Park Service looks at Alternatives for Great Meadows Restoration
Contact: Connie Ranson, 724-329-5818
Environmental Assessment Available for Public Review
Farmington PA – The National Park Service has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) outlining different alternatives being considered to return the Great Meadows Cultural Landscape at Fort Necessity National Battlefield to a condition which reflects the actual battlefield scene of 1754.
On May 24, 1754, Lt. Colonel George Washington set up camp at the Great Meadows with soldiers of his Virginia Regiment. On July 3, the French and their Indian allies engaged Washington and his troops in the first battle of the French and Indian War. Because the closeness of large trees to the fort was an important aspect of the battle at the Great Meadows, the restoration of the forest border and the reforestation of the surrounding hillsides are the highest priority for historical interpretation.
In the 250 years following the battle, agricultural use and park development have significantly changed the historic landscape. The two streams were deepened and straightened; the wetlands surrounding the fort site were drained, several feet of fill dirt were added, and the forests were removed from the surrounding hillsides. These changes have resulted in a much drier, open landscape where exotic vegetation thrives as dominant species.
The loss of natural features, such as the mature hardwood forests from which the French and Indians fired upon the fort and shallow meandering streams used by Washington troops as entrenchments, has made the battle tactics and outcome difficult for park visitors to envision. This Environmental Assessment deals strictly with the removal of exotic plants and the restoration of the historic forest/meadow border and the forested hillsides.
When this project is completed, the Great Meadows will more closely resemble the landscape at the time of the battle. The project also aims to balance the historic landscape and natural resource management practices. The Environmental Assessment presents alternatives to restore the historic forest/meadow border and forested hillsides. It describes the impacts that each of these treatments will have on both the cultural and natural resources of the Great Meadows historic landscape.
A copy of the Environmental Assessment may be requested by writing to the Site Manager, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, 1 Washington Parkway, Farmington, Pennsylvania 15437, or by calling (724) 329-5512. Copies of the EA can be viewed at the Uniontown Public Library, the Fort Necessity National Battlefield Interpretive and Education Center and at the Fort Necessity NB Headquarters building. The document is also available on-line at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. Comments on the proposals should be submitted, in writing, to the Acting Site Manager or on line through the above web-site. Comments must be received by March 31, 2007.
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Did You Know?
George Washington was not in command of the Virginia Regiment when they left Williamsburg in 1754. Colonel Joshua Frye died after a fall from his horse early in the expedition. Washington received a field promotion from Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel and assumed command.