Attorney Hiram Sasser’s remarks in the April 15 story “All Church Picnic moving to Esther Short” hit on the key to the National Park Service-Pearson conflict: “They’re (NPS) treating it like the middle of Yellowstone, and I equate it to Central Park in New York City.”
As the executive director of the Pearson Air Museum in its build days, I was in numerous meetings to create the partnership of the NPS with the city of Vancouver and private groups to manage the air museum. It was supposed to be a partnership that would be a model for agencies and national parks across the country.
It was our vision that the new Vancouver National Historic Reserve (now called the Fort Vancouver National Site) would be “the place where the community could gather to throw their hats in the air when there was something to celebrate.” The NPS rules and regulations for the Fort Vancouver Historic Site need to be expanded, so it can be that community gathering place. Sporting events, church groups and bands should not be prohibited, but encouraged.
We have a jewel downtown, and it’s not being enjoyed to its fullest due to NPS restrictions.
We need to be able to gather and throw our hats in the air in our national historic reserve. It does not just belong to the NPS.
John J. Donnelly, Vancouver