Antietam National Battlefield

Antietam National Battlefield

Natural World

Trees and Shrubs

Standing beside the legendary Burnside Bridge is another historic feature known as the "Burnside Sycamore" or "Witness Tree". The Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner captured the tree in photographs only days after the battle. At the time it was only a few years old. Yet it was strong enough to survive the massacre that took place there. Today, one hundred and forty years later, it still remains as a witness to the battle.

Other stands of trees on the Battlefield are of equal historical importance and are known as the North, East and West Woods. In 1862, mature woodlots existed in these areas. Over the years, however, much of the land has been cleared and cultivated, destroying the visual integrity of the Battlefield. Reforestation efforts detailed in the 1992 General Management Plan began in 1996 in an effort to restore this integrity. Planting is completed primarily through volunteer efforts. Since the program began, hundreds of volunteers have been involved in tree planting.

Though the North Woods covered approximately 19 acres at the time of the Battle, it is now limited to a reforested patch of only 6 acres located between Mansfield Avenue and Miller's Cornfield. At this site, a total of 15.1 acres have been slated for planting. Nearly 5 acres of the East Woods stand as one of the park's best representatives of the historical forest structure during the 1800's. Found along the eastern edge of Miller's Cornfield, this 39-acre area will be reforested in the future. Lastly, the 75-acre West Wood area stands just north of Dunker Church between Confederate and Starke Avenues. Though it appears richly vegetated, the West Woods is a site highly threatened by exotic plant species.

Wild Flowers

Wildflowers found within the park are best seen along the Snavely Ford Trail. Among this 300-acre natural area, many species of wildflowers can be found from March to October. Below is a list of the area's common wildflowers categorized by the month in which they typically bloom.

MARCH-APRIL Bladder Campion, Bloodroot, Blue Cohosh, Celandine, Clue Phlox, Common Blue Violet, Common Cinquefoil, Common Fleabane, Corn Salad, Cut-leaved Toothwort, Dutchman's Britches, Early Meadow-Rue, Early Saxifrage, Garlic Mustard, Henbit, Indian Strawberry, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Mayapple, Pale Violet, Purple/Red Dead-Nettle, Sessile Trillium, Shepherd's Purse, Small-Flowered Crowfoot, Smooth Yellow Violet, Solomon's Seal, Spreading Chervil, Spring Beauty, Spring Larkspur, Star Chickweed, Star-of-Bethlehem, Virginia Cowslip, Wild Geranium, Wild Ginger

MAY-JUNE Common Buttercup, Cow Parsnip, Daisy Fleabane, Dame's Rocket, Deptford Pink, False Solomon's Seal, Field Speedwell, Fragrant Bedstraw, Golden Ragwort, Horsetail, Lesser Stitchwort, Ox-Eye Daisy, Poison Hemlock, Queen Anne's Lace, Sweet Cicely, Virginia Waterleaf, Yarrow, Yellow Goat's Beard

JULY-OCTOBER Asiatic Dayflower, Black Cohosh, Black-eyed Susan, Bouncing Bet, Bull Thistle, Butter and Eggs, Cleavers, Common-Evening Primrose, Common Milkweed, Common Mullein, Day Lily, Enchanter's Nightshade, Figwort, Galinsoga, Germander, Heath Aster, Honewort, Horse-nettle, Lady's Thumb, Lopseed, Mistflower, Pokeweed, Prairie Aster, Self-Heal, Spearmint, Spotted Joe-Pye Weed, Sweet Joe-Pye-Weed, Tall Bellflower, Tall Meadow Rue, Tansy, Thimbleweed, Touch-Me-Not, Virginia Ground Cherry, Viper's Bugloss, White Snakeroot, White Vervain, White Wood Aster

Nonnative Species

Nonnative species, also known as exotics, are flora and fauna that intrude on an ecosystem, upsetting the delicate balance of life there. Once established, they have a tendency to dominate and destroy the native system that was originally in place. Some of the primary exotic species found at Antietam are Tree-of-Heaven, Multi-flora Rose and Japanese Honeysuckle. These species are presently threatening agricultural lands, reforestation areas and woodlots. Exotics compete for soil nutrients and habitat, disrupt view sheds and invade the habitat of rare and threatened native species. An effective approach that managers use is called Integrated Pest Management, or simply IPM. IPM utilizes biological, mechanical, cultural or chemical processes, either individually or in conjunction with one another, to control or eradicate plant and animal pests.

Birds

Spring is by far the best time of year to bird at the Battlefield. In the months of March, April, May, and June, birds that have migrated to Central and South America are now returning to the area to breed, thus offering more opportunities for birders. Probably the best areas to view birds are the wooded areas along the waters edge off of the Sherrick Farm and the Snavely Ford Trails. Surveys througout the park have resulted in the sighting of 77 different bird species.Some of the most common include:

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Tree Swallows (Iridoprocne bicolor)
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus)
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)
Common (American) Crow (Corvus ossifragus)
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

During certain times of the year, Grasshopper Sparrows (Amodramus savannarum), Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea), and Red-headed Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) are prevalent at the Park.

