Hearings and Business Meetings
June 22, 2006
SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 02:30 PM
Ms. Cate Magennis Wyatt
President, The Journey Through Hallowed Ground
CATE MAGENNIS WYATT
THE JOURNEY THROUGH HALLOWED GROUND PARTNERSHIP
ON S. 2645,
THE JOURNEY THROUGH HALLOWED GROUND NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA ACT OF 2006
BEFORE THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS
THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 2006
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Akaka, and Members of the Subcommittee, my
name is Cate Magennis Wyatt. I am the President of The Journey Through Hallowed
Ground Partnership and I appreciate the invitation to present testimony on behalf of
Senate Bill 2645, the “Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Act of
2006.” I have served in government, as the Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the
Commonwealth of Virginia, in the private sector as a developer and in the non-profit
sector as a trustee on numerous Boards.
The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is a 10 year old grassroots
organization with over 150 Partners, which has worked with the National Park Service
over this period to raise national awareness of, interpretive educational programs for, and
civic engagement in, the unparalleled history within the region that generally follows the
Old Carolina Road (Rt. 15/231) from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania through Frederick,
Maryland, ending at Monticello in Albemarle County in Virginia. This area includes
land in ten counties and four states.1
I. Senate Bill 2645
Senate Bill 2645 would establish the area within the proposed boundary as the
Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area (hereinafter, “Heritage
Area”). This region has been described by renowned Yale University historian C. Vann
Woodard as follows:
"This part of the country has soaked up more of the blood, sweat, and tears of American
history than any other part of the country. It has bred more founding fathers, inspired
more soaring hopes and ideals and witnessed more triumphs, failures, victories, and lost
causes than any other place in the country."
And, by author and noted Revolutionary War authority Richard Ketchum, as:
“If any land in America deserves to be called Hallowed Ground, it is this red clay soil on
which so much of this nation's past is preserved."
Inhabited hundreds of years ago by the Iroquois and Susquehanna Native
Americans, this region was traveled by European trappers and frontiersmen who ventured
to the wilderness to find a means to create a living. Young surveyor George Washington
laid the plans for the town of Culpeper, never envisioning that it would later be engulfed
by the largest Calvary battle of the Civil War, the battle of Brandy Station.
1 Attachment A is a map of the Heritage Area. This area includes: Adams County (PA); Frederick County
(MD); Jefferson County (WV); Loudoun County (VA); Prince William County (VA); Fauquier County
(VA); Culpeper County (VA); Orange County (VA); Madison County (VA); Louisa County (VA);
Charlottesville/Albemarle County (VA) and Fluvanna County (VA).
In June 1755, the onset of the French and Indian War, Major General Edward
Braddock led troops from Virginia across this region to attack the French fort in what is
now Cumberland, Maryland. Had those battles gone differently, had not the young
soldiers gave of their lives, we very well might be speaking French.
Twenty years later, a collection of British citizens, by the names of Jefferson,
Madison, and Monroe, risked their lives and their livelihoods to wage a war against their
own sovereign nation and, in retrospect, audaciously sought to create a grand dream
called democracy. As we read through their journals and have the benefit of their
thoughts, they did not always agree on how to create this country, nor on what this
notion, “Democracy”, should look like in law. As they traveled between their homes and
to Philadelphia, the natural resources along the Journey served to inspire them. Jefferson
wrote in his journal, as he observed the confluence of the Potomac, that it invites you “as
it were, from the riot and tumult roaring around, to pass through the breach and
participate in the calm below” (Thomas Jefferson, Notes of the State of Virginia).
During the Revolutionary War, this corridor served as headquarters to Generals
Wayne, Lafayette, and Muhlenberg, each of whom exhibited bravery and leadership in
the face of daunting odds. In 1859, John Brown led his men through the region as he
planned and executed his attack on Harper’s Ferry in the name of freedom for all.
A mere 80 years after the Revolution, this very land absorbed the loss of blood,
dreams and lives with more Civil War battles waged on it than any other region in the
country. There were more lives lost on this land than in the history of this country as
young men laid everything they had on the line and brave women like Clara Barton
administered as best they could. Among others who risked everything, were the slaves
who ran in the hopes of finding freedom and the Quaker towns and abolitionist who
harbored them along their way.
During the War of 1812, as Washington was burning, Dolly Madison sent a
fearless team to secretly steal away the documents of democracy to private homes in this
region for safe keeping.
This is the land that gave respite to Presidents Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt,
Kennedy and Eisenhower and where General George Marshall found solace in the only
home he ever owned, as he said, “after 41 years of wandering” -- a home where he could
pen The Marshall Plan, which exported the ideals of Democracy to Europe. A listing of
the great variety of historic resources within the proposed Journey Through Hallowed
Ground National Heritage Area is attached to this testimony.2
It was through these hills and along this corridor that they all led by example and
left their indelible mark on the creation of America. Some made it their home, others
their grave, and by each deliberate contribution, they created these United States.
