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 National Park Service boundaries.
The Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants Program was first funded in 1999 to preserve endangered Civil War battlefields. Among the battlefields that have benefitted from the program are some of the most famous in our history: Antietam, Chickamauga, Gettysburg, Petersburg, Shiloh, the Wilderness and Vicksburg.
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 nearly 1,000 acres of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 sites 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 Grant Program. The bipartisan Preserving America’s Battlefields Act, S.3505, introduced by U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, does just that. The bill funds the 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.
A similar bill was introduced by U.S. Representative Jody Hice in the House of Representatives in June 2019 and has received widespread bipartisan support. Thousands of you took the time to share your voice and write your Members of Congress. As a result, the bill is making its way through the House of Representatives right now.
We greatly appreciate your advocacy for this legislation, and we hope you will continue to voice your support by reaching out to your Senators. Let them know that – as a constituent – this issue is important to you, and you would like their support.
It is important to reach out to your Senators, even if you have already submitted letters of support to your Members of Congress.
Please use our simple online advocacy form to send a letter to your U.S. 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 future generations.