to his country by the u.s. government and still a controversial figure, many during his lifetime, including many officers and soldiers who fought for the union, respected lee in large part because of that sacrifice he was willing to make. and in fact, it was lewis crampton, a congressman from michigan whose father served who first proposed the legislation that would dedicate this house as a memorial to robert e. lee. such was the respect given to him even by many of his enemies. as we come into here, this is the morning room. this is one of the oldest rooms in the house. also one of the most significant. it was built in 1804.
and it was in 1811 that robert lee and his family first visited arlington. he was 4. mary custis, his future wife, was 2 1/2. so we like to think that this might have been the room when they first met. as children, as young children. there is a story and family tradition that suggest they were childhood sweethearts growing up. that as teenagers, they became romantic. but he suffered a number of tragedies in his early life. his father died when he was quite young. his mother died right after he graduated from west point. he didn't inherit wealth, property. and so he had in many ways to take life very seriously from a young age. and devote himself to a career in the army. and so he went to west point, graduated second in his class. but following that, he turned
his attention once again to miss mary custis at arlington and courted her and married her and became a part of this family. now this room then in many ways perhaps is the best room that symbolizes how he was connected to this place. almost his entire life. arlington meant something important to robert e. lee. almost all of it revolved around the relationship he had with his wife mary. now, mary and her father used this room in different ways. but especially as a painting studio. they were both passionate artists. she did two of the paintings that you see next to the window over here to the left. but here is also where you see some of george washington park custis' important revolutionary war scenes. all of these paintings done to represent washington as the great hero of the revolution, the indispensable man. you see him on his white horse at the front of the army. literally within just a few feet
of the lines of the british or germans in this case at the battle of trenton. these paintings glorified washington. and that was the purpose of his life. but it wasn't just to glorify washington. it was also to promote washington and his beliefs, his ideals and his values. when this country was first created in the years following the american revolution, it was deeply divided. between the followers of the thomas jefferson who believed in limited national government, states' rights, the right to leave the union, the right of nullification nullification, the right of armed rebellion of the government and the followers of washington who believed the opposite of those things. washington, a true nationalist, who believed this was a perpetual union. when custis started building the
house in 1802, man who was president of the united states, thomas jefferson. so some believe he built this house on this prominent hill in this greek revival fashion out front almost as a way of thumbing his nose at jefferson across the river. that may be something of an exaggeration. but he definitely meant this place to make a political statement. he declared this house a federalist house.
this was to represent all the beliefs and ideals of george washington. and that included, once again, the idea that this nation would exist forever. and that no state had a right to leave it. so how ironic is it that that man's daughter would marry robert e. lee who became the great confederate general and perhaps the man who came closest than any other man in history to destroying the nation that was created in the american revolution? and it was in the room just through that doorway that robert lee made that choice. he made that decision to side with virginia, to leave the union. he was a u.s. army officer, 32 years. he spent four years at west point. he spent his entire adult life in the service of the united states army. he loved his country. and he also believed in preserving the union. but when virginia left the union, he could not fight a war against home and family. that's how he stated it in letter after letter after letter. he had great conflict in his heart and his soul over making this decision. but in the end, that was the only choice he felt he could make. but one of the aspects of that decision that made it so consequential was that lee was first offered command of federal troops.
