Landscapes

Conservation and the Constitution Meet at James Madison's Montpelier

Posted on: April 17th, 2013 by David Robert Weible 1 Comment

 

Exterior of Montpelier, a Site of the National Trust. Credit: Peggy Harrison
The front of Montpelier, a Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

When most people think of James Madison’s Montpelier, they think of it as the home of America’s 4th president and the birthplace of what was to become the Constitution of the United States. But there’s another side to this bastion of American democracy that sits near the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains about 90 minutes southwest of Washington, D.C.

More than just the iconic mansion, Montpelier sits of 2,650 acres of land that includes gardens, archaeological sites, forested trails, and old-growth forests. Much of the landscape is nearly the same as it was when Madison actually lived here, and that’s by design. Madison himself would be proud.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. He came to DC from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

America's Antiquities Act Makes History with Five New National Monuments

Posted on: March 26th, 2013 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Written by Denise Ryan, Director, Public Lands Policy

Rio Grande del Norte (Ute Mtn.) Credit: Adriel Heisey
Río Grande del Norte National Monument

Just a few days out from the beginning of the baseball season in Washington, D.C., President Obama batted in a Grand Slam with the establishment of five new national monuments. This is the first time the President has designated more than one national monument in a day, and every single one of them is rich in historic or cultural resources.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Arlington House Woods: Can We Reach a Compromise?

Posted on: March 7th, 2013 by Rob Nieweg 2 Comments

 

Arlington House also known as the Robert E. Lee Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. Section 32 of the cemetery is in the foreground. Credit: Protoant via Wikimedia Commons
Arlington House, also known as the Robert E. Lee Memorial, in Arlington National Cemetery. Section 32 of the cemetery is in the foreground.

Sometimes, good ideas threaten historic places -- and that's when preservationists and their allies look for better ideas.

A timely example: The Army Corps of Engineers is expanding Arlington National Cemetery to meet the growing demand for burial sites. For example, the 42-acre Navy Annex site adjacent to the cemetery is being cleared right now to provide many thousands of new burial sites.

No one objects to the idea of providing an honored resting place for our nation’s military veterans. To make room for still more burials, however, the Army Corps plans in 2013 to fell 1,700 trees and cut-and-fill a 27-acre stream valley in Arlington House Woods, the cherished forest surrounding the 1802 Arlington House.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Rob Nieweg

Rob Nieweg

Rob Nieweg is a Field Director & Attorney for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He leads the National Trust’s Washington Field Office, which works to save historic resources in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. He has worked as a preservation advocate since 1989.

Environmental Threats Emerge at the "Walden Pond of the West"

Posted on: February 18th, 2013 by Guest Writer

 

The full version of this story originally appeared in E&E on Feb. 14, 2013. [As N.D. drilling boom spreads, so do worries about Roosevelt's 'cradle of conservation' -- by Scott Streater, E&E reporter.] Copyright 2013, Environment and Energy Publishing LLC. Excerpted with permission.

Photo by David Nix/digitalimageryphotos.smugmug.com

The rolling hills, crested buttes and cottonwood trees surrounding the Elkhorn Ranch in the western North Dakota badlands look very much the same as when a young Theodore Roosevelt first settled there in 1884.

Roosevelt moved to the ranch to heal after his first wife and mother both died on Valentine's Day 1884 -- exactly 129 years ago today. Though he lived at the ranch only a short time, and the log house and scores of cattle that once grazed there are long gone, this ranch is where Roosevelt first developed the conservation ethic that defined his term as the nation's 26th president and earned him the title the "Conservationist President."

Indeed, the Elkhorn Ranch, which is now part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, is often referred to as the "cradle of conservation" and the "Walden Pond of the West."

Photo by David Nix/digitalimageryphotos.smugmug.com

But today the solitude and natural splendor of the 218-acre ranch and the entire national park are under increasing threat, park officials say, by rapidly expanding shale oil development in North Dakota's booming Bakken Shale play. Proposals to build a gravel pit and bridge within view of the park, both of which are related to the oil boom, also pose major risks.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

History, Memory, Trees: A Civil War Reflection at Oatlands

Posted on: November 30th, 2012 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 3 Comments

 

Written by Katherine Malone-France, Historic Sites


Planting the first tree, from left: Sean Connaughton, Virginia Secretary of Transportation; Stephanie Meeks, National Trust president; Cate Magennis Wyatt, Journey Through Hallowed Ground founder and president; Michael O'Connor, Oatlands, Inc. board chairman; Col. Meg Roosma, West Point Alumni Glee Club and Andrea McGimsey, Oatlands executive director.

We are here today because we know there is healing power in re-planting after a bitter harvest. -- Rev. W. Morton Brown III

With that invocation, Oatlands, a Historic Site of the National Trust in Leesburg, Virginia, became home to the first of 620,000 trees -- one for every soldier who died during the Civil War -- to be planted along a transportation corridor stretching from Monticello to Gettysburg.

This effort, known as the Living Legacy Program, offered an opportunity for Oatlands, Inc., to combine its leadership in environmental sustainability with its continuing interpretation of a complex and compelling history. Eventually, 400 trees will be planted or dedicated at Oatlands, enhancing an already significant collection of historic trees. The trees will also be geo-tagged to allow smartphone users to learn the story of the soldier represented by each tree.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.