Senate Approves Key Battlefield Preservation Measures
(Washington, D.C.) — The American Battlefield Trust applauded the U.S. Senate for passing the Natural Resources Management Act, a critical land conservation package that will protect our nation’s historic battlefields as well as other national outdoor treasures. The bipartisan bill, S. 47, contains key provisions that expand battlefield park boundaries and establish two Civil War-related national monuments. The lands encompassed in the bill witnessed important Civil War action and were home to historically significant places, ranging from a Union headquarters to important emancipation sites.
“The fight to protect our nation’s battlefields never wanes,” said Trust president James Lighthizer. “Faced with the ever-increasing threat of development, legislation like the Natural Resources Management Act are critical tools in the fight to protect and preserve these irreplaceable sites. We are thankful for the Senate’s strong, bipartisan support, and eagerly anticipate final action in the House.”
The legislation enhances significant battlefields from the American Civil War. It expands Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee and Mississippi to include key battlefield lands at Davis Bridge, Russell House and Fallen Timbers. Additionally, the legislation designates Parker’s Cross Roads battlefield as an affiliated area of the national park system. It also expands the boundary of the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Georgia to include the 1853 Wallis House, a home used as a hospital and headquarters to Union Gen. William T. Sherman.
In addition to expanding existing national park sites, S.47 also establishes two new National Monuments related to the Civil War in Kentucky. It creates Camp Nelson National Monument, the site of Union supply depot, training ground and hospital during the Civil War that grew into a busy recruitment center for African-American soldiers and an emancipation site for them and their families. Local and state partners, as well as groups like the Trust and the National Park Foundation, have worked diligently for years to create a national monument at this site. Additionally, this legislation creates Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument — site of a key 1862 battle — where the Trust and its partners have preserved more than 680 acres of hallowed ground.
Finally, the legislation permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has assisted with the preservation of thousands of acres of battlefield land across the country since it was created in 1964.
The Trust thanks Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair and Ranking Member Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) for their leadership, and numerous supporters including: Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). Passed by an overwhelming majority in the Senate, the bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for further consideration.