With almost 2 million visitors a year, the natural resources of Gettysburg National Military Park are prone to stresses from pollution, traffic, and nearby development. It is the mission of the park "to preserve and protect the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg...”. Many features park managers strive to preserve are natural features such as topography, wooded areas, thickets and wetlands; which were all present during the battle. At the time of the battle these features provided cover and concealment for attack and retreat.
Today the park faces a different kind of battle. With the increased mobility of our advancing society, the park is experiencing ecological changes. Changes range from the introduction of invasive exotic plant species to the developing of lands surrounding the battlefield. Park managers are taking an active role in addressing these changes with an adaptive management strategy. As scientific research provides protocols for monitoring the parks present state, we are able to deduce areas of concern that need assistance. Using research as tools, park managers can make decisions based on sound ecological or historical facts to ensure park resources are being protected. Volunteers, local organizations, and university researchers provide additional assistance in identifying environmental concerns and making management decisions.