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  • 1.  grounds and security and insurance etc

    Posted 11-23-2016 03:08 PM

    I am interested to hear from other historic sites that have buildings surrounded by a large landscape. Our site totals 1500 acres – approximately 650 acres sits within a gated area that has a Gate House beside and used as the administrative office. The gate is not locked – just have to lift it, we close it when the office is closed. However during winter months we are not normally on site during the weekend, nor are we here most warm summer evenings when people want to explore the grounds. We do have walking trails so we do invite visitors to use the grounds.

    Recently we have experienced a great number of people entering the grounds when we are not open (either lift the gate / park at the gate and walk in). Although we have not had serious vandalism problems we potentially could (rural property / heritage buildings not visible from the road etc). We are thinking about putting a lock on the gate – it will be difficult to monitor / sending negative message out etc but we have to think of liability issues especially when staff are not on site.   Oh did I say we are a non government, not-for-profit operation owned by a Land Trust (most think we are public and they have a right to use the grounds.) We have a small staff / budget will not allow electronic gate or (human) gate keeper. I am interested in comments from others.



    Marilynn Havelka

    Chief Administrative Officer

    Ruthven Park National Historic Site

    243 Haldimand HWY 54, P.O. Box 610

    Cayuga ON  N0A1E0

    Phone: 905-772-0560

    Fax: 905-772-0561


  • 2.  RE: grounds and security and insurance etc

    Posted 11-24-2016 10:51 AM
    Remember more people means less likelihood of crime per user because of the increased possibility of being caught. I'm working right now with a private land trust in Gary IN to increase usage in part to deter the kind of crime, fly dumping for one, that they get on a site that is not nearly as large as yours. Admittedly no buildings on the site. Do you have a camera system on the building that might help keep the insurance rate down? 

    Mario Longoni
    Urban Anthropology Manager
    Keller Science Action Center
    The Field Museum
    Chicago Illinois, USA

    Check out the Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit:
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    Visit the Calumet Stewardship Initiative website to learn more about CSI outdoor events and their work for a better region: 

  • 3.  RE: grounds and security and insurance etc

    Posted 11-24-2016 11:48 AM

    Put a lock on the gate.

    Steven Miller
    Executive Director
    Boscobel House and Gardens
    Garrison NY

  • 4.  RE: grounds and security and insurance etc

    Posted 11-25-2016 01:55 PM

    I used goggle earth to look at your location.  First I would start by placing a lock on the gate during hours you are closed and unstaffed.  You may have to coordinate this with local emergency services, i.e. law enforcement, fire, emergency medical for after-hours entry for emergencies.  I see the need for at least two signs.  One would be at the gate house/gate advising persons this land is private property,  permission to pass is limited to walking trails only, all other used require prior permission.  A second sign would be posted at the driveway entrance prior to the gate.  This sign would simply state Private driveway/property, No parking or as an alternate Emergency Entrance, Do not block, No parking.


    If the trust has an attorney/lawyer, they should be able to best advise you on the signage.  Also you might contact your local law enforcement agency/Provincial Police/RCMP and fire service agency.  Generally they will have already faced similar problems and may have some standard wording.  Also there may be requirements to post signs along the perimeter a certain distance apart.  In California, law enforcement is limited as to the actions they can take on private property and unauthorized persons or  vehicles without an onsite owner representative complaining.  But property owners can authorize law enforcement to take whatever action necessary to remove trespassers by providing formal notice to the agency.   


  • 5.  RE: grounds and security and insurance etc

    Posted 11-25-2016 07:20 AM

    Having a unlocked gate is an invitation for entry and potential damages/liabilities. Locks need not be apparent. Below are security sites and "invisible" locks.

    John Daab PhD
    Princeton Junction NJ

  • 6.  RE: grounds and security and insurance etc

    Posted 11-25-2016 11:35 AM

    We are a much smaller facility with similar issues at our site.  We've used some inexpensive tools to supplement our staff's ability to understand what is happening when we're not there.   Game cameras with SD chips can allow you to observe the flow and behavior of people at or near key points on the landscape.  They are very inexpensive.   You can also--with a power source and older model tablets with cameras--create a monitoring network using software like Presence-- to be able to observe activity while away from the site.  Good luck. 

    David Porter
    Executive Director
    Leach Botanical Garden
    Portland OR