tv The Great Dismal Swamp CSPAN January 16, 2022 4:35pm-6:01pm EST
be stewards of these areas and ensure the preservation for future generations so they can learn about our history and experience these wonderful areas firsthand. among the many important sites throughout our state is the great dismal swamp located in the hampton roads region of my district. i want to slow chris lilly who's on on this call with us. he's doing a great job with the swamping and keeping it going. i always chuckled to myself when i think about great dismal swamp because well, it is great. it's not nearly the million acres that it used to be about tenth of the size. um while allegedly as a swamp is does not look like a swamp. if as you think about it nor does it dismal they're doing a really great job of keeping it up keeping your vibrant and i couldn't be more proud of them. what you may not know though, is that the great dismal swamp was once a home in a refuge to a generation of african-american
and indigenous populations who create a vibrant self-sustaining community hidden away from the threat of enslavement. the swamp also served as an economic hub of commerce between indigenous populations formerly indentured african-american communities and those who were escaping slavery. due to this robust activity between these communities the great dismal swamp contains heavy concentrations of important archaeological and cultural artifacts. you didn't know this either did you the swamp is also one of the only known water-based stops on the underground railroad those fleeing and slavery would use the swamp for cover as they traveled north to freedom. there's immense historical archaeological cultural environmental value in the region and we must do everything we can to protect it. despite the importance of the great dismal swamp and continues to be threatened.
as i said at one time the swamp covered more than a million acres across, virginia and north carolina. today is about a tenth of its original size due in large part. to over development and threats of climate change and sea level rise. the other shrinking size of a great dismal swampsion be a concern for everyone not just those of us who called the commonwealth home. they just was home has a great you as a unique and fragile ecosystem is home to a wide array of rare animals plants insect species. it also plays a vital role in the continued mitigation of the climate crisis. you see as fast ecosystem assists in the fight against climate crisis. by helping to absorb harm harmful gases in the atmosphere that contain to our global temperatures up. the greatest or swap is vital to understand our nation's history and helping to ensure a healthy future for the next generation. and that's why i've been proud
to fight for his preservation ever since i came to congress. i was proud to help lead many members of the virginia delegation and introducing a bicameral. piece of legislation to assess the sustainability of feasibility of designating the great dismal swamp as a national heritage area this legislation is an important first step to the fight in the fight to conserve the vital resources wildlife and historical importance of this region. not only will this designation as a national heritage area preserve the regions integrity. it will also help stimulate the commonwealth economy through tremendous job of creation and local economic activity. i also had the privilege an opportunity to submit a funding requests to the house appropriations committee committees consideration for the house appropriation committee's consideration impossible inclusion in the upcoming appropriations process folks
that starts in late july, so please keep your fingers crossed pray if you pray but we really would like to get some federal help for the region. this farming requests would provide the city of chesapeake. but the resources it needs to move and preserve the coinland school one of the oldest african-american schools in the hampton roads region. i want to salute and commend preservation, virginia for his efforts to shine a light on the importance of the coinland school and for including it on the list of one of the most endangered historical sites in our area. the radius will swap is truly one of our nation's greatest historical cultural environmental treasures. in the fight for his preservation continues. i like to extend my thanks to preservation, virginia and the virginia department of historic resources. for their continued efforts to protect endangered sites throughout the commonwealth. please know that i am your partner and your colleague
whenever and wherever you need me. i'll continue to advocating on the federal level the swanse preservation. we look forward to our continued collaboration protect to protect this incredible region. thank you for allowing me to join you today. i'm sorry the press of business requires me to jump off the call, but i wish you i hope you all have a wonderful conversation and know the we're only a phone call away. god bless you. thank you so much representative makita in both for being with us today and for all that you're doing. take care. take care. now. you need your job. all right, as i mentioned preservationists and conservationists are increasingly recognizing the important connections between historic and cultural resources and our natural resources. a conservation easements heritage trails national heritage areas are just some of the tools that are being used to advance these efforts and we have a superb panel today to
talk more about national heritage areas. with a focus on the recent interest in creating a nha national heritage area for the great dismal swamp as you heard congressman mceachern talk about a bit. in addition to our panel members. i'd also like to point out we have two dhr staff with us elizabethford and mark wagner and they're gonna be on the webinar to answer any questions. you you might have of dhr. and just one quick housekeeping note speaking of questions. we will take questions at the end if we have time. hopefully we'll so please put them in the q&a if we don't happen to get to him today because we have a number of excellent speakers. we will be sure to get back to you. so with that let's turn to our our panel members. i'll introduce them and they'll speak one at a time and then as
i mentioned you will have some questions. first up. i'd like to introduce jen hurst wender who virginia in 2008. and is now our director of museum operations and education jen oversees the interpretation preservation and general operational details of preservation virginia's portfolio of nine properties. um and six of these properties are open to the public including i'll put in quick plug here patrick henry scotchtown the john marshall house bacon's castle smith's fort historic jamestown and the cape henry lighthouse. a urge you all to come visit. and jen will briefly share some information on using openspace space at these historic sites, jen. thank you jeff. so i i know that most all of this panel is going to be
talking about the dismal swamp, but before we get to that, i'm just going to be talking about some of the ways that preservation, virginia is historic sites are utilizing our open space and the and the landscape that surrounds us so i'm gonna give a brief little overview of just some of the projects that were involved in so i'm going to go ahead and and share my screen real quick. and let's see. all right. so, let's see if there we go, okay. so the first site that we're going to kind of dive into is going to be patrick henry scotchtown. and so this is a great aerial shot of the property and next to
this. i have a a map that was drawn up in the 60s. i believe 63 and it's upside down so you can see the orientation of the site, but i did want to did want to point out that at this point scotchtown is in the process of developing a master plan for the entire property so that we're not specifically focused on our historic structures, but ways that we can integrate the landscape for all of our visitors and the general public and so we own about 23 acres around around scotchtown historically, we've only done the archeology in this in this area closest to closest to the workyard. and so we have so much archeology or so much work to do so much. that's that's remained uncovered. we know from historical record
that there were enslaves quarters on this property. we have yet to find them. so that's a goal of ours and we also want to make sure that that were working with for virginia indian representatives. do have a better understanding of how this land was used prior to 1717 when the original land was patented via a colonial grant to charles. chisel. so that just kind of gives you an overview of what the space looks like. but while we're still undergoing lots of research we are utilizing the space and in as many different ways as we possibly can and this is really through partnerships and everything that i'm going to be talking about in in the rest of my time is all about partnerships. i think that that's really the only way that we can possibly possibly move forward.
