The Truth About Lincoln's Springfield Cottage
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Failure to communicate with the leadership of the National Park Service

The Abraham Lincoln Association (ALA) proposes to spend $400,000 to build a replica of the cottage in which the Lincoln family lived for only two years! The ALA also proposes to donate this replica cottage to Lincoln Home National Historic Site and seeks to have it incorporated into the Site through an expansion of its boundary.

A problem is that the ALA it would seem did not contact the leadership of the National Park Service (NPS), which has apparently expressed no interest in having this donation. The ALA should have contacted the NPS at a higher level (such as the Regional Director or Acting Director) to determine the agency’s position before beginning this project.

An indication of the NPS’s opinion of this project can be gained by reviewing that of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks. The Coalition is opposed.

The Coalition has over 2,000 members, who are retired, former, or current National Park Service (NPS) employees. As a group it collectively represents over 40,000 years of experience managing and protecting America’s most precious and important natural and cultural resources. Its members include former NPS directors, regional directors, superintendents, resource specialists, rangers, maintenance, and administrative staff.

In writing to the members of the Senate and House of Representatives responsible for considering legislation to expand the boundary of the Site, the Coalition said: “Please understand that while the Lincolns lived in the [Lincoln] home from 1844-1861, the original “cottage” only accounted for two years of that occupancy.” They also wrote: “The primary effect of the legislation would be to expand the boundary of Lincoln Home National Historic Site to incorporate a replica structure of a cottage that the Lincolns lived in for only two years; and that replica would be located at a site that is not associated with the original Lincoln home.”

The Coalition also wrote: ‘The legislation raises serious concerns about the NPS accepting properties into the National Park System under conditions that do not conform to the agency’s cultural resource regulations and policies; and that do not meet the goals of the national historic site’s general management plan (GMP).” “Instead of helping interpret the original home, reconstruction of a conjectural earlier building located several blocks away could lead to visitor confusion and would violate agency policy. For this reason, the reconstructed building is an unneeded and inappropriate addition to the Lincoln Home NHS.”

The Coalition concludes: “At a minimum, if such a boundary change is to be pursued, the National Park Service should go through a proper planning process, such as a formal resource study of the proposed additions and/or a general management plan amendment that allows for public involvement, before finalizing such a decision.”

The Coalition’s complete letter can be found here:
Letter in opposition to S. 1812 sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member,
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

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