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Governor Glenn Youngkin Dedicates Culpeper Battlefields State Park

Virginia’s 43rd State Park preserves historic Civil War battlefield sites in Culpeper County

Office of the Governor: Christian Martinez, Christian.Martinez@governor.virginia.gov

Department of Conservation and Recreation: Dave Neudeck, dave.neudeck@dcr.virginia.gov 

American Battlefield Trust: Mary Koik, mkoik@battlefields.org 

RICHMOND, VA - Governor Glenn Youngkin officially dedicated Virginia’s newest State Park, Culpeper Battlefields State Park. The park opens with 263 acres, centered around the crest of Fleetwood Hill at Brandy Station Battlefield, the site where the largest cavalry battle fought on the North American continent took place. 

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin at Culpeper Battlefields State Park
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin dedicates the new Culpeper Battlefields State Park alongside representatives of the county, state, and the American Battlefield Trust. Jamie Betts

Culpeper Battlefields State Park is Virginia’s 43rd State Park. The park will offer visitors 2,200 acres of historic battlefield land after a series of property transfers occurring between June 2024 and December 2027. The park will be composed of lands preserved by the private sector, in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia, and includes parts of the four major Civil War battles fought in Culpeper County: Brandy Station, Cedar Mountain, Kelly’s Ford and Rappahannock Station. 

“Virginia’s 43rd state park stands as a powerful reminder of our nation's history and the importance of preserving that history for future generations, because we can't know where we're going and unless we know where we’re coming from,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Culpeper Battlefields State Park connects us to our past and inspires us as we march together into our future. Visitors from all over will be able to appreciate the beauty of nature and reflect on the enduring spirit of resilience and unity that defines us.” 

Much of the land has been open to the public and includes trails and interpretive signs maintained by the American Battlefield Trust, Brandy Station Foundation and the Cedar Mountain Battlefield. With portions of the property facing the threat of development, dedicated battlefield preservationists have sought for years to have a new state park established to save the intact historical landscape and pristine views. 

“The addition of this property to Virginia’s State Parks will ensure this land will remain available to the public and protected for future generations,” said Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles. “The dedication of Culpeper Battlefields State Park stands as a symbol of our administration’s commitment to providing new opportunities for Virginians to recreate outdoors while preserving the Commonwealth’s cultural heritage and natural beauty.” 

“This dedication celebrates a preservation process decades in the making,” said American Battlefield Trust President David Duncan. “It is an honor to come together with so many outstanding partners at the culmination of much work over long years to safeguard these historic landscapes.” 

The new park is being created from land donated to the state by the Trust and its partners, which have been active acquiring battlefield lands in Culpeper County since 1997. Legislation to establish the park was approved by the Virginia General Assembly in June 2022 and signed by the governor. Additional appropriations will allow the acquisition of up to 800 additional acres to expand and enhance the park. 

“The dedication marks the culmination of years of effort to bring forth our newest State Park. For decades, the Brandy Station Foundation, Cedar Mountain Battlefield and others have worked to preserve and protect these sites which we dedicate as the Culpeper Battlefields State Park,” said Senator Bryce Reeves. “It is right that we honor the fallen on both sides, all Americans, who fought here and consecrated this ground. The furor of war is not to be taken lightly, nor should we forget it lest we, as a nation, do not make every effort to govern judiciously and live in peace. The history of these battlefields serves as a grim reminder of the bloody consequences should we not.” 

“Within comfortable commuting distance of Washington, D.C. (Mid-Atlantic drive markets), and situated in the heart of the breathtaking Virginia Piedmont, the new park will serve as a principal link in our region’s storied chain of historic, cultural and recreational sites,” said Paige Read, Director of Culpeper tourism and town economic development. 

“This park is now open thanks to our partnership with the American Battlefield Trust and so many within the Culpeper community,” said Matt Wells, Director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which manages Virginia State Parks. “As we move forward, we will continue to engage partners and stakeholders in the planning process. A master plan will be developed with the input from our communities, and together we will chart the best possible road map for this new park. While DCR serves as the steward of this place, it belongs to the community, to the Commonwealth and to its people." 

“Virginia State Parks play an important role in connecting the community to these wonderful outdoor recreation and historic spaces,” said Dr. Melissa Baker, Director of Virginia State Parks. “We’re proud to expand that great legacy with the dedication of Virginia’s newest State Park, Culpeper Battlefields State Park.” 

Visitors to the park can explore its history through interpretive walking and equestrian trails, along with guided tours available through mobile apps. Recreational activities may eventually include access to the Rappahannock River, camping and public programming.

This park is under development and parking is limited so all guests are encouraged to check the Culpeper Battlefields State Park webpage at www.virginiastateparks.gov before they visit the park.