(Washington, D.C.) – At a news conference this morning, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting Civil War battlefields, was among the recipients of the 2010 Secretary of the Interior’s Partners in Conservation Awards. Of the 24 individuals and organizations recognized, CWPT was one of three honored for its commitment to collaborative conservation efforts in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS).
“A hallmark of CWPT’s success has long been our ability to create lasting and meaningful partnerships with government officials and agencies at all levels,” said CWPT president James Lighthizer. “But our most meaningful collaborator has always been the National Park Service. We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to furthering the cause of battlefield preservation through our ongoing work with partners at the Department of the Interior.”
CWPT works closely with Civil War-related National Parks to formulate land protection priorities, acquiring historic land outside of park boundaries and acting to purchase in-holding properties on behalf of the park when cost or expediency dictate. In 2009, CWPT completed just one such transfer, donating 176 acres of hallowed ground for inclusion in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The organization also regularly advocates on behalf of park interests to the general public and state and local governments. Moreover, the primary federal matching grant source for acquisition of battlefield land, the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program, is administered by the American Battlefield Protection Program, an arm of NPS.
The Secretary’s Partners in Conservation Awards are presented annually to recognize conservation achievements and collaborative activity among a diverse range of entities that may include Federal, State, local and tribal governments, private for-profit and nonprofit institutions, other nongovernmental entities, and individuals. The other entities honored this month for their ongoing work in conjunction with NPS are the National Geographic BioBlitz and the Bridging the Watershed Partnership.
With 55,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s remaining Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. Since 1987, the organization has helped save more than 29,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. The CWPT website is located at www.civilwar.org.