A Historic Moment for the National Park Service



On April 9, 1933, newly inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to take a day trip to Shenandoah National to inspect a fishing lodge on the Rapidan River that had been donated to the park by his predecessor, President Herbert Hoover, to see if he wanted to use the building as his retreat.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

FDR invited Horace Albright, the director of the National Park Service, to ride along, and on the return trip, Albright took the opportunity to describe the Civil War battles at Manassas on the land where the fighting had taken place.  The land was in private ownership at the time, and as the story went, they stopped at Stone House, located at the intersection of Routes 211 and 234.  Albright made the pitch to have battlefields administered by the War Department, as well as a number of other historic sites administered by the Department of Agriculture and other agencies, transferred to the National Park Service.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

When they returned to Washington, FDR asked Albright to put his money where his mouth was and to prepare a proposal along the lines of what he had suggested at Stone House.  Albright made his proposal, and within days, the president issued two executive orders transferring more than 20 military parks, historic battlefields, and monuments to the Park Service, as well as more than a dozen non-military historic sites. Among them were the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore and of the District of Columbia’s most hallowed places, including the Lincoln Memorial, the other monuments on the National Mall, and Rock Creek Park.  In all, over 50 parks, monuments, and historic sites came under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Today, many of the centerpieces in the “Journey Through Hallowed Ground,” administered by the National Park Service, as a result of these executive orders, have created a wonderful partnership that has and will continue to benefit all Americans.

Wine Tourism Conference Comes to Loudoun



Virginia’s wine history began more than four centuries ago and now, wine industry leaders get to share their storied past and current success with wine tourism professionals from around the world.

Located in the heart of The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, Loudoun County will welcome hundreds of wine tourism officials from across the world in November as it hosts the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference.

Boxwood Winery 3 Secured by Visit Loudoun, the conference will make its East Coast debut at Lansdowne Resort in DC’s Wine Country Nov. 18-20. Previous conferences have been held on the West Coast in premier wine destinations like Napa, Sonoma, CA and Portland, OR.

The Wine Tourism Conference is organized by Zephyr Adventures and is expected to attract wine tourism professionals from across the world. Open to winery owners, journalists, wine associations, wine destination marketing organizations and tour operators, the conference serves as a networking forum and provides extensive educational opportunities for this growing industry.

Visit Loudoun worked closely with Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Wine Marketing Office to bring this to the Commonwealth and this conference is just another milestone as the Virginia wine industry continues to thrive. Hosting the conference helps position Virginia as a must-visit wine destination and gives our winemakers a chance to showcase their award-winning wines to leaders in the wine industry.

Virginia’s wine history began more than four centuries ago when the Jamestown settlers signed a law that required every male settler to plant and tend at least 10 grape vines. The settlers hoped that Virginia would become a major source of wine for the British Empire. Later, Thomas Jefferson cultivated European grapes for more than 30 years, but his Monticello vineyards never produced a single bottle of wine.

In the 1820s, however, the wine industry began to thrive and in 1873 a Virginia Norton was named one of the best red wines in the nation at the Vienna World’s Fair. Unfortunately, the wine industry’s success was short lived as prohibition put a halt on production.

Sunset Hills 1-credit Sunset HillsWhile the industry took some time to bounce back following prohibition, today it is thriving. With 250 wineries across Virginia, the wine industry is not only driving tourism in the state, but providing jobs and preserving thousands of acres of farmland.

In Loudoun, the wine industry began in 1984 when Lew Parker of Willowcroft Farm Vineyards established the county’s first winery. Parker planted his first grapes in 1981 on the slopes of his farm, which, in the 1800s, was successfully planted with orchards. The soil and temperate climate in the area, which is just about 25 miles from the nation’s capital, proved fruitful for winemaking and soon others were transforming the farmland into rows of lush vineyards.

With more than 40 wineries, Loudoun is one of the premier wine regions along the East Coast and leading the way in Virginia. Loudoun’s vineyards are nestled between winding roads, rolling countryside, horse farms and historic estates. Our boutique wineries house tasting rooms in everything from rustic barns and winemaker’s homes to intimate cellars & architecturally stunning facilities.

Loudoun’s wine industry will continue to grow and visitors can constantly find new experiences and opportunities that range from tastings and tours to hands-on winemaking classes and seminars with winemakers.

