Letter from Executive Director
SURVIVING THE PANDEMIC AND THE OTHER VIRUS WE STILL FACE IN 2021”
BY LOWELL PERRY
January 12, 2021
The year 2020 will go down as a challenging year for myriad reasons, not the least of which is the impact of a deadly pandemic that needlessly claimed tens of thousands of lives, including many right here in Yuma. Even with last year in the rearview, I have no illusions that 2021 will not be equally challenging with COVID-19 raging at a record rate, and from the aftermath of the unprecedented violent assault on the Capitol. Public health professionals will develop a comprehensive strategy to defeat the pandemic, including a plan for the viable distribution of the promising vaccines in the pipeline. Our elected officials are charged with sorting out the latter.
National Heritage Areas, including Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area (YCNHA), have a role to play in a long overdue conversation seeking solutions to the unprecedented division in this country caused by the more difficult virus to slay, which is racial injustice. Only accurate and complete historic storytelling to counteract the misinformation propagated throughout history, even by many in positions of power, can help us finally become “one nation under God…”
In spite of these daunting macro challenges, there were still plenty of achievements in 2020 to celebrate, as well as much excitement about where the YCNHA is going in the years to come.
Some highlights from 2020 include:
• Acting swiftly and decisively in the beginning stages of the pandemic to implement actions and create policies designed to protect staff and guests at YCNHA properties, and thereby help mitigate the spread of COVID.
• Winning federal PPP funding through the CARES Act to keep team members employed during a period that saw record low attendance at the Yuma Territorial Prison (YTP) and Colorado River State Historic Park (CRSHP).
• Installing new exhibits and other visitor experience enhancements at both the YTP and CRSHP.
• Opening the Yuma Crossing Discovery Center & Gift Shop at the CRSHP
• Producing a new video highlighting the future vision of the YCNHA as an historic “Mega Park” - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MQMopmJyB6MtA64jUbLU9_PlPppSYX2X/view?usp=sharing
• Committing to diversity, equity, and inclusion by the Alliance of National Heritage Areas of which the YCNHA is a part. http://www.nationalheritageareas.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ANHA_Heart-Soul_July-2020.pdf
Some of the plans for 2021 include:
• Applying the most current best practices in COVID mitigation to all YCNHA operations. The YTP, CRSHP, and the Wetlands are still wonderful options for Yumans to get out of the house to engage in activities that include an outdoor component.
• Executing at least one major project at each YCNHA operation.
• Building the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area brand and further develop a winning, inclusive corporate culture.
• Employing audio and visual technology to enhance the visitor experience at all YCNHA operations.
• Investing in, and upgrading the Yuma Crossing Discovery Center & Gift Shop.
• Fleshing out the plan for the Mega Park initiative.
Thank you for your investment of time, talent, and/or treasure over the past year. Looking forward to working together in 2021 as Yumans to restore, preserve, maintain and promote our diverse and rich history. United in purpose, we can make Yuma a dynamic historic entertainment destination that will continue to educate the next generation, as well as bring in visitors who will enjoy our city and contribute to its economic success. Be safe.
The Colorado River State Historic Park would like to welcome our newest team member, Kylee Richards who will serve as the Yuma Crossing Discovery Center Gift Shop Manager. We are excited to have her on board and look forward to working with her.
The Colorado River State Historic Park will begin sidewalk demo on January 20th. This project is to move the current sidewalk away from the Corral House and implement a drainage system so we can prevent further erosion of the adobe structure.
Guided tours are being offered at the Colorado River State Historic Park on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 am. Times are subject to change.
The Yuma Territorial Prison was able to come up with a short-term erosion solution for the Sally Port. Installation of this tarp was conducted in December. If you would like to donate to help "save the Sally Port" please visit https://www.yumaprison.org/donate.html.
The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area will be conducting a hazardous fuels removal project within the Yuma East Wetlands Wildlife Conservation Area from January 19, 2021 – March 15, 2021. This project will include the removal of brush and dead vegetation to reduce fire hazard. Heavy machinery will be used during this project so temporary access restrictions will be in effect for safety reasons.
NOTICE signs for the upcoming project will be posted at trail access points to the Yuma East Wetlands and DO NOT ENTER signs will be posted where heavy machinery will be in operation. We do anticipate the riverfront trail from Gateway Park to the Herb Guenther Overlook will only be restricted during mobilization of heavy equipment and, for the better part of the project, will remain open to the public. Trail and conservation area restrictions will be in effect for areas indicated on the project map and may include temporary restricted access to the paved bike path.
We appreciate the public’s understanding as we complete this important work to protect and conserve Focal, Covered Multi-Species Conservation Program wildlife species and Threatened and Endangered species.
For more information about the Yuma East Wetlands and this project, please contact Bea Vizcarra at 928-373-5197.
The Yuma East Wetlands recently held a volunteer day to help remove invasive species along the riverfront and clean up the trash along the trails. Volunteers also helped harvest and replant wetlands plants in the wetlands. We appreciate our volunteers! Please contact Bea Vizcarra at 928-373-5197 to inquire about upcoming volunteer opportunities.
The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area would like to welcome our newest Intern Board Members and Non-Executive Committee Members to the Heritage Area. We are looking forward to their advisement and support.