NPS Announces the Beginning of Ranger Conducted Programs and Change of Hours of Operation

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Date: March 13, 2015

National Park Service News Release

For Immediate Release – March 13, 2015

Contact's Name: ERIC CAMPBELL (540) 868-0937

National Park Service Announces the Beginning of Ranger Conducted Programs and Change of Hours of Operation

Middletown, VA ----- Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park will resume ranger-conducted programs starting March 21. The National Park Service began public programs in 2010, and has been expanding its offerings since then. Ranger programs will begin Saturday, March 22 and will continue on most weekends throughout the spring. Programs will be offered on a daily basis from mid-June through mid-August, and on weekends again in the fall.

In addition, beginning Saturday, March 21, the hours of operation for the park's Visitor Contact Station will change from the winter schedule to daily operations.  The new hours will be 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Park partner sites will also begin transitioning to daily operations this month. Belle Grove Plantation will host its "Opening Day" event on Saturday, March 21. Its hours of operation will be Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Please see their website, www.bellegrove.org for more information.

The Hupp's Hill Civil War Park and Visitor Center will continue to operate with their regular schedule, daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Headquarters will also operate on their regular hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please see their website, www.ccbf.us for more information.

"After a long winter, we are looking forward to welcoming the community and visitors back to the park," said Site Manger Amy Bracewell. "The National Park Service and all of the park partners are planning a variety of exciting programs and special events through the spring and summer. We encourage people to visit often to experience all that the park has to offer."

The National Park Service ranger programs tell the park's many stories related to the rich cultural history of the Shenandoah Valley, its settlement, the Battle of Cedar Creek and the impact of the Civil War on both the local communities and the nation as a whole. All of the ranger-led programs are free and include:

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove "in a Box" – A Park Overview is a 30 minute orientation on the history and settlement of the Shenandoah Valley, the Battle of Cedar Creek and the impact of the Civil War on the Valley. This interactive program, for both adults and children, uses various props (taken out of a box) and the surrounding landscape features to "create" and tell the park's many stories by literally placing visitors "in the middle of the park." Presented on the front lawn of Belle Grove.

"To Battlefield and Beyond" War Comes to the Shenandoah Valley

This 45 minute program examines the many military campaigns and battles that occurred in the Valley and their effect upon the local communities.

Battle of Cedar Creek Tour

A two-hour guided tour, using a car-caravan system (visitors follow the ranger's vehicle), covers the Battle of Cedar Creek in a chronological fashion. This 13 mile tour follows the major events of the fighting and includes stops at the key landmarks associated with the battle.  Tours begin at the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Headquarters.

Middletown Civil War Walking Tours

Discover the many layers of Civil War history by learning about the citizens of Middletown who lived through those difficult times and how the war impacted their lives.Meet the ranger for a 90 minute walking tour at the intersection of Main Street and First Street, Middletown. Offered at 5:00 p.m. on the 2nd Saturday of each month, June-October.

Battlefield Program Series

This series of special two hour ranger programs will highlight numerous park sites and resources associated with the battle. This includes tours of Civil War entrenchments, the 8th Vermont monument, special walks covering different phases of the battle and much more. Offered each Saturday in the summer, at 1:00 pm.

The 1862 or 1864 Valley Campaign "in a Box"

These 30 minute programs provide an overview of either the 1862 or 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaigns. This interactive presentation uses the surrounding landscape features and various props (taken from a box) to "create" the Valley and place visitors "in the middle of the campaign." Meet on the front lawn of Belle Grove.

A series of special programs called History at Sunset will be presented on select Friday evenings during the summer. These tours will cover a wide variety of subjects related to the park's rich cultural history and give visitors an opportunity to see sites not normally open to the general public. Explore and learn about some of the many "hidden gems" of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP. Tours will be 60-90 minutes long and begin at 7:00 p.m. The program schedule will be released at a later date.

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About Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park: Created on December 19, 2002, Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park encompasses approximately 3,700 acres across three counties and includes the key partner sites of Belle Grove Plantation (owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and managed by Belle Grove, Inc.), Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, and a developing Shenandoah County Park. The partner sites continue to be owned and operated independently.

The park commemorates a nationally significant Civil War landscape and antebellum plantation by sharing the story of Shenandoah Valley history from early settlement through the Civil War and beyond. The park is also located within the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, a National Heritage Area.



Last updated: March 13, 2015

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P.O. Box 700
Middletown, VA 22645

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540-869-3051

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