- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 29, 2004

JAMESTOWN, Va. (AP) — Many new visitors to the Tidewater area aren’t aware that there are two separate sites marking America’s first permanent English settlement — Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne.

Historic Jamestowne is the site where the settlers landed in 1607. The site, formerly known as Jamestown Island, is run jointly by the National Park Service and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA).

Jamestown Settlement features replicas of a Powhatan Indian village and the three ships that carried the settlers. It is operated by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, a state group.

A busload of students from Griffin, Ga., recently visited Virginia to see archaeological digs and the original site of the landing. But when the students got to Jamestown Settlement, group leader Frances McCarthney found out that they should have gone to Historic Jamestowne.

“I didn’t know there were two different sites,” Miss McCarthney said. “That can be confusing.”

Organizers of the 400th anniversary celebration of the English settlement at Jamestown in 2007 know similar confusion could turn off visitors. But the agencies running the two sites haven’t agreed on whether to offer visitors a joint ticket, as a way of curbing confusion.

According to National Park Service data, more than 19,000 visitors last year turned around when they realized that their ticket to Jamestown Settlement didn’t include the other Jamestown site, Historic Jamestowne.

There was a joint ticket in 1957, the last time Jamestown had a big anniversary celebration. And progress has been made in terms of cooperation between the two Jamestown sites since then. Since last summer, visitors to Jamestown Settlement have been able to purchase a ticket to Historic Jamestowne and vice versa.

“There is considerably improved communication,” said Colonial Williamsburg Foundation President Colin Campbell, vice chairman of the Jamestown 2007 steering committee. “Everybody’s consciousness is raised that we must avoid confusion and that we must let people know what their options are.”

The agencies have come together in planning events and programming for the Jamestown 2007 fete. But money, specifically the issue of marketing dollars, appears to be one hurdle in the testy debate over a joint ticket.

There is a joint ticket to all attractions in the America’s Historic Triangle Vacation package, which includes admission to Colonial Williamsburg, the two Jamestown sites, Yorktown Battlefield and Yorktown Victory Center.

“But there are a large number of tourists that are specifically interested in Jamestown,” APVA board member Ivor Massey said. “It’s like any other market. The more options you provide to the consumer, the more business you’re going to get.”

State Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr., co-chairman of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s Board of Trustees, sent a letter to the parties involved earlier this spring that addressed the issue of a joint ticket.

“The APVA and [the National Park Service] would like to move a little faster than we’re moving,” Mr. Norment said. “The subject of joint ticketing has always been contemplated. The critical issue is when it would be appropriate to implement it.”

APVA Executive Director Elizabeth Kostelny said she is hoping a joint ticket will be in place by this summer, when the area launches a pilot transportation program between sites.

“By waiting until 2007 to debut something like this when all of America and the world is focused on the region, that’s a setup for disaster,” she said.

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