National Park Service Awards $345k to New Battlefield Restoration Project

by Amy Myers
Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

For the first time in the National Park Service’s history, the agency has awarded $345,205 in Battlefield Restoration Grants for projects in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The goal of the new grant project is to restore “day-of-battle” conditions to nationally significant battlefields and historic sites associated with the American Revolution, War of 1812 and Civil War. The resources for this effort come from the Land and Water Conservation Fund which reinvests revenue from offshore oil and natural gas leasing in order to enhance and protect our country’s natural, recreational sites.

Following the decision, NPS Director Chuck Sams explained the significance of the new project and how it will benefit these national landmarks and battlefields.

“These new grants build on collaborative conservation efforts among state and local governmental and nonprofit partners,” said Sams in an official statement. “By restoring landscapes, grant recipients can preserve important historic sites at the same time they are conserving open spaces, protecting natural resources, and providing public access to our shared heritage.”

This year, four historic battlefields will share in the $345,000 that the National Park Service has awarded – three in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania. This list includes the following projects:

  • Restoring a Gateway to Gettysburg ($62,500)
  • Brandy Station Battlefield Restoration Plan ($175,000)
  • Third Winchester Battlefield: Huntsberry Farm Fence Restoration ($79,428)
  • New Market Battlefield: Demolition of Non-historic Buildings   ($28,277  )

National Park Service Will Continue to Fund Restoration of Third Winchester Battlefield

Virginia’s Third Winchester Battlefield, which the agency describes as “a vibrant example of collaborative conservation in action,” has received similar funding in the past. Thanks to the preservation and restoration efforts, this battlefield continues to serve as a powerful reminder of one of the largest, bloodiest and most significant battles in Shenandoah Valley.

According to the National Park Service, the funds will help secure the forever “forever purchase” of the Huntsberry Farm. In effect, this will also preserve the most infamous part of the battlefield. Here, in September 1864, 50,000 soldiers from both sides fought mercilessly for hours without a clear winner. By the day’s end, more than 3,000 men lay dead on the ground.

“This year’s Battlefield Restoration Grant to Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation builds on the successful acquisition of the Huntsberry Farm property in 2009,” the NPS announced. “With the assistance of a Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant, the Foundation partnered with Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation and Department of Historic Resources to purchase the 209-acre property.”

Beyond the battlefield, the newly awarded funds will also allow the Park Service to demonstrate rural life during the Civil War.

“The fences that once provided order in an unordered world will now give a sense of place to the farm and help visitors understand the 1864 landscape: how it was used by the people who called this place home, how it was traversed by the soldiers who fought here, and how it can be a place of renewal today,” the agency said.

“Battlefield Restoration Grants empower preservation partners to inspire wonder, understanding, and empathy at the places that witnessed some of our nation’s most challenging events.”