president lincoln wanted him to command what would become the union army. the army that would cross the river, suppress rebellion in virginia and save the union. and lee turned it down. that decision would be in many ways a great pivotal moment in american history. many historians believe if lee had chosen to accept president lincoln's offer the war would have been shorter. certainly, hundreds of thousands of lives would have been shared. at the same time, the great political change and cultural change, social change that occurred in this country because of that war and including the obolition of slavery might not have happened or happened differently. we will never know. it's one of those unanswerable questions. but it's very clear that the
decision robert e. lee made in that room had a profound influence on the course of american history. he did not know that. he had no way of predicting that, of course. but one thing he did know that was very clear, because that view out front, he knew the union army had to take over arlington to defend washington. arlington may have been one of the most important properties in the entire country, because whichever army controlled it the heights here at arlington controlled the fate of the nation's capitol. it had to be held at all costs by the united states army. lee knew that. and so he expected when he left here two days after resigning that his family was likely to lose their home. his wife had hopes that they would be able to return here once the war was over. but by the end of that first summer, when most americans became more and more aware of the fact that this war was not going to be short, it was going
to be terrible, it was going to be long, it was going to be bloody, the lees became more and more resigned to the fact that they would never live in their home again. and they never did. >> you are hearing the story of lee family whoy were the of course pantccupants of this house. lost it during the civil war. thanks for being with us on american history tv. our special guests for this two-hour live program from arlington house overlooking washington, d.c. are bob stanton, former director of the national park service. spent his life in conservation of american history. even though he is retired, you are still involved in all this.
>> i'm working on it. >> and brandon bies, with the national park service and has the task of restoring this place. someone walked in now, it looks a little ragged around the edges. one day david rubenstein, co-founder of the carlisle group, is very wealthy man who has become a philanthropist in washington, walked in here and what did he do? >> he walked in here and saw the same thing. fortunately for us, he contacted the director of the national park service and said, this is a significant place, what do you need? for the museum objects, for the constructions that needed to happen, not just for the building but the historic grounds and the garden. $12.3y generously donated million to make it happen. >> over $12 million. which time frame? how long did you have to do this? >> so we're hoping to get started with work in early of next year.
most likely in the springtime frame is when we're going to get started with the work. we have been working for the last year or so going through the planning process. i know that never sounds like fun. but in a very sensitive historic place like this, you can't just run in right away and start with the construction. you have to go through reviews, consult with historians, go through various commissions and approval processes. so we're in the midst, we're finalizing that right now. we're hopeful in may of next year is when we're going to get started with the real bricks and mortar construction. that's going to take about a year. then after that is done, we will start to reopen the site. but there's more work to be done once the bricks and mortar work is done. we have to put in new exhibits and new outdoor signage and things like that. when this is all said and done in another year or so, it is going to completely transform this place. >> you talked about one of the major tasks is going to be better interpreting the lives of the enslaved people who were very much a part of this history. what about the lee family itself? what point in time will you choose to tell their story?
>> that's a great question. our enabling legislation actually directs that. that's one of the things when congress establishes national parks, when they established arlington house, they should it should be restored and interpreted the period just before or on the eve of the civil war. so this house will look like the paint colors, the rooms, the objects in the rooms, will -- it will be that period really on the eve of lee's resignation. that will be the period the house will look like. but we have that difficult task of telling the story of what this place was like and people who lived here in some cases 60 years before that. >> we have moved a lot of it. thank you for letting us do that. there's a lot of furniture in the house. one of the neat things when you read about the history of this place is that a lot of the people who took objects from the house returned them to the national park service when you began to try to tell the story. can you talk about that? >> absolutely.
many objects disappeared over time. keep in mind, so many of the objects in this house had their ties to mount vernon. that's where the washington treasury as we call it, the bed washington died on, very significant pieces, china from mount vernon, during the civil war, this area was occupied for the entire war essentially by union soldiers. for souvenirs, they took things. we have many instances in the years after the war and more recently where people found in their family collections objects that were taken from arlington house or objects that maybe they had had -- we have examples of objects held by the families of the enslaved african-americans who were here who have -- we have been able to bring back to this place. that's one of the things we're excited about during this restoration project is having the funds to locate and potentially purchase some of the original objects and bring them back to this house. >> our phone lines are open. we will be here for half an hour more. we would like to hear questions
or comments about the national park system, what your concerns are about how it does its job of interpreting our american story. or if you want to tell us a story about a park you visited, we will listen. there's a conversation going on facebook about your favorite park and why and/or what the park service might do to better engage with the american public. to that end, i want to read this facebook posting. the young people of today want to touch, feel and interact with history. seeing doesn't satisfy their needs. do more interactive programs. >> we're going to do that. one of the things we're planning -- we can accomplish that in a few ways. we're going to be putting in somewhat we call tactile exhibits. these are places where people can touch either reproduction items or can see a sign and maybe feel a model of what the plantation looked like. we're even talking about putting a map on the ground here that will be a colorized map outside in the rear yard of what this plantation looked like.
