WASHINGTON, DC – National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis has announced more than $500,000 in grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help preserve over 180 acres at three of America’s Civil War battlefields threatened with damage or destruction by urban and suburban development. Just over $91,000 went to purchase land at the Perryville battlefield in Boyle County.
Besides Perryville, the grant projects are at Corinth, Mississippi, 88 acres at $170,820, and 51.20 acres at $109,836; and Brandy Station Battlefield, Virginia, 29 acres at $154,210.00; for a total of more than $525,878.
The grants announced are funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was established in 1964 and has helped conserve land in every state, supporting tens of thousands of state and local projects. They were funded with money set aside in Fiscal Year 2014, but since then, Congress allowed the 50 year-old program to expire on Sept. 30, leaving an uncertain future for additional grants for similar civil war battlefield projects.
“Acquisition of these battlefields through the Land and Water Conservation Fund will help our fellow citizens better understand how military conflicts have impacted important social and political changes throughout our nation’s history.” Director Jarvis said. “The Fund helps states and local communities safeguard and preserve historic battlefields without the expenditure of tax-payer dollars, and it’s absolutely critical that Congress reauthorize and fully fund this highly successful program”
President Obama has called for full, permanent funding of the LWCF in his proposed budget, recognizing it as one of the nation’s most effective tools for protecting important water sources, expanding access for hunting and fishing, preserving historic battlefields, and creating ball fields and other places for kids to play and learn. The LWCF does not use taxpayer dollars; the primary source of income derives from fees paid by oil and gas companies drilling offshore in waters owned by the American people.
The grants are administered by the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP), one of more than a dozen programs administered by the NPS that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition, and funding to help preserve their own history and create close-to-home recreation opportunities.
Consideration for the battlefield land acquisition grants is given to battlefields listed in the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission’s 1993Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields and the ABPP’s 2007 Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States.
Grants are awarded to units of state and local governments for the fee simple acquisition of land, or for the non-federal acquisition of permanent, protective interests in land (easements). Private non-profit groups may apply in partnership with state or local government sponsors.
In the case of these four newly awarded grants, the Civil War Trust partnered with the government sponsor grantees listed below. Other partnership organizations involved in the grant projects include the Kentucky Heritage Council and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Complete guidelines for grant eligibility and application forms are available online at: www.nps.gov/abpp.