BluemontviewWe invite you to explore our wine region while traveling through the Journey Through Hallowed Ground; take a moment to relax, sip and enjoy the stunning views in this national scenic byway.

For more information on Loudoun, visit www.visitloudoun.org

 

Preserving Battlefields within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground



While the Journey Through Hallowed Ground covers four centuries of American history, few eras are more densely represented within its boundaries than the Civil War. In fact, many of the conflict’s most iconic engagements occurred along the Journey, making the Civil War Trust an enthusiastic supporter of the partnership’s mission.

Tracing its origins to 1987, when a group of concerned historians met in Fredericksburg, VA, to discuss the loss of Northern Virginia battlefields to the expanding suburbs of Washington, D.C.,the Trust has grown to become the nation’s premier heritage land preservation organization. In total, the organization has permanently protected, either through outright purchase or strategic conservation easement, more than 40,000 acres of battlefield land at 122 sites in 20 states.

Chancellorsville (Shenk) 1499Examining the concentration of those achievements along the Journey corridor emphasizes the historic significance of this region in tangible terms. To date, the Trust has preserved land at 22 individual battlefields within the Journey, accounting for nearly one-third of all the land the organization has protected — 13,395 acres through December 15, 2014!

At the northern terminus of the Journey, 943 of those acres are at Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. In Maryland and West Virginia, we have saved 1,412 acres associated with the Antietam Campaign, which spurred Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

And in the rolling Virginia piedmont, we’ve saved a tremendous 1,901 acres associated with the largest cavalry battle ever fought in the western hemisphere, Brandy Station — including, with the Journey’s support, the crest of storied Fleetwood Hill. A full list of the Journey battlefields where the Civil War Trust has protected land is included below; the full tally is available at: www.civilwar.org/land-preservation/land-saved/

CWT2Even as we pause to contemplate the breadth of that involvement and accomplishment, it is important to remember what, even more than geography, ties these places together: the sacrifices and bravery of our ancestors. True to the Journey’s name, these battlefields are, indeed, hallowed ground, blood-soaked and perpetual.

A protected battlefield is not just an artifact of the past; it can be many things of value in our modern society, all of which play a role in the Journey’s larger mission. An outdoor classroom where students of all ages can touch an artifact, the landscape itself, that played a role it historic events — and provide a fantastic backdrop for “Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student” productions. An environmental resource, maintaining green space and providing habitats for native plants and animals. A powerful economic engine — ask any Certified Tourism Ambassador! — through the proven formula of heritage tourism.

But, perhaps, most importantly, these battlefields are living monument to the memory of America’s brave soldiers, past, present and future. Through their longevity, they are simultaneously a tangible link to the past and a bridge to future generations. In this same spirit, the Civil War Trust is an enthusiastic supporter of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground’s Living Legacy Project, a demonstrable showcase of the true toll the Civil War exacted on our nation, the more than 620,000 Americans who perished.

In 2015, we will mark the end of the Civil War sesquicentennial commemoration period, but the Trust’s commitment to preservation, and our partnership with the Journey Through Hallowed Ground will continue. In fact, we look forward to deepening our involvement in the region through the recently launched Campaign 1776, which will engage in parallel work — protecting battlefield land and educating the public about American history — related to the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

CWT1Battlefields in the Journey Through Hallowed Ground where the Civil War Trust has preserved acreage include:

Maryland Sites — 897.44 Acres

Antietam
Monocacy
South Mountain

Pennsylvania Sites — 943 Acres

Gettysburg

Virginia Sites — 10,458.17 Acres

Aldie
Ball’s Bluff
Brandy Station
Bristoe Station
Buckland
Cedar Mountain
Chancellorsville
Cool Spring
Fredericksburg
Kelly’s Ford
Manassas
Middleburg
Mine Run
Rappahannock Station
Spotsylvania Court House
Thoroughfare Gap
Trevilian Station
Upperville
Wilderness

West Virginia Sites — 658.8 Acres

Harpers Ferry
Shepherdstown

Making a Movie at Morven Park



In the new movie Foxcatcher, which began a slow nationwide rollout just before Thanksgiving, there is a scene in which a helicopter sits – propellers whirling – in front of what the movie’s characters call “the big house.”

helicopter on lawnBut in that scene, what’s hidden from the moviegoer are the employees at this very real “big house” – the Davis Mansion at Morven Park in Leesburg, Va. – huddled behind the front windows, hearts pounding, as the helicopter landed and took off, over and over and over again before the director finally deemed the shot “just right.”

