YCNHA June 2020 Quarterly Newsletter

Executive Director Blog

Lowell Perry

Message from Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Director, Lowell Perry Jr.

The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is happy to announce the opening of Yuma’s two beloved historic state parks, the Yuma Territorial Prison on June 15th and the Colorado River State Historic Park on June 16th.

We would like to take this time to say thank you to everyone for their patience and understanding during these trying times as decisions did not come easy to close the parks in March. We are continuing to monitor Yuma’s current COVID-19 numbers, which will allow us to determine the safest decision for our employees and guests.

As we reopen our doors, below is a reminder of the safety measures we are taking to do our part in helping to keep Yuma safe:

- Hand Sanitizing Stations will be visible throughout the parks. We ask that you please sanitize your hands after touching surfaces or doors for your safety and the safety of others. Washing your hands frequently is still the best hygiene option.

- Due to the current spike in COVID cases in Yuma County, we are requiring guests to wear masks for their own safety and the safety of others, while inside all buildings on park property. The YCNHA is also requesting this while within other areas of our parks when you cannot effectively observe social distancing guidelines. It would be sad for one of our team members to get sick because an asymptomatic individual inadvertently infects one of them because of a refusal to wear a mask. That could lead to another shut down of a park.

- We will continue to clean and thoroughly disinfect the parks throughout the day.

- Parks team members will encourage visitors to maintain effective social distancing of at least 6ft.

- All staff will wear masks for their safety and the safety of visitors.

- The Visitor Information Center located at the entrance of the Colorado River State Historic Park will only allow 10 people in the building at a time & encourage social distancing, hand washing, wearing of masks, etc.

We are trusting that all visitors will unselfishly use their best judgement while touring the parks. Given the complex and fluid nature of this ongoing health situation, things are always subject to change. So please monitor frequently our company website www.yumaheritage.com, and visit us on social media for the latest updates. If you wish to have any specific questions answered, feel free to call the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area at 928-373-5198.

The YCNHA sends its best wishes to you and your families to remain safe and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Colorado River State Historic Park

Photo Cred: MGM Design

Colorado River State Historic Park is home to the former Yuma Depot (1865-1883), the U.S. Army’s main supply station for Arizona Territory during the Indian Wars. The Yuma Depot both stored and shipped many basic necessities needed by the soldiers of Arizona, including food, clothing, guns, ammunition, and animal forage.

The Colorado River played a critical role in the establishment and importance of the Yuma Depot. The depot’s location along the river enabled the Army to easily ship large volumes of supplies via steamboat into Arizona Territory from the coast of California.

Operation of the Yuma Depot significantly impacted the post-native settlement and development of Arizona. The depot provided critical support to the U.S. Army as soldiers fought the native tribes for control over their ancestral lands, ultimately paving the way for westward expansion.

This building, the Quartermaster’s Office, operated as the nerve center of the Yuma Depot and provided work space for the few Army officers at the site. Contrary to popular belief, the only military personnel generally assigned to the depot included the:

• Quartermaster (captain) – commander of the post and all supply operations.

• Commissary of Subsistence (lieutenant or sergeant) – responsible for all food-related supplies.

• Signal Service soldier (sergeant or private) – telegraph operator and weather observer.

Without additional troops, the depot relied upon civilians to supply the majority of site labor, providing significant economic support to the growing village of Yuma.

Leaves raked and weeds removed

During the COIVD-19 Pandemic park closure, our team was very busy with maintenance throughout the park. The Quartermaster's office received a nice new coat of paint along with a new exhibit table created by our Yuma East Wetlands crew. Landscaping was done throughout the grounds with the help of the Yuma Territorial Prison crew.

Bushes trimmed

Yuma Territorial Prison

During the COVID-19 Pandemic park closure, our employees utilized this time to disinfect and sterilize the entire museum. From top to bottom they cleaned every surface.

The museum theater chairs were disinfected and sterilized for the safety of all our visitors after use.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was part of the CARES Act and provides loans to small businesses and 501 (c) 3 organizations.

The loan amount is based on 2.5 months of prior year payroll and benefits expenses. The loans are eligible for forgiveness if 75% or more of the funds are spent on compensation and benefits. Forgiveness rules allow the remainder of the funds to be spent on utilities, rent, or mortgage interest. Forgiveness is also contingent on maintaining full staffing and compensation levels based on a comparison with the prior period on which the amount of the loan was based.

Because only 6% of applicants received PPP funds before the funds ran out, the Federal government allocated additional funds to lend through the program. YCNHA was successful at procuring a PPP loan in mid-April and is on track to comply fully with forgiveness rules.

The Colorado River State Historic Park was able to adapt to the current stay at home order and bring the Saturdays at the Museum to people's homes. Tickets are purchased on eventbrite.com, supplies are available for pick up at the park and Zoom meeting links are sent out prior to the date of the workshop. The first workshop sold out! For more information regarding Saturdays at the Museum, visit our social media pages or website.

Yuma East Wetlands invasive species removal project featured by Audubon Society

The YCNHA is continuing with activities to control and remove invasive species throughout the site, particularly within the 17.5 acres Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM) grant project on Quechan tribal land which will be prepped and ready for native vegetation planting this fall. The Audubon Society’s advocacy efforts encouraged the state to allocate funding for invasive species removal along Arizona’s waterways. Click on the link to read Audubon’s article featuring our DFFM invasive species removal project - https://www.audubon.org/news/native-plants-help-restore-colorado-riverstore-colorado-river . We thank both the DFFM and Audubon Society for their support!

Photo cred: A non-native saltcedar tree in the Yuma East Wetlands that the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area team plans to clear. Yuma, Arizona. Photo: Dominic Arenas/Audubon

In May, YCNHA applied for another grant with the DFFM to mitigate fire hazard by reducing accumulated fuels within 53 acres of the East Wetlands. If awarded, this project will begin this fall.

If you’re itching to get outside like so many are these days, the Yuma East Wetlands is a great place to get out and explore the trails while practicing social distancing.