so things partnering with local 4 age groups to utilize heritage breed livestock partnering to bring naturalization ceremonies to scotchtown. with hanover master gardeners to develop learning gardens and dye gardens and with local entrepreneurs and businesses to bring festivals like the beast feast to scotchtown. so those are very traditional ways of partnering and using the landscape that we have. and then we'll move on to bacon's castle. and again, here's a great aerial shot of the of the property corresponding with in an older map. so bacon's castle is kind of in the same situation as scotchtown. we have 40 acres that comes with this property and we're looking forward to developing a master plan that's going to to help us develop a plan to integrate all of that landscape in with the
historic fabric that that already exists and so archeology again is a major factor in how this is going to to play out, but with bacon's castle, we are fortunate that we have this historic view shed of of farmland and forests. that's pretty much been there through the four centuries that the structure the structure of bacon's castle has existed. this original building was built in 1665 and it's pretty much been an agricultural use ever since. so one of the projects that we're working on in collaboration with with chip oaks state park is actually to do a historic road trace. and so the plan is is to reopen this three and a half mile.
road trail that would go from bacon's castle to chipotes and in the distance in this area shot back here. you can see the james river. so this gives you an idea bacon's castle was not built on the water. there is a creek where skiffs could get up and down the creek, but any any navigable channels would have to go to the deep water port here on the james river. and so so we're working with the state park landowner to see if we can reopen that road trace which would open the property up to to bike walking and and horse trails. so definitely a partnership. we're looking forward to and so moving on to another historic site that we have in surrey. we have smith's fort so smith's fort has this manor house. that's built in the 1750s, but
really the name smith sport comes from a 1619 fort that john smith began but wasn't able to complete that it overlooks grace creek. and so grace creek and and became part of the john smith water trail and up in the right hand corner. you can see some representatives from missouri garden club and other folks and surrey that were commemorating this event taking place. and so we have a water trail designation. we have a walking trail that goes from the manor house at smith's fort back to the fort site and just other ways that were also utilizing the property the local or whose property surroundsmiths for has been planting zinnias in on our property for now for several years, which is a really great way that it's just bringing a
lot of tourism to the site for people to pick their own city of flowers. moving on to cape henry, so cape henry is located on an active military base and we have worked in partnership with the active military base and also the national park site has a cape henry memorial national park site. so our interpreters provide a walking tour that takes people through different areas. you can see in the bottom right hand corner. there's a world war ii era case-mate mine case may and that's built into the dune of the lighthouse and working with the joint expeditionary base little creek fort story we have been able to to utilize that space with our with with our interpreters to take guests through that area and look in there and really just get an
idea of how this cape henry area was used for. the past 400 plus years. so then the last project that i want to talk about is something that it's actually coming up next week. so john marshall house in richmond, virginia has the least amount of property out of out of all of the historic sites that preservation virginia owns and operates and so there's not much landscape in the rights, matt dab in the middle of downtown richmond. however, this project is called the freedom constellation project is taking place next week where 160 foot banners are going to go on 9th and marshall street, and these banners are representing a project to to work towards ending juvenile incarceration. and so this project is in
partnership with the mayor's office and the marshall house will be the main viewing station for this. this is an augmented reality project. so when we're working with with landscapes, you can download the qr code on your phone and you'll be able to see these 160 foot panels come to life with video and poetry and sarah will kind of go up into the sky in the clouds. so this is this is very much a partnership that kind of dropped into our laps, but it's really a great way. to tie current judicial issues back to our historic site of chief justice john marshall. so that's just a really quick sampling of some of the ways that that preservation virginia sites are using our historic landscapes. all right. thanks jim. now we will hear from elizabeth veemeyer who is a program coordinator with the national heritage areas program at the
national park service in dc along with administering financial and technical assistance to 55 of these. areas in 34 sites excuse me. she's also. working i'm sorry having a little technical issue here and along with the ministering financial and technical assistance in 55 these areas and 34 states the nha program provides technical assistance on the feasibility study process for emerging nhas. she's also worked as an archaeologist grants management specialist with the national park service and for the american battlefield protection program. elizabeth thanks chip, and i just want to say thank you to preservation, virginia for the invitation this afternoon. i'm happy to be here. i'm going to give an overview of the national heritage area
program and what national heritage areas are and a little bit about what they do benefits that heritage areas bring to communities and the nation and a little bit about how nhs are designated in the feasibility study process? so first, what are national heritage areas? the quick answer is there large lived in landscapes of national importance and they designated by congress? however, heritage areas are both a place and an organizational model for conservation and preservation efforts. the organizing model which is done through a local management entity and processes. there is really grassroots and a grassroots level. it's a community-based decision-making model with focus on interdisciplinary interdisciplinary approaches to programs and projects. um a management entity or what
we call local coordinating entity is designated via the legislation that creates the heritage area and those entities can be nonprofits state or local governments academic institutions or federal commissions. in the legislation that creates a heritage area the the management entity along with kind of this partnership with the federal government is tasked with goals of conservation outdoor recreation cultural and historic resource preservation education. and then the last one i have there in parentheses, which isn't sometimes always noted in the legislation but is a direct byproduct of the other goals and processes of a national heritage area is economic development for that community or that region. um many nha's activities address multiple conservation strategies and one single project. so while these are kind of called out separately a lot of projects and programs combine
them and i can talk about a little bit more examples later on but in general, this is a broad approach towards a large landscape and it sometimes can cultivate new ways of seeing and learning from a landscape from its resources and really at the core from its people. so where are the nhs i noted that nhas are not only in organizing model, but they're also a place as trip mentioned. there are 55 heritage areas across 34 states in the country. um, they are you can tell here from this map that they vary in size but in general there are in a strategic assemblage of resources that allows an important interplay between the landscape and its features to tell a story. there are usually nationally distinctive landscapes. meaning. this is a place.