As I tried to stay out of camera range, the sound of the helicopter blades roared in my ears and I struggled to dispel the mental image of the Mansion portico’s four massive white columns shattered into bits by an out-of-control helicopter. But my fears proved to be unjustified. The pilot and the film crew were amazingly skilled professionals.

Director Bennett Miller with Steve Carell

Director Bennett Miller with Steve Carell

Serving as the location for this highly anticipated and critically acclaimed film turned out to be an unimaginable opportunity for the 1,000-acre hidden treasure that is Morven Park. The home of Westmoreland Davis, who served as governor of Virginia 1918-1922, Morven Park is operated by a private foundation, which has preserved the property and presented educational and recreational programming for the public since 1967. Building widespread name recognition for a historic site like Morven Park is not an easy task, especially given the competition in a region that is filled with historic presidential homes.

We first heard about the film in the summer of 2012. As the associate director of development and communications, I took the call from a location scout who was searching for an estate to represent the exterior of Foxcatcher Farm, the family home of John E. du Pont. It was my job to negotiate the contract and to strike the balance between keeping the film crew happy and ensuring the protection of our historic building (parts of which date back to 1780) and the several thousand priceless items within its collection.

While the helicopter scenes certainly were the most anxiety-producing, the first moments of the crew’s arrival (in October 2012) ran a close second. As I stood in the main entry of the Mansion, a swarm of what seemed to be hundreds of workers suddenly approached from the home’s many doors, covering the floors with massive sheets of cardboard, running miles of thick black cable, and piecing everything together with rolls and rolls of duct tape.

equipment in entry hall

After a full day of prep work, the actors arrived and two long days of shooting began. Steve Carell and fellow actors Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo created quite a stir as news leaked out that they were on site. We interacted freely with the actors between takes, and Carell, especially, was gracious and appreciative of our opening up the home for filming. Once in his makeup, though, he was virtually unrecognizable, and I was not the only staff member who gave him a perfunctory glance and hello, thinking this guy must be Carell’s stand-in, completely unaware that I was snubbing the real Steve Carell.

And when a group of Morven Park employees went to see “Foxcatcher” recently, we were dazzled by just how beautiful our historic house appeared. (Admittedly, a few of the employees were equally dazzled by the beauty of actor Channing Tatum, but that’s another story.) See it for yourself, then visit Morven Park to see “the big house” up close!

George C. Marshall, Soldier and Statesman



Although George C. Marshall was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, he made Dodona Manor in
Leesburg, Virginia his permanent home for the last fourteen years of his life. Marshall was a
remarkable man, whose contributions as a leader made him Time’s “Man of the Year” twice,
once in 1943, and again in 1947. Indeed, Marshall was a key player in many historic events of
the 20th century. Marshall was a young officer in World War I and an aide to General John J.
Pershing in the early 1920s. Rising through the ranks, he became U.S. Army Chief of Staff in
World War II. In this role, he participated in eight wartime allied conferences, helping to shape
outcomes of global importance.

dodona.house copyAs Marshall biographer Ed Cray noted, “By dint of cool authority, Marshall had come to be the acknowledged leader of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff. He alone had held his post since the outbreak of war. He alone had the global vision to balance competing European and Pacific theaters and commanders, the personal reputation to keep such headstrong men as Douglas MacArthur and Joseph Stilwell in line, and the sheer physical presence to convince Congress and the public that the war was in good hands. . . . Those meeting him even for the first time came away reassured by Marshall’s confidence, his commanding grasp of a war waged in five theaters, and his austere manner. Somehow he seemed a man to whom one could trust one’s sons and the fate of the nation.”

Shortly after the war, Marshall was tapped by President Harry Truman as special ambassador to China, where he attempted to mediate the forces of democracy and communism vying for control of that government. While Secretary of State, he developed and sought passage for the European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan, which brought a unique and enlightened approach to the reconstruction of war-torn Europe. By encouraging economic integration, and supporting methods for increasing productivity and modernity, the ERP raised living standards, curbed Communism, and helped in restoring political stability on that continent. Many historians consider the Marshall Plan the most successful foreign aid program in American history.

