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Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Seeking Volunteers for “Park Day” Trench Trail Expansion Project
Middletown, VA ----- Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, Belle Grove Plantation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation are seeking volunteers for trail work as part of this year’s “Park Day” on Saturday, April 2nd. This annual hands-on preservation event, created and sponsored by the Civil War Trust, brings history enthusiasts nationwide together in an effort to help keep our heritage not only preserved, but pristine. Started in 1996, battlefields and historic sites across the country take part in Park Day, in order to complete maintenance projects large and small.
staff of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is collaborating with their partners on a project to expand and improve the existing 19th Corps Trench trail. current trail, located on land preserved by the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, is four-tenths of a mile long and provides access to some of the most well preserved Civil War entrenchments in the Shenandoah Valley. Built by the Union army’s 19th Corps just prior to the Battle of Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864), they played a significant role in the battle.
This “Park Day” project will expand the trail onto land owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and managed by Belle Grove, Inc. This new section, approximately six-tenths of a mile in length, will follow the remaining original trench line. When finished the entire trail will be approximately one mile long; more than doubling the length of the current trail, and will open up preserved tracts of land within the park that have previously been inaccessible to visitors. This new section of the trail will officially open sometime later this year, after three footbridges, needed to protect the entrenchments, are constructed.
“Park Day is a wonderful opportunity for local citizens, history enthusiasts and supporters of our national parks to take an active part in preserving the historic resources of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park and to make them more accessible to the public,” Site Manager Karen Beck-Herzog said. “The National Park Service and its partners welcome everyone who would like to volunteer and help take care of the national park in their own back yard.”
Volunteers will perform a variety of tasks associated with this trail project, including brush and small tree removal, trail improvement, and trash removal. Although some work tools will be provided, volunteers are being asked to bring work gloves, a rake, small hand saws or loppers and to wear sturdy work boots. Water and safety equipment will be provided by the park. The work project will last from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Volunteers will gather at the park’s Visitor Contact Station at7712 Main Street, Middletown, VA, and then carpool to the project site. At 1:00 pm, following the work project, the National Park Service will offer a ranger program on the construction of these trenches and their role in the Battle of Cedar Creek.
“Working on a system of park trails has been a top priority for the National Historical Park partners and we are delighted that with the help of volunteers, we will be one step closer to this goal,” said Kristen Laise, Executive Director of Belle Grove Plantation.
Prospective volunteers are being asked to pre-register by Saturday, March 26st. For more information, or to register, call (540) 869-3051 or email: eric_campbell @nps.gov
For more information about the park, call (540) 869-3051 or see: www.nps.gov/cebe
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 a focal point of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, a National Heritage Area.