this is the the best place to tell this story in america um, they can represent. different types different errors of history or different elements of our story in america and that can be industry events or people are or people or person. so some examples. and in terms of telling a story of industry and how industry played across landscape includes motor cities national heritage area in michigan rivers of steel national heritage area in the pittsburgh area of pennsylvania. or silos and smokestacks national heritage area in iowa which tells of an agricultural industry and then you have events or kind of trends in. our history and that can relate to the transportation so we have
a bunch of canal systems that are part of the heritage area program. we also have with the first one the first designated heritage area being the illinois and michigan canal connecting the great lakes to the mississippi. then we also have what i mentioned there's people or person we have abraham lincoln national heritage area in central, illinois how his life was shaped by that area. and then we also have the gullegi national hair cultural heritage corridor along the coast there from north carolina down to florida and you know the golgichi people and how they interact with the landscape and have a landscape influence them. i also encourage anyone to go on to our website and check out this map that's there and you can see how your life has interacted with heritage areas across the country, or see maybe
you didn't realize you were in one and benefit it from some of the programs and sites there. so what do they actually do? how is this? you know, how do they fulfill their their legislation and their mandate from congress? mainly it's through a public-private partnership, which really is a model of cost-effective way to preserve these nationally important natural cultural historic and recreational resources. and it's kind of through a creation of working partnerships. um, they expand upon traditional conservation approaches really looking at a large scale approach. it's community driven like i noted it's really at that grassroots level that projects and programs are developed and carried out. but at the same time there's that grassroots in that local effort. the connection is clear with the mission of the park service and furthering that mission across a larger landscape than just what the park service owns in a park unit boundary and part of that is, you know, making those connections to other sites that
maybe the park service doesn't doesn't own and manage themselves. but also helps tell a larger story of our shared heritage and some of that is through expanding upon previously underrepresented communities helping tell stories that maybe haven't been told previously making connections and partnerships with groups that maybe haven't had an opportunity in the past to tell their story. it helps them give them a platform in a space. heritage area is also usually provides subgrants and that's a way to help capacity building for their their networks at that local level and that could help to do carrying out certain projects like water quality interpretation historic preservation signage and brochures. i just wanted to point out here two heritage areas that are located in virginia. you may be familiar with them. and so maybe that you know, you're oh their heritage area now. i understand. i understand what they do. so you get a sense of how it heritage areas operate across
the country with just these two examples one journey through hollowed ground one of their premier. projects or programs is the national history academy, which is happening partly right now. it's usually a summer program for middle school and high school students. and which switch to virtual last year was able to make that switch and i think this year they're also doing some virtual programming. there's also the shenandoah valley battlefields national historic district. which despite its name is part of the program in general and they carry out battlefield preservation activities interpretation with a visitor center at third winchester battlefield signage walking tours and events such as conferences and other research sharing events. so what don't think do there is some confusion because they are tied to the park service whether or not they are units or how they're connected to us. so just wanted to be clear. they do not become units of the
park service when they are designated in nha. i did want to point out though on the right here a photo or give an example of how other how federal land is connected to a heritage area though. so, this is muscle shoals national heritage area in northern alabama. there is a wildlife refuge within the boundary of the heritage area the wheeler national wildlife refuge. um, they the heritage area worked with the the wildlife refuge. and when they were doing their planning and management planning and how they can provide more interpretation about the tennessee river there in this part of the state to the general public or to visitors. and so they were you know active participants in the planning and understanding how interpretation can be expanded. heritage area designation does not impact private property rights meaning there aren't regulations that come with it
meaning people, you know can or can't do certain things with their property or have to go through some design review. that's not part of what nha's are. also, it does not require public access to sites or land. it's all voluntary if you want to work with the heritage area according entity to provide public access to your private property or you know work on other projects that may come down the pike. it's not required at all. it's just voluntary and the last thing i just want to mention that they don't operate from top down and there i mean the park service isn't dictating and you're neil. we're not there every day managing what happens it's really defined by the local corning entity how we work with them and what type of may need from us. and that leads into a little bit more but so how does the park service actually play into this program? and what do we actually do? we are part of the public side of the public-private partnership that's created through a designation of a heritage area.
and i say part because there are other public entities right there could be state entities or other federal agency landowning agencies that come and play with the partnership as i know it with the fish and wildlife with the wildlife refuge. we offer technical assistance to existing heritage areas. they are required to do a management plan when they are first designated. so we help with that process we can offer technical assistance across the park service. not just the nha program staff, but you know connects to other park service staff members who are experts in interpretation and education. as well as resource preservation and connected conservation approach to a larger landscape. there is funding assistance that's provided to heritage areas and we the program staff do manage those cooperative agreements and that funding and the funding there is to really develop and implement the management plan. so help them carry out those activities and those actions
that are noted in the management plan. and then lastly we conduct evaluations of heritage areas to assess their accomplishments and fulfilling their legislation and implementing the management plan and their and their use of the federal funding. so here i'm not going to read all of this, but i just want to point out some benefits of heritage areas and really these are stats that on the program gathers annually from the existing heritage areas to understand how they're using their funds how they're supporting their communities what networks their their partnering with it's a local level and then kind of as those buckets i noted in conservation recreation preservation. education, how are they interact or how are they carrying out those types of projects? so i'll point out one example here is from south park national heritage area in colorado. they have been working on a project here at the paris mill site.
