Slaughter Pen Farm Battlefield, Fredericksburg, Va

Slaughter Pen Farm Battlefield, Fredericksburg, Va

Buddy Secor

Support HR3448: American Battlefield Protection Program Enhancement Act

For more than 20 years, the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) has been a cornerstone of the Trust’s efforts to preserve our nation’s hallowed grounds.  Managed by the National Park Service, ABPP is the administrative body that oversees grants federal matching grants for the planning, acquisition, restoration, and interpretation of battlefield landscapes. 

Over these past two decades, the program has become one of the most successful public-private federal grant programs ever. Since its creation, ABPP battlefield land acquisition grants have aided in the preservation of more than 35,000 acres of hallowed ground associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War across 21 states, at places like Gettysburg, Bentonville, Chattanooga, Princeton, Sacketts Harbor and Vicksburg.  As a result of the program’s continued success, which earns it wide bipartisan support, the authorized level of funding has grown by 900% — from $2 million in 2002 to $20 million in 2019.  

To ensure this program remains strong and successful as we head into the 250th anniversary of our nation’s independence, Congressional Battlefield Caucus Chairs Representatives Elise Stefanik and Gerry Connolly recently introduced HR3448, the American Battlefield Protection Program Enhancement Act, which would make small but significant modifications to the program to further increase its impact.  

The legislation would allow non-profits and tribes to apply directly for these grants, saving valuable time and ensuring key land acquisitions can move quickly and efficiently.  Additionally, the legislation would widen the scope of ABPP’s restoration grants to all NPS identified battlegrounds and ensure land acquisitions grants can be used to preserve our most significant battlefields from our nation’s founding conflicts. Finally, it would create a mechanism for the National Park Service to update the Congressionally authorized reports identifying the key Revolutionary War, War of 182 and Civil War battlefields when there is new research, archaeology or study that shows a larger battlefield than originally known. 

Strengthening the program is critical — now more than ever. The development threats to these hallowed grounds are only increasing, meaning the risk of the destruction and permanent loss of our battlefields has grown tremendously since the program’s inception. Timely passage of this bill would ensure this program will be a viable tool for preservationists for years to come.  

Please join us and send your representative a message to support the American Battlefield Protection Program Enhancement Act (H.R.3448).