Heritage Preservation Commission

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Meeting Date: 05/17/2023  
From: Mark Reavis, Heritage Preservation Officer and Neighborhood Planner

Greater Observatory Mesa Trail Plan (GOMTP)
The Heritage Preservation Commission should review, discuss and provide comments to Open Spaces staff on the draft trails plan.
Executive Summary:
The HPO notes 3 comments on the draft plan.
* Protection of Archeological Resources.
* Interpretive Signage at trail heads with emphasis on Percival Lowell's Observatory - "observatory mesa".
* Prioritization of FUTS development on historic Mars Hill Wagon Road and restoration and interpretation of Stone Saturn Gate Abutments that are component of the National Hisotric Landmark District.
Financial Impact:
Policy Impact:
Heritage Preservation Officer Comments on Draft Plan GOMTP - HPC may concur and discuss
  • Limiting some unofficial routes to be decommissioned can limit impacts to any potential Cultural Resources. Though a cultural resource survey was conducted for the area that did not find any archeological sites that were eligible for the National Register, that does not mean that they may exist. There were sign of early indigenous habitation on the Mesa.
  • The Trail Plan notes educational zones but I did not see those mapped, I noted a reference to interpretive signage within the first 3 miles. It would seem that there should be more of an emphasis on interpretative signage at the trail heads noting the preservation of natural resources and cultural resources by staying on designated trails. I would put a particular emphasis of interpretation on the Name “Observatory Mesa” as in Percival Lowell’s selection of the Mesa for “Seeing” the planets, in particular Mars.
  • Of particular importance that has been pursued by the Heritage Preservation Program is the original Mars Hill Wagon Road and the remaining historic (National Landmark listed) stone abutments that define the original entry point to the observatory. I have attached that write up and believe it is a priority for Heritage Preservation Program for its adaptive reuse as a FUTS, for interpretation and public safety. The HPO has requested allocation of funding from both Lowell and from BPAC.
DRAFT Greater Observatory Mesa Trail Plan - April 2023
Comment Sheet from Open Space staff
HP Staff comments on Observatory Mesa FUTS & Saturn Gate Stone Abutments


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