As an outgrowth of his work on the European Recovery Program, Marshall encouraged the formulation of a system of mutual defense for Western Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Marshall’s final call to duty was as Secretary of Defense during the Korean War, directing U.S. military policy in that United Nations “police action.” A permanent 5-star General, Marshall was the only professional soldier to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor that acknowledged his role in the reconstruction of Europe at war’s end. Although he wielded considerable power, especially in World War II, Marshall was never tempted to abuse it. Further, his sense of duty to country led him to accept Truman’s various calls to duty, long after he might have expected a peaceful retirement.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

American diplomat Charles Bohlen said of Marshall: “He was a man of absolute integrity. You felt the firmness, as if it were written in large letters all over him. . . . We realized we were working for a great man.”

In The News In 2014



IMG_7961

As the year’s end approaches, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the past.  We are fortunate at the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area to have so many wonderful stakeholders: donors, volunteers, community partners, and the media. 

To recap 2014, we thought it would be good to share with you the work of our various programs and activities through the lens of the media.  We appreciate the willingness of the writers, reporters, and photographers who helped spread the word of our various work.  As a result, we have picked the Top 12 stories that best represent our diverse programs.

EXTREME JOURNEY SUMMER CAMP

1. Leesburg Today, August 7

http://www.leesburgtoday.com/news/extreme-journey-camp-brings-history-to-life/article_3e77d2e8-1827-11e4-a08f-0019bb2963f4.html

LIVING LEGACY TREE PLANTING PROJECT

2.  USA Today, November 13

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/13/tennessee-redbuds-to-memorialize-civil-war-soldiers/18988159/

3. Washington Post, July 10

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/a-living-tribute-to-civil-war-soldiers/2014/07/09/c29bb852-ff9d-11e3-8fd0-3a663dfa68ac_story.html

4. American Nurseryman, September issue

http://www.amerinursery-digital.com/sep2014#&pageSet=8&contentItem=0

5. Military Times, July 21

http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140718/NEWS/307180063/620-000-trees-honor-fallen-Civil-War-soldiers

6. Civil War Courier, Jan. 1

http://www.civilwarcourier.com/?p=99887

NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA/TOURISM

7. Eastern Home & Travel, April issue

http://thejuncture.hallowedground.org/homeandtravel.pdf

8. AAA Motorist, October issue

http://thejuncture.hallowedground.org/AAA_Motorist.pdf

9. Southern Living, October 11

http://thedailysouth.southernliving.com/2014/10/11/the-journey-through-hallowed-ground/

10. Find it Frederick Magazine, Winter issue:

http://issuu.com/pulsepublishing/docs/fif_wint14_web/72?e=1941129/6176723

OF THE STUDENT, BY THE STUDENT, FOR THE STUDENT PROJECT

11. Daily Progress, May 29

http://www.dailyprogress.com/orangenews/lifestyles/of-the-student-by-the-student-for-the-student/article_71c1980c-e751-11e3-9ca5-0017a43b2370.html

CERTIFIED TOURISM AMBASSADOR PROGRAM

12. Frederick News Post, October 3

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/economy_and_business/business_topics/tourism/regional-tourism-gets-new-ambassadors/article_8b4dd9c6-eb33-58c1-8d2a-4c551ea2bd3c.html

This list represents local, regional, and national media coverage.  We look forward to more opportunities to share our message in 2015 and thank all our stakeholders for contributing to our success.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

The #GetItDowntown Experience



One of Maryland’s largest Main Streets, Downtown Frederick provides residents and visitors alike with the opportunity to support their neighborhood while enjoying a charming, authentic experience just outside the nation’s capital. With great activities, history-lined streets and a vibrant atmosphere year-round, it is no wonder that Downtown Frederick is a popular place to shop during the holiday season. With featuring more than 150 unique shops and 40 tasty restaurants (many of which have earned national acclaim), you can be sure to find something for everyone in Downtown Frederick. Frosty Friday (11/28) and Small Business Saturday (11/29) are sure to be a blast with great Downtown Doorbuster Bag Giveaways, fun activities and holiday cheer for the whole family. And with our celebrated Three Saturdays in December – featuring live music, late shopping hours, fantastic dining and gallery openings – your Downtown Frederick holiday shopping experience is guaranteed to be a vibrant memory shared with friends and family.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Visitors to Downtown Frederick also can use hashtags to share their holiday shopping experience: Downtown Frederick Partnership is promoting #GetItDowntown and #DowntownFrederick as an opportunity to connect with local businesses and your fellow Shop Small supporters. Here at the Partnership, we are confident that together we can make a real economic impact by joining the #ShopSmall movement and supporting our local businesses on #SmallBusinessSaturday.