which was for processing gold ore it's from the let's see. so make sure i have it right the mill site dates back to 1874. it is listed in the national register of historic places and the heritage area partnered with the state historic preservation office there and applied for a grant through them. to do a rehabilitation multi-year project on this site and i hear have a picture of a completed masonry work on one of the walls show kind of the different types of actual hands-on preservation that a heritage area can also be involved in and here the heritage area invested about $40,000 and was able to leverage up to 200,000 in a cash match. so really even to leverage some of that federal funding they get next i'll point out another example of here you can see
stats on recreation and conservation. but also i wanted to point out one where it's a little bit more of an educational tilt and telling stories that may have not been told before is the south carolina national heritage corridor partnered with the barbados and carolinas legacy foundation. and they wanted to raise awareness of historic connections that bind south carolina and barbados. and so they put on special events programs tours and promotion to encourage exploration of sites in a sea sites in a different way across the south carolina landscape. so that's existing heritage areas what their tasks to do and how they're carrying out those tasks. but how do you become a heritage area? it's really a legislative process. so that means include, you know have a bill introduced go through that legislative process of a hearing maybe markups have a vote get it signed by the president eventually. and so really congressional
action needed. however, the park service can recommend steps that a community can take to kind of best be set up for becoming a heritage area one is a completion of a feasibility study and that involves, you know us promoting public involvement in the planning for that and a demonstrated widespread community involvement. not just particular, you know limited public bow more of a widespread community involvement in this effort. and also commitment from key constituents stakeholders. they're really play a part in helping create this network of the public-private partnership that's needed to help. nhb successful so the feasibility study maybe some of you are familiar with a special resource study when a park service unit is proposed. it's kind of similar to that but to assess. the feasibility and suitability of an area becoming a heritage area. it's really a process to engage
local people and organizations and discussing their future of the region's resources and quality of life and you know in those discussions maybe a heritage area is one option for meeting goals of that community and maybe it's become decided that this is the route we want to take. this is the best to carry out what we want to do for our community at that local level. and so a feasibility study would be done. it's really a means to inventory assess and document the nationally important resources in that area. and those researchers can be tangible or intangible, but it's really trying to get a community to think about what's unique about our area. what's important maybe what's endangered what's underutilized? how can we help promote something or bring capacity to something that does isn't there right. now it also has you look at who's going to be involved in the long term of this heritage area. and also what opportunities can be created if a heritage area is designated. um, and lastly, i'll just note the last bullet point here is
it's a way to also identify management funding and sustainability strategies. so it's also a little bit about the management and business aspect of that local courting entity that possibly carry this out. and i'd be remiss if i didn't mention during national pollination. we pollinator week heritage areas also. this is an example of how heritage areas themselves are have come together across the country and work, you know, so even though they're individual and their unique and they tell their own stories. they do come together to work on larger projects under the program. this is one example on the right from the john h chaffee, blackstone valley national heritage corridor in rhode island in massachusetts. this was an effort to create or plant a pollinator garden at a site that you historically was a kitchen garden, but due to continuous flooding of the polluted river there. they didn't feel comfortable planting actual food.
so they took it upon them. so say this to be great for a pollinator garden so they come worked with the rhode island. wild plant society and was able carry this project out. and then lastly i'll just note how our feasibility studies initiated if you are interested, they could be done by a local sponsors conducted by so biola organization they pay for it themselves. they maybe get a firm or consultant to help them carry this out. and if that's the case, then the park service can offer technical assistance and interpreting our guidelines for how to do feasibility studies and the criteria that we look at for the feasibility and suitability of an area. the other route is by congress. so congress can pass a law that do a direct the park service to conduct the study and then it would be a group of interdisciplinary folks from the park service that were tasked to do the study and there are two of those types of studies the park services carrying out right now one is the finger lakes in
upstate new york, and the other is the kentucky wildlands in eastern, kentucky, and i've provided the websites there for you to look that up to see more information on how that process is going. and i'll just leave it that note. there are multiple people in the program that are here if you have further questions myself and susan taylor in the washington office, and then there's regional coordinators as part of that heritage area program. and one is peter samuel who's in the philadelphia office. and virginia is part of that region. and then alisa kun susan or atlanta office and north carolina is part of that region and there's our website and our instagram if you want to learn more thank you. all right. thank you elizabeth, and now we will go to chris lowey. who is the refuge manager at the great dismal swamp national wildlife refuge. chris began working with fish and wildlife in 1992 has been in
virginia since 2001. and since 2007 has been the refuge manager at the great dismal swamp national wildlife refuge. one of the largest refugees in the eastern us chris turned over to you. thank you trip working on getting my room. there's not here. it's time to make sure that everybody can see that. we're good to go. all right. thank you. yeah, thank you for the opportunity. good afternoon everybody. it's a privilege to be part of this webinar showcase in the natural heritage areas and the potential for the great dismal swamp landscape the greater area of the great dismal swamp to maybe fall into one of those designations one day. so i just have a fairly short
presentation here just to give you some of the highlights of the refuge. we like to say it's a reference for wildlife and a reference for people and you know many people know about the natural resource significance of the great dismal swamp and more and more people are starting to learn about the cultural significance. so the great deal of the storm and so our webinars like this have been coming more regularly and it's great that we can help tell the story of that significance. so we'll take a like i said a quick little journey some of these items have been mentioned earlier, but it's time for some accusing said the supplies to be one million acres covering over two thousand square miles, so currently with the great business month nasa wildlife refuge and the north carolina business swap state park and other public access places in the business line. we're sitting around about
150,000 opens. i did steal this image actually from the north carolina digital swamp state park their interpretable information there, but i always like to start the presentation with itself. the refuge itself was established in 1974 under the dismal swamp act and purpose established by congress was to protect and preserve the unique in outstanding ecosystem. protect and perpetuate the diversity of life they're in. you know congressman keith and mentioned in his remarks of how you need this area is and it's already been known as a very unique outstanding ecosystem. secondary purpose of course is the promote the public useful program and provide public access to support stewardship for the area. today the refuge itself is 113,000 acres and like i said, the north carolina didn't want
state park is about 15,000 acres. there's no through roads not drive from one side north or south east to west straight through the swamp. you have to drive around it. lake drummond is the largest natural lake in the state of virginia. there's only two natural lakes in the state 3100 acres and as you can see on the satellite imagery. it's in the middle. it's the heart of the salon. i would like to call and so for people that live in the hampton roads area when you watch the weather on the news every night, you can often see the business laws and hopefully there's a good film and the geographic positioning when we talk about the people when you think of roanoke island in north carolina colonial williamsburg first landing, you know the dismal swamp and again pictured a million acres a lot of people a lot of history.
