Community Dedicates New Visitor Contact Station
The Shenandoah Valley came together on Friday, May 10, 2013 to dedicate the new Visitor Contact Station at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. Congressman Frank Wolf joined National Park Service staff and park partners to officially open the facility. Park supporters came from the neighboring communities and as far as Washington, DC to celebrate the event.
Speakers representing the National Park Service, the park's Key Partners, and the Federal Advisory Commission shared their pride over this milestone for the park. Congressman Wolf, who sponsored the enabling legislation that created the park in 2002, provided a moving keynote address and emphasized the importance of preserving America's historic sites for future generations. The ceremony ended with a ribbon cutting by Congressman Wolf and all the event speakers.
Site Manager, Amy Bracewell, reflected on the importance of the community to this park. She noted, "It was a community effort to establish Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP and it is a celebration for the community to have a new orientation area to share the rich history of the Shenandoah Valley. This space provides us with great opportunities to reach out to visitors, neighbors, and new audiences who want to learn about the park."
The new Visitor Contact Station is the first public facility in the park that is operated by the National Park Service and is located at 7712 Main Street, Middletown. It is open daily, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and is free of charge. The exhibits cover the broad spectrum of the Shenandoah Valley's history, from its geological formation, through early settlement to the Civil War and its impact.
National Park Service ranger conducted programs are also presented on a regular basis.
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP Announces the Installation of New Exhibits
Middletown, VA ----- Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is pleased to announce the installation of new exhibits at the park's Visitor Contact Station. The park, which celebrated its 10th anniversary late last year, will open this new facility in Middletown on Saturday, April 13.
The new exhibits and displays in the Visitor Contact Station cover a wide variety of subjects and stories, including the Shenandoah Valley's geological formation, early settlement, the Valley's agriculture economy, the Civil War's impact on the region and the Battle of Cedar Creek, along with orientation and information about the park and the significant resources and facilities owned and managed by the Key Partners.
The new exhibits include a large scale, three-dimensional fiber optic map of the Cedar Creek battlefield.The fiber optic lights, along with an audio narrative, describe the pivotal October 1864 battle. Another display, the "Faces of the Valley" contains photographs of individual Union and Confederate soldiers, along with local Valley civilians who found themselves directly in the path of the war. According to Park Ranger Eric Campbell, "This display attempts to humanize the story of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley, by turning the cold statistics into actual people impacted by the war."
The new Visitor Contact Station is the first public facility in the park that is operated by the National Park Service. "We are delighted to be able to offer a park orientation area for our visitors and the community," noted Site Manager Amy Bracewell."After years of planning, this space allows us to share the unified message of the park and all of the park partners as well as highlight the rich history of the valley."
The Visitor Contact Station is located at 7712 Main Street, Middletown.It is open daily, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and is free of charge. National Park Service ranger conducted programs are also presented on a regular basis.
A program schedule, along with other information on the park, partner sites and the Contact Station is available on the park website (www.nps.gov/cebe) or by calling the park: (540) 869-3051.
Jim Northup, a 32 year National Park Service veteran, has been selected asthe new superintendent of Shenandoah National Park and Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, both in Virginia."
Jim has a strong track record of building and communicating a vision and modeling the best qualities of a 21st Century leader," says Northeast Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach. "His demonstrated ability to interact and forge truly productive working relationships with a wide variety of individuals and organizations both within and outside the National Park Service makes Jim an ideal candidate to lead these two parks at this moment in time."
Since 2005, Northup has served as superintendent of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Unlike any other place on Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore preserves and protects a spectacular and diversesegment of the Lake Superior shoreline. The park includes the 200-foot high Pictured Rocks cliffs, beautiful white sand beaches; waterfalls, inland lakes;five square miles of pristine sand dunes; and numerous historic resources,including the Au Sable Light Station, built in 1874.
During his tenure at Pictured Rocks, Northup has focused on improving community relations, working with local officials on the design and reconstruction of the park's main access road, and on designation of the Beaver Basin Wilderness. Northup started the park's Community Partner Program, the Adopt-a-Trail/Adopt-a-Campsite Program, the Discover Your Lakeshore Program andseveral initiatives with the park's gateway communities.
Northup also played a key role in the establishment of the National Parks ofLake Superior Foundation, the non-profit fundraising partner of the five NPS units on Lake Superior. Other achievements have included completing a number of actions called for in the park's 2004 General Management Plan and expanding the public programming and services." I am delighted and truly honored to have this opportunity to serve as the superintendent of Shenandoah National Park and Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park," he says. "I look forward to working with the dedicated park staff, partners, visitors and the surrounding communities to preserve and manage the natural and cultural resources, the compelling stories and the wonderful visitor opportunities that exist at both parks. My wife Phyllis and I are both very much looking forward to moving to the area and becoming fully engaged in the communities."
Prior to Pictured Rocks, Northup served as the chief ranger at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Other assignments have included work as a field ranger, resources management specialist, fire and aviation specialist and in interpretation at Grand Teton, Big Bend, and Grand Canyon National Parks, Cape Hatteras and Fire Island National Seashores, and Buffalo National River. His first seasonal ranger position with the National Park Service was at Shenandoah National Park, beginning in 1979. Northup holds a bachelor of science degree in environmental education fromthe University of Maryland and has also completed graduate level work in public administration and environmental law and policy. He is also a graduate of the USDA Executive Potential Program, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government's Senior Executive Fellow Program, and the Department of the Interior's Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program. Jim's wife, Phyllis Northup, is an artist and an art teacher. Jim and Phyllis have two grown daughters, Erin and Amy.
Amy Brooke Bracewell has been selected as the new site manager for Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.
"Amy's background, which blends expertise in historic preservation and relevant public programming through partnerships, is an ideal fit for Cedar Creek and Belle Grove," says Northeast Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach. "Her energy and professionalism will immediately be put to work under the direction of Superintendent Jim Northup to implement the vision set forth in the General Management Plan and by the park's significant partners."
Bracewell currently serves as the historian and education coordinator for Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Mount Rushmore is visited by nearly three million people each year and during her tenure at the park, Bracewell managed the preservation of the park's cultural resources and archeological sites. She led the adoption of a collaborative park-wide compliance program and stream-lined effective project management to ensure implementation of a number of critical projects. She has also served as the park's public information officer and as the project leader for a number of significant partnership projects including the construction of a Youth Exploration Center and public programming offered by partner groups including American Indian tribes.
"I am thrilled for the opportunity to work at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park," noted Bracewell. "I love the innovative partnership
In her six years of permanent service with the National Park Service (NPS), Bracewell has also served as the acting Partnership Coordinator for the Midwest Region of the NPS where she oversaw the creation of numerous agreements and projects with partner organizations, and updated the partnership
Bracewell holds a B.A. from Emory University in anthropology and German studies. She earned an M.A. at the University of Texas at Austin in art history and an M.H.P. in historic preservation from the University of Georgia. She is also a graduate of Harvard University's Archaeological Field School. She will begin her new appointment on March 10, 2013.
Did You Know?
The grandfather clock once owned by Confederate General Jubal Early is currently located at the Belle Grove Manor house in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.