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 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 05:35 pm
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trench nerd
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The CWPT has cut and is in the process of installing a 10-12' wide bike path through the heart of the 3rd Winchester battlefield. They are "paving" it with black gravel and have cut through a stand of woods, across a stream and up the other side. In addition they are "strip mining" other parts of the battlefield for dirt for the project.
When I asked the COO of the CWPT about it he defended the project and then accused me of trespassing!
In a reply from the president of the CWPT he stated it was being done with the co-operation of a local bike club!
I thought the idea was to protect and interpret. Not create some picnic grounds and bike  super highway!
Maybe someone in the area has more information or can get a straight answer from the COO.
My understanding is the requisite archaeology wasn't even done and the relic hunters have had a field day! :X

Last edited on Tue May 1st, 2007 06:18 pm by trench nerd



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 05:45 pm
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Art B.
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This is not good. Thanks for the report, T.N.

The CWPT had always impressed me with their stalwart stand about ANY intrusion, visible or ethical or physical, upon ACW land. Shame on those folks who let this happen. And shame on the COO for his flippant remarks in response to your concern and inquiry.

I just may have to find another recipient for my ACW preservation dollars. I'll have to press them on this issue!

Art in Tampa, FL


UPDATE!
I found the group and they "brazenly" announce their "alliance" with CWPT. The group is known as the Winchester Wheelmen and here's a story on the bike path from their April newsletter [they didn't even spell their own name correctly on the web posting -- Wincehster Wheelmen].

http://www.winchesterwheelmen.org/news.php

______________________________________________________

>>[lead-in] Third Battle of Winchester Property
Mike Perry and Mark Hoyle continue to lead the charge in organizing efforts to get trails built on the CWPT property.  Look for an update in a separate item in this newsletter.

[this is the "separate item"]  3rd Battle of Winchester Update
As alluded to on page one, Mike Perry and Mark Hoyle are doing a lot of preparation and execution of work at the 3rd Battle of Winchester site.  All club members are encouraged to the visit the site and examine the work being done.  On Sunday, April 1st, there was an exploratory trip made.  Since that date, both Mike and Mark have been out to the site, laying out trails with surveying flags.  On Sunday, April 29th, there was a work party to get the trail building underway properly.  (Both Mike & Mark had done some preliminary work before this date.)  There were 9 people out to help cut the trails.  The terrain is interesting, and the trails are not difficult to cut, mainly just describing a path where there is debris and some small growth.  We’re joining deer paths and some older, previously established ATV or dirtbike trails.  Look for another work day in May on the WW listserv. <<

_______________________________________________________

OMG, as my daughter types on her e-mails.

Art in Tampa, FL

Last edited on Tue May 1st, 2007 06:04 pm by Art B.



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 05:47 pm
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javal1
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Trench,

Mind if I ask your source for this? I can't find anything on it. Did you see this for yourself, or did someone tell you? Where were you when the CWPT official told you you were trespassing? Very curious...



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 06:13 pm
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trench nerd
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I and a friend visited the site  a couple of months ago, we were doing the Valley trip!. I saw the construction with my own eyes. The "bike path" is about 10 to 12' wide and as the COO of the Trust said was designed to allow two bike riders to pass each other. The road is built up and has drainage on either side. In addition another 20 feet or so on either side was clear cut through the woods.

A good example of how a path should be is the Cedar Creek battlefield and earthworks.

After walking the battlefield we did a number of other stops and it was when I returned back home I called and wrote to the CWPT. It was in this conversation I was told I was trespassing, I am a member of the CWPT! There were no No Trespassing signs. As a note one of the local property owners came over and talked to me while we were there and he was extremely upset and any chance of him donating or doing an easement on his historic property adjacent to the battlefield is gone. Another loss.

Last edited on Tue May 1st, 2007 06:17 pm by trench nerd



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 06:26 pm
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javal1
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Thanks for the info Trench and Art. Just fired off an e-mail to Jim Campi at CWPT asking for a comment. Will let you know.



