Efforts to preserve historical sites needed

In consultation with the Otero County Historic Preservations Board, the Commissioners have reviewed the amendments to the Military Training and Operational Programmatic Agreement with the PCMS. The Army has stated the amendment is necessary to align the PA with the Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan.

The Commissioners, in their letter, state that Fort Carson/PCMS has not demonstrated being able to protect the cultural resources. “Significant numbers of cultural resources under the protection of USAG have been breached during every one of the brigade level training operations at the PCMS in the past decade. In fact, during training earlier this year a new record for the number of sites breached was achieved.”

The commissioners are calling for discussions among the Army, the State Historical Preservation Organization and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the first and only federal agency to adopt a plan to support tribal and Native Hawaiian preservation. Brigade training exercises in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2017 have all resulted in significant numbers of site breaches.

The Area of Potential Effect should be defined as the area or areas within which an undertaking may directly or indirectly cause alterations in the character or use of historic properties. Any operational activities as well as training exercises have the potential to create adverse effect to cultural resources outside the boundaries of the PCMS. An example is the over-flight of surrounding lands, including the Purgatoire River canyon and side canyons.

The commissioners also wish to call to the attention of the Army the oversight of contractors on their property are their responsibility and archaeologists are not qualified to make architectural judgements on historic structures.