Nonprofit to manage battlefield land in Orange County once eyed by Walmart for store

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ORANGE, Virginia — A nonprofit will help the state manage 48 acres in Orange County near the Wilderness Battlefield that once was eyed by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for a store.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has entered into a cooperative management agreement with Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield to monitor and maintain the land, The Free Lance-Star (http://bit.ly/1NuJenX ) reported.

The land is within a cannonball's shot of the Wilderness Battlefield in Locust Grove, which is best known as the place where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant first met on the field of battle.

"We are delighted to officially partner with Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield," Department of Historic Resources Director Julie V. Langan said. "Our small agency has limited staff and resources to devote to managing the Wilderness Tract, so we are grateful to the organization for volunteering to offer this service, at no cost to the commonwealth."

The tract is situated on high ground just north of the historic Wilderness crossroads, today's State Routes 3 and 20, in Orange County, within the core area of the Wilderness Battlefield as defined by the congressionally chartered Civil War Sites Advisory Commission.

"Our volunteers have long supported the mission of the National Park Service at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, primarily in the Wilderness battlefield area," Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield President Mark Leach said. "Extending our outreach to managing the Wilderness Tract just makes perfect sense."

Lucy Lawliss, superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, described Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield as "a very impressive volunteer organization."

"It has a proven track record of supporting the Park Service through its interpretation and maintenance of Ellwood," she said. "They are a perfect fit for maintaining the Wilderness Tract, one of the gateways into our national park lands."

Wal-Mart donated the land to the state in 2013, ending a once-contentious fight over a store that the retail giant had proposed on the land. Wal-Mart built the store at another site several miles away.


Information from: The Free Lance-Star, http://www.fredericksburg.com/

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