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Perryville Battlefield needs more local support

EDITORIAL

The Advocate-Messenger

Perryville Battlefield is one of Boyle County’s greatest historical assets. In a county with as much history as Boyle, that’s saying a lot.

Long after new roads are built, after new businesses open and close, after elected officials rise and fall, the battlefield will remain a local Boyle County place with national significance. The historic park’s value should not be underestimated and the community should be supporting efforts to protect, preserve and improve it.

That’s why we were sad to see so few local people participating in American Battlefield Trust Day at Perryville Battlefield over the weekend. Quite a few people from out-of-county and out-of-state showed up to complete some spring cleaning projects, including planting trees to re-establish a wood line that was present and used by soldiers during the Civil War battle; and clearing a fence row marking the farthest north Confederate soldiers ever advanced in the west.

There were several locals who attended and helped, and they deserve a pat on the back for doing so. We think it would have been appropriate for local people to have outnumbered out-of-towners, since we should be the ones most familiar with the park’s importance. That was not the case: Out of around 100 volunteers, there were fewer than 10 local people.

Many of those who traveled in to care for the park are passionate about Civil War history, but it would be a mistake to assume that’s the only kind of person who should help, or the only kind of person who could enjoy the park. You can care about the park because of its native plants; because of its serene, relaxing spaces; because of its scenic gathering places for family; because of its ability to bring tourism to Boyle County and benefit the local economy.

If you live in Boyle County and you haven’t been to Perryville Battlefield, you don’t know what you’re missing: miles of beautiful trails, amazing opportunities to see wildlife you won’t ever see in town, rolling hills packed with wildflowers, beautiful spots to picnic — and that’s all in addition to the amazing museum and historical experience available.

This year’s Battlefield Trust Day is over, but Perryville Battlefield isn’t going anywhere. More Boyle County residents should take the opportunity this spring, summer and fall to visit the park and gain an appreciation for its beauty and value; then maybe next year, we can set a Battlefield Trust Day record for local participation.