NPS is currently working on a draft programmatic agreement (PA) between it, the Virginia State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and a private foundation to facilitate work that may need to be done at George Washington’s Boyhood Home National Historic Landmark. Whenever work needs to be done on historic property administered by NPS, the agency must work with the local SHPO to ensure the work does not conflict with the historic nature of the property. This review can at times be cumbersome. NPS has issued a nationwide PA to facilitate short or no review for certain minor work on historic properties. As demonstrated in this instance, NPS can also enter into a PA for a specific site to facilitate general work at that site. The PA can greatly reduce the need for redundant and time-consuming historic impact reviews of individual projects that clearly do not have any impact on the historic nature of the property.
In this situation, NPS owns and manages a protective conservation easement over Ferry Farm, which is George Washington’s boyhood home. The property and structures themselves are owned by the George Washington Foundation, which is a private, nonprofit organization that operates the property as an educational site. Because of its easement, NPS must approve any work done at the site. The PA will serve as a guide to how NPS will conduct and coordinate reviews under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). This situation serves as a helpful example to any private party that may be performing regular or extensive work on a historic property requiring NPS approval.