Claude Moore Colonial Farm is a non-profit organization that receives no federal or other government funding or in kind support. We raise all of our own funds to pay for employees, livestock feed, supplies, utilities, facilities and equipment maintenance, insurance, and all other expenditures relating to operating a business. When the National Park Service (NPS) left in 1981, Claude Moore Colonial Farm (CMCF) had to start from scratch and built earned income over the years, such as rental income from the picnic area built by CMCF, items we purchase and produce for resale, donated items which are sold in the Book Shop and Estate Sale, and event, admission, program fees, grants, and donations. We have done this over a period of 37 years with no input or oversight by the NPS because we have not caused any problems for the NPS.
The agreement that the Park Service offered to us was for only 10 years, but it took us more than 6 years to get anything from them. Even then, we had to draft an agreement for them. The new agreement they proposed would require us to submit for approval every item we sell to the public. The bookshop that sells donated books would be limited to only books about the National Park Service or 18th century farming which means that we would be throwing out 95% of the books donated to us. Every printed material that we produce would have to be submitted for approval before it could be used.
One of the worst provisions was we would be required to operate the picnic grounds again. After twelve years of doing it, we entered into an agreement with our local caterer and restaurant owner who manages the entire operation and we receive all rental income. We found the management to be very time consuming and frustrating with low income. We now receive about $100,000 with no effort or expense. If we have to resume this operation, it would require hiring a marketing person and someone to staff the events as well as paying for all utilities, lawn maintenance, etc.
Attached you will find the NPS Annual Work Plan that would be incorporated with the NPS proposed short-term agreement. This Annual Work Plan would cripple our interpretive planning, and require gaining NPS approval for every educational event including farm site interpretive events and Market Fair, as well as, social media outreach, the content of the website, and other pervasive requirements which would stall the overall educational mission of the Farm.
We hope that this clarifies why we could not agree to the new terms. It would have been a slow death for the Farm. Also the NPS is now putting out a different story about the Farm’s future. The following is from a print article yesterday by WTOP news.
“All this means right now is that the farm will close as winter approaches, as it always has. It’s possible that the NPS could still provide living history programming with the farm’s existing volunteers; it’s possible a new partner could step in to provide programming, it’s also possible something different could happen altogether.”
Category:Save the Farm