A proposed casino near the site of Pickett’s Charge has landed the Gettysburg National Military Park on the Civil War Preservation Trust’s list of the 10 most endangered battlefields in 2010.
In its annual report History Under Siege, CWPT identified threats to the nation’s Civil War battlefields that range from wind turbines to a proposed Walmart. The most endangered battlefields, in alphabetical order are: Camp Allegheny, W.Va.; Cedar Creek, Va.; Fort Stevens, Washington, D.C.; Gettysburg, Pa.; Picacho Peak, Ariz.; Pickett’s Mill, Ga.; Richmond, Ky.; South Mountain, Md.; Thoroughfare Gap, Va.; and the Wilderness, Va.
Along with the typical encroachment of housing developments and cell phone towers, CWPT also identified budget cuts due to the poor economy as a significant source of concern.
Of Pickett’s Mill in Georgia—site of a somewhat rare Confederate win during General William Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign—CWPT says that “Following the most recent round of budget cuts last July, the park was forced to reduce its hours significantly, and is now only open three days a week. Of its original staff of five, only one full-time employee remains.”
In Arizona, lawmakers cut 61 percent of park funding last summer. In the past three years, half the park system employees have been laid off. That will affect Picacho Peak, which was scheduled to close June 3, barring a last-minute reprieve.
The economy is also partially responsible for the pitched battle in Gettysburg, where there’s a renewed effort to establish a resort casino a half-mile south of the battlefield.
A similar plan was defeated five years ago, but in today’s economic climate a job-creating $75 million complex is looking more tempting to local residents.
CWPT identified 15 more second-tier at-risk sites, including Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and Colonial Williamsburg, which is taking note of its Civil War history in addition to its colonial past.