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

Join Us On Saturday, May 3---And Please Renew!
by Leo E. Oliva, Fort Larned Old Guard Chairman
     Make plans now to attend the annual meeting on May 3, 2003. The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter has planned another fine Santa Fe Trail seminar. Activities at the village site will focus on the buffalo in Plains Indian culture and a camp of white buffalo hunters.

     This is the one time each year guests are welcome at this historic site, usually closed to the public. As in previous years, area schools are invited to bring students to the site on May 2, when Indian and buffalo-hunter re-enactors will show equipment and tell about buffalo in plains life in the 1860s and 1870s.

     Everyone is welcome there May 3, and there is no admission fee for village site events. The evening program will feature another fine dinner by Lorenzo's Barbecue, and your chairman will present the program. Please invite everyone you know to come and enjoy this day of informative and interesting presentations.

     If you have not renewed your membership for 2003, please do so now. With your continued support the Old Guard can continue its various programs to enhance the public appreciation for and programs of Fort Larned NHS. Your membership dues, contributions, and volunteer assistance for Fort Larned are greatly appreciated.

     As with most historic sites, the Fort has experienced a decrease in visitation in recent months. Also, Fort Larned NHS may face reduction of funding in the federal budget crunch. Entry fees have been increased, which may cause a further decline in visitors, although the fees will be used to benefit the Fort. The Old Guard can provide some help from its resources and encourage more volunteer service.

     The Old Guard, with assistance from the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter, has published a handsome brochure about the village site and the Hancock Expedition in 1867, designed by George Elmore and David Clapsaddle, with assistance from many others. These brochures are now for sale at the visitors' center at the Fort. The small charge for these will make it possible to reprint when the supply is gone.

     Work has continued at the Cheyenne-Sioux village site. The next major projects there are construction of a perimeter fence and, if conditions are favorable, reseeding the cropland back to native grasses. The drought continues in the region. It appears increased security measures have stopped trespassers. Even so, a $500 reward continues to be offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone guilty of criminal trespass at the site.

     I hope to see you on May 3. Visit Fort Larned NHS often; take your friends and encourage others to stop and enjoy this wonderful historic site. Attendance records are a factor in receiving some types of support. Please continue your participation in the programs of the Old Guard. If you haven't yet renewed your membership, please respond to the notice enclosed.

     Let the outstanding staff and volunteers at the Fort know how much their efforts are appreciated. Also, the Old Guard extends thanks to Dave Webb, editor and publisher of OUTPOST, for his continued good service.

Fort News Notes
VIPs Important
     Volunteers were again the backbone of the park's interpretive programs during FY 2002. Volunteers contributed 4,802 hours to interpretive programs, 700 hours to administrative work, 76 to curatorial efforts, and 40 hours helping maintenance with painting---a total of 5,618 hours.

     A major accomplishment was the Old Guard's design and production of a brochure for the Cheyenne-Sioux village site. The Fort Larned Old Guard acquired the site and is developing it to aid visitors' understanding of Fort Larned's role in the Indian Wars.

     Santa Fe Trail days had the largest turnout of volunteers, with 77 individuals contributing 1,490 hours for the event. Volunteers were housed in the barracks, commanding officer's quarters, and two trailer pads in the maintenance yard.

History On Display
     A traveling exhibit, "Rush to the Rockies," will arrive at Fort Larned in mid-March. It will remain on view until mid-July. Plan on spending some time enjoying this historical treat while you're at the Fort Larned Old Guard annual meeting.

150th Anniversary
     A special program to commemorate the founding of Fort Riley in 1853 is planned at the still-active fort, September 11-12, 2003. Anyone interested in frontier military history will enjoy this conference. Troops from Fort Riley were involved in the founding of Camp on Pawnee Fork in 1859, which became Fort Larned. Fort Riley historian Bill McKale, author of the Fort Riley booklet in the Kansas Forts Network series, is putting the anniversary program together.

     Thanks to George Elmore, NPS Ranger, Steve Linderer, FLNHS Superintendent, Leo Oliva, Fort Larned Old Guard Chairman.

Superintendent's Desk
Fort Larned Old Guard Friends
     The Fort Larned Old Guard turns 15 this year! The original "Memorandum of Agreement" between the National Park Service and the Old Guard was signed December 3, 1988. The Old Guard, a citizen support group, or a "Friends" group, was legally incorporated on the last working day of 1988. The organization was created by my predecessor, Superintendent Jack Arnold, and Joe Snell, the first Fort Larned Old Guard chairman.

     Friends groups are organizations set up to support specific units of the NPS beyond that which the federal government provides. Most Friends groups, including the Old Guard, raise funds for the park units they support. However, they are also involved in a wide range of other activities including advocacy, volunteerism, resource protection and preservation, education, research, planning, and overall support for the parks.

     One of the Old Guard's most visible accomplishments is the acquisition of the Cheyenne-Sioux village site. The Old Guard annual meetings with excellent speakers and programs are vital to educating the public about the Fort and its part in western history.

     The Fort Larned Old Guard has been successful in bringing several Kansas politicians to the park for well-attended special programs. The value of having our elected representatives see such strong citizen support cannot be overestimated.

     The Old Guard has been blessed with a dedicated membership and outstanding officers and board members. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with each and every one of you. Your continued support of Fort Larned will be greatly appreciated.
Steve Linderer, FLNHS Superintendent

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