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 12:47 pm
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javal1
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Folks:

Received a response from Jim Campi this morning. (I had sent him the link to this thread and told him it concerned the bike trails) It's as follows in regards to this topic:

 
I am out of the office this week.  My Internet connection is primarily by cell phone, and I am having trouble reading the link you sent.  I will try to get access to a real computer sometime today so I can access the link.
 
However, I see it is related to our new interpretive trails at Third Winchester.  I have some great pictures of the new trails and will send them along if I can.
 
Suffice to say, there has been some concern raised about the new trails.  And, as always, we appreciate and encourage constructive criticism.  Our goal is to make this battlefield -- which is the least accessible we own, because of the strange shape of the property and the large hills that are difficult to climb without trails -- more accessible.  The finished trails will be 4-5 miles in length.
 
Prior to proceeding with the new trails, we had received criticism from local officials who supported preservation of the property when APCWS acquired it more than 10 years ago.  Their concern was that we had failed to (1) install interpretive signage so the average person could understand what happened there, and (2) install trails so that the property was accessible to the public.  As a result, local officials have been less willing to work with us in regard to other preservation opportunities in Frederick County at Cedar Creek, Stephenson's Depot, etc. -- because we had not done anything to make the Third Winchester site a heritage tourism (other than install a few signs at the entrance of the property).  Also, there was considerable rumbling among our membership that the site could not be visited without a professional tour guide.
 
Not sure this really addresses the concerns that may have been raised (I see from the link it is on the CWi forum, so I assume there is a thread going about this).  If I cannot access the link today, I will ask someone in the office to do so.



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 01:17 pm
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39th Miss. Walker
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All well and good, a small unobtrusive walking path and interperative signs could have done nicely. Why the black gravel bike path? Why build up the roadway with drainage. It looks just like a blacktop country road through the heart of the place. Was proper archaeology done? Were historians and archaeologists consulted? Was Federal $ involved?
Someone screwed up big time and are covering their butts IMO.



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 03:34 pm
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Art B.
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Here's my inquiry of yesterday to CWPT. Following it is the reply I received PDQ from a CWPT spokesman.
__________________________________________

Might somebody at the other end of this e-mail describe the goings on at 3rd Winchester battlefield, specifically the reported design and construction of a 10’-21’ wide bicycle path?

An internet correspondent mentioned this project as well as a brief conversation with a CWPT officer, a short talk which, according to the correspondent, wasn’t cordial at all.

I’m looking for answers, not casting aspersions. Thank you kindly for your reply.


Art Bagley
Tampa, Florida
CWPT Past Member & Current Donor [but not a Current Member]
_____________________________________________________

Dear Mr. Bagley:

This is in response to your questions about our interpretive project in Winchester, which includes hiking and biking trails which will, for the first time, provide public access throughout the 200+ acre property.

First, thank you for helping in the fight to save our Civil War battlefields.  We share your passion for the preservation of these hallowed grounds.

CWPT is also obligated to making saved property available and accessible to the public in order to help interpret the history, reward our members and others committed to maintaining open space, and to reach out to others to join the cause.  While we certainly count the Third Winchester Battlefield as a great preservation success, it had become a forgotten and unused property.  Only a small number of intense Civil War enthusiasts know how to find it.  Once found, most visitors would not know where to walk, would not be able to trudge their way through the woods and gullies if they were not fit enough or the weather was not good enough, and would not know what they were seeing if they happened across key points on the battlefield.

CWPT concluded that we owed the public more.

Therefore, in 2003, we embarked on a process to create an interpretive plan for the Third Battle of Winchester.  That process included the cooperation and input of noted historians, state and federal agencies responsible for historical and environmental protection, and members of the local community.  It culminated in the design and permitting of the trails that you asked about in your email.

In total, the project comprises about 5 miles of trails and 35 interpretive signs leading visitors to such vantage points as Red Bud Run, Hackwood Lane, and the First Woods.  We even worked in a 1-mile loop trail that goes through areas severely disturbed before we acquired the property, including a raised power line right-of-way and a large abandoned shale pit used during the construction of I-81.  This segment provides a stark contrast to the fields and woods elsewhere on the battlefield, and allows us to provide a powerful message about the importance of protecting historical properties in places where sprawl and widening transportation corridors are a constant threat.

