National Park Trust Partners with National Park Service on Key Property Acquisition to Preserve Park’s Historic Areas

Washington, D.C. (February 6, 2024) – National Park Trust and the National Park Service announced a successful partnership that will help to preserve a critical piece of American history at Fort Scott National Historic Site in Kansas. This multi-year collaboration, resulting in the acquisition of a ¾-acre private property within the park’s boundaries, will address a pressing need of the park. Currently, all the fort’s maintenance equipment is stored in its historic areas. The ideal location of the acquired parcel with its existing building will allow for the equipment to be moved to a better-suited facility. Once relocated, the park’s historic area will be extended, allowing the park to bring back the full experience of the dragoon stables.

In 2020, the Cummings Family’s property, housing a historically significant building, was incorporated into the expanded park boundaries authorized by the U.S. Congress through the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act in 2019. Initially slated for funding authorization in 2021, the urgency for acquisition heightened following the sudden passing of the property owner, Mr. Cummings, prompting swift interest in selling by his heirs.

When the National Park Service asked the National Park Trust for assistance, the Park Trust initiated and executed a comprehensive strategic plan, including a title commitment, property appraisal, and Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments. In addition, the Park Trust negotiated with the commercial retail business that occupied the building.

Although the Park Trust successfully concluded the acquisition in July 2021, the National Park Service could not officially take possession and complete the purchase of the land and building from the Park Trust until December 2023. During those two years, the Park Trust managed the property, serving as the landlord for a retail business in the building.

“This acquisition project would not have been possible without the invaluable support and assistance of our partner, the National Park Trust.”

Jill Jaworski, superintendent, Fort Scott National Historic Site

“We are pleased that we were able to provide real estate expertise and resources to the National Park Service to help facilitate this multi-faceted, complex project. This land acquisition not only helps to preserve the integrity of Fort Scott but also will help visitors understand the fort’s important role in American history.”

Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust

Established in 1842, this fort was pivotal in westward expansion, the anti-slavery movement, and the Civil War. Initially, it safeguarded wagon trains and enforced boundaries between Native American lands and European settlers. Despite being closed in 1853, periodic soldier returns helped manage future conflicts. During the Civil War, it became a vital Union Hospital supply and training depot. Its final chapter, ending in 1873, involved protecting railroad workers from local trespassers and landowners opposing railway construction on their land.

To learn more about this project, please visit:


National Park Trust’s mission is to preserve parks today and create park stewards for tomorrow. Since 1983, the Park Trust has acquired many of the missing pieces of our national parks, benefiting 55 national park sites across the country. Our national youth education and family initiatives, including our Buddy Bison, College Ambassador and Military Family Programs, and National Kids to Parks Day, serve tens of thousands of children annually and cultivate future park stewards. We believe our public parks, lands, and waters should be cared for, enjoyed, and preserved by all for current and future generations. Find out more at

Media Contact: Ivan Levin at 540.818.5818 or