This newsletter is dedicated to a celebration of the progress made in the first decade of the HALS (Historic American Landscapes Survey) efforts co-sponsored and championed by the ASLA in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS). This issue commemorates the challenges and successes experienced in these formative years by the ASLA Historic Preservation Professional Practice Network, the ASLA HALS Subcommittee, the ASLA HALS Liaisons Network, and members who dedicate personal and professional interest, time, and leadership to advance the state of the art of historic landscape preservation.
Early HALS efforts included fashioning the Memorandum of Understanding which established the program through the NPS and Library of Congress and outlined the responsibilities of the ASLA to nurture the program within our professional membership and beyond.
Our first 10 years saw efforts to inform the ASLA membership of the importance of recording our landscape heritage and to garner support and contributions for landscape documentation. The infrastructure at the Library of Congress and the National Park Service has been set up and modest funds have been allocated to support staffing positions. Contributions to HALS can now be seen on the Library of Congress website, the depository of the documentation alongside the more well-known Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) documents. ASLA established the HALS Liaison Network which includes representation from each ASLA Chapter. Links to program information and forms in the NPS and the ASLA websites provide easy access to information and demonstrate that the structural part of the program is now in place.
It would be most appropriate to acknowledge and extend profound thanks to a number of industrious individuals whose work led to the establishment of HALS. These include Patricia O’Donnell, FASLA; Charles Birnbaum, FASLA; and Noel Vernon, ASLA, in the early years. Susan Crook, ASLA, (Utah) led the national implementation of HALS, spearheaded establishment of the HALS Liaison Network, and served as our first HALS Liaison Coordinator. Susan mentored members and formulated recommendations for actions to take, which has constructed the solid foundation of HALS within ASLA. Our immediate past PPN chair, Chris Pattillo, ASLA, (Northern California), enthusiastically led the Historic Preservation PPN for two years and took to heart the HALS efforts. Her documentations on a number of historic sites from her region have proven to be excellent examples. Additionally, her enthusiasm within our organization helped launch the Theme Park Challenge with a money prize from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
While we have made great strides, there is much work to be done in the next few years. The continued expansion and effectiveness of the HALS Liaison Network is critical to the recognition and documentation of inventories for our historic and cultural sites. David Driapsa, ASLA, brings valuable and energetic perspectives for this new stage of development as the HALS Liaison Coordinator. I look forward to working with David and the dedicated group of ASLA professionals seeking to expand this program to bring appreciation and respect to sites in our communities that deserve recognition as our landscape heritage.
A great overview of HALS efforts is featured in the articles in this newsletter. The introductory article asks, “What is Historic Landscape Preservation?” Then, “Arizona HALS Efforts” are reported by Helen Walthier, Assoc. ASLA. Dr. Charles Leider, FASLA, follows with an account of “The Oklahoma Experience” in HALS. David Driapsa, ASLA, describes “HALS in Florida,” and James Cothran, FASLA, writes of “Georgia's Historic Landscape Initiative.” Carrie Mardorf wraps up this issue with closing comments that brings it all together in “HALS: Making a Difference Across the Nation,” with contributions by HALS Liaisons Chris Pattillo, ASLA, (Northern California); Noel Vernon, ASLA, (Southern California); and Jenn Thomas, Assoc. ASLA, (Colorado).
We invite and encourage everyone to take a look and more importantly, join in these efforts.
With warmest regards,
Carol Yetken, ASLA, Chair, Historic Preservation Professional Practice Network, with David Driapsa, ASLA, HALS Liaisons Coordinator