there will be opportunities for people to interact and to also be able to leave a little bit of them here. again, we want to facilitate that dialogue. we want people to come here and have the opportunity to maybe leave a little video of themselves or a note or something that talks about what this site means for them. another way that we're going to facilitate is through online exhibits, the ability to see parts of arlington house that maybe you can't physically get to but you can use an ipad to zoom in on an object in a room. we can't have people touching some of these objects. but we can use ipads for people to hold on to and zoom in close to see details. >> beyond the work done here, ian says i would love virtual reality recordings that give a flavor of the attractions allowing millions of us that will never be able to visit
them for various reasons. is the park service getting involved in allowing people to experience it virtually rather than going to parks? >> yes. but perhaps not to the scale that we all are seeking. and to use today's technology, particularly connecting with new audiences, particularly with our youth. we have the responsibility to maximize the use of technology. one would not subject, however, that we will not continue to encourage to the extent possible, all people visiting their national park nearby or at a distance, but to compensate for that virtual reality, the use of modern technology is a measure towards that end. >> i want to talk to you about private fill anen philanthropy. over the course of the history of the national parks, what has been the role of not just in this age but in earlier ages of private citizens and helping the mission of the national park service? >> it has been integral to the acquisition, development and operation of national parks. one would think initially about the rockefeller family
making substantial donations of land and grand titon national park, gray smoke and another park where i had the opportunity to work, virgin islands national park, a substantial contribution of land there. but in addition to that, here in the nation's capitol, the -- i think of two major example. the frederick douglass home. located on a 14 acre estate was entirely donated by an organization founded by his second wife. think about wolf trap farm park for the performing arts. the land and construction costs for lane center was donated in full.
so there are many classic examples in which many of the parks that we enjoy today came to us from private individual or from organizations that had a civic approach to conservation and preservation. >> do you get checks from people who don't have a lot of means? small donations from people as well? >> no question about that. i don't know what the dollar level is, but the federal government and the park service in particular is authorized to accept donations unilaterall. also, congress in 1967 established the national park foundation which is the arm of the national park service. it has raised and continues to raise substantial sums of dollars. i think the target during the centennial year is for foundation to raise from the
private sector from individuals and various organizations i believe in the neighborhood of $350 million that will be used by the national park service for preservation, interpretation, education. donations, major gifts have been integral to the park system. i think that will continue. >> how do you balance access and protection? we said this is the most visited of the historic houses. when you think about redoing it and the numbers of people in this place, how do you balance those? >> it's really tough. we want people to see these places. 650,000 people a year, we can do a million. we know we have well over a
million people walking around the grounds here. at the same time, this is a 200-year-old house. you really have to balance that. we're looking at bringing people into certain parts of the house that can handle more foot traffic. but then do special guided tours to certain areas or having virtual tours available for certain areas, because we really have an issue we call a caring capacity. that stands in historic homes but also for trails and places like that where it's an issue across the park service. we don't want our parks to be loved to death. we want people to be able to come and enjoy them and not -- people need to be able to see thefrequently do you have timed visitations? that's another way of controlling crowd access. >> that's correct. i think that's in place at the washington monument now. you are pre-ticketed for the washington monument. that was the case in terms of visitation to the white house. there are a number of parks that have a structured process of how to effectively and efficiently move people through that park.
the interesting point i would like to make about visitation and about impact is that that there are many parks not widely known but yet they are a significant aspect of our heritage. it's incumbent upon the park arf our heritage. so therefore, it is incumbent upon the park service to make information available on the park and to encourage people to visit lesser-known parks. and also, if you have a parks such as yellowstone and everybody going to yellowstone, ,hey want to go to old faithful notwithstanding that yellowstone is 2.2 million acres. much of that don't see many people. so encourage people maybe not old faithful this year. why not this part of the park? it's in -- an educational and encouragement process. caller: i have a memory story for you. was the arlington house once known as the lee mansion?
