Virginia to invest almost $5 million on battlefield preservation

Virginia is making a new investment in the protection of its hallowed ground.

As part of the state’s budget, $4.75 million will go to preserving land and promoting tourism at Civil War battlefield sites throughout the Shenandoah Valley over the next two years.

Keven Walker, CEO of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, the management entity for the battlefields, said in a statement that receiving the funding is a “seminal moment” for the area.

“It is an unprecedented and unparalleled investment in battlefield parks and battlefield tourism, one that will benefit the citizens of Virginia for decades to come,” Walker said

The money will be used to develop seven new battlefield parks across four counties (Frederick, Shenandoah, Rockingham and Highland), totaling 1,731 acres.

It will also aid multiple improvements with highway signage, parking facilities, trailheads, restroom facilities, trails, interpretive signage, environmental protections and fencing. The release also stated that the funding will also help with the completion of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum and the creation of the New Market history and education center.

Del. Todd Gilbert worked on bringing the funding to the battlefields. The Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates said in a statement that he was “honored” to be part of the team that made the funding possible, adding that the state’s history “runs through the Shenandoah Valley.”

“These funds will build on the great work already done by the Foundation and others who have fought to preserve these hallowed, historic grounds, and ensure that they’re here for future generations to experience, learn from, and enjoy,” Gilbert said.

According to an independent study by the National Park Service, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District generated $291.3 million through tourism and supports 3,930 jobs.

WTOP’s José Umaña contributed to this story. 

Joslyn Chesson

Joslyn Chesson is a producer at WTOP. She was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia and graduated in May 2017 from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she studied Media Studies and Spanish Language.

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