WASHINGTON – While visiting Antietam National Battlefield in Western Maryland, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced that President Donald J. Trump’s first quarter salary donation would be donated toward the restoration of two projects at the fabled Antietam National Battlefield. Secretary Zinke also announced $7.2 million in additional grants to help identify, preserve, and protect America’s historic battlefields. The Secretary was joined by representatives from Antietam, the Civil War Trust, the National Park Foundation, and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation.
After it was announced that President Trump would donate his first quarter salary to the National Park Service, an anonymous donor pledged $22,000 to bring the President’s $78,333 donation to an even $100,000. The Civil War Trust and the National Park Foundation, and Save Historic Antietam Foundation have also pledged funds bringing the total gift to $263,545. The donation will restore the historic Newcomer House on the Antietam battlefield, and will underwrite the replacement of 5,000 linear feet of deteriorated rail fencing along the Hagerstown Turnpike where some of the most intense fighting of the battle occurred.
“As both the Secretary of the Interior and a military veteran, I’m deeply honored and humbled to deliver the donation to Antietam National Battlefield on behalf of President Trump,” said Secretary Zinke. “Visiting the hallowed ground the day after Independence Day is incredibly moving and it underscores the importance of why we must preserve these historic grounds. The President’s donation will allow generations of Americans to learn about our history and heritage on this sacred site.”
“It is an honor to be standing here today with Secretary Zinke for these exciting announcements,” remarked Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer. “We are proud of our long-standing partnership with the Department of the Interior to protect America’s endangered battlefield parks, and look forward to working with President Trump and Secretary Zinke to preserve these irreplaceable national treasures.”
John L. Nau III, chairman emeritus of the Civil War Trust and a director of the National Park Foundation, noted the benefits of battlefield preservation: “We have in Secretary Zinke a leader who ‘gets it.’ He understands the many benefits of protecting battlefields, which serve as outdoor classrooms for teaching history, as places of remembrance to honor America’s fallen, as heritage tourism destinations that bolster local economies, and as training grounds for the modern U.S. military.”
“Antietam National Battlefield is honored to be the beneficiary of President Trump’s generous donation,” stated Superintendent Susan Trail. “We are also gratified by the additional outpouring of support from our partners, which together with the President’s gift will enable us to complete two high priority preservation maintenance projects on the battlefield for the benefit of the American people.”
The $7.2 million will preserve nearly 1,200 acres of battlefield land as part of the American Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants program. The grant projects are located at 19 battlefields threatened with damage or destruction by urban and suburban development in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
“These lands were once the scenes of our nation’s bloodiest conflicts,” Zinke said. “Working with the state and local communities, historians, and advocates, we must preserve these battlefields for future generations of Americans to remember and understand the impact of sacrifices of those who fought on these hallowed grounds. This grant program, along with President Trump’s donation will help ensure just that.”
The grants are funded from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses revenue from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to purchase land, water, and wetlands for the benefit of all Americans. Since its establishment in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has conserved land in every state and supported tens of thousands of state and local projects. The fund does not use taxpayer dollars; the primary source of income derives from fees paid by oil and gas companies drilling offshore in waters owned by the American people.
The grants are administered by the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP), one of more than a dozen programs administered by the NPS that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition, and funding to help preserve their own history and create close-to-home recreation opportunities. Consideration for the American Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants is given to battlefields listed in the National Park Service’s Civil War Sites Advisory Commission’s 1993 Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields and ABPP’s 2007 Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States.
Grants are awarded to units of state and local governments for the fee-simple acquisition of land, or for the non-federal acquisition of permanent, protective interests in land (easements). Private non-profit groups may apply in partnership with state or local government sponsors. Those non-profit partners are listed along with the government sponsors below.