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Contact: Steven McCoy, 931-232-5348 x 105
Summer Projects at Fort Donelson National Battlefield
Dover, Tennessee—Funding provided by the National Park Service Centennial, 2007-2016, seasonal employee hiring initiative and other project funds received have allowed the park to begin a very ambitious schedule to rehabilitate grounds and facilities, provide additional educational partnerships and ensure to the greatest extent possible a safe experience for staff and park visitors.
Park crews, led by a trained staff arborist, have begun pruning dead limbs and trimming trees throughout the park. Several extremely hazardous trees recognized by the arborist, and confirmed as dangerous to staff and visitors by experienced staff and management, have been identified for removal. “The park staff is very considerate of all alternatives to removing trees from the park.” Superintendent Steven McCoy stated. “For example, until further planning is conducted to identify the preferred alternative for earthwork management, those trees that appear healthy, pose no safety threats to the staff or public, and are growing through the earthworks will remain in place.” Congress has mandated that preservation of the earthen fortifications for military study is a primary responsibility for the park. Large trees growing on earthworks are a known hazard and their demise can lead to irreparable damage to the historic Civil War features. The park staff has consulted with the Fish and Wildlife Service in regards to managing for the bald eagles that have claimed the fort as home. “Many factors are considered when conducting any work in the park. Ultimately, the health and safety of staff and visitors is of utmost concern and our number one priority”, stated McCoy.
A stone base has been built for a new entrance sign to comply with NPS standards and policy and will blend with the original War Department stonework from the turn of the century throughout the park. New educational “wayside” exhibits have been installed and the park is waiting on eight original artwork exhibits to arrive for placement.
Soon, construction will begin on two major projects. A covered pavilion adjacent to the park’s visitor center will be built for use as a place to gather for a picnic lunch and to accommodate Parks As Classrooms programs and school visits. New restrooms will be constructed at the Fort Donelson picnic area adjacent to the river to replace the old, inaccessible restrooms.
Civil War era fencing and gates are being installed at locations to increase security and provide additional protection to park resources. McCoy stated that “the increase in theft, and intensity of unsafe and illegal activity experienced over the recent years has forced my hand to stop ignoring this behavior. The staff and public expect that we will preserve and protect these resources and ensure their safety and well-being. Anything less is fraud on an unsuspecting public.”
Many additional activities will be occurring throughout the park including replacement of water and sewer lines, repaving of parking areas, and of course the routine mowing and trimming to maintain the road shoulders and national cemetery.
Visit the park’s website, www.nps.gov/fodo, for an entire list of Ranger Programs and park events for summer 2008. For more information about the summer projects, contact the park at 931-232-5348 or 5706.