Best Preserved Frontier Fort in the West - Fort Larned Old Guard Newsletter

Leo E. Oliva, Fort Larned Old Guard Chairman
      Thanks to the efforts of former Fort Larned Old Guard chairman Wayne Hagerman, exciting developments are taking place in the Old Guard's project to purchase the Cheyenne and Sioux village site on Pawnee Fork.

      The Archaeological Conservancy (AC) has become interested in joining with the Old Guard in the acquisition of this historically significant site.

      The AC, headquartered in Albuquerque, NM, is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1980 to preserve and protect important archaeological sites throughout the United States. To date they have acquired more than 180 sites, some of which have been transferred to the National Park Service.

      AC Regional Director Jim Walker recently came to Larned, at the invitation of Hagerman, to look at another site. While here Walker toured the village site and met with some of the Fort Larned Old Guard officers and Fort Larned NHS staff. Walker is especially interested in the site and is presenting a proposal to the AC board to become involved with our project.

      The tentative proposal involves raising the balance needed to make final payment for the land in June of this year, relieving the Old Guard of borrowing additional funds. A year from now the AC would pay off the balance of the loan made to the Old Guard for an earlier land payment, take possession of the site, and become a partner with the Old Guard in providing security, building a perimeter fence, nominating the site for the National Register of Historic Places, developing a management plan, and transferring the site to the National Park Service.

      Because the Conservancy has an experienced staff to handle these tasks, the Old Guard would be spared considerable work and additional fund-raising while continuing to be a partner in the project. The Old Guard would help develop the management plan and serve as the local coordinator for the site until it is transferred to the National Park Service to become a detached site of Fort Larned NHS.

      The National Parks and Conservation Association, which also has expressed an interest in helping transfer the site to the National Park Service, will be invited to join in that effort. If the AC does become involved, approximately one-third of the funds needed to purchase the land will have been raised by the Old Guard.

      This is tentative at this writing, and the AC requires that all mineral rights must go with the property for them to become involved, because the land cannot be proposed for transfer to the National Park Service until title to the mineral rights is included with the holding.

      Owners of the land, Frank and Leota Klingberg, reserved mineral rights for 15 years. There is no production on the land, and they are presently considering the possibility of transferring mineral rights with the surface rights to the property.

      The AC and the National Parks and Conservation Association have praised the Old Guard and all who have contributed to the project for undertaking the acquisition and preservation of this important historic place. Since all three organizations have the same goal for the village site, a joint venture will help assure that the site is protected and interpreted as part of our national heritage.

Kids Are Coming To Fort Larned!
      It's spring at Fort Larned. The trees are budding, the grass is greening, and the kids are coming! Another busy school tour season is upon us.

      The tour calendar for April and May is filling quickly with 46 school tours already booked and reservations still coming in. We hope to meet or exceed the 57 tours given during April and May in 1999.

      A springtime special event will bring over 600 students from 17 Kansas schools to Fort Larned on May 5 as it hosts Kansas Kids Fitness Day, sponsored by the Governor's Council on Fitness.

      This is the third year Fort Larned has hosted Fitness Day, and this year it will be bigger than ever. In the past, activities were held during the morning only with about 300 students attending. This year, the event will include both morning and afternoon sessions and the number of students anticipated is about twice that of previous years.

      Elementary students from central and western Kansas schools will participate in outdoor activities, games and relays "frontier style" enjoying such favorites as the "soldier cannon pull" and the "fire brigade." Living-history interpreters will be on hand to introduce students and teachers to Fort Larned and its history.

      Springtime traditionally brings hundreds of Kansas kids to Fort Larned, and this year is no exception. We're looking forward to their arrival!

Future Looks Bright
      The year 2000 is looking bright for the Old Guard and Fort Larned NHS. A full day of activities is scheduled at the fort and the Indian village site on April 29. An amazing number of donations have been received for the fund-raising auction.

      The Archaeological Conservancy has indicated serious interest in joining in the acquisition and preservation of the village site. It speaks highly of the Old Guard that the Archaeological Conservancy and the National Parks and Conservation Association find our village-site project worthy of their support. Several Indian leaders are interested in helping interpret the significance of the village site.

