For Immediate Release: 03/16/04
Preservation Groups Join Forces to Protect East Cavalry Field
Farm and Ranchland Protection Program saves land at Gettysburg
(Gettysburg, Pa.) - The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) announced today the rescue of a key portion of East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg Battlefield in Adams County, Pa. The 45-acre tract, known locally as the Shea Farm, was the scene of fighting on July 3, 1863.
"East Cavalry Field is an important chapter in the Gettysburg saga," remarked CWPT President James Lighthizer. "Protection of the Shea Farm underscores our commitment to protecting this often-forgotten cavalry battlefield."
CWPT was not alone in working to secure a conservation easement on this vital portion of East Cavalry Field. Four other groups joined forces with CWPT to make this deal possible: the Land Conservancy of Adams County (LCAC), The Conservation Fund, and the Adams County Agricultural Land Preservation Board, and Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg (FNPG).
The total cost of the Shea Farm easement was $93,950, broken down as follows: CWPT contributed $11,250; The Conservation Fund contributed $10,000; the Adams County Agricultural Land Preservation Board contributed $10,000; and FNPG contributed $6,500. LCAC has agreed to hold the easement on the property and ensure that it is enforced.
The key element in the deal is a $56,200 matching grant from the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP). The federal program, reauthorized as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, can be used to protect farmland with "historic or cultural resources." The program is administered by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This is the second time that FRPP has been used to protect a cavalry-related site at Gettysburg. In 2002, CWPT and LCAC secured a $92,000 FRPP grant to save the 114-acre Weikert Farm at Fairfield Battlefield (Fairfield was a cavalry battle fought on July 3, 1863 during the Gettysburg Campaign).
The ultimate goal of CWPT and LCAC is to secure farmland conservation easements at additional cavalry battlefields related to the Gettysburg Campaign, and then to connect those sites to form a cavalry battlefields driving tour. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman has indicated that she would like to see FRPP used in this manner to encourage heritage tourism to rural communities.
Gettysburg is not the only battlefield that has benefited from FRPP grants. Since 2002, 1,343 acres of Civil War battlefield land have been saved as a result of this program, including property at Wilson's Creek, Missouri; Averasboro, North Carolina; and Sailor's Creek, Virginia.
The Shea Farm is located at the northeast corner of Hanover and Low Dutch Roads, adjacent to East Cavalry Field. East Cavalry Field is protected by the National Park Service.
With 50,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its goal is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War sites and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. CWPT's website is located at www.civilwar.org