WASHINGTON-ROCHAMBEAU REVOLUTIONARY ROUTE, NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

W3R, Newsletter No. 65, August 12, 2009

Editor Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian

https://www.connecticutsar.org/about/rev-road/newsletters.htm Our goal is the stewardship of the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (W3R NHT) that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and the elevation to a higher level the quality of heritage preservation all along the route. This newsletter tries to represent the point of view of the patriots who respected Washington and Rochambeau, the ones who, if alive, would be working with us to honor them today.

The Bolton Historical Society held a Trail Forum in Bolton Town Hall at 7 PM, on June 4, 2009. Most of the discussion is applicable to all the towns along the W3R NHT. The Bolton Panel Discussion was shown six times on the Community Voice Channels

The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (W3R) National Historic Trail (NHT) is expected to continue to be a partnership of Federal with private, local, and state interest groups under the leadership of the National Park Service (NPS) reporting to Congress.

The NPS will not purchase or own any new property on the route and NPS gun laws and other regulations will not apply to the property states, towns and private groups acquire on the route.

The W3RNHT will make its mark by preserving much of the route in its present state so that in fifty years the benefit to the greening quality of life will be apparent.

Trails do much to preserve the quality of life in any town but there is a need to know how we go about making trails on abandoned portions of the W3R NHT with standards, protection and safeguards so that we can use the heritage for education and enjoyment but not expose the heritage to wear and tear. That was the purpose of this meeting and panel.

The panel consisted of: Mary Ann Handley, CT State Senator 4th District, Deputy Majority Leader,
Mary Donahue, Architectural Historian Survey and Grants Director, Historic Preservation & Museum Division, CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, See Website: http://www.ct.gov/cct/cwp/view.asp?a=2211&q=293780
Laurie Giannotti, AICP, CPG, CT DEP Recreational Trails & Greenways Program, See the website:http://www.ct.gov/dep/rectrails 
Robert Butterworth, Chairman, CFPA Trails Committee, CFPA 80th anniversary this year. See the latest Trails Day brochure at: http://www.ctwoodlands.org/sites/default/files/TD%20Brochure%20FINAL%20-%20CfpaTrail09.pdf

Rodney Parlee, Chairman, Bolton Conservation Commission
Hans DePold was the forum moderator and introduced the panel and the agenda.
Agenda:
The Panel discussed these questions:
How we go about getting creating and maintaining trails such as on abandoned portions of the W3RNHT with standards, protection and safeguards so that our communities can learn from and protect our natural and historic heritage?
How do state laws free homeowners and towns from litigation originating from accidents on trails that they permit to cross their property?
How we can protect our sites while using them for educational purposes because usually we build trails to special places that are also of interest to pothunters and vandals?
How might the state agencies, state and local governments, and private organizations cooperate and partner in planning and making a success of the W3R NHT?

The following points were made:

1) The Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA) first shared experiences and give guidance on things to look out for as Bolton creates and officially documents trails. The CFPA also organizes Trails Day in Connecticut and is celebrating their 80th anniversary this year. The CP&FA has been in service since 1895 or 115 years. They have 825 miles of trails in CT with 100 volunteer trail managers. They provide free training for people who want to learn how to manage a trail.

 

2) The Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism’s mission is to preserve and promote Connecticut’s cultural and tourism assets in order to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of the State.

 

3) Who are the W3R state stakeholders? In CT focal point for state cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS) concerning the W3R is the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. Each state has a Board of Stakeholders. In CT. it currently includes the American and French Revolutionary War societies. It also includes the DEP trails program director. They met twice in the past year with representatives of the society of the Cincinnati, the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Souvenir Français. It will take the NPS 3-5 years for the NPS to finish the management plan.

Grants are available for matching funds of Land Trusts and towns that purchase historic W3R assets. Connecticut has a web based grant programs survey & planning grants for basic operational support for historic preservation non-profits and certified local government that will help towns with local W3R plans:

  • Survey and planning grants
  • Predevelopment money for restoration
  • Acquisition of property 50-50 matching
  • Archaeological preservation
  • Capital Improvement Grant Programs
  • Strategic Initiative Grants (SIG)
  • Challenge Grant Program
  • Cooperative Grant Program
  • Culture & Tourism Partnership Grants

Eventually the National Park Service will support W3R NHT visitor centers at suitable sites in each of the nine states along the route. The heritage displayed is local, state, and National. These site decisions are expected to be decided at NPS, State, local, and congressional levels and would be funded partly by Congress. Communities need to assess their historic resources and decide if, where and what to build.

4) What can Bolton and other towns can do on a local level now? Identify the exact route Let local government and road crews know the route. Purpose- Plan for safe walking and bicycle paths. Explore Manchester Community College Independent studies institute of local history. Apply for W3R related grants Begin exploring the type visitor center that would be suitable.

5) How to protect local sites: The best way to protect natural and historic heritage is to enlist the users to keep out abusers. Flush out trail abusers with the users… with cell phones, and taking car licenses of suspicious vehicles. Mention was made of a high profile arrest working well in one Manchester situation of thefts at an historic mill.

Connecticut W3R Meeting Announced

On behalf of Yolande Bosman, W3R-CT chair, now in France, I am forwarding to you Ralph Nelson’s invitation to a very important meeting during which future efforts on our very own segment of the Rochambeau Route (125 miles of it) will be reviewed and planned for years to come. Decisions made at the meeting could be affecting your location.

Since the meeting is taking place in our own state with the special participation of Joe DiBello newly-appointed NPS director for the W3R future expansion, I urge every one of you to make every effort to be there to demonstrate to Joe our dedicated support of the W3R (please confirm to me TOBCC@aol.com with copy to DEPatriot@aol.com whether or not you will attend).

Thank you! Looking forward to seeing you in Lebanon!
L O N G L I V E T H E W 3 R!
Serge G. Gabriel (Col. Ret.)
Past W3R-CT chair