From: David Welch
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2018 10:20 AM
Subject: RE: Naches Trail protection
As part of the designation process, the NPS Santa Fe has completed their feasibility study. It is in HQ DC review at the present time. When the review is completed it will be submitted to Congress. Could be later this year.
I have not spoken with Rep. Heck, but plan to at some future time with the help of David Nicandri
former National Protection Officer for the Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA)
I am writing in response to your email concerning a housing development at the Brookdale Golf Course.
While the location is a marked site on the old Oregon Trail in Washington, it is not part of the Oregon National Historic Trail (NHT) as currently designated by Congress. The NHT at present does not extend into Washington. Therefore this office, which administers the NHT for the National Park Service, cannot weigh in on the matter. You could note in your comments, though, that the Naches Trail is a study route under consideration for possible designation to the Oregon NHT.
Your best bet for getting some attention for your historic preservation concerns is to contact the Washington State Historic Preservation Office about this Oregon Trail property. First, ask if the development project has a federal nexus of any kind that makes it a federal undertaking, subject to the National Historic Preservation Act. Second, ask if there is a state law that requires impacts of development on historic properties to be considered in the permitting or planning processes. If the answer is yes to either of these questions, tell them about the wagon ruts and ask if the property has been professionally evaluated for eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places. Ask if there is a public review process in which you can become involved.
A second avenue is to contact the developers directly, ask if they are aware of the presence of the ruts, and ask if they might be willing to protect and interpret the ruts as green space within their development. Often, developers are willing to do that because they want to be good civic neighbors, green space can enhance the value of their property, and they are genuinely interested in protecting historic places. An organization called the Oregon-California Trails Association might be willing to work with you on this and could assist the developers with interpretation of the site.
Cultural Resources Specialist/Archeologist
National Park Service, Branch Office, National Trails Intermountain Region
324 S. State Street, Suite 200
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
By Marianne Lincoln
There has been another development proposed on the Brookdale Golf Course. I have yet to learn if the developer is aware of, or even cares if, there are wagon ruts from the northernmost route of the Oregon Trail there. Certainly, there is an official Oregon Trail marker on Brookdale Road in front of the Golf Course. Several years ago, when a development proposal was stopped, I was offered a golf cart and a chance to tour the premises, whereupon I took many photos.
The current proposal is in a postponement phase of indeterminate length. Neighbors discovered the presence of the development plans accidentally, not by notification. This is indeed a gripping reason that notification is urgently important for developments. The current County Council has a proposal in committee to change Title 18 Development Regulations that includes the stoppage of notification processes. If you never write to your council person, that alone is an extreme example of a time you need to speak up.
The Parkland Group has invited the developer to a public meeting on January 11, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at Elmhurst Elementary School, 420 133rd St E, Tacoma, WA 98445. This will be an opportunity for them to explain the project and for the community to ask questions and you to request modifications that maintain our historic site.
The Longmire Party of 1853 was the first group to cross Naches Pass, the road was not even completed. The group had to wait at the top of the pass at the end of October 1853, slaughter 3 oxen, tan hides and create rope to let the wagons down the mountainside above Greenwater. The site of that wagon lowing is marked by Boy Scout made signs up on the #70 Road 2 miles above Greenwater on SR410. That group included the James Longmire family, the Benjamin Wright family, which settled on the land that became Marymount, and the Mahons, who owned the Donation Land Claim that is now the Brookdale Golf Course. The Christopher Mahon family welcomed new settlers and cared for them until they could establish their own homesteads. The Mahon family cemetery is located on the golf course. These facts are noted in most every Pierce County History book.