In his Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, Lincoln spoke to the nation
when he said:
2 Attachment B is an inventory of historic resources within the proposed Journey Through Hallowed
Ground National Heritage Area.
“We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who
here gave their lives that (this) nation might live.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow
-- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it,
far above our poor power to add or detract.”
Senators, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is here today to
ensure that not only do we not detract, but that we work diligently to extract the lessons
in leadership and celebrate the landscape that has inspired generations to fight for the
evocative ideals of democracy.
National designation for the Heritage Area, as further explained below, will bring
numerous benefits to the region and help ensure that our children and grandchildren are
able to walk in the footprints of those who gave their lives to give us this nation.
B. The Role of the Partnership as Management Entity within the Heritage Area
S. 2645 designates the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, an
organization based in Waterford, Virginia, as the management entity for the Heritage
Area and outlines the Partnership’s duties and authorities in Section 5 of the bill. The
Partnership is bi-partisan, public-private initiative that works collaboratively with
heritage sites, elected officials, business leaders, educators, landowners, preservationists,
and destination marketing organizations to celebrate the cultural heritage in this region.
Considerable thought was given to the creation of this Partnership. First, an
Advisory Council was created which includes: the Presidents of Monticello, the Civil
War Preservation Trust, the Eisenhower Institute, the National Trust for Historic
Preservation, and Protect Historic America, among others. Early counsel was sought
from the National Heritage Area Program Director and the President of the Alliance of
National Heritage Areas.
Next, a Board of Trustees was convened and includes professionals in the fields
of heritage conservation, interpretation, tourism, and representatives from the business
sector. This Board takes seriously its responsibilities. It has raised significant private
funds to execute its 2005-2007 management plan with time-specific performance
schedules and cost benefit analysis for funds expended.
Section 5(b) of the bill authorizes the development of a Heritage Area
management plan by the Partnership and authorizes the use of federal funds to develop
and implement that plan within the Heritage Area. It is with assurance that I commend to
you the current management entity which has demonstrated fiscal responsibility and best
management practices. The Partnership is well-equipped to serve as the managing entity
for the Heritage Area and to oversee the implementation of the management plan. The
3 Attachment C lists the Advisory Council members for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground
4 Attachment C lists the Board of Trustees for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.
Partnership has been working with the National Park Service for nearly ten years to
advance the Heritage Area concept for this region, as demonstrated by the National
Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary which was placed online by the National Park
Service in 2000.5
Over the past ten years, the Partnership has worked diligently to build a strong
network of local, regional and national partners to develop a common vision for the
conservation and enhancement of the scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, and natural
characteristics of the region. Over 100 community briefings have been given, in addition
to twenty full-day or two-day workshops held within the four (4) states each of which
convened stakeholders from the community. A list of numerous Community Workshops
and Partners meetings held to date is attached to this testimony.6 In addition, a list of the
Partners and affiliated supporters of the Heritage Area effort is attached to this
The Partnership has developed a committee structure with the establishment of
the several standing committees, including Economic Development and Education
Subcommittees. As a result, the Partnership has created a highly successful education
outreach program to reach students and teachers within the region as well as across the
nation, and is creating a heritage tourism program that will provide economic
development opportunities, through regional branding and cooperative marketing, in
communities throughout the Heritage Area. Finally, the Partnership has been working
with local, state and national officials to create a National Scenic Byway to supplement
the Heritage Area designation that will help sustain and strengthen the economy, heritage
and quality of life in the region. Heritage area designation will ensure that the
Partnership and its collective members can continue their active work as the official
management entity for the Heritage Area.
C. Specific Benefits of Heritage Area Designation for the Region
The Partnership and its members are seeking designation of the Journey Through
Hallowed Ground as a national heritage area because it will provide operational funding
and National Park Service support for the Partnership and its members to work
collaboratively with business leaders, heritage sites, elected officials, preservationists,
destination marketing organizations, citizens, and a variety of community-based
organizations to create interpretation programs and to promote the history and tourism
opportunities within the Heritage Area. To date, all operational funds for The Journey
Through Hallowed Ground Partnership have been provided through private philanthropic
donations, which will continue as the initiative moves forward.
Importantly, the region will also benefit from national recognition due to the
association it confers with the National Park Service through the use of the NPS
arrowhead symbol as a branding strategy, a symbol so familiar to most travelers. Local
economies benefit by the increased heritage tourism, and the Heritage Area has the
support of 15 Main Street Communities and historic downtowns in four states.
