From the same email group where I got the message of the NPS policy that I ranted about this morning, Chuck Dale has an excellent response. I think this sums it up nicely
John & Friends:
The sections of the policy you refer to are NOT NEW. They have been
in effect for many years under the old NPS-6 Interpretive policy in
the use of Historic Weapons on NPS property. They are, in-fact,
what the NPS is operating on now. The NPS has not allowed "BATTLE"
reenactments, but does allow demonstrations of period weapons use
WITHOUT opposing forces. Things like a battle line with firing of
muskets in mass, using period drills etc., are perfectly OK. You
just can't shoot at each other and pretend to take hits etc. etc.-
been that way many moons now! Some confusion may arise because many
reenactments happen on State Sites which do not conform to NPS
policy on that account, such as the States of Florida and Georgia.
Often "battles" occur just off NPS property and one might get the
idea it is an NPS function.
I believe the situation is that the NPS is changing the format of
their policy directives. They are now the "Directors Orders" and
the Historic Weapons policy is just being converted over to this new
format. Therefore, I think that very little is to be changed in the
area of opposing forces reenactments, since this has long been NPS
policy. I was involved, to some extent, on the committee that re-
wrote the policies into the new format. This has been some years
ago and the policies are just now ready to go after much polishing
etc. etc. THE WHEELS GRIND S L O W L Y & many bones have
been CRUSHED in the process.
I would suggest that umbrella groups such as the BAR or The Historic
Florida Militia etc., contact the NPS Director in Wash. D.C. and
request a copy of the New Guidelines (Directors Orders) on the use
of Historic Weapons on NPS Sites. This way you can get ALL the
details and changes and make good decisions about the policy
proposed. Then as a group or groups make your concerns known.
I will be very frank in saying that there is little chance of
the "offending passage" being changed since this has been a long
standing policy of the NPS, which takes it's mission very
seriously. Believe me, all these things have been chewed on
internally over & over again. I think that section of the policy is
pretty well gospel as far as the NPS and Dept. of Interior are
If anyone has any questions or needs some clarification, please feel
free to contact me.
Chuck Dale, Chief U.S. Park Ranger(ret)
Historic Weapons Supervisor