Why #ShopSmall?

In addition to supporting local business owners (many of whom may be friends, family and neighbors), Downtown Frederick boasts plenty of reasons to join the Shop Small and Small Business Saturday movements. The economic impact of shopping locally has been shown time and time again, with studies indicating that as much as $.48 of every dollar recirculates locally when spent at a small business (as opposed to $.14 of every dollar spent at a chain store). Research also shows that small businesses, in general, return more money to their local community than their corporate competitors.

Beyond the national data, Downtown Frederick Partnership has identified five great reasons to Get It Downtown:

WHAT’S SPENT HERE STAYS HERE – Get it in Downtown Frederick and more of your money is reinvested in the local economy instead of corporate offices in distant cities. Shop at a national chain and very little of your money stays local. Buy online and your local economy rarely gets a dime.

WE KNOW OUR STUFF – Downtown Frederick business owners are passionate about what we do. We sell what you want—not what corporate headquarters tell us you should buy. We spend time in our shops and restaurants, making sure our customers are well cared for.

LOCAL BUSINESSES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS – Just like you, we care about our community and the people who live here. That’s why Downtown Frederick businesses give back in a big way, supporting nonprofits, sports teams, schools and other organizations that make our community great.

IT’S THE GREEN THING TO DO – Our walkable downtown means less driving for you and more energy saved. Small businesses tend to be greener by nature, engaging in eco-friendly practices and shopping local for goods and services. We want to preserve our city and our earth.

THERE’S ONLY ONE DOWNTOWN FREDERICK – With our one-of-a-kind specialty shops and restaurants, Downtown Frederick stands out in a sea of “clone towns.” We have a personality all our own… friendly, vibrant, eclectic and thriving. With your help, we’ll keep it that way.

Downtown Frederick Partnership works to enhance, promote, and preserve the vitality and economic viability of Downtown Frederick by implementing the national Main Street Program for the benefit of Frederick businesses, residents and visitors.

Small-business-saturday-logo

National Teacher Seminar Scheduled in Middleburg



In collaboration with Ancestry, and its affiliates Fold3.com and AncestryK12.com, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is inviting teachers to participate in a professional development seminar on how to engage students in a service-learning program using primary source-based research.  This service-learning program introduces students to primary source documents as they examine fallen Civil War soldiers from their own communities. By learning about these men, history—both local and national—comes alive for the participating researchers. As they get to know “their” soldier, students make connections between their lives and those that came before them, ultimately allowing them to understand that this war impacted every single American.

Ancestry Senior Executive Brock Bierman and JTHG President Cate Magennis Wyatt sign a partnership agreement during a tree planting ceremony at Gettysburg National Military Park on November 19, 2013.

Ancestry Senior Executive Brock Bierman and JTHG President Cate Magennis Wyatt sign a partnership agreement during a tree planting ceremony at Gettysburg National Military Park on November 19, 2013.

Once completed, the research is used for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Living Legacy Tree Planting Project, an initiative with the goal of planting one tree for each of the 620,000 fallen Civil War soldiers, becoming the first national memorial for the most defining time in our nation’s history.  Students around the country are already conducting research on the individual lives of these soldiers, which are then uploaded and shared through an online, interactive map. This map indentifies every tree planted through a geotag, which allows visitors the opportunity to learn the name and story of the young man for whom the tree is planted, with photos, diary entries, and letters home also shared.  To date, over 300 students in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Vermont have collected information on over 800 soldiers. Additionally, over 5,000 facts, images, and stories have been uploaded to the Honor Wall pages hosted by Ancestry.com’s affiliate site, Fold3.com.

The Living Legacy Teacher Seminar will be held 10:00-4:00 p.m. on December 7-8 at the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg.  This free, two-day professional development seminar is being offered to any educator interested in bringing this groundbreaking curriculum and service-learning project to their students. Throughout this program, participating educators will receive in-depth training in genealogy research as led byAncestry.com experts and participate in stimulating discussion on the role, value, and implementation of service-learning curriculum.  Participants will also be the first to see, and provide feedback, on a new curriculum being developed, known as Living Legacy Tree Planting Project: A Teacher’s Guide to Engaging Students with the National Civil War Memorial, which will connect the social sciences to language arts, STEM, and GIS (geographic information system) standards of learning.

