National Park Service invites public input on Fort Ontario special resource study

OSWEGO - The National Park Service invites public input on a special resource study focusing on Fort Ontario in Oswego, which was a British and American military installation from the mid-18th century to the end of World War II.

Since 1946, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has owned and managed the central fort complex known as Fort Ontario State Historic Site. The National Park Service’s special resource study will assess how cultural and natural resources associated with the fort’s long history meet criteria to be recommended for designation as a unit of the National Park System. A 60-day comment period will extend from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1.

“Input from the public regarding the potential establishment of a national park unit associated with Fort Ontario is critical to the study process. We also hope to learn more about the many phases of the fort’s activities over the centuries from the French and Indian War to the Safe Haven Refugee Shelter for European refugees from 1944-1946,” said Allen Cooper, regional park planning program lead, National Park Service. “The information, interest, and inquiries we receive from the public help inform our work as we assess the fort as a potential addition to the National Park System.”

The study was authorized by the Fort Ontario Study Act (Public Law 115-255), which directed the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of Fort Ontario. The study will evaluate the Fort, including areas within and beyond the existing State Historic Site boundaries, using special resource study criteria such as national significance, suitability, feasibility and potential management strategies used to consider possible designations of new units of the National Park System. The study’s findings, along with any recommendations from the Secretary of the Interior, will be reported to Congress. The study is expected to run through 2023.

The National Park Service has prepared the following materials and events to inform the public about the study and to solicit public comment:

An informative newsletter (.pdf) can be found on the project website here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/FortOntarioSRS under the “Open for Comment” tab and then click on “Newsletter”.

A ‘virtual’ (online) public meeting on Sept. 15 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time. See the project website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/FortOntarioSRS and the “Meeting Notices” tab for details. During the meeting the National Park Service staff will describe the special resource study process and answer questions. A recording of the meeting will be available on the same website after Sept. 15.

An online public comment submission portal can be accessed online through https://parkplanning.nps.gov/FortOntarioSRS and click the “Open for Comment” tab.

Submissions by mail can be sent to:

National Park Service, Denver Service Center

Attn: Fort Ontario Study / Hilary Retseck, 12795 West Alameda Pkwy.

PO Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225-0287

The public can find information and updates about the study on the study website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/FortOntarioSRS.

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