Battlefield foundation to receive land grant

The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation has been awarded $200,000 for its Fisher’s Hill preservation project by the state.

Virginia has allocated $1.7 million for land conservation, and the foundation will receive a share beginning July 1.

Rob Aitcheson, the foundation’s director of policy and communications, said the grant will “continue to fund” a massive project for the foundation, which has been developing trails to connect the Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek Battlefield sites since 2009.

Aitcheson said the foundation is “grateful for the governor’s office supporting us.”

The foundation has been coordinating with the Virginia Department of Transportation as well as the Strasburg Town Council to advance the project.

Aitcheson explained that the foundation recently completed the expansion of the trail system at Fisher’s Hill and will look to have other improvements completed by the spring. Such improvements have included clearance of brush from the upper side of the hill that “will make it look more like it did” at the time of the Valley Campaign of 1864.

Aitcheson also noted that the foundation doubled the size of the Fisher’s Hill trail system.

The trails are open at the moment, Aitcheson said, and the foundation expects to have them fully developed by the spring.

The land grant, Aitcheson said, “will help out substantially, but [the project] is still going to be an ongoing thing.”

Aitcheson noted that the foundation’s main focus is battlefield preservation and that massive projects like the Fisher’s Hill-Cedar Creek connection “will take a little bit longer.”

Looking forward, Aitcheson said that the foundation “hopes for continued support” and that they are “glad that [the governor] supports what we are trying to do here in the Valley.”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com