came through the business stopping. our comprehensive conservation plan. it was approved in 2016 and actually expires this july but until we have a new management plan that is vetted through public comment. you know, this plan will is our man is the plan and it sets the management direction for us for our natural resource protection a man's not the problems through the management while allowing public uses and that information is all in this plan and these three things all come together the natural cultural and you know the public use for stewardship. so i just the opponent diversity again many people know about the natural resource significance. we have over 200 species of birds that have been identified on a reference with half of them breeding.
90 species of butterflies and skippers the largest i've density bear population in the state of virginia and so various array of wildlife reptiles and amphibians. of course. it's a wet environment. so a multitude of nature resources that were responsible for rare and engaged species as well. quickly when we talk about habitat management of four community map it shows a different force types historically the swamp was dominated by atlantic white cedar and bald cyprus. it's now dominated by a maple gunforce in the light of green, but we we have a habitat management plan. we have priority communities that we're working to conserve restore and enhance. and how do we do that do it through the forest manipulation whether it is select.
login, you know timber harvest. psychological restoration by slowing the drainage i didn't put the slide in here, but we have 150 miles of -- and roads. that we inherited as a reference the dramatically offers the hydrologic conditions of islam. it's drier it drains very fast. now i won't go into those details where we are working towards and their hydrological restoration by slowing that drainage rewetting the swamp left the wet one do wetland again, which has the multitude benefits. we do a lot of forests and inventory and monitoring to determine to help of our florida software. and we do bird and other than that, you know animal services. nana refuge for people the slot is as i mentioned earlier on its geographical position.
it's always brought on the brave the adventurous the sheltered escape. freedom seekers and other is this some highlights about that again? these are the ancestral lands of a man's union side and the heron tribe. that lived off the land moved on the land and moved off the land. george washington came and 1763 saw it as a glorious paradise, but also an economic team are logging the property the farming and also just the timber industry. runaway slaves maroon towns live out here in islam around being a french word for mariners. and they're out here on the high grounds. and this lower picture is dr. dan sayers who was conducted. believe 13 years. i'll give or take of archaeological research looking
at these. these areas where these. communities live in swan what assets what are the cultural assets we have we have historical markers. this is one here. is this north carolina state line market was taking along a road, but these these stone monuments are within a swamp. they were actually some of them were found during the wildfires that we had about 10 years ago while folks were out fighting. well if i was in cds out along the state line, we have cemeteries on the property. we are very real loads that we don't even know. all where they are, but hurricane matthew in 2016 walks out one of these roads and exposed the railroad tracks, but then ended up in a you know, we had to assess those tracks before we prepare this road. the buried artifacts that have
been collected by dr. sears and catalog summer in museums for this display and some are hosted on site and as i mentioned the ancestor balance that's setting itself. with that on the research that dr. dan says did and some of the history will refuse was designated part of the national park services national underground. railroad network with freedom so we have an educational pavilion with some interpreting information taken from dr. sarah's work and other documents and relative that we have and so we're really proud of that that was in addition to the north carolina state park, and we didn't want to know we're all designated. i believe in what we know we will want to first refuges refugees in the country designated.
