|View single post by localyokel|
|Posted: Mon Jun 11th, 2007 04:01 am||
|Hi, first time posting here. As a resident of Winchester and member of CWPT (new member) who is familiar with the site and what the local bike club is doing, please let me fell in some blanks.
First of all, the local bike club is not involved in the layout or construction of the gravel pathways through the site. That is the CWPT. The bike club is working to take back the foot paths that snake through the wooded areas from the 4 wheelers. They are recovering about 4 miles of what will become single track hiking / biking trails. Since they have been riding the site and documenting / taking photos of the 4 wheeler riders, I have seen less and less with every visit. They have also been cleaning up some of the trash on the site and marking these trails for others to use. They are doing this with no other aim except to help the CWPT preserve the site for all to use, learn from and enjoy.
From a local perspective, this path system will be one of the best things to happen to this area in a very long time. Here's the background... Winchester, though in a beautiful rural setting, does not have any running / bike paths where a family can go out and ride together without fear of being run off the road. This site will give families that opportunity and the local community is buzzing in a very positive way about that. Understanding that this first and foremost a sacred site, I understand many people's feelings about how this should NOT be the way to preserve a battlefield...
Let me jump back just 1 year for the sad truth. The 3rd Battle fo Winchester site was a haven for 4 wheelers and relic hunters. It was also a dumping ground for used appliances (many of which are still there). Not to mention the parties that were happening down on the bridge across Red Bud Run. The site was (and is still recovering from) cross-crossed with 4 wheeler trails. I understand the horror from seeing the photos of digging equipment and heavy machinery. Before judging, please visit. After only a few months, it has really recovered. The area shown in the photo had to be totally "fixed" as it was in a large field where local teens would come out and do doughnuts. It was in shambles. There were 2 small pits where they pulled shale out of the ground to make the road bed, but they have been backfilles and are invisible.
In terms of then vs. now, now is worlds better. There are now people out using the site which will make relic hunters less bold and more cautious... There are bikers to help prevent the 4 wheelers from causing more destruction... There are families hiking and riding on the paths that may have never visited a battlefield before. Once the interperative signs (30+) are installed, some of these people may be moved to read and learn while on the site. A few of them may actually be moved enough to become CWPT donors and members (as I was). If we want people to learn about the historci battles that took place on this site, if we want people to be reverent and honor those killed, then they must be educated. This site, In my opinion, will help do this.
One final note, there was 1 big donation from an individual that went toward making this happen.
If any of you are ever in the area and want to visit the site with a local, drop me an e-mail. I'd love to share some of the area's rich history either on foot or bike!