This opportunity is important to my organization as Clarke County is part of the eight-county Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District (SVNHD), established by Congress to protect and interpret Civil War battlefield sites in the Valley. Clarke County contains Cool Spring, a site that is considered to be a Civil War site of national significance.
The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (SVBF) is the entity designated by Congress to manage Civil War battlefields in the National Historic District, sites that are owned by many different public and private entities, as well as ourselves. We develop interpretation and signage for these sites, as well as promote the sites and partner jurisdictions to the mid-Atlantic region and to the nation, where interest in the Civil War is high, especially during this 150th anniversary commemoration of the conflict.
In my letter to the Supervisors, I offered three points in support of your joining the NVRPA, thereby enabling the creation of this protected battlefield and park:
- In the current financial environment, it is difficult to secure funds to purchase or place conservation easements on battlefield properties. Opportunities like the one that has been presented are few, and once these hallowed grounds are developed, they are lost forever.
- I have reviewed the draft Management Plan presented by NVRPA and believe the “Goals and Objectives for Natural and Cultural Resources” and “Operations & Uses for Passive Recreation Options” sections provide an appropriate roadmap for the use of this historic property. Further, involvement of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in restoration, interpretation, and placing of the property under a battlefield easement will assure this the historic value of the property is protected, while also protecting the interests of nearby residents.
- By establishing a battlefield park in Clarke County, our organization will be able to coordinate its interpretation and promotion with the other battlefield properties we manage in the Shenandoah Valley. With the addition of a Cool Spring park, this battlefield can be woven into our promotion of the Valley battlefields, including our website, tourism materials, living history demonstrations, and programs to support the local economy.
The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation feels it is important for the protection of our heritage, as well as for the encouragement of District-wide heritage-related business, that Clarke County looks favorably on the potential partnership with NVRPA.
SVBF will be pleased to work with Clarke County and the NVRPA to realize this opportunity for all three entities.
Denman Zirkle, Executive Director
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation