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3. Alternatives

The following alternatives are presented in order of increasing Federal involvement. Alternative I examines no increased action, that is, the continuation of the status quo in terms of existing preservation and interpretation activities of battlefield sites. Alternative II examines the possibility of mounting a local or regional effort, with or without assistance from the National Park Service, to preserve battlefield land for interpretation and tourism. Alternative III examines the potential of developing these sites as affiliated areas of the National Park System. Alternative IV examines the possibility of acquiring one or more specific battlefields, for incorporation into the National Park System. Alternative V examines the possibility of acquiring all fifteen battlefields for incorporation into the National Park System. Cost estimates for Alternatives I-V are presented in Figure 22, however, potential acquisition costs for land have not been estimated in the analysis due to the complexity of ownership and land use in the battlefields.

Although the historic significance of the Valley calls for a regional approach towards its preservation and interpretation, it is clear that a variety of owner interests, local government goals and objectives, current land use patterns, and varied levels of threat to the battlefields are present. This suggests an approach that would consider various combinations of the five alternatives. Such an approach could be implemented, based on need, owner interest, and other concerns. Indeed, property owners and preservation organizations, with input from local governments and the travel and tourism industry, have begun to meet to explore preservation strategies that reflect this approach.

Because historic preservation is most successful when the local community is supportive and has participated in the identification and implementation of preservation solutions. Selection of any of these alternatives should be accomplished after opportunities for public information and participation in the selection process have occurred. At this time, such consultation has not been extensive. The Valley Conservation Council, a non-profit conservation organization located in Staunton, Virginia, has stressed the need for public information on these issues and the formulation of long-term strategies for ensuring that private and local interests will be a major participant in the future.

I. No Action, Continuation of Status Quo

An examination of current preservation and interpretive activities provides a base line for evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of other potential alternatives. Under this alternative, existing private and public efforts to preserve battlefields would continue without substantial changes. These programs include: Federal income tax deductions for donation of easements and credits for substantial rehabilitations of income generating certified historic structures; Federal and matching State funding through the Historic Preservation Fund, and Land and Water Conservation Fund; donation of easements through the State's open space and historic easement program, and additional State programs designed to encourage the retention of agricultural and forest lands.

This alternative may be more feasible in the Upper Valley and, specifically, in areas where agriculture remains a healthy industry. In Augusta County, several private property owners have indicated to NPS their desire to continue farming-- a practice that is generally consistent with the historic character of the battlefields. Representatives of this county government also indicated their belief that local zoning efforts, especially the use of agricultural-forest districts, were sufficient to preserve battlefields from incompatible land use development. The problem, however, is that zoning is ephemeral, and in rural areas re-zoning at the request of the land owners occurs as a matter of course. In addition, approximately 10 percent of core battlefield land distributed throughout the Valley is owned by non-profit organizations committed to its preservation. Several Valley organizations and property owners have stressed that Federal acquisition from private owners unwilling to sell their property would undermine community support for preservation of Civil War battlefields in the Valley. Although no additional expenditures of public funds would occur under this alternative, the result would be haphazard resource protection, interpretation, reduced heritage tourism potential, and, notably, potential reliance in the future on more costly preservation alternatives.

Alternative I could be used selectively in conjunction with the other alternatives presented in this study, so that enhanced preservation and interpretation efforts outlined in Alternatives II, III, IV, and V could be focused on critically threatened battlefields, and in areas where private and local government support is present.

II. Enhanced Public Funding and Technical Assistance to State and Local Governments and Private Owners For Battlefield Preservation and Interpretation

Alternative II includes increased preservation and interpretation for battlefield sites that would require Federal, State, and local action through a variety of assistance methods short of acquisition in fee. Perhaps more so in this alternative than in the others is the need for focus and coordination on three interdependent areas: preservation, interpretation, and promotion. Preservation of the sites is of primary importance, for without adequate protection, the historic battlefield resources will continue to slip away and their potential value for interpretation and visitation gradually will be lost. In order to increase visitation and public appreciation of these sites, it is necessary first to improve the infrastructure and materials available to interpret events for visitors. These three areas will be examined in turn.

i. Preservation. The pace of resource degradation in the Valley and the loss of agricultural acreage over the last two decades, especially in the northern part, reveals that continued dependence on the coincidence of interests between private landowners and public interest in historic preservation is no longer an adequate mechanism for ensuring protection of battlefield land. Lands that are currently protected, either by ownership, easements, or zoning, do not represent a large amount (10 percent) of core historical areas in the fifteen battlefields. Continuing degradation and loss of Civil War battlefield resources is expected to occur, particularly in the lower Valley, and areas immediately adjacent to interstate highways, where land use is shifting away from agriculture. Unlike the situation in Augusta County, local officials in Frederick and Clarke Counties, and the City of Winchester, have noted that reliance on local zoning will not be effective in protecting battlefield lands in their jurisdictions. The use of these resources for interpretation and tourism will diminish with time. Both market (economic) and non-market (personal benefit/enjoyment) benefits will decline.

Preservation methods under this alternative would need to focus on increasing the effectiveness of private methods of protection and developing methods that provide for public and private cooperation. To meet with success in the Valley, methods would need to be consistent with other community goals and be sufficiently flexible to assist a variety of specific needs. The types of activities that would be needed are presented in Figure 20. Many parts of battlefields--especially in the middle and upper Valley--are on privately owned agricultural land whose owners wish to continue that way of life. A program could be initiated--perhaps through the Historic Preservation Fund--whereby long-term (say 10-15 holding years) battlefield protection contracts are entered into between a willing property owner and an appropriate governmental or non-profit entity. These contracts (modeled after the Countryside Stewardship program in England) would pay an owner an appropriate, market-derived stipend in return for the owner agreeing to maintain, restore, or enhance some battlefield amenity: clear or keep cleared a field that was open at the time of the battle, maintain a viewshed, provide limited access to some location, maintain a series of rail fences or other infrastructure such as a footpath or footbridge, an interpretive wayside or kiosk on or adjacent to their land, and so on. In this way, not only do owners retain their land and landuse, but they participate in and take responsibility for some part of the battlefield's preservation and presentability to the public while putting their participation on a business basis. Ten-year contracts between the government and landowners target specific areas and allow flexible guidelines to reflect individual owner and community needs.

Public support for such largely site maintenance or restoration technical assistance actions could come either through increased appropriations to existing joint Federal and State grant programs--the Historic Preservation Fund and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or through new law to provide increased preservation and interpretation activities. Legislation may also be necessary to limit or remove liability from landowners who allow public access to battlefields. Similar law already exists in Virginia to protect landowners who allow fox hunting on their property and perhaps this approach can be adapted to historic site visitation.

Since economic considerations typically provide the basis for most decisions that result in changing land use and loss of battlefield land, the development of financial incentives to private owners to preserve battlefield lands may need to be considered. Strategies could include tax incentives to owners of battlefield land that do not subdivide property for new construction. Since local governments derive significant revenues through property taxes, Federal and State financial incentives to local governments that develop zoning and other land use ordinances compatible with battlefield preservation could also be considered. Modifications to estate taxes as in the proposed ``Open Space Preservation Act'' (HR2149, HR5469, S2957) is another key approach that would make retention of undeveloped or agricultural uses feasible for many owners.

Regulatory methods, such as zoning or historic preservation ordinances, require less funding than grant and financial incentive programs but may pose significant difficulties in gaining widespread public support at the local level. In rural areas, as in much of the Shenandoah Valley, zoning and land use controls are typically less restrictive than in urban areas, and consequently, are less likely to be effective for preserving historic battlefields. Therefore, it may not be realistic to expect the Commonwealth of Virginia and the local governments in the Valley to enact land use ordinances that would favor preservation of battlefields over the capability of private owners to develop property to its highest and best use. However, technical and financial assistance from State and Federal sources to local governments in return for enactment of compatible land use ordinances may be appropriate in some cases. State and local government financing methods such as a tax on tourism- related services, in which the tax revenues are applied to the purchase of development rights or to fund other preservation and interpretation activities that are directly related to heritage tourism, may be a more viable State and local contribution to Federally-funded activities.

At a minimum, it is desirable for all local governments in the Valley to follow the example of Augusta County and incorporate detailed information on the location, significance, and condition of historic sites in their local comprehensive plan. The ability, through this means, to alert any potential developer -- public or private -- to the existence of important historic sites is one of the most feasible and valuable ways to avoid unmanageable future conflicts.

ii. Interpretation. Battlefields are not without their own economic attractions. An estimated several thousand people visit these battlefields each year despite the lack of interpretive facilities, signage, and public access. This small but steady visitation by military historians, history buffs, genealogists, and Civil War enthusiasts will continue indefinitely providing that the historic resources remain in good condition. If these resources are degraded and diverted to other uses, visitation will stop. On the other hand, there is evidence that enhancing facilities, signage, and public access, devising useful interpretive materials, and preparing a unified marketing strategy for the Valley's Civil War resources, would increase the drawing power of these sites and thus provide a stronger economic incentive for preserving and interpreting battlefield land.

Many local jurisdictions, county and city, expressed a great interest in promoting the tourism potential of Civil War sites in the Valley, particularly in light of a national resurgence of interest in the Civil War, spurred by commemorative reenactments, the PBS series ``The Civil War,'' and related developments. Most counties in the Valley see tourism as an increasingly important potential source of revenue. It is not clear, however, what form Civil War heritage tourism in the Valley would take, considering the current level of restricted access to many of these sites and the understandable concerns of landowners to maintain their security and privacy. Nor is it apparent to what extent local property owners, businesses, and governments wish to control the use of historic properties toward such ends.

In order to enhance the interpretation of the role of the Shenandoah Valley in the Civil War, an effort could be mounted, perhaps assisted by the National Park Service, to develop a preliminary interpretive plan for the region. To focus and coordinate interpretive activities over the next five years, a clearinghouse could be established to enhance the public appreciation of Shenandoah Valley Civil War sites. This clearinghouse could prepare and disseminate interpretive materials and generally encourage interpretive and commemorative activities at Civil War sites in the region. The clearinghouse could provide technical assistance to support State and local interpretive efforts, and monitor the progress of such efforts.

iii. Promotion. State and local governments, chambers of commerce, private property owners, and representatives of the Valley tourism industry could work together to incorporate Civil War sites into regional and county economic development plans to develop heritage tourism. A specific economic benefits analysis could be conducted to generate concrete data regarding the market potential for the sites as tourist attractions. A plan could be developed to coordinate regionwide the activities of visitor centers, museums, and other facilities, and encourage bus tours, weekend packages, and other options to enhance the visitation of Civil War sites, along with other attractions in the Valley. A schedule of Civil War related events could be developed and publicized to stimulate wider interest in the Valley sites, leading to enhanced local community participation in and increased visitation of commemorative and recreational events.

Implementation of Alternative II The potential complexity of Alternative II suggests regional coordination would be necessary. Several options could be considered:

1.A new agency or board composed of representatives from local government, property owners, local preservation groups, and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources could be formed to develop priorities and implement preservation and interpretation activities.

2.A new agency or board composed of representatives of existing planning or government organizations, tourism and business groups, and preservation organizations could be formed to examine the economic effects of preservation and interpretation activities.

3.A regional office of a State agency such as the Virginia Department of Historic Resources could be established in the Valley. This State organization, with expertise in preservation planning, administering Federal and State grant programs, and easements, could implement many technical assistance activities.

4.An existing regional organization such as a regional planning authority or an interested private organization could take a lead role in coordinating preservation and interpretation of battlefield sites.

Implementing Alternative II may be appropriate in areas where public information, additional planning, and enhanced funding for technical assistance have been identified as necessary first steps in preserving and interpreting battlefields. The National Park Service found little regional coordination in sharing planning data, although various Federal, local, and regional agencies, and James Madison University, expressed willingness to coordinate data collection efforts. Alternative II will require a multi-year commitment for technical assistance and funding to develop a public consensus, set priorities for preservation and interpretation efforts, and implement the activities. Recognition that such planning is necessary is evident in the comments from various local governments on preservation and interpretation needs. Representatives of several Valley preservation organizations, and counties such as Rockingham, Clarke, and Shenandoah, stated in their written comments on the draft study that a variety of methods, requiring Federal expertise and financial assistance, would be needed to implement immediate and long term solutions. Reliance on local government efforts through zoning and other local regulatory methods was not viewed as sufficient, or appropriate, in light of the national significance of these properties.

Implementation of Alternative II could occur in conjunction with Alternatives I, III, and IV. Strategies in Alternative II would work best where private and local cooperative efforts are determined by the local government as preferred solutions, as pre-planning prior to any Congressional implementation of Alternatives III and IV, or to reinforce preservation and interpretation of areas surrounding a unit of the National Park System.

Should Alternative II be implemented, Congress may wish to ask the National Park Service, or some other appropriate party or organization, to report at a later time on the progress of preservation efforts in the Valley. Such a report would reassess those battlefields that have received technical assistance and update information on the desirability for the incorporation of any or all of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War battlefields or related sites as units or affiliated areas of the National Park System. Such a report would also assess the level of resources and funding needed to ensure that NPS standards for affiliated areas would be met.

III. Creation of One or More Affiliated Areas of the National Park System

Affiliated area status is a mechanism for recognition of nationally significant areas managed by others consistent with standards that apply to the National Park System. These areas are sometimes eligible for receiving technical and financial assistance, but this assistance is limited to carrying out a cooperative management agreement with the National Park Service. In 1990, the National Park Service submitted to Congress, pursuant to P.L. 100-336, a report on criteria for affiliated areas of the National Park System. In this present report, the NPS criteria recommended for such areas (national significance, suitability, and feasibility, are being applied for purposes of analyzing Shenandoah Valley sites. A property proposed for acquisition as an affiliated area of the National Park System should meet the same criteria for significance that are applied to a potential national park unit (see Figure 21). The criteria for suitability and feasibility, however, are different for affiliated area status, and are outlined in the discussion below.

When applying the criteria for national significance the study shows that the Shenandoah Valley represents a unique geographic and historic resource; that it possesses tremendous scenic beauty and exceptional potential for interpreting aspects of the Civil War that are currently not represented in the park system; that opportunities for recreation are already aptly demonstrated by the Valley's active tourism industry, by activities in Shenandoah National Park, and by canoeing and fishing in the region's rivers and streams; and that many portions of the Valley retain a high degree of historic, rural, and scenic integrity.

While it is clear that the Shenandoah Valley region, with its significant battlefield areas, needs special recognition and technical assistance beyond what is currently available, there is no existing mechanism for ensuring a cooperative arrangement between landowners and the National Park Service that would assure long-term protection of the resources. In the absence of such an arrangement, the other requirements applicable to National Park System units--contributions from other sources, and the continuation of standards for maintenance, operations, and financial accountability--cannot be applied. This is not to say that some arrangement would not be possible in the future as a follow up to the technical assistance activities described under Alternative II.

There is currently no regional agency which serves to coordinate planning between the State level and local jurisdictions or to facilitate activities in support of the preservation and interpretation of Civil War sites in the Valley. Local planning officials were asked about the need for such an entity at a meeting held in August 1991, and those present agreed that it was essential. Some favored enhanced responsibilities given to an existing agency, such as the two planning districts which serve the Valley--the Lord Fairfax Planning District and the Central Shenandoah Planning District. Others suggested the possibility of establishing a regional office of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in the Valley to coordinate a regional effort. Others felt that no existing agency could adequately meet these added responsibilities. All agreed, however, that some mechanism needs to be created, if possible with Federal assistance, to implement the process. Written comments on the draft report also reflected these concerns. However, representatives of Warren County, where Cedar Creek battlefield is located, did not provide comments on the draft report, or participate in the August 1991 NPS / local government meeting on preservation alternatives. (Although the Lord Fairfax Planning Commission, representing Warren County, among others, has participated regularly in the preparation of this report and in recent preservation efforts. Warren county has participated in these regional planning efforts.) The controversial related lands study for Shenandoah National Park, occuring simultaneously with this report, may have resulted in misunderstandings that the two reports were the same.

The controversy surrounding the related lands study for the park may influence the nature of comments received from the public and private citizens on this report, and for preservation efforts in the Valley for this sites.

The Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites and other locally based preservation groups, such as the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation and the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Foundation, have expressed interest in exploring a cooperative arrangement with the National Park Service for incorporating their landholdings as parks or as affiliated areas. Without the demonstrated support of local governments and residents, however, leading to a more widespread, community-based planning and preservation effort, such arrangements alone would be inadequate and premature, considering the size and significance of the resources.

IV. Acquisition of Selected Battlefields for a Unit of the National Park System with Satellite Areas

Consideration could be given to creating a park unit of one or more selected battlefield sites. These battlefields would become regional focal points for preserving and interpreting other non- Federally owned battlefields at the local level through strategies discussed in Alternative II.

National Significance

The battlefields identified in this study collectively appear to meet criteria for national significance. The study shows that the Shenandoah Valley represents a unique geographic and historic resource; that it possesses tremendous scenic beauty and exceptional potential for interpreting aspects of the Civil War that are currently not represented in the National Park System; that opportunities for recreation are already aptly demonstrated by the Valley's active tourism industry, by activities in Shenandoah National Park, and by canoeing and fishing in the region's rivers and streams; and that many portions of the Valley retain a high degree of historic, rural, and scenic integrity.

Careful consideration is needed under this alternative to select battlefields that ensure adequate representation of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War period. Selection of one or more sites from each of the major campaigns; selection of two sites, one from the lower Valley and one from the upper Valley, are two approaches. This alternative does not eliminate Federal commitment to implement programs and activities beyond acquisition and park operating expenses. In fact, such activities would be necessary in order to meet criterion 3 for national significance. The ability to provide ``superlative opportunities for recreation, public use and enjoyment, or for scientific study,'' as the criterion states, would be diminished as the number of battlefields preserved, either through NPS acquisition, as recipients of Federal funding, or through coordinated non-Federal means are decreased.

Suitability and Feasibility

The strategic role of the Shenandoah Valley as a region during the Civil War, Stonewall Jackson's 1862 Campaign and the Early- Sheridan 1864 campaigns, are not currently represented in the National Park System. Less than 4% of the land area of battlefield sites in the Valley are under long-term protected ownership. This appears to meet criterion 5 for suitability.

Sufficient size and appropriate configuration are difficult to evaluate at this time since specific sites have not been selected. However, the risk priorities can be used as a guide to making these selections. Additional guidance can be given in evaluating acquisition strategies. It is commonly recognized that less land is needed to interpret battlefields, thus satisfying the public use criterion, than to preserve the battlefields. The criteria, however, require both. Acquisition of limited acreage under this alternative for interpretive purposes is not sufficient to ensure long-term protection of the battlefields identified in this study. At the very least, acquisition of selected sites must be performed in conjunction with long term protection strategies that address preservation of all battlefield core areas in order to meet criterion 3. Criteria 9 and 10, which address feasibility, speak directly to these issues. Is it feasible to administer selected battlefield sites, which represent a portion of the nationally significant battlefield resources in the Valley, with long-term preservation less secure for the remaining sites? While technical assistance is an integral part of this alternative, ownership, and community sentiment changes over time. Administration of a park unit of limited battlefield land, without adequate long term community and owner support, may result in Federal expenditures to protect a fragment of land that does not adequately represent or protect the resource. This would most probably occur if an adequate program of technical assistance does not take place.

In summary, this alternative provides a less costly approach than full acquisition of all battlefield sites, but it carries inherent risks that should be anticipated in any authorization. This approach would require less direct Federal involvement in managing the areas and would allow flexibility in approaches to other sites. To be successful in maintaining the regional ``picture'' of the war, this approach would have to include a Federal commitment beyond the acquisition and operation of the park unit. In addition, specific commitment from local jurisdictions to work with the National Park Service in prioritizing preservation would also be necessary, as stated in Alternative II.

