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Saving battlefields pays page 2
Civil War land trust’s new report details economic benefits for neighboring localities.

Date published: 5/17/2005

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Thirteen battlefields are included in the trust’s report: Antietam, Md., Bentonville, N.C., Brice’s Cross Roads and Corinth, Miss., Franklin and Shiloh, Tenn., Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania and New Market in Virginia, Gettysburg, Pa., Perryville and Mill Springs, Ky., Port Hudson, La., and Wilson’s Creek, Mo.

While most are administered by the National Park Service, some belong to state and local governments and private entities.

The report found that Civil War tourists spent about $174 million at the locations, bringing in about $15.3 million in state tax revenue and $7.7 million in local tax revenue.

Also, every 702 out-of-town visitors to a battlefield translated into a new job in the community.

Four battlefields make up the national park here: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House.

According to the report, those created 965 private-sector jobs.

“A battlefield is a powerful magnet for the most desirable tourists in the marketplace,” the report goes on to say. “Civil War tourists at every surveyed site went shopping, used local transportation and spent money on admissions, historic services, food and beverages during their visit.”

Tourists spend about $20.5 million here annually, the report says. The average visitor spends about $54.87 per day.

In one rough calculation several years ago, the national military park figured tourism spending to be about $13 million annually.

Russ Smith, the park’s superintendent, said yesterday that it’s obvious the impact is large and growing.

“The trickle-down dollar amount” of Civil War tourism in the local economy is well-documented, said Karen Hedelt, Fredericksburg’s manager of tourism development. Battlefields will play a prominent role in upcoming promotions, she said.

Trust spokesman Jim Campi said the numbers will help local officials understand another dimension of the battlefields’ value.

“One of the interesting things about this report is that Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania compare favorably with the other sites.”

To reach RUSTY DENNEN: 540/374-5431 rdennen@freelancestar.com


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