Opportunities through the CW CESU

RSOI: Conduct Public Outreach and Archeology Study on the Hickory Ridge Community at Prince William Forest Park

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Opportunity Type: Requests for Statements of Interest (RSOIs)
Submission Deadline: April 19, 2024

Deadline Extended to Friday, April 19, 2024

Solicitation for CESU Cooperator to Conduct Public Outreach and Archeology Study on the Hickory Ridge Community at Prince William Forest Park

Background: Prince William Forest Park was established as Chopawamsic Recreational Demonstration Area (RDA) in 1936. The RDA was intended to reclaim “submarginal” farmland and return it to a forested retreat for underprivileged youth from nearby metropolitan areas. The park received its current name in 1948.

Immediately before this area was designated an RDA, it was home to scattered, small farmsteads and several communities. One of these communities, known as Hickory Ridge, included both Black and White landowners. Residents were bought out during the early years of RDA development or forced out during the later Office of Strategic Services (OSS) occupation of the RDA (1942-1945). The former location of the Hickory Ridge community is completely within park boundaries today but has never been fully inventoried for archeological and other cultural resources.

Preservation of the natural landscape has facilitated preservation of signs of this integrated community. A large oral history project in the early 2000s captured stories from residents of Hickory Ridge and Batestown (a predominantly African American community that straddles the current park boundary). No standing structures are known, but foundations, cemeteries, and middens remain visible.

The goals of this project are to expand our understanding of the lives of African Americans landowners and the ways they shaped and experienced the historic landscape, to make tangible connections to places and resources that should be preserved, and to bring greater knowledge and humanity to telling their stories.

Funding is dependent on Congressional budget actions.

 Objectives and activities: The primary objective of this project is to conduct on-the-ground research, community outreach, and archeological fieldwork at Hickory Ridge.

Community engagement activities will include:

  • Identifying and reviewing existing community and descendant histories, including oral histories collected for the NPS
  • Facilitating regular and consistent outreach with local communities to solicit input on research questions and to keep communities abreast of research findings. This outreach will consist of multiple community meetings on- or off-site, guided tours of the area, and/or facilitated conversations or oral history interviews with individuals or groups, with accurate records kept of each event
  • Assisting with public archeology day(s)
  • Reporting on research results via an internal NPS workshop and a stakeholder meeting to create a better understanding of the lives of Hickory Ridge residents
  • Drafting text and images for potential interpretive waysides (standing outdoor signs)

Archeology activities will include:

  • Reviewing existing historical and archeological documentation to identify research gaps
  • Conducting additional primary source research, and revisiting known sources with new research questions, to expand understanding of the lives of Hickory Ridge residents
  • Developing historically rooted hypotheses about how peoples’ daily experiences of the landscapes may be reflected in potential locations of associated archeological resources
  • Creating an archeological research design to test these hypotheses, and working with the National Park Service to obtain all necessary reviews, permits, etc.
  • Conducting historical research and archeological survey and limited excavation to identify and evaluate cultural resources associated with African American and racially integrated life (Phase I and, as needed, Phase II), employing qualified personnel, methods, and documentation standards meeting the applicable Secretary of the Interior’s Standards (https://www.nps.gov/articles/sec-standards-prof-quals.htm, https://www.nps.gov/articles/series.htm?id=62144687-B082-538A-A0174FFF26496394), and Guidelines for Conducting Historic Resources Survey in Virginia (https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/SurveyManual_2017.pdf)
  • Hosting at least one public archeology day to welcome descendants and community members into the field
  • Creating GIS, site, and collection records meeting all NPS CRIS and ICMS/MCMS and Virginia V-CRIS requirements
  • Preparing artifacts for curation

Final products: The final products to be created for this project are:

