This week, the Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants program was officially fully funded by Congress at $10 million for the 2019 Fiscal Year. The bill passed through the House of Representatives and the Senate earlier this week and was officially signed into law by President Donald Trump on Friday, February 15.
Remarkably, this is the fourth consecutive year the grants program was passed with full funding and received bipartisan support. As American Battlefield Trust President James Lighthizer said, this moment “marks a tremendous win for America’s endangered battlefields.”
Based on the history of this program, it is a major win for preservation.
The Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants program was created in 2002 to preserve historic battlefield lands using strategic partnerships between the National Park Service, state and local governments, and nonprofits. With a dollar-for-dollar match requirement, these grants are a major part of funding land outside of National Park Service boundaries. Acreage at Antietam, Gettysburg, Princeton, Vicksburg, Shiloh, Sackets Harbor, Fort Donelson, and many other sites have been saved through these grants.
With highly-successful preservation nonprofits like the American Battlefield Trust and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation that utilize these important grants, we can be sure to see preservation history made this year.