Wal-Mart vs. History: Endangered Civil War Battlefields

Yesterday, the Civil War Preservation Trust released this year's list of 10 most endangered historical sites that hosted battles during the American Civil War. Most notable among the 10 sites is Gettysburg, Pa. According to the Associated Press, actor Richard Dreyfus came to Washington, D.C., yesterday to show his support for efforts to protect these historical sites.

So what's threatening these lands? As for Gettysburg, the encroaching commercial development (such as hotels) is to blame, reports a Washington Post blog. Same goes for a site in Spring Hill, Tenn. For others, companies are seeking to build facilities on the land. For a few, the natural elements are to blame, such as hurricane damage and soil erosion. As for the Wilderness, Va., site, the preservationists are bracing to fight plans for a proposed Wal-Mart.

In today's troubled economy, it must be getting harder for preservationist societies to plead their cause. For one, they're fighting for the already strapped public funds. The societies would argue that we shouldn't let companies tread on our treasured sites because of a moment of economic weakness. However, when they protest commercial development, they are standing in the way of creating much-needed jobs. These are the difficult decisions I'm glad I don't have to make.

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