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Archive for April, 2009

Myth #6:

There’s nothing to see at the Wilderness Battlefield.

Reality:

Aside from outdoor exhibits already in place, the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield has invested more that $300,000 in restoring Ellwood, General Warren’s Headquarters, and the National Park Service has a $248,000 interpretive exhibit project in progress to turn the site into the primary visitor contact site for the Wilderness.

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Myth #5:

Nobody visits the Wilderness Battlefield National Park.

Reality:

The Wilderness Battlefield is the most visited tourist attraction in Orange County, attracting over twice as many tourists each year as Montpelier or wineries.  The Wilderness Battlefield received over 200,000 visitors in 2008, and Montpelier received approximately 78,000 visitors and the wineries around 100,000.  It not only makes sense to protect the battlefield from a historic standpoint, but it clearly makes good economic sense as well.  The battlefield is a national treasure and needs to protected for future generations to visit and enjoy.

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Myth #4:

The Wilderness Battlefield Coalition is anti-Walmart.

Reality:

The Wilderness Battlefield Coalition is opposed to any large-scale development at the site currently proposed by Walmart for its Supercenter.  The Coalition would be equally opposed to a Target or Lowe’s (or any big-box store) at that location.  The opposition has nothing to do with the Walmart company – only with where they want to build a store.  The Coalition has repeatedly stated that it has no problem with a Walmart in Orange County if it does not negatively impact the Wilderness Battlefield.

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Myth #3:

A planning study offered by the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition is only a delaying tactic.

Reality:

The preservation coalition is committed to a visioning process that would preserve the historic nature of the battlefield and its gateway while at the same time allowing economic development along the Route 3 corridor in Orange County.  The best way to achieve this compromise is to undergo a comprehensive, long-range planning process to determine how best to achieve these goals.  The Coalition has offered to pay for the entire study so it would come at no cost to the county.  In fact, Orange County’s Comprehensive Plan calls for “developing a comprehensive battlefield resource protection plan for civil war sites,” but so far the county has failed to pursue the creation of such a plan.  In the end, this visioning process would save the county money on a plan the Comp Plan calls for and would provide a win-win situation for all parties involved.  The King family, who own over 2,000 acres adjacent to the Walmart site, have endorsed the planning study as well, which further proves the sincerity of the proposal since they would stand to benefit from commercial development in the area.

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Support efforts to stop the Wilderness Walmart on Facebook!

Become a supporter of “Stop the Wilderness Walmart” by following the link here.

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Myth #2:

Nobody objected when the McDonalds and Sheetz were built at that intersection.

Reality:

The construction of the McDonalds and Sheetz at the intersection of Route 3 and Route 20 was opposed by preservation groups, the National Park Service (NPS) and local citizens.  McDonalds was receptive and made some design modifications to have less of an impact on the battlefield (i.e., no towering sign) and designed the interior with a Wilderness Battlefield theme.  Sheetz, however, was completely uncooperative and built according to their standard design, much to the detriment of the battlefield.

However, the current, small-scale development at that intersection is no justification for a big-box store that would completely transform the nature of the Wilderness Battlefield gateway.

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There is a great deal of misinformation circulating regarding the Wilderness Walmart, and much of it is in blatant disregard of the facts.  To help clarify some of the more prevalent falsehoods that exist this blog will publish a “Myth vs. Reality” series that outlines some of the myths out there about the Wilderness Walmart and what the real facts are regarding the Walmart Supercenter proposed for the Wilderness Battlefield.

Myth #1:

The Walmart would not be built on, or near, the Wilderness Battlefield.

Reality:

Walmart would be built inside the historic boundary of the Wilderness Battlefield as determined by the 1993 Civil War Sites Advisory Commission (CWSAC), a congressionally authorized study of every battlefield of the Civil War.  The CWSAC report placed the proposed Walmart site in the “study area” of the Wilderness Battlefield, which means the site is important to understanding the battlefield’s context and setting.  The Walmart site is outside of the National Park Service boundary, but would be a quarter-mile from the National Park line.

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