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Volunteers needed to fully open Cedar Creek, Belle Grove park

By Sally Voth

The Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is going to need a helping hand if it is going to be open seven days a week.

Acting Superintendent Eric Campbell recently appealed for volunteers at the 10-year-old park created through a partnership of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Belle Grove Inc., Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and Shenandoah County.

"I put out a call for volunteers because the park is beginning to expand its operations, and with a small staff, we're going to need volunteers to keep the facility that we're going to open up open," he said Tuesday.

Campbell was referring to a visitor contact station that is expected to open in late March or early April.

"It's going to be a National Park Service-operated facility, which means that for the first time, the National Park Service will have more of a presence at the park itself," he said.

The only facilities that have been open since the park's founding are those run by the partner organizations, Campbell said.

He said the contact station will offer the history of the valley up to the time of the Civil War, and will include a fiber-optic map showing where the action in the Battle of Cedar Creek took place.

It'll be a ranger station, and will need someone available to greet visitors and welcome them to the park, according to Campbell. He said the park has four permanent employees and two seasonal ones in the summer.

All volunteers will be asked to give at least four hours of their time each week, Campbell said. At that rate, about 14 would be needed to keep the park open seven days a week, he said.

"They would be greeting visitors, answering their questions, explaining the park and the facilities, handing out information about the local area, along with the history of the park," Campbell said. "We're still a park in development, so there's still a lot of work that needs to be done."

So, any volunteers with certain skills, such as computer, photography or writing, could put those to use, he said.

"As long as they bring enthusiasm to the job and a willingness to work for the public, there's no minimum qualifications," Campbell said. "The parks service has relied on volunteers for decades. We try to match their skills to whatever needs we have so it benefits the park and the volunteer."

For more information call 540 869-3051, and to apply, visit nps.gov/cebesupportyourpark/volunteer.htm.

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com


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