Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Endangered Battlefield Threatened by Ill-Advised Development Adjacent to Park Land

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   March 13, 2007
Contact:   Joy Oakes, NPCA, 202.454.3386


Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Endangered Battlefield Threatened by Ill-Advised Development Adjacent to Park Land

Press Statement by NPCA Senior Regional Director Joy Oakes

“Today, the Civil War Preservation Trust listed Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (NHP) as one of America’s most endangered Civil War battlefields. This living classroom of America’s Civil War and its scenic beauty and integrity clearly are threatened.

For decades, leaders from West Virginia and across the country have worked together to protect America’s Civil War, civil rights, and industrial history at Harpers Ferry.  As a result, nearly 3,745 acres of land is protected in a landscape of remarkable beauty.

 

But, Harpers Ferry NHP is threatened today by an ill-advised proposal to develop approximately 640 acres of private land virtually surrounded by the park. A proposed annexation and rezoning under review by Charles Town, West Virginia, would allow incompatible, intensive development on high-value historic lands, undermining the millions of dollars in federal, state, and private investments made to preserve the park for this and future generations. 

 

Incompatible development on such a scale could make Harpers Ferry less attractive to heritage tourists, who provide an ongoing boost to the region’s economy.  According to a recent report released by NPCA, on average, every federal dollar invested in America’s national parks generates four dollars of value in the state and local economies.

 

The lands at risk have significant historical character related to John Brown’s raid in 1859, the siege and defense of Harpers Ferry in 1862, and General Philip Sheridan’s Valley Campaign in 1864. Furthermore, the lands at risk lie in the viewshed of Bolivar Heights, the Murphy Farm, and other areas of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

 

Clearly, America’s history at Harpers Ferry is critically threatened.  We are grateful to the Civil War Preservation Trust for spotlighting this serious situation, and look forward to working with the Trust, area and park officials, and community leaders to resolve this threat in favor of the region’s, and the park’s, long-term interests.”

 

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