The federal Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants Program remains one of the most successful historic land preservation tools in American history. This matching grants program has been used to preserve more than 30,000 acres of battlefield land across the country. It is a vital resource utilized by the American Battlefield Trust and its partners to protect hallowed ground located outside existing National Park Service boundaries.
In 2014, the program was expanded to include Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields. This expansion has created new preservation opportunities in several states; already the program has enabled the Trust to preserve more than 1,000 acres of land rooted in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 at places like Princeton, New Jersey; Hanging Rock, South Carolina; Kettle Creek, Georgia; and Sackets Harbor, New York. As such, funding for the program should reflect these preservation needs.
With the approaching 250th anniversary of America’s War for Independence, there is no better time than now to reauthorize the Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants Program.
Last year, we asked you to support bipartisan reauthorizing legislation introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate. The response was overwhelming – thousands of you called and sent letters to your members of Congress. While the House passed the bill in December, the Senate was unable to get the legislation across the finish line before the conclusion of the 115th Congress in January.
However, because of the strong support for this program on both sides of the aisle — as well as your own tireless efforts to help get it reauthorized — Congress has already reintroduced relevant legislation this year. Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia and a bipartisan coalition of 24 Representatives introduced H.R. 307, while Senators Johnny Isakson, Tim Kaine and Roy Blunt introduced S.225 in the Senate. The legislation funds the Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants Program up to $20 million a year and includes provisions to enable nonprofit groups like the American Battlefield Trust to restore and interpret battlefield sites.
We greatly appreciate your advocacy on behalf of this legislation, and we hope you will continue to voice your support by reaching out to your Senators and Representatives. Let them know that – as a constituent – this issue is important to you, and you would like their support.
Please use our simple online advocacy form to send a letter to your U.S. Representative and Senators in Washington and ask them to co-sponsor the Preserving America’s Battlefields Act. Passage of this important legislation will enable us to continue protecting our nation’s hallowed battlegrounds for current and future generations of Americans.