Saturday, August 26, 2006

Outrage at Harpers Ferry

According to the articles that I have read thus far, this outrageous act of greed and self-serving desecration has lead to neither an investigation nor arrests.

National Park Conservation Association Press Releases

For Immediate Release: August 23, 2006

Joy Oakes, National Parks Conservation Association, 202-454-3386
Jim Campi, Civil War Preservation Trust, 202-277-8560

Historic School House Ridge Battlefield at Harpers Ferry Violated This Weekend

(Harpers Ferry, W.Va.) – The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) issued a statement today in response to the illegal bulldozing of a portion of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park this past weekend by a handful of local developers. Purposely and without permission, the developers dug a deep trench through historic land owned by the National Park Service and the American people.

"Beginning on the morning of August 19, 2006, a group of local developers moved heavy machinery and work crews onto the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and proceeded to lay water and sewer pipes on historic land where Stonewall Jackson launched one of the most brilliant tactical triumphs of the Civil War," said CWPT President James Lighthizer. "The developers had neither authority nor the permits necessary to do this."

The purpose of the water and sewer line is to facilitate a planned development of approximately 3,400 houses proposed for construction both inside and adjacent to the Park Service boundary. To date, the developers have not received any local approvals necessary for this development to proceed.

"These developers knowingly and defiantly ignored federal laws regarding construction on public land," said Joy Oakes, Senior NPCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. "Americans have a right to expect that land protected by the Park Service cannot be bulldozed outside of an orderly and legal review. We encourage federal and state law enforcement officials to pursue these violators to the fullest extent of the law."

For several years, CWPT and NPCA have been leaders in an extraordinary and successful effort to protect historic lands at Harpers Ferry. With the support of local business owners, civil rights leaders, conservationists, history buffs, recreation enthusiasts, heritage tourism interests, and elected officials, Congress expanded the park’s boundary in 2004. Millions in federal grants as well as private funds have been raised to purchase land from willing sellers to add to the national park.

"We are horrified at this premeditated and unprecedented desecration of School House Ridge," said Lighthizer. "For several years, CWPT and NPCA have been working with federal and state officials to protect this property. Last year CWPT appealed to our members to help raise the $1.5 million needed to acquire the site bulldozed this weekend for preservation. We are outraged, and expect immediate restitution from these developers."

As the developers were running their bulldozers last weekend, hundreds gathered from across the country to participate in a National Park Service-hosted commemoration of the centennial of a meeting at Harpers Ferry in 1906 that laid the cornerstone of the modern-day civil rights movement.

CWPT is a 75,000-member nonprofit battlefield preservation organization. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War sites and promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. Over the years, CWPT has saved more than 23,000 acres of hallowed ground, including 325 acres on the Harpers Ferry Battlefield.

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its 325,000 members, and partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come.



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All original material Copyright © 2006. All Rights Reserved

For more information, please visit:

National Parks Conservation Association Media Center

Civil War Preservation Trust Newsroom

To express your outrage at this blatant desecration:

Harpers Ferry Local Government (Click on Town Council)

Governor Joseph Manchin

US Senators - West Virginia

US House of Representatives - West Virginia

West Virginia Government


Judi said...

National Park Service statement says they're reviewing the matter with the Department of Justice "considering options for appropriate response."

jeff fioravanti said...

As I once again read of this tragedy, the total lack of respect for other people's property, the people being the citizens of the America.

At Pearl Harbor, would it be considered within my rights as a fisherman to drag my nets over the USS Arizona?

Would I be allowed fill the reflecting pool in Washington, DC with concrete because I wanted to build some condos nearby and needed the parking?

Because Harper's Ferry is in a quaint country setting, out of sight of main stream America, does that make it any less of an outrage?

Would we see more of a reaction if somebody had plowed under the goalposts at Michigan, thus causing a problem for the 100k+ football fans that attend the game?

In the words of Woody Guthrie:

“This land is your land, this land is my land…this land was made for you and me”

When will those whose hearts are filled with greed, pockets lined with green, remember the lessions learned, the sacrifices that earned that land for you and me, when will they remember, that this land was made for you and me? In their equation, there is no you, no me, only them.

I hope that that justice is done, and that we are not instead left wondering ever increasing aloud:

“…and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.”