      The future looks great for Fort Larned NHS, where the staff and volunteers continue to shine. All directors of the Old Guard are working hard. What a pleasure it is to be part of this venture.

      It is also a delight to acknowledge several people who contribute significantly to the work of the Old Guard. Wayne Hagerman, past chairman of the board and volunteer ambassador, continues to promote Fort Larned and Fort Larned Old Guard unflaggingly. J. E. Hester, Larned, donated his services as appraiser of the village-site property. William Chalfant, former Fort Larned Old Guard board member, donated legal counsel.

      Frank and Leota Klingberg, owners of the village site land, have been cooperative and gracious, wonderful people with whom to work.

      Fort Larned Superintendent Steve Linderer and his staff (especially George Elmore who is the resident expert on the fort and the village site) are always ready to help. Dave Webb, author of the wonderful book Fort Larned Adventures: An Activity Book, publishes this excellent newsletter without compensation. Fort Larned Old Guard officers and board members give dedicated and skillful service. The donors for the auction deserve vast recognition. Special thanks to all these friends of Fort Larned.

      Your membership, contributions, and continued support are greatly appreciated. The Old Guard was founded to enhance the historical value and programs of Fort Larned NHS. Everything we do is directed toward that goal.

      The village-site project is the largest undertaking for our small association so far, and there are many other projects to consider. All require funds, and your continued assistance is solicited. If we are fortunate enough to have the Archaeological Conservancy help raise the funds required to complete the purchase of the village site, this will permit us to consider funding other undertakings. Thus the fund-raising auction remains extremely important.

      Please plan to attend the annual meeting on April 29 and be prepared to bid at the auction. Many wonderful items have been donated, and the generosity of the donors should inspire the rest of us to buy. Successful bidders will take home valuable books and memorabilia, and the Old Guard will benefit substantially. In the process we hope to have some fun too.

      Everyone who attends the dinner will be eligible for a drawing for several valuable prizes at the conclusion of the auction.

Strategic Plan Available For Review
      The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) is one of the most recent and comprehensive of a number of laws and executive orders directing federal agencies to join in the "performance management" revolution.

      Before GPRA, government agencies, including the National Park Service, planned and reported by activities. We could tell you how much we planned to spend on an activity, and at the end of the year we could tell you exactly how much we spent. However, we weren't very proficient at telling you, the taxpayer, or Congress, what we actually accomplished.

      Now, all government agencies are required to set goals, identify how we expect to reach those goals, and at the end of each year prepare a report on how we did.

      GPRA requires agencies to develop and use three primary documents in conducting our business. The first is a Strategic Plan. It identifies our goals for the next five years, and also sets out how we plan to meet those goals.

      The staff at Fort Larned National Historic Site is just completing a new Strategic Plan for the period October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2005.

      Although the Strategic Plan covers five years, it is revised every three years, or more often if circumstances warrant. Our plan should be ready about the time you read this.

      An "Annual Performance Plan" is developed each year. This document shows how long-term goals identified in the Strategic Plan will be accomplished during a specific year, and identifies what human and money resources are required to meet the performance goals.

      The Fort Larned plan for this fiscal year is available for review now. The plan for FY 2001 will be completed later this year.

      The final document that completes a GPRA cycle is the "Annual Performance Report." This report outlines which goals were met or exceeded, and which weren't. For those that weren't, there will be an explanation on what remedial action will be taken. The report for this year (FY 2000) will be completed in October.

      The entire GPRA process is open to public review. Comments from individuals and other organizations are welcome and encouraged. Each of the documents is available for review in the park library and on our Internet site (www.nps.gov/fols). On request we will also mail you copies.

      Please feel free to send us your comments and suggestions. I would also be happy to discuss our GPRA plans with you in person or by telephone (call me at home evenings or weekends if it is more convenient for you). After all, it's your money we're spending!
Steve Linderer, FLNHS Superintendent




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