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US Forest Service HistoriCorps Program Honored by National Trust for Historic Preservation

An HistoriCorps volunteer smooths a log to be used in the restoration of the Saguache Ranger Station on the Rio Grande National Forest. The restoration effort helped the U.S. Forest Service earn a 2011 National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

An HistoriCorps volunteer smooths a log to be used in the restoration of the Saguache Ranger Station on the Rio Grande National Forest. The restoration effort helped the U.S. Forest Service earn a 2011 National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The U.S. Forest Service’s HistoriCorps program in Golden, Colo., is one of 23 award winners honored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation during its 2011 National Preservation Conference Oct. 20 in Buffalo, N.Y.

Historicorps, a public/private partnership that puts people to work to save long-neglected historic buildings on public lands, were among 12 of the organizations honored with the 2011 National Preservation Honor Award.

“HistoriCorps is an example of the kind of innovative thinking that the Forest Service really values,” U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said. “Combine that with creative partners in the historic preservation and volunteer communities and you see what can get done when we work together.”

The innovative partnership involves experts in historic restoration including Colorado Preservation Inc. and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the premier volunteer organization in Colorado, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, said Steve Sherwood, program manager for the Forest Service.

“HistoriCorps is truly unique in its mission and delivery,” Sherwood said. “I know of no other organization in the country that combines the passion for restoring historical structures and the use of volunteers to get the job done”

The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage.

The Saguache Ranger House, first built in 1939 as a ranger residence, office and garage, underwent rehabilitation through HistoricCorps, a national volunteer workforce program that focuses on preservation projects.

The Saguache Ranger House, first built in 1939 as a ranger residence, office and garage, underwent rehabilitation through HistoricCorps, a national volunteer workforce program that focuses on preservation projects.

Colorado’s first project, started in 2009, focused on restoration work at the historic Saguache Ranger house and several historic buildings in Saguache by a team of local and regional volunteers. Last year, HistoriCorps and the Rio Grande National Forest teamed up to fully restore the historic Off Cow Camp, the Fitton barn, and the River Springs work station.

HistoriCorps is modeled after such successful programs as the Civilian Conservation Corps, Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. Through public-private partnerships, volunteers and professionals preserve and rehabilitate special places while engaging in service learning, outdoor recreation and heritage creation opportunities.

“Working with the Forest Service to save these unique buildings has been highly rewarding for our volunteers, many of whom have since volunteered with HistoriCorps on multiple projects,”  Jonas Landes, HistoriCorps programs manager, said.

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