CWPT made the strategic choice to make the trail suitable for biking with the goal of making the park accessible and attractive to a wider community.  As you may know, biking is a very popular activity in the Washington, DC, area, which boasts many urban and rural trails within easy reach.  In addition, the oddly linear shape of the property meant that one could walk it, but that it would take several hours to completely traverse the historic portions of the land.  A visit on bikes, on the other hand, would allow a visitor to see and understand the battlefield during a manageable period of time.

There is also a keen interest in biking in Winchester in particular, where there are several active biking clubs (including the Winchester Wheelmen who have volunteered to help maintain the site) and where the City has built the “Green Circle,” a walking and biking trail that encircles the City and connects with parks and tourist attractions.  In the longer term, there is ongoing discussion about the possibility of linking several battlefields throughout the Shenandoah Valley through a series of biking trails.  Given the political and financial pressures that often run counter to preservation activities in this rapidly growing region, we thought that tapping into this groundswell of community interest was an intriguing opportunity.

Despite these best intentions, we also know that this choice brought several construction and community relations challenges.

Chief among these were the need to have the trails wide enough to accommodate two passing bikers, surfaced with a material that would be lasting and suitable for biking, and raised up and contoured in places to allow storm water to drain and creeks to flow.  At the same time, we are building trails through stretches of woods that have required the removal of large trees, which are not witness trees themselves but are in places where historic trees once stood.  And then there’s the mere sight of large, yellow earth-working equipment on a battlefield, which brings an instinctive adverse reaction to preservationists like you and me.

My response to these concerns is that we are actively overseeing the construction, making sure that it conforms to applicable standards and is followed by appropriate reseeding and replanting in disturbed areas on the shoulders of the trail.  We also hold firm to the belief that the ultimate benefits of the trails will greatly exceed the costs, just like the roads to the top of Little Round Top at Gettysburg and the paved trails to Burnside’s Bridge at Antietam have made those sites accessible to millions of park visitors over the years, and generated unquantifiable support for Civil War battlefield preservation.

So I ask that you please bear with us as we get the construction phase behind us and as you continue to keep a close eye on us.

I again emphasize that we share your goals, welcome your active participation and constructive criticism, and know that CWPT cannot accomplish anything without the support of dedicated people like yourself.

Later this year we will be opening up this historic and beautiful site to the public, and for the first time providing a site which can be thoroughly accessed easily by visitors, and understood through the interpretive trail and signage.  I hope that at some point you will be able to visit, and I would invite you to let us know if you are able to get to the area, to enjoy a walk or a ride together and hopefully learn more about the battlefield.

Sincerely,

Doug Brouder
_______________________________________________________

OK, well, maybe...benefit-of-the-doubt time. I hope CWI "locals" can keep us up-to-date as to the use and benefits of this surprise project. Thanks for listening.

Art in Tampa, FL

Last edited on Wed May 2nd, 2007 03:39 pm by Art B.



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 09:43 pm
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javal1
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Art,

In this case I tend to agree with you - it may be time to give CWPT the benefit of the doubt. If everything said in their response to you is true, and historians and others were consulted, then I have to assume that there was no critical land (earthworks, trenches, etc.) damaged. Also hearing that no witness trees were affected goes far in making me feel better. I think the size of the track may be excessive, but I'll reserve final judgement until I see some pics.

What I think a lot of Civil War enthusiasts forget is that local cooperation is vital to acquisition of Civil War land. Sometimes compromise demands that locals receive something in return, in this case a recreational trail. I also think you'll see more of this sort of thing as Franklin's projects continue to develop. Thanks for your post...

(I'd also add that their quickness in replying to both of us has to be commended)



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 10:11 pm
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39th Miss. Walker
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Maybe I am reading this wrong and am too sensitive to this whole thing, I hope so.