of 1950, wasmay nine years old and my family and i came from buffalo new york and washington and went to the lee .ansion i believe and i think i saw it, as i'm sitting here watching the program, it was a doll in a little girl's bedroom upstairs in the cradle. >> what a good memory you have. because you were young, that doll resonated with you? : i love dolls and my dad says i have the memory like an elephant. and at 75, i still do. >> that's a terrific memory. >> she is referring to the girls dressing room upstairs. the justice as custard leeon -- mansion. jean inxt up is
so let's take your first one. hopefully, we are doing a better job of that. it is difficult for us to take out time on media to be able to put things out there. so we do our best. we rely a lot, not exclusively, but social media to get the full 2 -- a lot of the parks have facebook pages and twitter accounts to get the word out there. we worked a lot with our local media. certainly around the centennial, we have done a huge push, both internally but also through our partners of the national park foundation to do our best to get the word out there. toely, if you have access facebook and sites like that, you can learn more about park events there. for nationalbsites parks, they have news and events and you can click on the calendar and find out what is going on every weekend in that part. guest: we would be remiss if we
were not to commence c-span for its coverage of the national parks in the park service. come ashsonian channel a example, does the same thing. national geographic a. we provide information to the media organizations. in turn, they respond faithfully. says barbara on facebook some people are not as physically active for some of the outdoor adventures at the park. have special affordable events at the lodges, that is. -- that is her advice. there's a concern that we fod to increase the needs those have some limitations. stay at the lodge in
host: what percentage of your visitors are foreighn. -- foreign. quarter ofably a the visitors. many don't expect to come here and happen upon it, but a sizeable number. lower: i live in wisconsin. it seems they are closing a lot areampsites and things deteriorating. campsite.riorating given i dont' know the
chicago and california where there was a major destruction of ships through bombs exploded as they were being loaded, and killed roughly 300 thecan-americans who were spirit treatment. truman to say we would no longer have a force.ted military but one would argue that the seeking of full rights is a continuum and that every generation makes a little bit
more progress toward that which we could claim in our constitution toward a more perfect union. i remember the supreme court decision in 1954 because all of my public schools were segregated schools, in which it was declared, in the field of public education, the doctrine of separate but equal has no national place. so i've seen in my lifetime. yet there is much more to be done. host: we have about seven minutes left. next, robert in waterfield, new york. all of these
national parks, particularly in yosemite, some of the colorado arcs, what is the national park versioningng about in holdings the commercial developers are trying to purchase and develop into resorts and things like that? conservation fund was one funding source. guest: a neck slit question, the land water -- an excellent question. the land water conservation provides revenues for acquisition not only by the federal government that also by state government and also land water conservation funds are governmento relationship. i know there are many in holdings throughout the national parks system, something i personally experienced when i was in the virgin islands national park. the dollars available are not adequate to meet the acquisition of the -- of all the so-called in holdings.
progress has been made. some private individuals, some corporations that are acquiring these in holdings and then donating free of charge to the government to include those areas as part of that given park. a critical set of circumstances because some of the private properties within parks are subject to development that we would perhaps judge and not the compatible with other preservation objectives of a given park. target in right on raising that is a major challenge. host: on facebook, jim kelly had killingham asks about this. a mix there is relationship with the state parks.
there is a national association of state park directors and there are frequent meetings between members of the organization and their counterparts in the national parks area. similarly with the local and municipal parks that have outstanding programs. they work with the national park service and with their national association. i might add that the national park service has a specific function that allows park service employees to provide technical assistance within the resource they have available to state and to local parks in terms of interpretation, in terms of landing, resource preservation. a shared experience of a shared opportunity between all the organizations, irrespective of the government level to cooperate and to collaborate towards achieving effective and efficient stewardship. host: how did you get into this line of work?
