Is The Manassas Battlefield Park a Good Neighbor?

The Park always had other plans for 1000 acres of Private Property on Pageland Lane...

Why is the Park opposed to the PW Digital Gateway? You’ve got to know their history.

Not only did they support a 3 million sq foot data center adjacent to Park Headquarters on Pageland Lane in 2019, now under construction, but they’ve always had other plans for 1000 acres of PRIVATE PROPERTY on Pageland.

You bet they did! And we can prove it.

For 7 years from 2006 to 2012, our private properties were being used as a negotiating tool between the National Park Service, Chairman Stewart’s Office, VDOT, PEC, and other Special Interest Groups for the construction of the Bi County Parkway as mitigation and tools to meet the Manassas Battlefield Park's goal of expanding their territory and viewsheds, and closing portions of 29 and 234 while destroying the value and taking our property rights. And they tried to sneak it by us through utter lack of transparency, without our knowledge and leaving us with no other option but to sell to the Civil War Trust at pennies on the dollar or force us into conservation easements, forever denying us our private property rights. These groups were NEGOTIATING OUR RIGHTS AWAY FOR THEIR BENEFIT… AND THIS IS WHY THEY ARE SO OPPOSED TO OUR DATA CENTERS.

Does the Park care that Congress passed a Congressional Act prohibiting the Park’s expansion? The reality is our land has been and still is coveted by the NPS. They are still trying to hold us hostage and deny an economic future for us and our County.

May 30,2013 "Battle for the Battlefield" reports that Ed Clark (Park Superintendent) “dreams of acquiring select properties outside the boundaries of the Battlefield.” This land grab is in opposition to the 1988 Congressional Legislation which states the Battlefield cannot acquire additional properties for expansion. (Bacon’s Rebellion article) Their plan was two-fold:

  • Restrict our property rights by devaluing it and closing portions of Pageland Lane.

  • Promulgate their land grab and protect their self-interest by circumventing the Congressional Act by either conservation easements or sale to the Civil War Trust who would then connect these lands to the Park.

This is not a fictional story; it is the real-life nightmare that the longtime landowners on Pageland Land have been put through and it is a problem for all Virginian’s to be concerned about. June 12, 2012 NPS letter spells it out. BCP will serve the transportation needs of the region and could be a net benefit to MNBP. The Park states we are close to final agreement for the Bi County Parkway. Last two items, VDOT to fund the $3 million dollars for conservation easements of 1000 acres of Pageland private land & Rt.234 to be relinquished to NPS.

(See below)

So, let’s examine the Facts:

  • 1988 Congressional Act prohibited the Park from purchasing any additional lands to expand the Manassas Battlefield because Congress stopped additional acquisitions. BUT MNBP found some loopholes: work with battlefield conservation groups who would purchase the land and thus extend the Park’s footprint; and, to try to force conservation easements in perpetuity on private property to act as buffers and viewsheds.

  • May 12, 2006 THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT –The NPS and VDOT had their first meeting to discuss the terms they would agree upon to build the Bi County Parkway along Pageland Lane, yet NO property owners were informed of or invited to this meeting… this is 7 years before anyone on Pageland knew what was being plotted.

  • October 31, 2007 – Consulting parties to discuss terms for BCP on Pageland meetings took place with the NPS, MNBP, VDOT, and PEC took place with no notice to or involvement of property owners of the newly designated Historic District or Pageland Lane.

  • MNBP stated they wanted conservation easements of private property purchased between Conway Robinson State Forest and the MNBP to serve as mitigation for the establishment of the parkway.

  • Clearly, the park was negotiating our private property rights away for their benefit.

  • October 31, 2007Special interest groups meet to discuss how to use our properties for conservation easements for NPS

  • In 2008, the Park decided to move the small power lines from the middle of the Park to their boundary along Pageland Lane. They also allowed these lines to be rebuilt into huge metal high transmission lines through historic Brawner Farm and extended them through farms along Pageland to serve data centers and the dense development planned for Loudoun County near our border with them. The Pageland residents fought these lines, but because the Park was allowing them within the Park boundaries, and because, as usual, power companies get what they want by using eminent domain to take their farmland. That started the snowball effect of the ruination of Pageland’s rural character and the lives and futures of its residents.

  • January 2012 - Ed Clark superintendent of MNBP called Ghadban saying he read her grant for conservation easement was approved. He wanted to meet her and be sure she did not give the easement on the front 250 ft. of her property because he wanted to be sure she didn’t do anything to STOP the road, because he had it ‘all worked out.’ Ghadban met him and he showed her a detailed map of the corridor as it goes through the Historic District. Clark said he shifted the road further East onto Battlefield land in order for him to have control of the road. He stated the road would be a Parkway, similar to GW Parkway. He did not mention at the meeting that had been going on for 10 years, that he was labeling 1000 acres conservation easement and abandoning Pageland Lane.

  • March 4, 2013 Ed Clark stated in town hall meeting "he is willing to give up the perimeter of the park in order to save the middle". What this meant was NPS was willing to sacrifice Park property along Pageland Lane in order to close Rt. 234 & Rt 29 through the middle of the Park. They still want this.

If the Park service thought that area of the Park was so insignificant they were willing to put huge power lines, and then a four lane highway through it, and agreed to a data center on Pageland and 29, why would they be opposed to Data Centers on private property with mitigations and buffers that would be equal to those of Gainesville Crossing?

Well, we know the answer to that:

They still want our land by hook or crook.

29 views0 comments