Petersburg National Battlefield’s natural resources are affected, every single day, by natural and unnatural processes and factors. Natural events have the ability to change the park’s landscape overnight.
Weather events, such as ice storms, tornados, hurricanes, and heavy rain, play a major role in shaping the landscape of Petersburg National Battlefield. In 1998, a significant ice storm occurred, bringing trees down throughout the park. In 2003, Hurricane Isabel came through the park, bringing strong winds. This storm tore down hundreds of trees, creating months of cleanup efforts for park employees. These weather events also have cultural resource significance. Oftentimes the trees that are uprooted tear up earthworks, causing irreplaceable damage.
Like most parks in the nation, Petersburg National Battlefield must contend with many environmental problems.
Being in a relatively undeveloped state, the battlefield has the opportunity to serve as both an indicator of environmental problems and a catalyst for future environmental change. Thus, it is important to face the environmental challenges that are present in the park with a concerted effort. Just as imperative, Petersburg National Battlefield must work with the surrounding communities and government and local entities to improve environmental conditions for the region. In doing this, the larger goal of preserving the environment can be met.
The park’s challenges include protecting water and noise quality, dealing with the spread of urban development, identifying and removing invasive/exotic species, and combating erosion (among numerous others).
Did You Know?
The Depot Field Hospital, which was located in City Point, Virginia, (present day Hopewell) was the largest field hospital for Union or Southern troops during the Civil War. (Petersburg National Battlefield)