What and who's standards was this construction project designed to, a bike standard, the NPS (historical preservation) standard or a DOT bikeway standard? Is it really necessary for a 10-12' wide black gravel path through the middle of the battlefield? Are they really advocating the only way to see the entire property is by bicycle? Who will man the site? Will there be any security to keep the ATV's and motorcycles and 4 wheel drives out? This isn't Gettyrburg with NPS Rangers on duty!

How does a bicycle path of over 4 miles fit on this property? Are we not concerned that this black gravel roadway is not in keeping with the battlefield? It is not a local park! If anything a mulched narrow path would have been preferable.

Who is the archaeologist that signed off on this project? What historian reviewed the project? Where is his research? Is this road now covering an historic roadway? True there are no witness trees, but the woods are where woods were before, except now there is a 50 foot cut right through the middle big enough to drive a tour bus.

I'm sorry I really can't accept the explaination because I asked the CWPT and got the same political runaround as these two letters.

I believe in the good and necessary work of the CWPT. This is not an anti CWPT rant. This is a case where I think they have done the opposite of what they should have been doing to this one property. 



 Posted: Thu May 3rd, 2007 03:50 pm
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javal1
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This is from Jim Campi of CWPT:

Thanks again for the opportunity to respond to the inquiries on the Civil War Interactive forum.  I see that Doug Brouder of CWPT responded as well, and likely answered most questions.
 
That being said, I want to assure your readers that we did have both the Department of the Interior and the state Department of Historic Resources involved in the process from the very beginning.  We also contracted with History Associates, Inc. (HAI) to produce the interpretive plan, and consulted with at least two additional historians on the project (this has become our standard procedure for all major interpretive projects).
 
One individual (from South Carolina -- sorry I don't know names!) remarked in a recent post that "Maybe I am reading this wrong and am too sensitive to this whole thing."  I want to assure that individual and others that CWPT really does appreciate their feedback and concerns.  We are a small organization and don't always get things right -- we need constructive criticism to make sure we do better the next time (and, hopefully, there will be plenty of additional land purchases by CWPT that will require further interpretation).  Plus, there is a lot of talent in the Civil War community (whether we are talking about historians, relic hunters, reenactors, or preservationists) and it would be just plain stupid not to keep our ears open for thoughtful suggestions.
 
Also, to address another question, we decided to get the local cycling group involved exactly because security is an issue -- we just don't have the staff resources to patrol the property without a local group with "mobility" (because of the strange shape of the property, bikes are almost a necessity for regular patrols).  We have also approached local law enforcement, and hope to get them more engaged.
 
And thank you to the individual who noted that local cooperation is vital to battlefield preservation -- truer words were never spoken!
 
To give folks a flavor of what we are trying to accomplish at Third Winchester, we have posted some images and a map up on our website.  I have attached the links below.  There are three images depicting the completed trail, a map showing what the completed trail will look like, and two examples of the interpretive signage that will be installed in the next few weeks.
 

http://www.civilwar.org/news/3win/trail1.jpg

http://www.civilwar.org/news/3win/trail2.jpg


http://www.civilwar.org/news/3win/trail3.jpg


http://www.civilwar.org/news/3win/map.pdf


http://www.civilwar.org/news/3win/redbudrun.pdf


http://www.civilwar.org/news/3win/firstwoods.pdf



Sometime soon (likely, June) we will officially unveil the completed trail.  I will be sure to send you the release announcing the opening -- hopefully, a few CWi forum readers will be able to attend.

Thanks again!  I hope this better explains the situation.

Best,

Jim



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 Posted: Thu May 3rd, 2007 10:51 pm
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Indy dodging the bikes reminds me of my visit to Kennesaw Battlefield .  It was a beautiful spring day on the weekend.  I arrived around 9 and could not find a parking spot at the park headquarters at all.  I drove around  looking at the battlesites but only found one spot to pull off and get out and walk around , all other pull outs and parking spots in the whole park were full.  People were jogging, walking , bike riding .  I have since talk to people from the area.  They say never go on the week end .  It becomes one big sports park.   I also dodge a bike rally at Chickamauga earlier but that was only in one small part of the battlefield.  The rest of the time I had the whole place to myself.  

