Home Youngkin, officials mark dedication of Culpeper Battlefields State Park

Youngkin, officials mark dedication of Culpeper Battlefields State Park

Courtesy of Office of Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin officially dedicated Virginia’s newest state park, Culpeper Battlefields State Park, 263 acres centered around the crest of Fleetwood Hill at Brandy Station Battlefield.

The park is Virginia’s 43rd state park and the first state park in Culpeper County. Culpeper Battlefields State Park is at the site of the largest cavalry battle fought on the North American continent took place during the American Civil War in 1862 and 1863.

Culpeper’s park will offer visitors 2,200 acres of historic battlefield land after a series of property transfers between June 2024 and December 2027. The park will be composed of lands preserved by the private sector, in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia, and includes parts of the four major Civil War battles fought in Culpeper County: Brandy Station, Cedar Mountain, Kelly’s Ford and Rappahannock Station.

“Virginia’s 43rd state park stands as a powerful reminder of our nation’s history and the importance of preserving that history for future generations, because we can’t know where we’re going and unless we know where we’re coming from,” Youngkin said. “Culpeper Battlefields State Park connects us to our past and inspires us as we march together into our future. Visitors from all over will be able to appreciate the beauty of nature and reflect on the enduring spirit of resilience and unity that defines us.”

Much of the land has been open to the public and includes trails and interpretive signs maintained by the American Battlefield Trust, Brandy Station Foundation and the Cedar Mountain Battlefield. With portions of the property facing the threat of development, dedicated battlefield preservationists have sought for years to have a new state park established to save the intact historical landscape and pristine views.

“The addition of this property to Virginia’s State Parks will ensure this land will remain available to the public and protected for future generations,” Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles said. “The dedication of Culpeper Battlefields State Park stands as a symbol of our administration’s commitment to providing new opportunities for Virginians to recreate outdoors while preserving the Commonwealth’s cultural heritage and natural beauty.”

According to American Battlefield Trust President David Duncan, the dedication celebrates a preservation process that was decades in the making.

“It is an honor to come together with so many outstanding partners at the culmination of much work over long years to safeguard these historic landscapes,” Duncan said.

The new park is being created from land donated to the state by the Trust and its partners, which have been active acquiring battlefield lands in Culpeper County since 1997. Legislation to establish the park was approved by the Virginia General Assembly in June 2022 and signed by the governor. Additional appropriations will allow the acquisition of up to 800 additional acres to expand and enhance the park.

“The dedication marks the culmination of years of effort to bring forth our newest State Park. For decades, the Brandy Station Foundation, Cedar Mountain Battlefield and others have worked to preserve and protect these sites which we dedicate as the Culpeper Battlefields State Park,” Sen. Bryce Reeves said. “It is right that we honor the fallen on both sides, all Americans, who fought here and consecrated this ground. The furor of war is not to be taken lightly, nor should we forget it lest we, as a nation, do not make every effort to govern judiciously and live in peace. The history of these battlefields serves as a grim reminder of the bloody consequences should we not.”

Director of Virginia State Parks Dr. Melissa Baker said the parks “play an important role in connecting the community to these wonderful outdoor recreation and historic spaces. We’re proud to expand that great legacy with the dedication of Virginia’s newest State Park, Culpeper Battlefields State Park.”

Visitors to the park can explore its history through interpretive walking and equestrian trails, along with guided tours available through mobile apps. Recreational activities may eventually include access to the Rappahannock River, camping and public programming.

The park is under development and parking is limited so guests are encouraged to check the Culpeper Battlefields State Park webpage before visiting.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

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