Site manager to leave Cedar Creek

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park will have a new site manager for the first time since 2013.

Amy Bracewell, the current site manager, will be leaving the park after July 10 for a new job as superintendent of Saratoga National Historical Park in Stillwater, New York.

Bracewell said the opportunity arose when Saratoga’s superintendent, Joe Finan, announced his retirement earlier this year.

“I certainly have loved my time here, and didn’t necessarily want to leave just yet,” Bracewell said.

Bracewell described the position in Saratoga as a logical next step.

“I do love the leadership opportunities at the park service, being able to shape the parks in conservation and welcoming visitors and in our interpretation,” she said.

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove opened as a park-in-development in 2002, and is one of the few partnership national parks in the country.

Belle Grove, Inc., Cedar Creek staff, Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation and the National Trust For Historic Preservation, as well as numerous other partners, manage the park.

Bracewell noted, “I think we’ve all been able to do so much together. One of our very first challenges [was] getting highway signs and trying to … put us on the map.”

Bracewell was also responsible for the idea that became “Bells Across the Land,” which commemorated the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War this past April.

At a Thursday meeting of the Federal Advisory Commission, Bracewell noted that “Bells Across the Land” featured participation from more than 400 communities.

“I’ve been spoiled in working with such great people here,” Bracewell said. “Hopefully I will take that with me.”

In meantime, Karen Beck-Herzog, the public affairs officer with Shenandoah National Park, will serve as the interim site manager starting July 12.

“I’m looking forward to basically … ensuring a smooth transition between what Amy [Bracewell] has done in terms of moving this park forward,” Beck-Herzog said.

Beck-Herzog added, “I’m very excited to learn more about the park, to work with the park staff and to work with [the commission] to move it forward, get it more visible in whatever ways we can.”

Jim Northup, superintendent of Shenandoah National Park as well as Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, said the park will begin looking for a new site manager soon.

Northup said he recruitment for the job would be a nationwide effort and that they hope to name the new manager within three to five months.

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