America’s Great Outdoors making a cultural connection

A slice of historic land that has been used as a golf course will soon have a new fate thanks to a presidential initiative that aims to protect some of America’s wildest lands.

America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) is on the move, and can already be seen taking shape all over the country. We’re encouraged by the administration’s engagement and enthusiasm, and will continue to highlight actions they are taking that make AGO real. 

At its heart, AGO is about connecting us all to our most special natural and cultural places—whether they are wild lands and waters, urban parks or historical landscapes. On Friday, March 25th, Secretary Salazar announced the donation—and eventual restoration-- of a key tract of private land to the Gettysburg National Military Park. The donation was made possible through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

One of our important partners, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, wrote about the importance of this donation:

“The future of this historic terrain, which had been owned until recently by the Gettysburg Country Club and used as a nine-hole golf course, was uncertain once the club went up for sale in early 2009. A developer bought the tract last March, with plans to build more than 200 housing units. Instead, the Conservation Fund and the Civil War Trust, both nonprofit organizations, worked with the buyer to obtain the 95 acres, which they then conveyed to the Park Service (which had tried for nearly 20 years to acquire the land). The property will be restored to its 1863 appearance.”

To learn more about the Gettysburg transfer, please read the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s informative piece.

The announcement exemplifies several concepts that the Obama administration heard during listening sessions that helped create the America’s Great Outdoors report.  The AGO report highlights public-and-private partnerships in land and historic conservation. The report also focuses on public input and conversations with local stakeholders. Finally, the report aims to reconnect people – especially kids – with our natural, cultural and historic treasures.

This announcement comes on the heels of several AGO-related announcements that are a great start to the Obama administration’s AGO report in action.  We are looking forward to seeing more conservation accomplishments come to life, especially on our shared public lands.


Photo: Little Round Top in winter. Courtesy of the National Park Service.