The Best Practices, Care and Repair of Covered Bridges National Conference was held for state and local highway engineers, state and county covered bridge maintenance personnel, volunteers charged with raising funds for the preservation of covered bridges, local and national covered bridge preservation organizations, historic preservationists, general contractors, structural engineers, covered bridge historians, the traveling public and community members.
The conference featured two conference tracks with subjects as diverse as bridge preservation case studies, best practices in maintaining covered bridges, engineering, covered bridge history and cultural tourism strategies for municipalities and states.
Noted author and engineer, Henry Petroski was the Plenary Speaker at the opening session and US Senator James Jeffords offered the closing remarks.
At the conclusion of the conference, participants developed and approved the Burlington Charter for the Preservation of Historic Covered Bridges.
The National Historic Covered Bridge Best Practices Conference was the first of its kind to collect and benchmark the vast array of information that exists on covered bridges by inviting all those concerned with covered bridge preservation to participate. A goal of the conference was to develop a national reference base for evaluating various treatments of historic covered bridges in ways that will maintain their historic integrity as National Register properties. The conference also intended to promote a dialogue of the diverse ideas, experience, techniques and practices for historic covered bridge preservation.
The conference was presented as part of the National Historic Covered Bridge Program funded under Section 1224(b) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in partnership with the National Park Service, Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), is undertaking a project to document significant covered bridges in the United States. The Preservation Education Institute worked in partnership with the National Park Service (HAER in Washington, DC and the Historic Preservation Training Center in Frederick, Maryland) and the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program to present this three-day event.