Parks Service takes steps to improve the view at battlefield
BY T. DEVON ROBINSON
Construction site barrels are up along the park road currently under repair at Petersburg National Battlefield. MANDANA MARSH/STAFF PHOTO.
PETERSBURG — At the site of the Battle of the Crater, it’s possible to get a feel of the historic battle. Until the campers and RVs arrive in the parking lot.
“Sometimes, if there’s enough campers and RVs, you can’t see anything,” said Dave Shockley, chief of resource management of the Petersburg National Battlefield.
The National Parks Service is proposing to improve the view at the battlefield by moving the tour road. This would be the second phase of removing modern intrusions from the site.
“We have a parking lot and a road going through the battlefield,” Shockley said.
The first phase removed a loop and a parking lot on the Confederate side of the battlefield. This step will shift the tour road and a parking lot from the vicinity of Fort Morton.
There are three alternatives, Shockley said, including a no-build alternative. The other two choices will reroute the tour road to the south and east of Fort Morton. The preferred alternative, Shockley said, will use the beds of an older tour road and another road. This alternative will require a smaller amount of trees be removed. The two build alternatives will include a new parking area.
In addition to moving the road, there is a plan to improve visitor access points from Hickory Hill Road. A parking lot located inside of the Mahone Avenue Gate at Fort Lee was the access point to foot and equestrian trails. This lot has not been used since security concerns were raised after Sept. 11, 2001.
Parking for horseback riding has been moved to the site of a former trailer park and there isn’t a dedicated lot for foot traffic.
Copies of the plan will be available at local libraries, the park’s three visitor contact stations and in the superintendent’s office at park headquarters and also at the National Parks Service Web site.
Comments may be submitted through the mail to Superintendent, Petersburg National Battlefield, 1539 Hickory Hill Road, Petersburg, VA 23803-4721 or online www.nps.gov/pete or email@example.com.
Comments will be available for public review at park headquarters. Any respondents may request that their names and address are withheld from the record. The National Parks Service will accept comments until Sept. 21.
Construction will take place during the 2008 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1 for the parks service.
“Hopefully, by October, we’ll have the green light,” Shockley said.
The battlefield tour road is currently partially closed due to a $1.6 million project to resurface and repair a 2.5-mile section of the roadway. This project is expected to be done by the end of the year.
• T. DeVon Robinson may be reached at 722-5160 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
©The Progress-Index 2007
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