  • A research design prior to fieldwork and summaries of field and historical investigations.
  • A written final report documenting the results of historical and archeological research. The report may be completed in two or more parts: e.g. a historical narrative suitable for the public, a summary of archeological findings, and a technical report including site location data not appropriate for general distribution. All new digital documents will be formatted to be Section 508 compliant.
  • Final field notes/documentation associated with the project. Artifacts will be cataloged in ICMS/MCMS format and documents prepared to meet NPS curatorial standards.
  • GIS data collected for the project. Data will be submitted using NPS NCR geodatabase templates, and meeting NPS CRGIS data transfer standards.
  • Public and stakeholder events to seek input and share research, such as meetings and public archeology days, and records of those events (e.g. copies of presentations, notes and recordings, photographs, etc.)
  • Create a reference document from workshop with park interpretation staff to discuss research findings to be used for future interpretation needs
  • Draft wayside text

Suggested project timeline (may be adapted based on proposals):

  • Agreement development, award, and kickoff: February – September 2024
  • Historical research, development of archeological research design, initial community outreach activities, workshop with NPS, and obtaining permits and reviews: Spring 2024
  • Field data collection, analysis, public archeology days, and continuing historical research and outreach: Spring-Summer 2024
  • Completion of final reports, GIS, catalog, and site records, etc: Summer 2025
  • NPS interpretation workshop and stakeholder outreach: Summer 2025
  • NPS review of final products and partner revision: Fall 2025
  • Completion of project and final report submission and final public outreach: Winter 2025
  • Additional community and public engagement activities will occur throughout, with target dates to be defined in a detailed project proposal and/or agreement scope of work.

PI requirements

This project requires a principal investigator(s) meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Archeology. The project team should also include a team leader who will be responsible for community engagement; they need to have relevant experience working with and within African American communities. Interdisciplinary teams and student involvement are welcomed and encouraged; submit CVs for all key personnel.

Funds Available

The project is anticipated to be funded by the National Park Service in Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24). Anticipated project funds are up to $151,000 for the full scope of the project. This amount will include the CESU overhead rate not to exceed 17.5% of the total award amount.

Government-Furnished Equipment

Methods and equipment for archeological survey will be recommended by the partner and determined in collaboration with the NPS. Supplies and equipment required for historical and archeological research should be provided by the partner, unless the NPS has existing and available equipment that the partner does not and cannot supply given the total project budget.

Materials Requested for Letters of Interest

Letters of interest (limit 4 pages) must include:

  • Name, Organization and Contact Information
  • Pre-Proposal: Description of the proposed approach and timeline for conducting the project, including any additional methods that could be considered for this project. Describe your anticipated approach to facilitating community outreach and engagement.
  • Draft budget including the 17.5% CESU overhead rate
  • Brief Statement of Qualifications (including):
    • Biographical Sketch(s) for key personnel (faculty, staff), including a description of discipline(s) of expertise. Curriculum vitas can be submitted as an attachment.
    • Relevant past research projects.

Send Letters of Research Interest (LOIs) to the e-mail address in the “contact” section. The deadline for responding to this letter of interest is March 15, 2024. LOIs will be reviewed according to the criteria below, and top candidate(s) will be contacted for full proposal development.

Evaluation for Letters of Interest

Based on a review of the Letters of Interest received, an investigator will be invited to prepare a full study proposal, schedule, and detailed budget. Letters will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Completeness of the project timeline and budget based upon the expected the $151,000 including the CESU overhead rate of 17.5%
  2. Soundness and feasibility of the proposed approach for meeting project objectives within schedule and budget (10 points maximum)
  3. Relevant knowledge and experience of PIs and project team, specifically in historical archeology, public outreach, and African American history (10 points maximum)
  4. Demonstrated record of professional reports and publications (10 points maximum)
  5. Quality and magnitude of public benefit of the proposed approach (e.g. through education and training for diverse students and/or inviting community engagement) (10 points maximum)


Responses to this request for LOIs should be directed before the closing date to Anne_McKinney@nps.gov. Additional questions can be answered by contacting Anne Marie McKinney, Cultural Resources Specialist, Prince William Forest Park, at 571-361-6616 or by email.