okay when i talk about public use again the public we need we need the public to understand the significance of solve have stewardship help support and promote kinds of leads and presentation of the song. so we have multiple public use access points. we have driving routes typing routes water routes and we get about 65 to 75,000 visitors a year. and so if the manage that moves and ensure that now this often times we have like looters and you want to find these old. community science and take artifact. so again, it's it's a man. it's a man and management challenge for us. so, how do we bring all this together as the title of this webinar connecting historic preservation with natural resource foundation? the way i can sum it up is every
day my staff and researchers are out on the refuge conducting fieldwork to meet the purpose. we have multiple users. conducted while i conservation times just type and research or construction projects. we'd like to say we're doing forest manipulation work. we're here have grounded students. well, all of that is and very close coordination with our officialized service historic preservation officer that we have for the northeast region. we conduct research projects and try to do inventory where we can. the analyze the potential impacts to any of these projects. um, we want to do some thinning out on the refuge and we submit a archaeological review to our historicalization. we can't state. historic preservation office concurrence on home products
that we have to do i said this was picture here. study of the railroad where housing. yes, that was at washout. and before we put a bunch of battle on it, or maybe even you know move the tracks we considered to use an education and of course we decided to leave them. prepare the world so we get permanence all this into mitigation. we're necessary according to the national business tour of graduation. now, it's actually 106. that's the last line i have before and i do want to thank really saying thomas and elizabeth for the information that they provided about the natural heritage area, you know for us. the ref needs of federal agency. we are just the stakeholders in this effort. on i appreciate that background is with conforming everyone that this that's a heritage areas. our community based are grown
from the bottom up. this is the way it can save you and we're just one stakeholder. it's not about the reference. it's about landscape. we're really excited to be a part of it. and let's put in apart for a great business slots stakeholders collaborate. which is a group of stakeholders interested in the national cultural significance of its life. that second law together by the willingness society has to facilitated during that group together. we need twice a year and against this great one to be of a larger stakeholder group. thank you. thanks so much, chris. um, and now it is my pleasure to welcome nikki bass who is an asthma and tribal councilwoman and writer at descendants of the great dismal. his best descends from families
of african indigenous and european origin who survived in and around of the great dismal swamp and we are very pleased to have her with us today and to give us some more information about the history and cultural as well and her efforts to give a new voice to underrepresentative narratives through her own family story nikki welcome. thank you. can everyone see my slides? okay, great. so i'd like to start by acknowledging and welcoming our chief earl bass assistant chief keith anderson, and also lee mitchell who joins us from the upper mattapani tribe. she is the environmental program manager and the three of them are members of our regional tribal community who worked to preserve both the environment history and culture. i have a slide here showing the
logo for my website descendants of the great dismal and it captures a lot about my story. i am a descendant of indigenous african-american and european settlers in the united states. and as you see here, i'm featuring a woman and her body is blended into a cypress tree and she has a migratory bird in her hand and to me this represents. my family's connection to the environment. our experience as indigenous people being born of the land and water as well as our experience as people of color living through labor living through enslavement and then living through generations of staying local as well as migrating to other locations for opportunities. so i only have a little bit of time to share stories today, but i welcome everyone to read my site for more information. so going into our discussion of indigenous communities around
the great dismal swamp. i'd like to start with a slide that i've actually i'm starting to use this a lot now if you look at the agenda it says virginia indian history around the great dismal swamp. i want to scratch that and actually scratch everything we traditionally see about communities around the swamp. early maps like john smith's here in the background were made by outsiders looking in from a different language culture perspective of land water and property indigenous communities generally considered waterways the center of the tribal territory rather than a boundary. and land in between waterways was often shared for foraging fishing and hunting. so with that context it helps to understand why the swamp would have been and still is a shared space between several significant waterways for foraging fishing and hunting. it doesn't belong to virginia
indians or north carolina indians. it's an ancestral space that crosses over algonquian speaking communities like ours enhancement indian nation the show a note community chesapeake. yopam or wapamiac and then also irocoin speakers like the nottoway. maharan and tuscarora and this is mosley's 1733 map. you can look that you can access it online and zoom in and it helps you to see that for the nansemond community many are familiar with our settlements around the nanceman river, but we also had settlements on the maharan river the notary river. and our history crosses the boundary of the state line. this is true for other tribal communities and we want people to understand that as we develop the narrative and a vision for the swamp and the preservation of its history and culture. so looking at a timeline, we'll
go back to the 1600s where many people start that's where our written records starts because our indigenous languages weren't written. so most of our history is preserved orally and the documents that you have to learn start around the 1600s with the arrival of settlers and at that time colonists displaced many of the tribal communities from riverfront settlements toward the swamp. the colonists were had in agrarian lifestyle. they wanted good farmland. so the land that they wanted was not the land around the swamp and for indigenous people. we move we moved in that direction because we had a history surviving this swamp. we were familiar with foraging and hunting there and we viewed it as a safe place as chris mentioned a refuge to preserve our lifestyle and community as we were being displaced. throughout the 1700s tribes like ours the nansemond not away in the heron shared interpreters
and aligned politically against colonial destroy encroachment. and indigenous people also experienced enslavement and were subjected to a lot of the same oppressive laws that were developed to control all people of color. so i encourage anyone studying the history and culture of the great dismal swamp to study the laws because the laws forced people into the structures that we we ended up in and by the 1800s many indigenous families were of mixed ancestry tri-racial and living in indio's communities where there was strong intermarriage and preservation of our culture and traditions. and so i wanted to share this timeline because as i started out i am a descendant of all three of the groups that formed this story around the swamp, but i want to emphasize the importance of remembering life before enslavement as well as life after enslavement.
