MANASSAS, Va., Sept. 4 -- The Civil War Trust issued the following news release:
In September, Manassas National Battlefield Park and the Civil War Trust will undertake a limited scope landscape restoration project designed to enhance the visitor experience to the Deep Cut area of the Second Manassas Battlefield through the removal of non-historic trees and vegetation. This project, expected to begin approximately September 1 and be completed no later than October 1, and will affect approximately seven acres of battleground.
"As at other battlefields and historic sites within the National Park System, we here at Manassas National Battlefield Park strive to maximize the educational opportunities available through on-site interpretation," said park superintendent Jon James. "Through the judicious removal of modern intrusions and other features not present at the time of the battle, we are able to help visitors gain a deeper understanding and greater appreciation of historic events."
Civil War Trust president James Lighthizer agreed, saying, "A preserved battlefield has the potential to be a priceless outdoor classroom, but ownership of the land is only the first step in that process. For a preserved battlefield to reach its full potential, we must work to present it in as authentic a manner as possible, enabling visitors to appreciate the impact of terrain and other landscape features."
This latest landscape restoration project will fulfill the intention of work previously performed by the park in 2008, following extensive studies and environmental assessments. At the time, due to the presence of nearby private enterprises, the National Park Service chose to maintain a wooded buffer shielding visitors from potential visual intrusions that could be developed. The purchase of additional land in the vicinity by the Civil War Trust in 2011, however, rendered that buffer unnecessary, prompting the two organizations to work together for its removal.
Of the seven acres that will be cleared, slightly less than half are owned by the Trust, with the remainder located inside National Park Service boundaries. Combining both efforts into a single undertaking will decrease the duration and minimize impact on park visitors. During planning stages, extensive reconnaissance was made of the entire area to ensure minimal impact to cultural, historic and environmental resources. The trees will be removed by a low impact method and will not result in ground disturbance. The trees will be turned into mulch and distributed on site.
Landscape restoration work will be performed by International Society of Arboriculture-certified Greentree Services. The firm has previously worked at a number of historically and culturally sensitive sites, including Antietam National Battlefield, C&O Canal National Historical Park, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Monocacy National Battlefield and the National Mall.
Manassas National Battlefield protects and commemorates the site of two of the principal battles of the American Civil War: First Manassas, or Bull Run, fought July 21, 1861; and Second Manassas, fought August 28-30, 1862. The blood of more 30,000 soldiers in blue and gray was shed on the rolling hills overlooking Bull Run. Overall, the National Park Service manages nearly 5,000 acres of historic land associated with the two battles.