- Report Published -
|A Feasibility Study for the Establishment of a Trevilian Station Battlefield State Park|
|Department of Conservation and Recreation|
|SJR 194 (Regular Session, 2000)|
|Senate Joint Resolution # 194 directed the Department of Conservation and Recreation (OCR) to study the feasibility of establishing a Trevilian Station Battlefield State Park. DCR began work on the study in May of 2000.|
The Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation appointed a Feasibility Study Steering Committee comprised of persons nominated by the Louisa County Board of Supervisors and the sponsors of the Senate Joint Resolution. The committee included members of the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation, local landowners, a representative from the Louisa County Planning Commission, and a representative from Louisa County Parks and Recreation Department. Mr. John Salmon, noted expert on the Civil War and associated battlefields in Virginia, represented the Department of Historic Resources. The Department of Conservation and Recreation staffed the Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee held several meetings in the Louisa County Office Building. Two public input meetings were held at the same location. All meetings were open to the public and, were well attended. Input from both the Steering Committee and public input meetings have been incorporated into this report. All of the public input received supported protection of the battlefield. The Louisa County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution supporting protection of the battlefield as a state park.
The battle and battlefield areas were researched through several accounts from renowned experts in the field of Civil War study and the history of this particular battle. This feasibility study has resulted in the assemblage of the most extensive collection of expert accounts of this battle ever compiled.
Senate Joint Resolution No. 194 directed that the study address the following:
1. Determine the historical and cultural importance of the battlefield to the citizens oft he Commonwealth and the United States.
2. Evaluate available funding sources for the preservation of the Trevilian Station Battlefield.
3. Examine similar landmarks and parks to determine the most appropriate means for preserving the Trevilian Station Battlefield for the citizens of the Commonwealth and the United States.
4. Evaluate the cost of establishing a State Park at the location.
This study has addressed all of these issues and the Department of Conservation and Recreation has come to the conclusion that it is feasible to establish a Trevilian Station Battlefield State Park. The lands to be included in that park are indicated on the enclosed map (Figure A, page 4).
Trevilian Station Battlefield Area
Trevilian Station, a small village with an historic train station, is located a few miles west of Louisa Courthouse on Route 33. The village was the site of the Trevilian Station Battle, the bloodiest all-cavalry battle of the Civil War, fought on July 11 and 12, 1864. As the staging area and battleground for a two-day engagement involving as many as 12,000 men, the battlefield is extensive. Currently, the area is mostly rural except for minor commercial and residential development along Route 33 and Route 613.
Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation
The Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation has been very active in the protection of the battlefield and has worked hard to raise public awareness of the significance of the site and the need to protect it. It has successfully raised funds for the purchase of 250 acres of the battlefield and is currently developing a driving tour and an interpretative program. The Foundation has received $400,000 of General Assembly funding from the 2000 Session through the Department of Historic Resources and is pursuing protection of additional battlefield acreage at this time.
Louisa County Government
The Louisa County government has identified the general battlefield area in the county comprehensive plan and has recommended its protection. It has been suggested that a Battlefield State Park would provide tourism benefits while, at the same time, keeping the area as open green space, thereby maintaining the attractive rural character of the area. The Louisa County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution supporting the establishment of Trevilians Station Battlefield Historic State Park on October 2, 2000 (Appendix V, page 42).
Input received from the community to date reveals strong support for protecting the battlefield from further inconsistent development and conversion to non-traditional uses. The development of a state park is viewed as providing the best combination of benefits to the community by protecting the battlefield and attracting appropriate tourism. In addition, increased awareness of the importance of the battlefield areas would result. The park might also provide an excellent platform for educational and interpretive programs.
Degree of Threat
The timing for development of the area is critical. Large parcels of the core battlefield are now on the market. If these lands are converted to industrial, retail, or multi-family development, the overall character of the battlefield area will be seriously compromised.
The study team assembled maps and summaries of the battle and battlefield area from several expert sources and compiled and summarized all of the available accounts. The members of the Steering Committee contributed much of the information to this study. This research bas clearly defined the core battlefield areas and those areas surrounding the core where other related events occurred. Maps depicting the core battlefield area as well as significant maneuver and bivouac sites were prepared and presented to the public for analysis and comment.
The Department of Conservation and Recreation has found that it is feasible to establish a Trevilian Station Battlefield State Park. There is strong local support. The integrity of the battlefield is still good and conversions have been minimal. Major portions of the battlefield can be acquired from willing sellers. Sentiment for placing conservation or historic easements on other critical parcels appears to be supportive.
The recommendation of this study is to establish a Trevilian Station Battlefield State Park. The operations of the state park should be enhanced through a PublicIPrivate Partnership between the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. It is recommended that efforts be made to ensure protection of the 2000-acre core battlefield area (Figure A, page 4), using the full range of land protection tools available. This study has determined that it is feasible and timely to develop such a historic state park provided the appropriate funding is available for the acquisition, development, and operation of this historic site. Contributing areas outside of the core should be protected when possible.
If this battlefield becomes a state park, it will need to be adequately staffed and funded to meet the intended protection and public education and interpretive benefits the community is advocating. The Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation is committed to playing a supportive partnership role with the Commonwealth to help provide educational and interpretive programs, a cadre of volunteers, and funds raising assistance.
The estimated cost of establishing the Trevilian Station Battlefield State Park is $10.7 million in current year dollars. This would cover the cost of acquisition of the core battlefield area as well as the cost of development of proposed visitor service, administration, maintenance, housing, and interpretive facilities. Staffing, operations, administration, and maintenance costs are estimated at $370,000 per year once the park is established.