guest: i cert at my park service career with an interest in history, american history, military history, and also in archaeology. i started as an archaeologist with the national park service. i was fortunate to do archaeology work at a number of civil war battlefields. i was able to get a permanent position as what we call a cultural resources shall is coming to historic preservation work here in the washington, d.c. area. i did that for several areas and then ventured into park management. in nice chance to work at great falls park here north of town. and then served four years as the manager at arlington house. and we will see where we go from there. host: where did you go to school? i did my undergraduate at university of delaware. i got degrees in american history and anthropology. applied masters in
anthropology at the adversity of maryland. host: we talk about a lot of the challenges throughout our program. one is jan people who are visually -- one is young people who are visually oriented. one that is always cited is the whole climate change issue and its affect on the parks. is that to the sites you are trying to preserve? away from theen parks service 16 years, so i am not fully abreast with what is being done in terms of adapting or any of thenge mitigating measures that the individual parks or the leadership of the park service may be undertaking. but i am abreast of some of the the accounts of deterioration of some of the glaciers, if you will, in alaska. and some have speculated that it may not be a glacier national
park in montana. it's just in terms of the melting. i think many of the seashore -- a, and there are in our large number of seashore parks, that are beginning to recognize a change in the level of the erosion terms of beach and maybe the impact on cultural resource, the proximity to the shoreline. so i do know there are a number that are being taken, not only by the national park service, bye-bye fish and wildlife service, the u.s. parks service bureau or land management. and i would imagine. death i would suspect some comparable levels at the state -- and i would suspect activity at the state level.
host: we are going to take a final phone call from stephanie all the way in hawaii. what's on your mind? thank you for taking my call and happy birthday to the park service. guest: thank you very much. proud to be really an american for that reason. monumenta national that has a long hawaiian name. afraid i can't pronounce it. they are talking about expanding the area. i was wondering if anyone knew about it. and thank you for taking my call. not familiar with any proposals. i have been out of the loop, as it were. , as mentioned earlier, all parks have a website and they more than
welcome an inquiry from you in terms of what their acquisition needs or their interests might be. i'm positive that you will get a response in a timely fashion. host: the special program tonight on the anniversary of the special programs is being produced by american history tv. we are delighted to introduce you to what you -- to what we do here. you can find us all weekend, , visits tond historic sites, lectures in history, tours of at all fields, all first-person history, nothing else quite like it on television. you will find american history tv on c-span 3 on the weekends and on the web. i want to thank our colleagues here at arlington house for their hospitality and for allowing us to bring in all this equipment and to move the furniture around. what is the closing thought you would like to leave? guest: we might be here for a
few more hours. [laughter] but to the parks are a special place -- our special places. they are places not only to enjoy in terms of play, but places in which we can learn. we can develop a greater respect for ourselves, for our neighbors, our friends. and a respect for the other species that inhabit this fragile place that we call earth. so parks contribute to us becoming better people in a more united nation. guest: not nearly as eloquent as aboutanton, but we talk relevance.es' we need to make that connection for people to visit. these come and visit your national parks and tell us how we can be relevant to you.
if there are stories you think we are not telling, tell us about it and get involved. volunteer and make the parks relevant to your life, continue the dialogue about what it's like to be an american and these american stories and that will guarantee that we are around for another hundred years. guest: in closing, i want to salute you and c-span and the listeners versus abating -- listeners participating. in the words of our first director, stephen mathur, he said we are a better citizen appreciation, for being an american for visiting the national parks. continuesconversation on facebook. if you would like to talk to others who enjoy and appreciate the national parks system. as we close out here, a happy centennial to the national park service.
a reminder that this program will air tonight at 10:00 a.m. eastern time once again in its entirety. and right after we are finished here, you will see a full tour of arlington house, just as if you were here yourself. thank you for being with us. announcer: each week, american artifacts take you to museums and historic places to show you what artifacts reveal on a mac in history. next, matthew penrod leads a tour of arlington house. the are -- the robert e lee memorial, the mansion situated on the hill above president john f. kennedy's grave in our lenten cemetery. today, it is the most visited historic home in the national parks service system, which is marking its centennial this year. arlington house will