The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is pleased to announce that in cooperation with the Civil War Trust, and thanks in part to sizeable contribution from the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is close to adding a new park on the outskirts of Middleburg. The property, known as Mount Defiance, was the site of the most intense fighting during the 1863 Battle of Middleburg. The site is being purchased by the Civil War Trust, and will then be given to NVRPA to restore and manage as a historic park.
On Wednesday, Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell visited Middleburg, and helped bring the dream that much closer to reality, presenting the Civil War Trust with a $432,000 check from the Commonwealth of Virginia to help fund the purchase.
“Protecting irreplaceable historic sites like Mount Defiance in Middleburg is always a cause to celebrate,” McDonnell said. “By working together in partnership to set aside this hallowed ground, we are honoring the Commonwealth’s past and simultaneously making an investment in its future.”
For NVRPA, Mount Defiance is yet another perfect fit with both its mission, as well as some of its long term strategic goals regarding historic tourism. Tourism remains the second largest industry in Virginia, and chief among that industry is the state’s many historic assets. In the recently released Virginia Outdoor Survey of the public’s interest in outdoor activities, “visiting historic areas” ranked as the second most popular activity, only trailing “walking for pleasure.” This study showed that 63.5 percent of households in Virginia visit historic sites on a regular basis. Moreover, as noted in a 2010 nationwide report from the U.S. Travel Association and National Park Service, 31 percent of the public had a significant interest in visiting Civil War sites.
NVRPA intends to open the facility within the coming year. Of the 25 regional parks and over 11,000 acres owned by NVRPA, a large portion which are historic sites. Some of the sites include Carlyle House Historic Park in Old Town Alexandria, Ball’s Bluff Battlefield in Leesburg, Blackburn’s Ford along the Bull Run, as well as Mt. Zion and Aldie Mill Historic Parks along Rt. 50.
“One of the key roles that NVRPA plays in the region is to manage some of the most important historic sites that have defined our history here in Northern Virginia,” commented Brian Knapp, Chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
From left to right: NVRPA Executive Director Paul Gilbert, NVRPA board member Stella Koch (Fairfax County), NVRPA board member Dan Kaseman (Loudoun), Governor Robert McDonnell, NVRPA board member Michael Nardolilli (Arlington) Civil War Historic Trust President O. James Lighthizer, Director of Virginia Department of Historic Resources Kathleen Kilpatrick, NVRPA board member Joan Rokus (Loudoun) and NVRPA board president Brian Knapp (Fairfax City).