there's so much focus on the rich history around the maroon communities and the underground railroad and i'll actually get into some examples of that within my own family, but it's so critical to maintain a perspective of the whole story so that we don't limit the value of the swamp to one period of time i also want to emphasize again the inner tribal history the afro indigenous history. this is not a place where there were just indigenous people living alone. just you know, african-american's living in the swamp alone or just european settlers living alone. this is a space where communities blended formed relationships and formed resilience together within the environment. and as we talk about envisioning a national heritage area, i want to share the importance of having indigenous leadership in that effort earlier in a presentation. we talked about how national
heritage areas are places where historic cultural and natural resources combined to form cohesive natural nationally important landscapes all the indigenous communities in this area around the great dismal swamp are living linkages between history culture and the environment. i've identified some of the things that we preserve as part of our culture plants and wildlife many plants that were used as medicines. traditional ecological knowledge cooking and culinary traditions our languages and storytelling there's incredible folklore around the great dismal swamp that i've tried to capture and my website and they're all so i brought them out here. i mean, there are books and books that you can get on the folklore of the swamp which includes a lot of indigenous folklore as well as you know stories shared by other hunters and people who brave the conditions within the swamp. so the storytelling is an
extremely important. and again focusing on our songs our dances our regalia which incorporates parts of the natural environment and the intertribal relationships and trade routes around the swamp. and so another important reason to include the indigenous community is that we have decades of experience engaging the public and cultural community activities. i've highlighted some images here things. we've done we have created yee-hawkins or these are a traditional homes for members of the public to see and walk through we've had reenactment spaces on our tribal ground, which is located at matlock town off of godwin boulevard on the northwestern border of the great dismal swamp. there's also an image here of our traditional church site at indiana united methodist church, and that was also the location
of the nanceman indian public school. i've actually worked with preservation, virginia and mark wagner who's on the call here to nominate this site to the national register of historic places, and we're hopeful that in the future if we are able to warm and national heritage area that we can put some of these sites on a trail for people to experience not just the the wilderness and wonder within the swamp but the the culture and experiences of communities that lived around the swamp and really lived in and out. and then i have an image there of a kayak launch that we have on our tribal ground. we're building a floating dock to help people have more water experiences. i also love kayaking on the dismal swamp canal and then there's an image of our pow-wow we've had more than 30 years of our powwow it help people come and learn about our culture. so these are just some examples of existing activities that we
have that could be built into a national heritage area and elaborated upon for more community connection. and then just going to some examples within my family of stories that can be built up to help the public and community learn. this is a series of images about one of my ancestors named romulus sawyer and he was actually born enslaved in south mills on the set. i'm southeastern border of the great dismal swamp and he led 29 members of our family through the swamp in escape from their plantation to norfolk where he actually joined the union army fought in the civil war for his own freedom and the freedom of his family and ended up returning back to his community living next door to his former slave owner and forming a legacy of leadership. and that was such an inspiration within my family that we have. he was born in the early 1800s,
but the second photo is romulus price another one of my ancestors named after him and then the third photo is my grandfather's brother romulus bass who is also named after him. so we have these incredible stories of survival of people who use the swamp to escape to freedom, but they didn't just disappear. i hear a lot of discussions about maroon communities and and i feel concerned that the story sort of stops there. i want everyone to understand that the story did not stop there the stories continue and there are families that have developed into symbols of leadership not just resilience, but leadership and accomplishment within our family. we have people who have become farmers teachers doctors astronauts. it's incredible to look at what type of you know people have grown out of this community. and i also have examples of
stories in my family of people who escaped through the swamp and and built legacies and other states and these pictures you see some of our relatives who traveled through, ohio, indiana into michigan. someone is first canada, and i'm not sure if it's large enough to read here, but you can see in james basses obituary. he says that his family was born into slavery and escape through the underground railroad. so i want everyone to understand when you see these narratives about people escaping their stories continued and it would be wonderful to feature some of these examples of what life was like for those who stayed and what life was like for those who left. i also wanted to share some examples of nansemond subsistence in the great dismal swamp. this picture includes chief earl bass's grandfather and he was known as one of the greatest hunting guides in the region whenever any one of influence. addition celebrities would come
to the area they would seek out jesse bass as the daniel boone of the of virginia, north carolina for support going through the swamp. i mean everyone wanted to go there to hunt but they didn't have the skills. he had to navigate through the waters through the trails and it's it's an incredible legacy. we have hundreds of photos of his excursions newspaper articles, just an incredibly rich history of that tradition. and i have the same tradition for my grandparents the the person and the third person over. there is my grandfather's brother kenny bass and this was a common tradition that they hunted they explore. they were very proud of their ability to survive. so we look forward to a future where we may have a national heritage area and and resources to preserve and elevate these stories for more people to learn them. and then lastly one point that
i'd like to emphasize and i touched on it in my when i shared my logo from my website, but it's extremely important to develop underrepresented narratives like those of women who lived around the great dismal swamp. i often see, you know, because men were the legal agents at that time. there was something called coverture where you had to be a man to own land unless you were a widow or an unmarried woman and a lot of the written record talks about men's lives. but as we explore personal families, we can tell the stories of women and talk about their experiences their strength how they dealt with the conditions living around the swamp and in our family one of our major arcs is our aunt blanny and she lives to be over a hundred years old and she was she was at that generation where she was born writing a buggy and had to learn how to drive a car or she lived her whole life. road in south mills and she
married her husband who's in the second photo there who also lived his whole life on that road and they they formed churches they lived through, you know, incredible experiences and actually the earlier picture. i shared of romulus price. he was blaine's brother and he fought in world war i and had incredible experiences about being, you know, a soldier and a veteran through that period of time so i know i don't have a lot of time i could tell so many stories, but i just wanted to give a snapshot of several of my relatives who lived in the small and around the swamp, you know, our family land has always been described as swamp land so we weren't living within the border of the refuge that chris did a great job of describing, but we were right there on the edge and you know in earlier times when the swamp was larger. that's how it was described in our family deeds as swamp land. we lived on bass lake road, and there isn't a lake there.
