Gettysburg National Military Park was awarded a $78,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to purchase nearly 9 acres of land in an effort to protect it from development.
This grant is part of a series worth $3.1 million aiming to add nearly 270 total acres to 13 Civil War battlefields.
Paul Hawke serves as chief of the American Battlefield Protection Program, which promotes the restoration of battlefields from American wars all over the country.
“What we say is, if you yank a soldier out of the battle and drop him into today’s terrain, would they recognize where they are?” Hawke said. “And if they can’t do that, or if you don’t perceive that you can do that, then you’ve lost a battlefield.”
Since the program’s inception in 1998, Hawke said the program has bought about 24,000 acres of both private and commercial land. This year those investments included Richmond, Perryville and Chattanooga.
“Anytime you put a bulldozer to a battlefield landscape, you’re going to destroy it,” Hawke said. “Obviously, different types of development make different types of impact.”
The LWCF gets its money from offshore oil leases, Hawke said. Some funds come from matching grants, but nothing is derived from tax money.