National Park Service Press Release

National Park Service Honors Employees for Cultural Resource Work
For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2012
Contact(s):   Mike Litterst, 202-513-0354

Randy Biallas, 202-354-2061

National Park Service Honors Employees for Cultural Resource Work

Washington – The National Park Service has awarded the 2011 Appleman-Judd-Lewis Award to four individuals and parks for excellence in cultural resource stewardship.  This year’s recipients are Russ Smith, superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefield Memorial National Military Park; the Historic Preservation Program of Yosemite National Park; Tom Des Jean, Archeologist at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area; and Lon Johnson Cultural Resource Specialist/Historical Architect at Glacier National Park.  The awards were given by National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis in a September 19 ceremony at the Department of the Interior headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“Preservation of our nation’s historic resources is one of the key missions of the National Park Service,” said Director Jarvis.  “The passion, dedication and innovation of these individuals will benefit not only the resources in their own parks, but will serve as a model and inspiration for other projects throughout the National Park System.”

The Appleman-Judd-Lewis Awards recognize expertise and outstanding contributions to cultural resource stewardship and management by permanent full-time employees of the National Park Service. Offered annually, the awards were created to encourage creativity in cultural resource stewardship and management practices and projects, particularly those that may serve as examples or models for programs service-wide.  Established in 1970, the awards are named for three distinguished former National Park Service employees: historian Roy E. Appleman, historical architect Henry A. Judd, and curator Ralph H. Lewis.  The 2011 recipients are:

Cultural Resource Stewardship for Superintendents

Russ Smith –  Superintendent, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park

In response to a proposed 51-acre Wal-Mart development in close proximity to the park’s Wilderness Battlefield unit, Superintendent Smith engaged a coalition of local, regional and national interest groups to forge a compromise that benefitted park cultural resources by moving the new store to a more regionally appropriate site three miles north of the original proposed location.  Throughout the debate, Smith never wavered from his stated concerns about the direct and indirect impacts of the development and associated traffic on the park. He framed his position by recognizing the need for development, while also placing the role of the park within the context of the larger community.  His accomplishment demonstrates the importance of both public leadership and quiet behind-the-scenes work to build a consensus that serves both local economic and national preservation interests.

Cultural Resource Stewardship through Maintenance

Historic Preservation Program – Yosemite National Park

The Yosemite Historic Preservation Program was recognized for developing relationships with partners both internally and externally to ensure that historic structure preservation issues are addressed in a timely manner and for utilizing creative methods to fund preservation projects in the park.  In 2011, the preservation crew completed a collaborative preservation effort on the fountain of the historic Wawona Hotel, purchasing materials from the hotel’s concessionaire and securing grant funding from the Yosemite Conservancy to pay for the work of the preservation crew.

Cultural Resource Management (2 recipients)

Tom Des Jean – Archeologist, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

Des Jean archeological investigations and research made significant contributions to the knowledge and protection of archeological resources at Mammoth Cave National Park, Shiloh National Military Park, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Obed Wild and Scenic River and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. He has authored ten published research or study papers, co-authored seven published research studies, authored 21 un-published research studies, co-authored five unpublished research studies, and authored or co-authored 15 research papers presented at various professional conferences.  Although the majority of these papers and presentations deal with the results of archeological studies at various sites in the National Park Service, Tom’s writings cover other cultural resource topics, including niter mining, history of the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company, Civil War effects on local communities, moonshining, and African Americans on the Cumberland Plateau. 

Lon Johnson – Cultural Resource Specialist/Historical Architect, Glacier National Park

The sub-alpine and alpine areas of Glacier National Park have been used for travel, hunting, and spiritual purposes by ancestors of the Salish, Kootenai, and Blackfeet peoples for thousands of years. These behaviors have very likely deposited artifacts and paleo-biological objects in ice and snow patches, and their exposure by melting related to climate change could lead to damage, loss, or illegal removal.  In response to this emerging stewardship challenge, Johnson assembled a team of experts from the tribes, eminent archeologists from the Universities of Wyoming, Arizona, and Colorado (Boulder), and knowledgeable park personnel. The group successfully submitted the Glacier Ice Patch Archeology project and was awarded support under Climate Change Response funds. The project is designed to recover delicate items from melting ice patches, and contains a unique interpretive component for videos and interactive web design that target tribal youngsters and also be made available to the general public.

For photographs of the winners and more information, please see


About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at


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