Attending teachers will receive a $350 stipend in return for their time and to help defray any travel and accommodation expenses.  Lunch will also be provided both days.  In return, all participating educators must commit to incorporating portions of the Living Legacy curriculum into their classrooms before the end of the current school year.

Two other teacher seminars have been held to date, including one hosted at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, which brought teachers together with industry leaders such as the Virginia Geographic Alliance and ESRI.  A second teacher seminar was held at Manassas National Battlefield in partnership with Ancestry.com experts.  The goal of the third seminar, which is funded in part by a grant from Ancestry, is to identify and train 30 teachers that will be able to engage an additional 2,000 students across the country.

National Sporting Library & Museum, courtesy of Visit Loudoun

National Sporting Library & Museum, courtesy of Visit Loudoun

The National Sporting Library & Museum, located within the heart of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, is conveniently located 20 miles from Dulles International Airport in Middleburg, Va.  To learn more about the National Sporting Library & Museum, visit www.nsl.org.  Teachers interested in registering for the seminar can visit www.hallowedground.org.

Celebrating 100 Years With Virginia’s Department of Forestry



When the colonists first arrived in Jamestown in 1607, Virginia was a land of vast forests.  And one of the first “products” shipped back to England was timber harvested from the land surrounding the settlement.  The Cherrybark Oak trees on Jamestown Island were excellent sources of lumber and wooden shingles that were desperately needed by the people of a growing city (London).  Over the course of the next 300 years, much of the forestland in Virginia was harvested to build homes in the “New World,” create sailing ships and to clear land for agricultural purposes.  Little, if any, replanting of trees was performed.

The Virginia Department of Forestry was created by Gov. Henry Stuart and the General Assembly in March of 1914.  Formed under the state Geologic Commission, the agency was charged with the suppression of wildfires and the reforestation of a nearly denuded Virginia – two core missions that still exist today.  Over the past 100 years, Virginia Department of Forestry employees have battled 150,000 wildfires that have burned more than 3 million acres of forestland, and they’ve grown and planted more than 2 billion trees.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Chapin Jones began work March 1, 1915 as the State Forester of Virginia.  He was not just the first employee at the new agency, he was the only employee.  He began his tenure by creating a series of informational posters designed to educate the citizenry on the dangers of wildfire and the importance of preventing them in the first place.  He expanded his duties the following year when he developed a tree nursery on land near the University of Virginia.  After “going it alone” for several years, he was able to hire a handful of people to help fight wildfires in the western portion of the state.  Over the next several decades, the VDOF grew slowly and steadily.  One nursery expanded to two, then to three, as the need for more tree seedlings grew.  The agency now has two nurseries – one in Sussex County that grows 27 million pine seedlings each year, and one in Augusta County that grows about 3 million hardwood seedlings annually.

While battling wildfires and reforestation work remain core functions, VDOF is also responsible for the quality of water through its efforts to ensure that timber harvest operations do not add sediment to streams, creeks and rivers.  The agency is also working hard to conserve forested landscapes and ensure working forests remain working forestlands.  Seven years ago, VDOF launched its Forestland Conservation Division.  In these few short years, the division has secured more than 100 conservation easements (legal agreements that forever protect the land from development while still being the property of the private owner of the land) that cover more than 30,000 acres of forestland.  VDOF also provides unbiased, scientifically-based forest management recommendations to ensure the 373,600 private forest landowners in Virginia meet their goals and objectives they have for their land.  The Virginia Department of Forestry oversees 24 State Forests that serve a number of purposes: timber resource, recreational opportunities (hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding), ecosystem services (clean air and water), and aesthetics.  The forests range in size from just over 100 acres to nearly 20,000 acres and are located in most areas of Virginia.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Virginia Department of Forestry, the agency has conducted a number of special events throughout the year.  These include partnering with the Virginia Lottery on a scratch-off game; working with the Virginia Department of Transportation to focus the content of the 2014-2016 state road map on the agency and its State Forests; an exhibit of VDOF firefighting vehicles at the Virginia Museum of Transportation; an exhibition of original paintings of Smokey Bear by artist Rudy Wendelin at The Chrysler Museum of Art; displays at four NASCAR race tracks, and participation in a number of parades and the State Fair of Virginia.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

As we near the end of the centennial year, the leaves are changing color and turning the vistas into sweeping palettes of scarlet, crimson and gold.  We encourage you to take a drive this month to enjoy this annual event.  There are ample opportunities to check out the beautiful fall foliage along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway.  You can learn more about peak periods and other information at www.dof.virginia.gov.  All of us at the Virginia Department of Forestry look forward to a second century of protecting and serving the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Celebrate National Apple Month With Us!



