CRM Field School 2010: Stewardship of the NPS at FOVA

14 May

The Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (FOVA) is composed of several historic components within a unified site. One part of the site contains an historically accurate re-creation of a former fort of the British Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur trading operations. The fort was established around 1824 and continued operating under British control until 1846 when the Oregon Treaty set the US–Canadian border at the 49th parallel north thus placing Fort Vancouver within American territory. The fort is situated on its original site near the Columbia River in present day Vancouver, Washington. Fort Vancouver was made a National Monument in 1944, and in the 1960s its boundaries were changed and it was redesignated as Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

MTSU CRM Field School 2010 students arrive on Monday, May 10 for the introductory session of the class.

MTSU students spent the first week of the CRM Field School Maymester class at Fort Vancouver getting an inside view of how the Pacific West Region of the National Park Service (NPS) works, particularly at FOVA. Our daily schedule included both classroom instruction and park tours conducted by the various NPS staffers who oversee operations at FOVA.

We received instruction about how the park staff implements the FOVA General Management Plan.

The NPS staff took turns guiding us around the various park assets. We were treated like V.I.P.s during our stay. NPS Rangers Kimm Fox-Middleton, Greg Shine, and new Ranger Aaron.

Cortney Gjesfjeld conducts one of the lectures for the CRM Field School.

Cortney C. Gjesfjeld, a Historical Landscape Architect and Cultural Resources expert with the Pacific West Region of the NPS, served as a special liaison and instructor for the entirety of our stay. Her involvement in our Field School was integral to our understanding of the complexities of cultural resources management. Plus, she was a great guide around Portland at night during our down time!

The restored fort is built on the footprint of the original fort but the orientation of the entrance has been moved to the rear to accommodate access to the visitors’ parking lot.

Thus, visitors approach Fort Vancouver by means of a stroll through an interpretation of the original fort garden. It was a typical English garden and was located behind and outside the boundary of the fort, just beyond the massive gate.

To the east and west of the gardens are the original agricultural fields and apple and cherry orchards which are now being restored with historically accurate plantings.

Cortney gave us much insight into the process of re-creating a natural and cultural landscape accurately.

These stunning arbors are planted with hops!


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