Although tourism is the first, second or third largest industry in each region within
The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, the Partnership’s research found that visitation
to heritage sites has been dramatically declining over the past five years. Further
research identified perhaps the root cause of this decline -- the heritage tourist
demographic profile is that of a highly educated, two-income earning family with little
time to plan itineraries. Accordingly, the Partnership has designed and launched the
Where America Happened™ marketing campaign.
Each element of this campaign makes it easy for citizens and visitors alike to plan
multi-faceted trips along heritage themes or geographic destination. These efforts have
included: publishing a Journey Through Hallowed Ground guidebook, designing a
website which educates and facilitates heritage visitation, the creation of visitor maps and
brochures, working to create a National Trust for Historic Preservation Study Tour and
the development of audio touring CDs. In addition, the Partnership has implemented a
targeted, concentrated media outreach plan which has resulted in over 100 local and
national articles including features in Smithsonian, National Geographic and
Preservation magazines as well as PBS television and National Public Radio stories. A
sample of these articles is attached to this testimony.
Allow me to emphasize, however, one very important distinction between
marketing the region and the intended results. Clearly, by design, our marketing efforts
provide economic benefits to, and support for, our heritage sites, national parks, Main
Street Communities and working landscape industry. However, our directive and
intended result, as we launched and pursue our Where America Happened™ campaign, is
to bring civic education alive for children and adults alike. This Partnership feels that
The Journey Through Hallowed Ground is a trip every American must take in their
Accordingly, we also seek to work with the National Park Service to create
interpretive programs on leadership. Such programs will allow visitors to walk in the
footsteps of those who created this nation and fought to ensure democracy prevailed.
Only by visiting can one begin to comprehend the enormity of the contributions made by
normal citizens and statesmen alike. Only by experiencing this Journey can we hope to
instill the invaluable lessons of individual acts of leadership under peril which combined
to create the values of America -- values and lessons which must be shared with
generations to come. By combining historic preservation and civic education with sound
environmental stewardship, the Partnership aims to help inspire every citizen and visitor
Finally, Heritage Area designation also has more intangible benefits, such as
functioning as a federal “seal of approval” that acknowledges the depth of historic assets
and importance of a region to our American cultural heritage on a national scale. It is an
8 Attachment F includes copies of major print press coverage of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground.
honor for a region to achieve this congressionally-designated status and propels citizens
and communities to greater appreciation and understanding, and spurs voluntary
conservation practices. Increased pride of a community and region in its history and
traditions increases residents' interest and involvement in retaining and interpreting the
landscape for future generations. Preserving the integrity of the cultural landscape and
local stories means that future generations will be able to understand their relationship to
the land and have a sense of “place” although they may not be from the area originally.
In sum, designation would provide increased opportunity for collaboration, marketing,
resource protection, education, interpretation, recreation, heritage celebration, civic
involvement and quality of life.
D. Community Support
Community support for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Heritage Area
reaches back to 1992 to the origins of the Partnership, when national and local
organizations joined together with local citizens to raise awareness of the importance of
the history of the region in response to a proposal to build a theme park in the area.
Support for the Partnership has come from ordinary citizens and landowners, local
businesses, heritage sites, educators, government agencies, and elected bodies such as
town councils, counties, historians and other academics, regional planning districts state
general assembly, and nonprofit conservation and preservation organizations.
For example, over the past several years, in preparation of seeking the National
Heritage Area designation, the Partnership has sought to formalize this support through
obtaining official resolutions in favor of the National Heritage Area designation and the
efforts of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground from fifty-eight (58) elected bodies.9 In
each case, these resolutions were considered after public presentations and thoughtful
debate. S. 2645 would further this community involvement by allowing all federal, state
and local groups to participate actively in the development and implementation of the
management plan and allow sites within the area to benefit from grants to be
administered by the National Park Service and offered through the Partnership.
In addition, many residents, business interests and nonprofit organizations within
the proposed area have been involved in the planning for the Heritage Area and have
demonstrated their support through letters of support. For example, thirty preservation,
conservation and recreation organizations, fourteen heritage sites, nine government
agencies, thirty-four businesses, twenty educators and education institutions, and over
two hundred and fifty private citizens have written in support of the Heritage Area. The
Heritage Area effort has also generated a high level of public interest, having been
written about it over ninety newspaper articles, fifteen of which were on the front page,
and including editorials of support from Vermont to Fredericksburg, Virginia.10 The
9 Attachment G to this Testimony includes copies of the resolutions of support passed by local
governmental bodies within the proposed Heritage Area.
