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PA Civil War History to Be Covered Up by a Mega Hotel?

April 9, 2008

Harrisburg, PA – Hotels, restaurants and expensive resort homes. That's what developers have been proposing for some of the land inside 55 national parks across the country, according to a new report from the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). It's land that Congress directed the U.S. Park Service to buy for the public if sellers were willing, but it turns out Congress hasn't been willing to put up the money.

Cinda Waldbuesser with the NPCA in Pennsylvania says historic land inside the Gettysburg National Military Park is at risk of ending up in the hands of developers, including a Civil War-era farm and buildings used to supply troops.

"It was critical for support of the Union victory, and a great majority of the fields, buildings and boundary lines associated with the Civil War-era farm are still intact."

She estimates it will take at least $3 million to buy that land, adding that millions more will be needed to buy historic land linked to George Washington inside Valley Forge National Historical Park. Land there is being eyed by developers for a hotel complex.

Anyone who owns private property within the boundaries of a national park can sell it to the Park Service at fair market value. However, some landowners say they can make more money selling to development companies.

According to NPCA's Ron Tipton, if Congress provides about $100 million a year for the next several years, most of the land on the "for sale" list could be added to the parks inventory instead.

"We could actually purchase most of the 1.8 million acres that the Park Service would like to buy and own within the national parks."

The full report is at

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - PA