New nonprofit aims to operate Claude Moore Colonial Farm

The Friends of the Colonial Farm at Turkey Run said it will work with NPS when deal with Friends of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm ends.

Photo courtesy of Claude Moore Colonial Farm

Updated: November 27, 2019

Claude Moore Colonial Farm could be under new management when the partnership between The Friends of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm and the National Park Service ends on Dec. 21.

In a press release issued Tuesday, The Friends of the Colonial Farm at Turkey Run, Inc., announced its establishment as a nonprofit corporation with the goal to operate the Colonial Farm on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean. The new organization will look to create a partnership with the NPS through a long-term agreement that would establish them as the new management of the farm.

The Friends of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm issued a statement on May 1 claiming that the NPS was closing the farm, though the NPS said that it was just the partnership between the nonprofit and the NPS that would not be renewed after the two sides could not come to a new long-term agreement; the NPS said that it would work to keep the park open beyond Dec. 21.

“When the current organization that operates the farm at Turkey Run, known as the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm, announced on April 30 that it could not accept the terms of the agreement that the National Park Service had offered, we were shocked and disappointed, as were hundreds of volunteers, teachers, families and residents of the community,” reads The Friends of the Colonial Farm at Turkey Run’s press release. “We began to explore the possibility of picking up where the current operators left off, hoping to preserve the resources and programs that have enriched the community for more than 40 years. We have created our nonprofit corporation, formed a board and will shortly apply for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

“We are fully prepared to work through the public process and submit a proposal to the National Park Service to continue to operate the Farm immediately following cessation of current operations on Dec., 21, 2018. We are familiar with the commitments that the National Park Service requires its partners to make, and are looking forward to discussing our plans with the Park Service. Our intent is to run a living history farm depicting small-scale agriculture life in Virginia on the eve of the American Revolution.”

The Friends of the Colonial Farm at Turkey Run said that it is made up of educators, historians, curators and more that have volunteered at the current Colonial Farm in the past. They hope to offer the programs from the previous organization as well as introduce some new ones.

Elliott Curzon, a member of the Board of Directors for The Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm responded to the news by saying: “It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the Park Service has taken up with a new group of ‘Friends.’ … The FCMCF would simply urge that everyone, including the Park Service, Congress and supporters of the Farm, to closely examine the credibility of this new group and their proposal if it ever sees the light of day.” Curzon says that FCMCF will continue its mission to “Save the Farm” by keeping it under their stewardship.

The National Park Service issued the following statement: “The National Park Service is focusing on the future. We look forward to working with the community through a collaborative and transparent process with the goal of continuing park operations in the future.”

Update: The Claude Moore Colonial Farm permanently closed on December 21, 2018.

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