The Historic American Landscapes Survey Inventory Form: How Does it Work?
by Christopher M. Stevens, ASLA

EDITORIAL NOTE: Most of the original content of this article has been deleted because of updates to the documentation guidelines for Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) sites. The former HALS Inventory (HALSI) form has been replaced with the simplified Guide to Identifying and Documenting HALS Sites and HALS Short Format History Template. These new guidelines are located on the ASLA website at Advocacy/Historic Landscapes/Historic American Landscapes Survey under the heading: "How to Complete a Landscape Documentation Project."

The Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) has benefitted greatly in 2009 with the submission of 60 completed HALS Inventory (HALSI) forms for California, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Florida, and North Carolina landscapes. Special thanks for their prolific contributions go to the HALS Northern California Chapter and its co-chair, California HALS Liaison Chris Pattillo, ASLA; Oklahoma HALS Liaison Dr. Charles Leider, FASLA, and his Oklahoma State University students; and Wisconsin HALS Liaison Dr. Arnold Alanen, Hon. ASLA, and his University of Wisconsin students. HALSI documentation is an ideal student project, and Delaware HALS Liaison Chad Nelson, ASLA, Assistant Professor of Landscape Design at the University of Delaware, is preparing to join Drs. Leider and Alanen in employing this tool to teach and document their states' historic landscapes.

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Landscape inventoried by the HALSI process: Council ring at The Clearing, designed by Jens Jensen, in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin. Courtesy Arnold Alanen, 2000. HALS WI-8. 

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Landscape inventoried by the HALSI process: Entrance to Fairyland with “The Old Woman In The Shoe,” in Oakland, California. Courtesy Chris Pattillo, 2009. HALS CA-19. 

The HALS Northern California Chapter employs a different strategy to complete HALS documentation. This group of dedicated preservationists has quarterly meetings and has developed a user-friendly and fact-filled website to share their work and promote further efforts. The website is a collaboration between the Northern California Chapter of HALS and the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at the University of California at Berkeley. This chapter has also created a national competition to promote the completion and submission of HALS Inventory documentation for theme park landscapes across the country. Entitled, "Revisiting Cultural Landscapes of Childhood - A HALS Challenge," this competition is sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and will include the award of cash prizes. The competition closes July 2010. Learn more. If you have never completed a HALS Inventory, this is a fun-spirited way to take the plunge.

The year 2009 certainly has been a productive year for the Historic American Landscapes Survey, and with your help, 2010 will even be a better year for landscape preservation.

Christopher M. Stevens, ASLA, is a landscape architect at the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) program of the National Park Service. He can be reached at: 


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Andrew Kohr, ASLA, Chair
(678) 689-2377

Earen Hummel, ASLA, Vice Chair
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Tina Bishop, ASLA, Chair-Elect
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David Driapsa, ASLA, HALS Coordinator
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