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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2023 5:29 pm 
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I am sure many of you received this email from the American Battlefield Trust - but just in case:

https://www.battlefields.org/give/save-battlefields/dont-let-data-centers-destroy-wilderness?ms=email1230814

This spring, Orange County, Va., approved the largest land-use alteration in its history, the rezoning of 2,600 acres at the gateway to the Wilderness Battlefield. It’s the same area where, some 16 years ago, Walmart wanted to build a supercenter, before listening to reason and finding a more appropriate location nearby. In the aftermath, the Trust and its allies worked with the county to craft an overall vision for this historically sensitive region that would balance growth with preservation of open space.

Sadly, this new proposal is worse — far, far worse — than that original big-box development plan. In the face of overwhelming public opposition, officials approved the building of 5,000 homes and, appallingly, as many data centers and distribution warehouses as they can cram into 750 acres. Originally, that type of hulking, windowless development had been capped at five million square feet, but any semblance of a limit was lifted in the final hours before the vote, creating a material difference in the rezoning application beyond what had been considered by the county’s professional planning staff.

Data centers are necessary components of our digital world, supporting the internet and cloud computing. But through a confluence of policy decisions and geographic convenience, Northern Virginia has become the data center of the world: more than 70 percent of GLOBAL internet traffic flows through Northern Virginia, with more data center facilities going online every day. Despite very real concerns about environmental impacts and the need for expensive upgrades to power lines and the existing power grid, neighboring counties are clamoring to tap into what they see as easy tax revenue.

The Trust and its allies are tracking many such proposals, but most utterly pale in comparison to the threat posed by the Wilderness Crossing development. The sheer scale of it threatens not only the Wilderness Battlefield, but Chancellorsville as well. If ever there was a time to fight, it is now. That’s why we – along with our long-time allies at the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust and Friends of Wilderness Battlefield – have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the rezoning and block the project.

We truly believe in the merits of our case, but such legal action is costly, and this urgent need comes while we are also pursuing many time-sensitive land preservation projects. Purchasing historic landscapes in this region outright is the most ironclad way to ensure they don’t fall victim to another such proposal.

With so much at stake, the Trust is asking you to help us stop this outrageous proposal. Please consider making a gift toward this special appeal and help us hold the line at the Wilderness.




I find it disappointing we are back fighting over the Wilderness area again so soon. But that land in Northern Virginia is booming with no end in sight. Eventually we are going to lose one of these battles to developers. Maybe this is the one.

I visited this area back around 2001 and found it peaceful and natural. I legitimately fear a return trip. Sometimes you just want to remember it "as it was" rather than return to find it "as you fear." Sounds like if I want to see it again that I better go soon before it really is too late.

On my list of battlefields I have no desire to visit again, I'd put Kennesaw Mountain and Franklin. And I used to live in Franklin! But the only thing left is a small hill overlooking Target and a thousand other stores, apartments, and fast-food places. Kennesaw is nice but is very urbanized and more often used as a recreational park for locals than preserved as a battlefield. Maybe I am too critical. But I still like to think of "battlefields" as being sacred ground. There are thousands of places in America to fly kites, picnic, use drones, and play frisbee, but there are only a handful of battlefields. When people climb on monuments (sometimes irreparably breaking them), or run into a cannon with a 4x4, I just want to cry.

Probably preaching to the choir here.

You can't save all the land, I get it. I wish we could. Having a nice buffer around battlefields would be ideal. Nobody wants a nightclub across from their home. It kills the property value. For battlefields, having a data center, or a casino, or a large big-box store, destroys the serenity of the area. I also lived in Murfreesboro. Stones River used to be on the edge of the town twenty years ago. Now it is adjacent to hundreds of new apartments, a large hospital, a new interstate exit, and dozens of hotels and stores. Hasn't really felt the same since they did all that. It is still Stones River. But it's like visiting a place your grandparents used to live after they have passed away. Sure, it's the same house, but it feels different.

Places like Shiloh and Antietam, and even Gettysburg, still feel like home - at least to me. Hopefully they stay like that.



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2023 7:53 am 
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Saw this situation in 2010. I took a week for Tiller Con 3 and made it into a battlefield visit.
I spent a day at Chickamagua, another on Lookout Mountain and one at Stone's River.
The one disappointment in the trip was Missionary Ridge, rode along the road at the top of the ridge.
It consists of a few plaques and monuments along a road in a residential area, few places to park to even look at them and some of them are located on private property.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2023 11:14 am 
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SAD!

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2023 8:12 pm 
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This is certainly a huge problem and one that if not won, or at least concessions given to the ABT and battlefields, will certainly set to tone for developers in the Northern VA in the future.

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