FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777
Monday, October 1, 2018
Marie Gordon, 770-661-0999
Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Preserve America’s Battlefields
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., introduced thePreserving America’s Battlefields Act to ensure our nation’s living memorials honoring those who fought for our freedoms are protected for current and future generations.
The bipartisan legislation, S.3505, would provide for the restoration of battlefield sites across the country, helping transform them into historic tourism destinations. Specifically, it would help foster partnerships between state and local governments, regional entities and the private sector to preserve, conserve and enhance the visitor experience at nationally significant battlefields of the American Revolution, War of 1812 and the Civil War.
“Maintaining our nation’s battlefields will help preserve history and ensure that current and future generations are able to visit these sites and educate themselves on our great American history,” said Isakson. “As chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am committed to honoring the sacred ground where American soldiers fought and died. Coupling investment and initiatives from both the public and private sector will help ensure we are protecting and preserving our most vulnerable battlefield sites.”
“America’s historic battlefields play an important role in helping us learn from our nation’s past,” said Kaine. “I am pleased to cosponsor this legislation to preserve these lands for future generations to visit. Battleground protection also supports tourism, which boosts local economies across Virginia and all states home to these historic sites.”
“As a former history teacher, I know how inspiring it can be for people to visit the places where our nation’s history unfolded,” said Blunt.“There are battlefields in Missouri and across the United States where the sacrifices that were made forever changed the course of American life. I’m proud to support this bill, which will preserve these important sites for generations to come.”
“Mississippi is home to some of the most consequential battlefields in the United States,” Wicker said. “This legislation would help preserve these historic sites, giving visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the people and places who helped shape the story of our nation.”
The Preserving America’s Battlefields Act would reauthorize the Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants Program, which is a matching grants program that promotes preservation of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War battlegrounds. The grants, awarded by the American Battlefield Protection Program, encourage state and private investment in battlefield preservation.
There are 243 Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefield sites and 282 Civil War battlefield sites across the country that have been identified as national preservation priorities by the National Park Service.
Historically, battlefields across the country have been preserved through Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants, including more than 30,000 acres in 20 states. Those sites include: Antietam, Md.; Appomattox and Fredericksburg, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Chickamauga, Ga.; Gettysburg, Pa.; Princeton, N.J.; Shiloh, Tenn.; and Wilson’s Creek, Mo.
The Preserving America’s Battlefields Acts would increase the authorization of the Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants Program to $20 million a year, including up to $2 million a year for the restoration and interpretation of high-priority battlefields sites, helping to transform these sites into historic tourism destinations.
Companion legislation, H.R.6108, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga.
The legislation is supported by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation as well as the American Battlefield Trust, a national nonprofit dedicated to preserving America’s Civil War, Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields.
“This legislation will ensure that important landscapes and lessons from our nation’s past are preserved for generations to come,” said Coach Vince Dooley, a member of the American Battlefield Trust’s Board of Trustees. “The National Park Service’s Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant Program is one of the most successful land-preservation efforts in U.S. history, having been used to protect more than 30,000 acres of hallowed ground in 20 states. We are incredibly grateful to Senators Isakson, Kaine, Blunt and Wicker for their leadership and commitment to preserving our nation’s heritage.”
OFFICE OF UNITED STATES SENATOR JOHNNY ISAKSON
131 Russell Senate Office Building | Washington, DC 20510
phone: 202.224.3643 | fax: 202.228.0724