RD172 - Assessment of the Feasibility of Brandy Station and Cedar Mountain Properties Becoming a Recreational and Historical Site Managed as a State or Regional Park – April 1, 2021
This report has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of House Budget Bill HB30 Chapter 1289 Item 374L of the 2020 Virginia Acts of the Assembly that stipulates, “The Department of Conservation and Recreation shall review the Brandy Station and Cedar Mountain properties and make recommendations to the Chairs of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance and Appropriations Committees by October 1, 2020 on their suitability as a historical and recreational area pursuant to § 10.1-200 et. seq., Code of Virginia, or development as a state or regional park. In its review, the Department shall consider (i) management of the area or park by a combination of public and private entities; (ii) potential user activities at the area or park including heritage tourism, primitive camping, fishing, bow hunting, boating, equestrian activities, biking and historical and military education; and (iii) operation of the area or park with only those improvements minimally necessary for activities listed herein and consistent with the preservation and protection of existing historic, cultural, archaeological, and natural resources."
A deadline extension of April 1, 2021, was given to provide the recommendations in this report.
This feasibility study's completion was constrained by time limitations and conditions stemming from the existing Covid 19 pandemic. No additional research beyond existing historic, cultural, archaeological, and natural resources as described in the 2016 study conducted by the Civil War Trust (now the American Battlefield Trust) was performed.
Due to the properties’ significant historic resources and existing conservation easements which provide permanent protection, property development is very limited. Increasing public use would have to be well planned in order to ensure the historic integrity that the property offers. Other governmental agencies may have missions more directly aligned with preserving and interpreting Civil War battlefields on a larger scale. All options for ownership and management of the Brandy Station and Cedar Mountain Battlefields including the National Park Service, regional management, private nonprofit management or a combination of these options, should be explored. Significant perpetual resource investments would be required to maintain and operate a state park of this nature at the Brandy Station Cedar Mountain location. While it was determined the properties could be a location for a future state park, DCR has significant state park backlogs with existing infrastructure needs and park lands that have not yet been developed that need to be addressed first.