The Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

The Hopewell Culture National Historical Park is located in Chillicothe, Ohio along with other earthworks and mounds throughout the state. These sites contain earthworks and mounds that date from around 100 BC to AD 400. A short intro is available at Hopewell Culture – Sacred Spaces. Just scroll down the presentation to see the pictures and text. More detail can be found on the National Park Service (NPS) website at Ancient Ohio Trail. Hopewell Mound Group and History Culture. Background videos are at

The situation is this:

The earthworks, and particularly the mounds at the Hopewell Mound Group are no longer the size that they were when surveyed originally in 1848. Over the years most of the Earthworks have been plowed under, built over or otherwise destroyed. The National Park Service now owns this property. Their mission is to preserve “unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.” (NPS) Key to this is “To preserve unimpaired.” The site General Management Plan (GMP) went through a public environmental process and designated this area be set aside to preserve, protect and interpret the remnants of this group as well as other priorities on p. 4. You can find other regulations that govern the NPS at 36 CFR (pay close attention to Part 68 – The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and the difference between preservation/rehabilitation/restoration/reconstruction), Standards and Guidelines and other information on Title 54. This sets the stage for the laws that govern the NPS. Now, even though the NPS owns (with the Ohio Historical Society) the land and manages it, and the Hopewell Culture cannot be traced directly back to any specific Native American Tribe, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act also comes into play as earlier excavations have unearthed burial material. In case this is not enough, the site is being considered for World Heritage site recognition and must meet the UNESCO criteria. They are also working with a variety of stakeholders on this nomination. See details at Ohio History.

The problem is this:

With the consideration of the World Heritage application, the GMP has shifted in perspective. Just preserving and keeping grassland is not acceptable any more. However, the internal regulations for the NPS and the other regulatory guidance under which they fall has not changed. But if the property is under prairie showing small raises in the earth when there should be 30 foot mounds, and looks more like a pasture than an earthwork, how will they meet the UNESCO criteria? UNESCO is a proponent of rebuilding (think the rebuilt Great Wall of China – would you travel all the way there to see piles of rubble?). This flies in the face of the other regulations. Part of the purpose of the World Heritage Grant is to increase tourism so the experience a person has is as important as the preservation aspect. So, the problem is how do you represent the earthworks in question? One hundred years of history in the US is adamantly opposed to reconstruction. NPS says you should not reconstruct historic features except in extraordinary circumstances. Your job is to look at all the regulations and determine what the appropriate actions should be. Is this a legal issue? Moral/ethical because of the Native American component? Or purely economic? How do the regulations support each other? Contradict each other? How would you advise the NPS to proceed based on these criteria? Are there “work arounds” that would allow them to meet the intent of the regulations but satisfy the need to show a site worthy of World Heritage designation? As a public administrator, you will not be as involved in case law as you will this type of decision. How will you proceed?

Please prepare a 15 – 18-page paper (text, not front or back matter) on your response. Be sure to cite your sources in APA format. You can find additional information on the APUS Library Guide at Pubadmin under the Special Topics Hopewell Resources. You need at least 15 sources to include the regulations. Part of the assignment is to read the regulations and familiarize yourself with them and how they are written so I am looking for a good number of the primary sources here as well as scholarly articles. The paper should be double-spaced with a header that contains your name, date, class and paper title.

I thought I would throw this out to help you better think through the issue of World Heritage Designation and how the other regulations might affect it and the Hopewell Culture Heritage Park.
Define and analyze the problem
What is it?
Who or what is affected?
How did it develop?
What are the causes?
Construct policy alternatives
What are the options? (Perhaps most critical step)
Identify major stakeholders and their interests
Encourage creativity and innovation
Develop Evaluative Criteria
What is most suitable taking equity, efficiency, effectiveness, feasibility, social acceptability into consideration?
Social and political feasibility?
Technical feasibility?
Economic/resource feasibility and benefit-cost analysis?
Assess the Alternatives
Which is most likely to produce the desired outcomes?
What is the available evidence that can be used to support the above evaluation?
Draw Conclusions
Which alternative is most desirable?
Should the policy include a single action or combination of them?
What other (expected) factors are likely to come into play and affect the outcome?
What possible unexpected factors might come into play and affect the outcome?
How might these other factors influence the policy’s ability to achieve its stated goals?
As you can see, the requirements of thoughtful, rigorous and impartial assessment are paramount, given that there are potentially so many different variables that can affect a policy’s impact and/or outcome at any given time, or in any given context.

Don’t forget that your recommendations may take on a completely different form than supporting the application. Be creative (yet practical) when coming up with alternative solutions!

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