The advantage of Alternative IV would be its provision for protection in perpetuity for some battlefield land in areas where it is consistent with local community goals and where property owners are supportive. This strategy appears to have support from the City of Winchester, Frederick and Highland counties, and several of the organizations that commented on the draft report. Other counties, such as Rockingham and Shenandoah, have suggested that NPS acquisition of properties in core areas may be appropriate in conjunction with other forms of technical and financial assistance outlined in Alternative II. However, these counties pointed out that further analysis of public sentiment and of the economic benefits of preservation was needed.

The disadvantages in this alternative would be the potential for preservation concentration on a limited amount of battlefield land and the potential neglect of the others. This may be true especially if the site has a large core area itself, such as Cedar Creek. Without an adequate technical assistance component for the remaining battlefields, it is possible that designation of one or two sites as parks could create a hierarchy which would stimulate competition rather than cooperation among sites in the region. Since the authorization and implementation process can take years, creation of a park unit may not occur in time to save critically threatened battlefield lands unless interim protection alternatives also take place. Perhaps most importantly, the absence of adequate technical assistance and specific funding to secure preservation of non-Federally owned battlefield lands may ultimately place the Federal government in a position of advocating local preservation goals without the ability to influence public policy decisions. Without sufficient support beyond the funds necessary for the management of the park unit, Federal advocacy of preservation and interpretation outside the park boundaries may be viewed as contrary to the local community goals, or as inappropriate intervention into private and local government decision making.

Alternative V: Acquisition of Fifteen Battlefields as a Unit of the National Park System

National Significance

As stated previously, the battlefields identified in the study collectively appear to meet criteria for national significance. The study shows that the Shenandoah Valley represents a unique geographic and historic resource; that it possesses tremendous scenic beauty and exceptional potential for interpreting aspects of the Civil War that are currently not represented in the National Park System; that opportunities for recreation are already aptly demonstrated by the Valley's active tourism industry, by activities in Shenandoah National Park, and by canoeing and fishing in the region's rivers and streams; and that many portions of the Valley retain a high degree of historic, rural, and scenic integrity.


As stated in the previous alternative, the strategic role of the Shenandoah Valley as a region during the Civil War, Stonewall Jackson's 1862 Campaign, and the Early-Sheridan 1864 campaigns, are not currently represented in the National Park System. The Shenandoah National Park provides natural and recreational opportunities but is not an effective or appropriate resource for systematically interpreting the events of the Civil War, even though many of the important Blue Ridge gaps that shaped so much of the fighting in this region are within its boundaries, including Chester, Thornton, Fishers, Browns, and Swift Run gaps.

Currently, only the battlefields of New Market and Cedar Creek offer public access and some degree of interpretation for portions of these sites. New Market Battlefield Park, owned by the Virginia Military Institute, offers interpretation of the war and battle at its Hall of Valor museum. The privately owned New Market Battlefield Military Museum, located on a portion of the battlefield, exhibits Civil War memorabilia. Belle Grove (at Cedar Creek) is a National Trust for Historic Preservation property, with adjacent holdings by a private, non-profit organization, the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation. The Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (APCWS), a private, non-profit preservation organization, owns property at and allows public access to portions of the McDowell, Fisher's Hill, and Port Republic battlefields. Another non-profit, the Lee-Jackson Foundation, owns property at McDowell and Cross Keys.

A Winchester-based Civil War re-enactment group owns acreage that allows public access to Star Fort. Due to the budgets of these organizations, the size of land holdings and the amount of interpretation offered on-site are limited. Although the Holy Cross Abbey preserves much of the Cool Spring battlefield and allows some visitation, preservation of this site is due more to coincidence of intent than to acquisition for preservation purposes. Similarly, many private holdings, especially for agricultural use, currently preserve battlefield land through coincidence of purpose, but these coincidences can change unless steps are taken to reinforce current land use. When compared with the number, size, and significance of the Civil War sites in the Shenandoah Valley, these holdings by private groups are insufficient in themselves to preserve any of the fifteen battlefields. In summary, it appears criterion 1 for national significance has been met, the battlefields are suitable for acquisition, based on their historic significance, lack of representation in the system, and lack of other protection strategies or opportunities for public benefit already in place.