it was described as a lake because of how swampy it was. and another thing i'd like to share for my family is just i love to look at their sense of fashion and pride, you know, i don't want us to always think of people who descend from the swamp is being downtrodden and just hiding out from society. these are incredible people who had rich lives personalities and beautiful stories, so, i think everybody for listening and i look forward to being able to connect more as we go down this path. thanks so much nikki for being with us and for sharing those points and stories and also for flagging some of those resources you held up and i'd like to also thank mark wagner for the resources. he's put links to in the chat. um and now i'd like to introduce eric anthony shepherd who will share some of more about the african-american history of the dismal swamp. mr. shepherds the president and founder of mobita llc and
diversity restoration solutions incorporated business tourism in an international project development firms that are located in williamsburg. he's also the leader for the 2019 motherland homecoming project featuring projects planned for virginia and zambia and he's an author and family genealogy researcher. well, thank you trip. can you hear me? okay, i've been having a little thank you struggling with attention technology a little bit. i can hear you, right? you know right now so we have some unique issues and i like to thank you. and of course sonya for inviting me and with preservation of virginia. um, i like to if i could please i know i have to go very please have a much time. but i am a descendant of the grandy family out of camden
north carolina camden county there and in doing my research, i'm originally from baltimore. i started tracing my roots of genealogy research. back in 1996 right after the million man march and didn't know much about my father's side of the family the shepherd side did that and then? did the grandy side which my grandmother married to shepherd and her name was elnora grande and about 2001 i was down for the first time in chesapeake, virginia, and i was told by my father's first cousin name was clinton sonny grandy. that the people our people came out of camden north carolina went down there and visited and lo and behold as a result of that. when i got back to baltimore google a place called grandin, north carolina up pops narrative
of the life of moses grandy later slave in the united states of america that got me really involved. and engaged with his story, but he was also a waterman. that worked on the dismal swab canal and if you have an opportunity to read his slave narrative, which was published. in 1843. he's very exhibitly some of the conditions of not only. people that were enslaved that that were on plantations, but also ancestors who hand dug and you know, you don't hear much about the contribution enslaved africans made with the dismal swamp and the canal itself. that's a 22 mile stretch from elizabeth city, north carolina up through deep creek that was
hand-dug by ancestors and moses describes that very vividly in his narrative. the narrative is online and you can google moses grandy and you can read it if you haven't had the opportunity to do so, but it gives you more insight to the human side of what was going on there in the swamp. and but we talk about terrorism they were under tremendous. our ancestors that handbook that canal as moses described it. when they did not make quota. some days they were tied up to a tree and whipped and made sure the insects got into the the wounds that they had and some of the enslaved ancestors had to take care of those who were whipped in some of them were whipped so bad that they died
right there and i always say well, you know, we never read about the funeral processions going out of the swamp. for our ancestors that died there. so to me, that means their bones are still there. and so that's a place that needs to be recognized not only for the contributions as you have million dollar yachts. going up and down the dismal swamp canal now that don't know about the history of how that canal was even built. he does that make sure and my involvement with the wilderness society and the collaborative and there's one of its founders leaders with a cheap -- and alexa alexander. from the wilderness idea at the time we got this started and my goal was to make sure that african-american community is more aware of the significance
of the dismal swamp and we got this information a lot of it for me came through the moses grandy slave narrative along with dr. dan stays a good man. who's an archeologist that support. the maroon community and there existence there those were our ancestors that escaped the dismal swamp and that's i'm sorry, nothing around railroad and they set up communities in the swamp. and i know they worked in associated with the native american community and other whites as well, but i've been to zambia in africa, which is right next door to and go. so a lot of them who built canals there in zambia and kind of conditions as the swamp. um, they preferred to be in the swamp and be freed and be on on
a plantation so they contributed and they brought a lot of knowledge to this united states in the area as well and what i did back in 2004 because everywhere moses granny went after he brought his bought his freedom. i went to and found more other grandi relatives. well also went to london england who published those slave narratives in the 17 1800s and presented them a plaque from randy family. thanking them for their participation support and so my ancestors that actually get out of bondage and what it were able to share their stories through the british and foreign antislavery society in time. it's now called antislavery international they still exist because the work is not complete. it's still a lot of slavery around the world that needs to
be dealt with and so as we have dealt with it, there are other families that are dealing with the same thing even unto this day. and so the work continues to free people and to make people aware how this can happen. my first experience around business swamp and i'm a responsibility this short presentation to around the dismal swamp was the dismal swamp state park down in camden, north carolina course, that's what moses was born. and got a lot of information not only about my ancestors and relatives them in a place. i never heard of prior called, camden county north carolina in the dismal swamp. they all have exhibits down there on the north carolina side previous attendant was very eligible and very good with joy, greenwood. they were very welcoming and
allow people to get a full set of information not previously known to a lot of people about the cultures and the human history surround the swamp and of course chris lowery loudly from the national wildlife refuge then suffolk, virginia does a tremendous job with this as well. and that's one of the exhibits there and you slavery. the part of that story is well known as it should be but that's a lot of opportunity. it should be a part part of the national heritage designation. that more education and more interaction with the african-american community and others. as they should have been there's and some of all history. large that's the business small canal and as i said, it wasn't, you know to this degree of
interest despite at the time moses around the canal, but it was handed 22 mile stretch. there were no backhoes in those days. no heavy equipment as we know it and moses granny describes very vividly the conditions that they were under in and they had to work and so we just want to honor and recognize those ancestors that made that country contribution and i believe during my research. that the dismal swamp canal is the oldest continuous operating canal in the united states. so it's a lot of history right here in not only the north carolina side, but also up through deep creek in virginia up towards portsmouth. it is beautiful, but the heart that had not been acknowledged
and recognized and some type of real memorial or recognition and ancestors things of those things that need to be considered as part of the movement forward to make this a a national designation national heritage site but also, you know worked with a congressman randy forbes at the time we're dating ourselves a little bit when moses grande was given the honor of having it a road named after moses brandy trail and we were there that was in 2006 january 20th to be exact and it was one of the ways to recognize because moses had his story shared with the rest of the world moses grandy's story and contribution in the area. and i will end with that because
is of the essence is short and we don't want to keep people too long, but i thank you for allowing me to come in and share this information thus far. thank you so much eric and your connection held out almost the entire way. there's only fuzzy once or twice. so so glad you with this and thank you so much much for sharing that information. and those stories and thanks again to all of our excellent speakers today and thanks to all of you for attending. unfortunately. we have run that time a little over time, but we have put i see some more resources have been put in the chat and i think there were only one or two remaining questions. we'll send an answer to those. and also want to let you know because one of the questions was about a recording of this the webinar has been recorded and will be available on presentation for genius website in the next few days. so, thanks again to all our wonderful speakers and to everyone for joining us.