Fall’s crisp air and changing leaves evokes thoughts of steamy apple cider, warm, gooey apple dumplings and family frolics through orchards.  Luckily, for those of us living in and around Pennsylvania, there are countless opportunities to enjoy its orchards and apples. Even if you fancy apples in the fall, you may not realize Pennsylvania’s powerhouse status within the national and global apple industry. What better time to explore Pennsylvania and Eastern Apples than in October, which is celebrated as National Apple Month.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Pennsylvania is the fourth largest apple producing state in the nation—behind only Washington, Michigan and New York. The Pennsylvania apple crop typically yields between 10 and 11 million bushels annually, meaning the crop weighs in at more than 440 million pounds! As the state’s fourth largest commodity, apples are key to making agriculture Pennsylvania’s top industry. The state’s climate and topography, especially in the Fruit Belt of Adams County, provide the perfect growing conditions for more than 100 varieties of delicious apples. The rolling hills of Pennsylvania boast more than 20,000 acres of apple bearing land across all 67 of its counties. Each individual acre can produce an impressive 23,000 pounds of apples. Each and every one of those apples is carefully hand picked by a skilled workforce. Though apples are grown in every county, nearly 70% of Pennsylvania’s apples are grown in Adams County. Franklin, York and Bedford counties round out the top four apple producing counties in the state.

As home to Knouse Foods, one of the largest food processors in the country, it should come as no surprise that nearly 60% of Pennsylvania’s crop is used for processing into applesauce, juice, cider and more. Though only 30-35% of PA apples are used for the fresh market, 70% of the total national apple crop goes for fresh market and only 30% is used for processing. Some of those processing apples are now hitting the press with fermentation as their final destination. The time-honored craft of making hard cider is having a resurgence in Pennsylvania with close to 20 producers in the state, some of which are grower-producers, and many of whom are returning to traditional craft practices using cider apple varieties for a product with a sharper taste and dryer finish.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Cider apple varieties make up only a tiny portion of the portfolio of apples grown in Pennsylvania. With more than 100 delicious varietal options, it’s easy to find one pleasing to the palate. There are about 20 commercial varieties grown by most growers that are easy to find at your local grocer. Gala and Fuji are among the most popular varieties in PA, with Honeycrisp quickly edging out other tried-and-true favorites like Red Delicious. Pennsylvania’s harvest season begins in mid-August with early varieties like Ginger Gold, a mellow, great all-purpose apple and continues through to mid-November with the tangy Pink Lady being one of the last fresh varieties to be harvested. The heart of the harvest season is late September through mid-October when most commercial varieties are carefully plucked from the trees. Golden Delicious, Cameo, Jonagold, Cortland, McIntosh, Idared and Granny Smith represent only a handful of varieties that reach perfect ripeness during that harvest window. Be sure to explore varieties beyond the classic favorites. Farm stands and farmer markets grow and sell countless varieties with varying flavor profiles and textural differences to suit the most discerning apple fan. Newer varieties names like Zestar and Autumn Crisp may placard bushels while resting next to unfamiliar heirloom or vintage varieties like Smokehouse and Winter Banana.

Though Pennsylvania’s apple harvest occurs over the span of approximately twelve weeks, Pennsylvania and Eastern apples can be found and enjoyed nearly year round. Pennsylvania growers and shippers use some of the most advanced cold storage practices making it possible for you to enjoy fresh, crisp Pennsylvania and Eastern apples well into Spring and beyond. In some cases, certain varieties like Red and Golden Delicious can be found just about up until the next harvest begins. Apples can and should be enjoyed and worked into your favorites dishes year round.

To learn more about Pennsylvania and Eastern apples, where to find them, how to use them and more, visit: PennsylvaniaApples.org.