Secretary Zinke announces $4.2 million in grants to protect historic battlefields in Virginia

Secretary Zinke made announcement while visiting Antietam National Battlefield

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

VIRGINIA – U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday announced $7.2 million in​grants to help identify, preserve and protect America’s battlefields, including $4.2 million to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for the restoration of 10 battlefields in the Commonwealth. 

Zinke made the announcement while visiting Antietam National Battlefield, where he also stated that President Donald Trump's first quarter salary donation of $78,333 would go toward two restoration projects at the noted Western Maryland battlefield.

​After President Trump donated his first quarter salary to the National Park Service, an anonymous donor pledged $22,000 to bring the President's donation to an even $100,000.

The Civil War Trust and the National Park Foundation, and Save Historic Antietam Foundation have also pledged funds bringing the total gift to $263,545.

​"As both the secretary of the interior and a military veteran, I'm deeply honored and humbled to deliver the donation to Antietam National Battlefield on behalf of President Trump," said Zinke. "Visiting the hallowed ground the day after Independence Day is incredibly moving and it underscores the importance of why we must preserve these historic grounds. The president's donation will allow generations of Americans to learn about our history and heritage on this sacred site."

The $7.2 million will preserve nearly 1,200 acres at Civil War battlefields as part of the battlefield land acquisition grants. The grant projects are located at 23 battlefields threatened with damage or destruction by urban and suburban development in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The grants are funded from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses revenue from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to purchase land, water and wetlands for the benefit of all Americans. 

The fund does not use taxpayer dollars; the primary source of income derives from fees paid by oil and gas companies drilling offshore in waters owned by the American people.