The protection of the Shenandoah Valley region, its geographic, topographic and economic features which were historically important in the conduct of the Civil War, is a large task. Decision making with regard to development and change in the Valley remains in the hands of State and local governments. Planning decisions made at this level have already affected change not only in the region as a whole, but on the battlefield lands themselves. Urban development has destroyed portions of battlefields in Winchester, Frederick County, and Front Royal, in particular.

Is it feasible, however, to consider the creation of a unit of the National Park System, composed of discontiguous sites, from the battlefield areas alone? First, major road developments initiated by the Federal government, such as Interstates 81 and 66, have already bisected and in a measure degraded many battlefield areas. The study shows that First Winchester and Front Royal have had major integrity losses. Of the remaining battlefields, four have been decidedly altered, mostly by urban development. This leaves nine battlefields with a range of fair to good integrity. This means that the total resource has already experienced impact and is likely to continue to do so unless preservation solutions are sufficiently comprehensive.

Second, the nature of land ownership in the region is complex. The total number of owners on the fifteen battlefields may reach several hundred. Some rural battlefield areas are owned by more than 30 parties, with a range of uses. Publicly-owned areas, as parks or facilities such as sewage treatment plants, are present.

Some owners and elected officials of Augusta County have expressed objection to the creation of a national park. Creating a unit of the National Park System through fee simple acquisition and/or purchase of easements on this much land with this many land owners would be complex, controversial, and long-term.

Third, acquisition costs for the battlefield areas, which are large cultural landscapes, would be high. While fee acquisition might not be necessary in every case, since many of the battlefields can be appreciated through a driving tour with some minimal access, easements or other preservation measures would be necessary in order to ensure continued compatible use at sites with high integrity. Without these easements, the integrity losses experienced now in the Winchester and Front Royal areas would be repeated in time over much of the Valley.

Fourth, the management structure for interpretation, preservation, and administration of a battlefield park of discontiguous areas could not be as efficient as a single, contiguous unit, due to the distance between areas and the number of local governments. This model would be even more complex, given the much greater distance and lack of a protected unifying resource (such as a river, canal or other land-based resource) over the length of the region.

Finally, the size of Federal holdings in the region and State should be considered. The Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, and George Washington National Forest encompass many thousands of acres along both sides of the Valley. While these land holdings offer many benefits to local residents in terms of watershed and viewshed protection, recreational opportunities, and tourist attractions, there may be strong local resistance against further expansion of significantly large Federal holdings in some areas of the region. Acquiring parcels of high integrity of all of the Valley's battlefields could conceivably add 10,000 - 30,000 acres of battlefield land to the Federal holdings in the State.

In summary, it appears this alternative does not meet feasibility criteria based on the size, configuration, complexity and diversity of ownership and community sentiments, and costs necessary to acquire and administer a park of this size and discontiguous configuration.

Cost Estimates for Preservation Alternatives

National Park Service policy generally is not to provide cost estimates for alternatives that do not meet all criteria for inclusion in the National Park System, or where insufficient information precludes making firm assessments. Nevertheless, in response to comments on the draft report, rough cost estimates of non-acquisition activities associated with the alternatives are offerred; there were insufficient study funds available to estimate acquisition costs for each alternative.

Although the more feasible alternatives presented in this study stress cooperation between Federal and non-Federal entities, information gathered during this study, in particular comments from local governments and organizations in the Valley, strongly indicates that Federal monies will represent the major funding source for each of the alternatives. State and local in-kind services, local legislation, and private cooperative efforts represent a more realistic, non-Federal contribution than funding.

Cost estimates presented in this study, which are exclusive of acquisition costs, are for purposes of generally comparing the alternatives, they are not meant to be firm predictions of the costs of implementing the alternatives.

Technical assistance activities appear in Alternatives II, III and IV. Costs for these activities may not differ significantly between these alternatives. Costs for Alternative III may feasibly be less than Alternative II because affiliated area status assumes a level of protection has already been achieved. Alternatives IV and V represent the most expensive long term preservation alternatives because planning and operating expenses of NPS units represent a Federal expense not required in Alternatives I-III.


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Creation Date: 3/13/95

Last Update 7/17/95 by VLC