Cedar Creek seeking volunteers for Park Day

Since first becoming publicly operational in 2010, the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park in Middletown has been an ongoing project for the National Park Service.

According to park ranger Eric Campbell, they will be looking to enhance the park by participating in the Civil War Trust’s annual Park Day for the first time ever on March 28.

This is a day when parks elicit the help of public volunteers to perform necessary maintenance.

“We have two projects going on that day,” Campbell said, noting that both projects will involve trails within the park.

National Park Service is organizing one project, while the other is in the hands of the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation.

According to Campbell, the park service is “talking about having our volunteers come out and do trail work, to help improve and maintain the trails.”

The trail the park service will be looking to improve is the recently opened trail around the 8th Vermont Monument.

The improvements Campbell mentioned include putting down wood chips along the trail as well as removing modern, non-historic fencing that was in place for a cattle farm.

“It became really obvious this year, and this spring especially, that being a dirt trail it gets really muddy,” Campbell said.

The volunteer work will also include getting rid of a trash pile left by the land’s previous owner.

The trash pile, Campbell said, “Is not huge. Apparently, it’s common for farmers to take depressions in the ground, sink holes and just throw stuff in them over the years.”

As far as participation is concerned, Campbell said the park is hoping to get no more than 10-12 people signed up due a shortage of staff members and equipment available.

“If we have any extras, we’re going to try to direct them toward the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation,” Campbell said.

Although this will be the park’s first year participating in Park Day, Campbell noted that the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation has participated “on-and-off” over the years.

“To be able to get volunteers to come out and actually do physical labor on their property is invaluable; otherwise, they wouldn’t get this work done,” Campbell said.

Campbell expressed that this volunteer work could be equally as important to the park service staff.

“I think it’s important if you’re going to open up a piece of land to the public, that it’s in pretty good condition when you do so,” Campbell said.

Residents interested in volunteering are being encouraged to contact the park at 540-869-3051 by March 21.

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