Message #25:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Casa Malpais -- Grassroots Efforts Deserve Our Respect and Support
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 97 16:21:00 MST
Encoding:  52 TEXT


From: Teresa Hoffman

There is more to the issues surrounding Casa Malpais National Historic 
Landmark than readers would have gathered from the recent comments of the 
SASIG editor on the J.D. Hayworth article. The Town of Springerville has 
made a major commitment to protecting the site and providing opportunities 
for the public to learn more about this significant resource. Long before 
the site was purchased from the State, a nonprofit organization, the Malpais 
Foundation, was created by the town to oversee the development of the Casa 
Malpais archaeological program in a sensitive and responsible manner. The 
Foundation board of directors (of which I am a member) includes  local 
residents, professional archaeologists, Zuni and Hopi tribal 
representatives, and Town officials. The Foundation hired a full-time 
manager last year to develop a program that balances interpretation, 
research, curation, preservation, stabilization, and heritage tourism 
needs. A research design, stabilization plan, and management plan have been 
in place for several years.

Even though the site is no longer State-owned, there are deed restrictions 
and covenants that ensure that the same level of cultural resources 
protection applies to the site as if it were still State land. The Town 
fully supported this as part of their negotiations with the State. With 
regard to the comment that the site "had been vandalized by local or 
regional residents for years," there has been no vandalism at the site since 
the Town began its program there. One would be hard-pressed to find sites in 
a similar situation that had not been vandalized  - what is unusual is the 
leadership of the community in protecting the site now.

Affiliate status with NPS is primarily being pursued because it would 
provide administrative support that a small rural program such as Casa 
Malpais could benefit from and would also help to promote the site as a 
heritage resource. Signage is incidental; the town already has signs on the 
major roadways in the area. While Heritage Fund money has provided partial 
support to the program, the vast majority of the funding has come from other 
sources and primarily Town revenues. The Town pays the salary of the program 
manager, who also  conducts fund-raising to support the program.

In these days of struggling economies, especially for rural areas like 
Springerville that must diversify in order to survive, it is remarkable that 
the Town has made a commitment of this magnitude. As archaeologists, we 
should be thankful that there are communities like Springerville that 
recognize the value of the cultural resources in their midst and are willing 
to be stewards of those resources. We can't rely on legal authority and on 
the federal and state government to protect everything. Grassroots public 
efforts such as this may not be perfect solutions (and what is?), but they 
deserve our respect and support.

Teresa L. Hoffman
 thoffman@netzone.com