10 See Attachment F.
Heritage Area also has a high level of voter support, as indicated in a voter survey taken
in 2005 regarding the Journey Through Hallowed Ground initiative.11
As stated, the Partnership already has a very strong foundation of community
support and commitment through the involvement and support of more than 150 public
and private, foundation, community, and citizen partners already actively involved in
heritage activities in the region. Designation would ensure that this level of collaboration
and support is increased and sustained.
II. Private Property Protections
Celebrating American heritage is important, and so are constitutionally-protected
private property rights. Sections 9 and 10 of S. 2645 are devoted to private property
protection assurances. Section 9 requires that owners of private property be notified in
writing if the property will be included in the management plan and provide written
consent. Section 9 also allows a property owner to withdraw from being included within
the boundary of the Heritage Area by submitting a written request.
Section 10 provides that nothing in the bill would require any property owner to
provide governmental or public access to their property, or modifies any federal, state or
local law dealing with public access or use of private property or any land use regulation.
In addition, Section 10 provides that nothing in the bill creates any liability of any
property owners with respect to persons injured on such property. Section 10 provides,
further, that nothing in the bill requires a private property owner located within the
boundaries of the Heritage Area to participate or be associated with the Heritage Area.
In Section 5(a), the bill authorizes the Partnership to acquire land through gift,
devise or by purchase from a willing seller, and also provides assurance that “no lands or
interests in lands may be acquired by condemnation.” In Section 5(e), the legislation
states that the Partnership “may not use Federal funds received under this Act to acquire
real property or interest in real property.” In sum, S. 2645 contains some of the most
stringent private property rights protections of any heritage bill yet passed by Congress.
Even private property advocates have acknowledged that the bill’s language is not
objectionable from a private property protection standpoint.
Furthermore, a General Accounting Office (GAO) report from 2004 determined
that there is no evidence that heritage areas impact private property rights, after extensive
interviews with private property rights groups.12 Zoning and land use policies remain
11 See Attachment H.
12 See GAO Report 04—593T, “National Park Service: A More Systematic Process for Establishing
National Heritage Areas and Actions to Improve Their Accountability Are Needed” (March 30, 2004)
(Methodology section) (“To determine the extent to which, if at all, private property rights have been
affected by these areas, we discussed this issue with the national coordinator, regional officials, the
Executive Director of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas . . . the executive directors of the 23 heritage
areas that were established at the time of our work, and representatives of several private property rights
advocacy groups and individuals, including the American Land Rights Association, the American Policy
Center, the Center for Private Conservation, the Heritage Foundation, the National Wilderness Institute, local decisions made by locally elected officials who are directly accountable to citizens
they represent. There are no federal mandates in this bill. Heritage areas are “nonfederally
owned, managed by local people with many partners and NPS advice, funded
from many sources, and intended to promote local economic development as well as
protect natural and cultural heritage resources and values.”
Heritage areas are founded on the concept that the best way to preserve important
historic and cultural landscapes is through voluntary partnerships and community
participation, allowing property to remain in state, local or private ownership but unifying
the area through shared efforts at promotion, preservation, and interpretation. It is
essential for Congress to continue to recognize the desire of citizens and communities to
obtain national recognition for areas with national importance, allowing citizens to
promote and further a sense of pride of place on a national and international scale.
We understand that National Park Service seeks enactment of program legislation
as contained in S. 243 passed by the Senate last year that would establish statutory
guidelines and a more uniform process for designation of national heritage areas. We
also understand that the increasing demand on National Park Service resources should
dictate that only those sites that are most qualified should be designated by Congress as a
heritage area. We strongly believe that the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National
Heritage Area meets the criterion for designation set forth in S. 243, and is an example of
a site most worthy of national heritage area designation. We look forward to continuing
our close collaboration with National Park Service to provide all the necessary assurances
that the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Act of 2006 is
consistent with their desire for supporting only the most highly qualified heritage area
Once again, I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to address the
Subcommittee on this important legislation. I look forward to answering any questions
you or your colleagues may have.
* * *
“"This is the ground of our Founding Fathers. These are landscapes that speak volumes--small
towns, churches, fields, mountains, creeks and rivers with names such as Bull Run and
and the Private Property Foundation of America. In each of these discussions, we asked the individuals if
they were aware of any cases in which a heritage area had positively or negatively affected an individual’s
property rights or restricted its use. None of these individuals were able to provide such an example.”)
13 Carol Hardy Vincent and David Whiteman, Congressional Research Service, --Resources, Sciences and
Industry Division, “Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues” (updated March 9, 2006),
at pg. 3.
Rappahannock. They are the real thing, and what shame we will bring on ourselves if we destroy
- David McCullough, a Pulitzer Prize winner and one of the narrators for the PBS "Civil
14 As stated in a Press Conference regarding the Journey Through Hallowed Ground at the National Press
Club on May 11, 1994.