Trees Lose on Manassas Battlefield

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There is Jackson, sitting astride his mount, Little Sorrel, surveying vistas of rolling fields, towering signs, high-voltage power lines and trees.

The iconic statue of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson commemorates the place where he inspired Confederate troops to victory. Federal and Prince William County officials want to preserve views of Manassas National Battlefield Park. There's not much they can do about the signs and power lines. But the trees? They can go.

More than 140 acres of rare oak trees on the Civil War site were getting in the way of historic vistas of the last Union assault at the second battle of Manassas. So the National Park Service cut them down.

Preserving Prince William's physical battlegrounds is no longer enough. Historians want to re-create historic battlefields so visitors can see the land the same way that those who fought in the Civil War would have seen it.

Staff members from the park and the county's planning department are studying how to protect views on the battlefield. The study will attempt to guide future development outside park grounds and potentially limit road construction and the heights of office parks, apartment buildings and billboards.

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