Breaking news today from the American Battlefield Trust and the Commonwealth of Virginia: Culpeper Battlefields State Park is set to open on July 1, 2024.
Jim Campi, chief policy and communications officer at the Trust, sent a note to battlefield preservation supporters this afternoon to share the news. Take a look:
From Jim Campi:
“At the American Battlefield Trust, we are fond of saying that “we build parks and tell stories” Well, today, we mean it quite literally!
“Yesterday, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin held a ceremonial signing of the state’s two-year, compromise budget, which included language authorizing the creation of Culpeper Battlefields State Park, set to open on July 1, 2024! This park will be formed by the Trust’s donation of some 1,700 acres of battlefield land to the state — hallowed ground that you and I have protected, now recognized for its incredible historic value and embraced for its scenic and recreational opportunities.
“If you’ve ever had the chance to travel to Culpeper, Va., you’ve likely taken in some beautiful sights — from green, rolling hills to rambling horse farms to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west. So greatly steeped in history is this landscape, that we at the Trust have saved roughly 4,982 acres here over the past 35 years we’ve been in operation — at Brandy Station, Cedar Mountain, Kelly’s Ford and Rappahannock Station.
“But Culpeper was not only a place of massive strategic importance in the Civil War, it was also a stop for thousands of enslaved peoples as they hurried northward to freedom; many crossed the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers there.
“Now these historic landscapes will have the chance to attract an even greater crowd of students and lifelong learners as a state park. Its creation from these protected landscapes is the culmination of a tremendous vision shared by not only elected officials across the Commonwealth, but also the preservation community and Culpeper residents.We are also deeply thankful that the budget includes a $3 million appropriation that will allow the Trust to pursue even more land, up to 800 acres, to enhance the park’s visitor experience.
“I’ve seen some of the ideas that have been proposed for this park and I can tell you: We are in for a treat when the park opens in July 2024! Until that time, don’t hesitate to get a head start and check out Culpeper’s battlefields as the summer season provides a picture-perfect setting for exploration.
“Thank you for standing beside us as we strive to save hallowed ground and make it even more meaningful by molding pathways for increased access and refreshing learning opportunities!”
Jim’s letter added a postscript that will allow preservation supporters to show their appreciation: “I hope you’ll join me in thanking these legislators for the care they expressed and the actions they took to ensure that Virginia’s history is further explored by travelers near and far. This page will allow you to affix your name to a letter expressing our gratitude.”
For more information, check out the American Battlefield Trust’s press release.