Magazine article National Parks

Letters

Magazine article National Parks

Letters

Article excerpt

ORGOTTEN SOLDIERS

Thank you for the informative article about the Buffalo Soldiers ["Standing Guard," Fall]. I am 83, born and raised in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area. When I was a child, my family traveled and camped in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, and frequently in Yosemite. We always listened to ranger talks, hiked all over, visited museums, and gathered all the information we could about our parks. We visited Golden Gate Park many times. How strange that it wasn't until I was 68 and visiting friends in Sierra Vista, Arizona, that I first heard of the Buffalo Soldiers. Your article described and gave tribute to a group of amazing Americans, our nation's first park rangers.

LOIS SERRE

Folsom, CA

I am a park ranger working in the Golden Gate National Recreation Areaspecifically, the Presidio of San Francisco, a 200-year-old former military post that's now part of the National Park System. One of my areas of special interest is the history and legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers. Shelton Johnson and I are like the bookends of a shelf full of stories related to these intrepid soldiers of the Old West, their moral dilemma of serving during the Jim Crow era ofthat time, and the trials and tribulations of what it meant to be black in America while striving to accomplish an honorable duty. I relate to visitors here how the troopers left the Presidio with their comrades to go out to Yosemite, and Shelton tells the visitors what happened after they got there and what it meant for them to be where they were! Kate Siber's article, in the most recent issue of the magazine, was excellent. It did a wonderful job of exposing the public to this richly layered yet undertold story of these men, their families, and their contributions to American history. I want to congratulate the staff at NPCA for keeping this part of our national park history alive and accessible.

FREDERIK PENN

San Francisco, CA

DOWN ON THE FARM

We appreciated the recent National Parks article on farming and the Chesapeake Bay. ["Back to the Land," Fall] Farming practices that benefit communities and the Chesapeake also benefit our national parks, including Antietam National Battlefield, the site of the September 17, 1862 Civil War battle. The National Park Service cooperates with local farmers to maintain the cultural landscape, setting aside about 1,200 acres- more than 60 percent of the battlefield- for crops like corn, and for pastured cattle. We maintain partnerships with farmers who lease parkland, and with local, state, and federal farm-related agencies. We're protecting the battlefield's signature waterway- Antietam Creek- and its tributaries with tools like planting native trees in the floodplain, and fencing livestock out of the waterways.

We also work with the Farm Stewardship Certification and Assessment Program to acknowledge farmers who are good stewards of natural resources, and to encourage farmers to consider additional conservation practices like riparian buffers, stream-bank stabilization, stream fencing, crop rotation, integrated pest management, and reforestation and grassland establishment. These practices enhance wildlife corridors and benefit native species and recreation locally as well as downstream.

Like the farmers highlighted in your article, the NPS strives to be a good steward of the land with which it is entrusted.

ED WENSCHHOF, CHIEF RANGER

JOE CALZARETTE, NATURAL

RESOURCES MANAGER

Antietam National Battlefield

Sharpsburg, MD

A GOOD NIGHT'S REST

I just finished reading the Fall issue of National Parks, including Kevin Grange's article ["Sea Change"]. …

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