I agree though this path will make it easier for those of us who are not hikers  to see the battlefield. 

susan



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 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2007 05:29 pm
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Reminds me of my visit to Petersburg on a Labor Day weekend.  The outfits at the local army base had a big picnic and left mounds of trash it was really a terrible experience.



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 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2007 09:39 pm
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Indy when you are driving from California to the East Coast then up the East Coast visiting as many sites as you can you end up with weekends somewhere.  There was also the holidays at national parks . . . the park ranger with an automatic coming over to my van as I am in line to pay to park at Mr. Rushmore .  It was memorial day and threat level was high.  All the turn outs up to Mt. Rushmore were also blockaded.  Then there was the wand  after I failed the metal detector.   I had a bracelet on my wrist that didn't come off .  That the rings and the snaps on my shirt conspired to make the machine beep like crazy.  Not my favorite touring day. 

Back to Kennesaw I was amazed at people treating a battlefield like it was a public park.  I expected to run into picnicers any minute or a soccer or baseball game.  Needless to say I like visiting Wilson's Creek or  Saylor's Creek, Some of the battlefields around Richmond where at the time I was there I was the only one on the battlefield. Very few were at New Market also.  Actually my first visit to Shiloh I arrived at 5  so everyone was gone but me.  I did the same at the Wilderness Chancellorsville and Guiena Station.  Last September we were in the rain at Bentonville, now that wasn't as good as I didn't want to get ouf of the car it was pouring .  I have to go back there.  Don't laugh but one of my favorite battlefields is War of 1812 Chalmette Battle of New Oreleans.  By the time I saw the film, I was the only one watching it, and then went out to drive around the field I was the only one there.  So I put Johnny Horton in the CD player and drove around .  I just kept pushing replay and drove around stopping and looking .  No wonder Jackson and Lafitte won.  They had the barracades .  The British were marching across a flat field.

Does anyone that is down New Orleans way know is the Battlefield back in shape again?  It went under water , I did read the Beauregard plantation home was not damaged as it sat on higher ground but the park headquarters was totally damaged. 

 

 



 Posted: Sat May 5th, 2007 01:50 pm
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I was at Antiem the same weekend as I went to 3rd Winchester. Here we were on a Sunday morning 8" of snow on the ground, 20 mph winds and 24*! And we wern't alone, there were couples out jogging, with unleashed dogs! One park ranger told us there are more joggers than battlefield visitors most mornings.

While the picture submitted above by the CWPT, make some of the trails look nice there were bigger scars, like the almost 50 foot wide cut through the woods. Anyone have a picture of that? I took one but it came out all white, from the snow!

I also understand, I haven't confirmed it,  the VA Outdoors Foundation (who own the 3rd Winchester easement) "slapped the Trust's hand" and Lighthizer apologized for inattention to detail or some such. The NPS talked to the CWPT about the deal and the state archaeologist was asked to write up an assessment of the damage to historic resources for VOF.

Spin, spin, spin.
[code]



 Posted: Sat May 5th, 2007 02:21 pm
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Johnny Huma
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With some resrvations I am not totally against what the CWPT is doing here..We are getting access to a battlefield we did not have before. I am not sure a bike path is the best idea..For one how about that 75 year old Grandmother who does not ride a bike but would really like to see it all..Or the handicapped person who I am sure is not allowed to take thier wheelchair there..And for the real Civil War historian who does not bike...Are all these bikers Civil War enthusiest...? Are we giving bicycle tours of this area for the general public...? There is where I think my reservations lie, not with having access to this area but for whom this access is for...If we are building this as a bicylce path for the local bicycle club then the CWPT is on the wrong track here..If we are making a path here for the John Q. Public to learn more about this battle and this area is accessable to John Q. Public then we may have a real educational project and not a sporting runway...Is there a walking path their with wayside markers explaining the battle and land features..I do not think we can compare this to Little Round Top that is accessable to all who visit and is directly related to the education of the Battle of Gettysburg..Am I going to be able to hire a tour guide and learn more of this battle..? Too many loose ends I think...

Huma

 



 Posted: Mon May 7th, 2007 03:18 pm
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Susan Chalmette is back.



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