Battlefields Mean Business

Nationwide, communities reap rewards from heritage tourists


The American Battlefield Trust's 2017 report on the economic benefits of battlefield preservation.

Even for those most passionate about American history, the places rooted in our past can be easily taken for granted.

Yet, in communities spanning the nation, battlefield parks deliver all the economic benefits of a factory, but without any smokestacks. The storied sites where significant events of the Civil War, Revolutionary War and other conflicts unfolded in real time aren’t just irreplaceable — these priceless pieces of our heritage help drive local economies, educate citizens and bring national recognition.

In 2013, the American Battlefield Trust released its “Blue, Gray and Green” study, offering community leaders insight into the impact that heritage tourism has on their bottom line. Since then, the national, nonpartisan group has expanded its mission to preserve the battlefields of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War where crucial chapters of the American story were written.

Recently, to reappraise how battlefields benefit the communities which care for them, the Trust partnered with the Harbinger Consulting Group to survey data, analyze trends and compare numbers from battlegrounds across the country — and across American history, from the Revolution to World War II. 

Harbinger’s “Battlefields Mean Business” report demonstrates in detail the continuing economic boost that such sites deliver. Battlefields — particularly when they partner with other sites and host special events — attract tourists, whose spending supports local jobs and contributes tax revenue to local and state treasuries. Plus, battlefields provide community assets, increasing property values, offering open space, and creating educational and recreational opportunities for residents of all ages and backgrounds.

If you have any questions about this study or wish to request a hard copy of our newest report, please contact Mary Koik at