Historic Orchard Initiative
The National Park Service is one of the principal stewards of historic orchards in the United States. Many of these orchards date from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries and reflect important social trends of the country such as the migration and settlement patterns of immigrants, the development of commercial agriculture, and the growth of rural and urban economies.
Many of the orchards at national parks have direct associations with important people or events that shaped the history of our country, such as the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. Additionally, historic orchards in national parks often contain rare or unusual fruit varieties that may be the only surviving examples of their type. As repositories of great genetic variety, these historic orchards are important reservoirs of agricultural biodiversity. There is an urgent need to document historic orchards, determine their horticultural value, develop management objectives, and build the capacity of parks to effectively protect, preserve, and maintain these important resources. The Olmsted Center is working with partners to initiate a nationwide program to help property managers provide good stewardship for their historic orchards.