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5. Risk Classification

To further develop a priority list of battlefields, the level of threat was combined with the current integrity to classify each battlefield according to its ``at risk'' standing. Integrity describes the current condition of a battlefield. The level of threat suggests what to anticipate for the site in the foreseeable future. Combining present and potential conditions, produces an assessment of risk for each of the battlefields. The field survey ratings were used to classify sites. Although core areas are used for this classification, risks for the larger study areas are generally consistent with and follow those of the core areas.

Figure 18 summarizes the risk classification for the fifteen battlefields as described below (threats 1-5, integrity A-D):

Within each of the subcategories in the table, battlefields were ranked by relative size in core acreage in ascending order because it is assumed that, of two battlefields under similar threat, the smaller would be more quickly damaged by further loss of integrity. This order, moving down each column and from left to right, was then used to produce the risk priority ranking.

Sites with the highest risk are experiencing very high threats and already are in lost or poor condition as coherent battlefield landscapes. Any protection or interpretation at these sites will be limited to relatively small fragments and focused largely on commemoration. Limited potential remains to interpret the battle or to convey a realistic sense of the battle setting and the terrain and other military conditions experienced by the troop formations and their commanders. Such sites include Front Royal (1862), 1st Winchester (1862), and Opequon (1864).

Sites with the lowest risk are in good condition and experiencing low to very low levels of threats ranging from McDowell (1862) with no currently identified threats to very gradual expansion of residential construction at Cross Keys (1862), Port Republic (1862), and Piedmont (1864). Protection of these sites can focus on ways to build community consensus in order to implement a long range landscape or agricultural preservation plan. Three of these sites represent Jackson's 1862 Campaign, including its culmination at Cross Keys and Port Republic.

The majority of battlefield sites are arrayed in intermediate or moderate risk situations which have been divided into ``high moderate'' and ``low moderate'' categories depending on the particular gravity of the integrity/threats combination. High moderate sites include First Kernstown (1862) and Second Kernstown (1864), Second Winchester (1863), New Market(1864), and Tom's Brook (1864). Low moderate sites include Fisher's Hill (1864), Cedar Creek (1864), and Cool Spring (1864). Many types and combinations of preservation and interpretive efforts may be appropriate to these sites, focusing on high moderate sites for the near term and low moderate sites for longer range plans.

Figure 18 summarizes the risk classification for the fifteen battlefields as described above (threats 1-5, integrity A-D).


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Creation Date: 3/13/95

Last Update 7/17/95 by VLC