Raptors are also found throughout the Battlefield. During the spring, it is common to see a Red-tailed Hawk in a days visit. Other common raptor sightings include the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, American Kestrel, and an occasional Broad-winged Hawk. In the fall, Great Blue Herons are frequently spotted along Antietam Creek. At night, Barred Owls, Screech Owls, and Great Horned Owls break up the silence with their loud calling. Perhaps the most visible bird hovering over the park are the scavengers known as Turkey and Black Vultures.

Gamebird species, such as Ring-necked Pheasants, Bobwhite Quail, and Ruffed Grouse are lacking in the park. The populations of these three species have been on a steady decline over the past 5 years, possibly due to a large fox population and declining habitat outside the park.

When discussing birds, it is important to bring up the success of the bluebird trail at Antietam National Battlefield. Mark and Jean Raabe have been maintaining the Bluebird box trail by checking each box every week March through August since 1979. The Battlefield now has 70 nest boxes posted along the tour roads which have fledged over 6,000 Bluebirds. The close proximity of these nest boxes with the tour roads provides visitors the excitement of birding up close and personal. As of 2008, a total of 6,249 fledglings have been given a safe place to nest thanks to this wonderful program.

Mammals

No matter how innocent wildlife may appear, it is important to view the animals at a distance. They can carry rabies and should not be approached or handled.

WHITE-TAILED DEER are common in the park. These brown and white deer can be seen most often in the early morning and early evening hours.

RACCOONS are found throughout the park, but are most common near streams.

OPOSSUMS are the only marsupials, or pouched mammal, found in North America and are common. They look much like a large rat, having a long body and a pointed nose.

LONGTAIL WEASELS, although rarely seen, are the most common of their kind in the region. They have a long, slender body with short legs. Weasels are one of the most useful animals in the park since they are very effective at controlling the rodent populations.

MINK are also rarely seen mammals and have a long thin body and dark fur. They are found near streams.

RED FOX have a sharp nose, bushy tail and reddish coloring, overall resembling the appearance of a medium sized dog. Although they are more common than the gray fox, spotting one is quite rare.

GRAY FOX, as the name implies, have gray fur. This fox is rare in the area so anyone spotting them is very fortunate.

STRIPED SKUNK are well known for their black fur with two white strips going down their back, and for their ability to spray a foul smelling musk. People have little to fear from the skunk unless it feels threatened.

COTTONTAIL RABBITS are one of the most common mammals found in the park.

WOOD RATS have dark brown fur with a white underbelly, and can grow to be up to 17 inches long. Sometimes called a pack rat, the wood rat collects shiny objects like bottle caps, coins, shotgun shells, and car keys.

MUSKRATS are found near streams. They're about the size of a rabbit and have dark brown to black fur.

MEADOW JUMPING MICE are very rare. They have a beautiful black tipped, yellowish-brown fur with yellowish-orange sides, and a white underbelly.

WHITE-FOOTED MICE are common throughout the park. Their back and sides are brown, but their underside and legs are white, hence the name. The tail shares this coloring feature, being brownish on top and whitish below.

Also common in the park is the DEER MOUSE. Its coloring is similar to the white-footed mouse, but is slightly lighter in color.

GRAY SQUIRRELS are also common in the wooded areas. They have bands of brown, black, and white giving it an overall gray color.

CHIPMUNKS have a reddish-brown color with black and white stripes running down their bodies.

The rare BEAVER is the largest rodent found not only in the park, but also in all of North America. Beavers tend to live in streams and can sometimes be found in Antietam Creek.

GROUNDHOGS are very common in the park. Groundhogs have dark brown fur and often stand on their hind legs to look around. The holes (or burrows) that they dig and live in can be seen on many of the fields across the battlefield.

HAIRY-TAILED MOLES are small burrowing animals, covered with long bushy black hairs.

Although SHORT-TAILED SHREWS and LEAST SHREWS are common, these gray-furred, shorthaired shrews are rarely seen. They very good at hiding, and spend much of their time in burrows.

LITTLE BROWN BATS are very common in the park area and can best be seen at twilight. These bats are very useful because they eat up to their body weight in flying insects each night.

Amphibians

Amphibians are animals with moist, hairless skin through which water can pass in and out. Nearly all amphibians live the first part of their lives in water and the second part on land. These creatures can be categorized into three main groups: frogs and toads, salamanders and caecilians. Frogs and toads are the most abundant amphibians, frogs having soft skin and longs legs, toads having warty skin and short legs. Salamanders, with their long, slender, lizard-like bodies are next in population size. The Caecilians are the most rare amphibians. They have no limbs and look much like earthworms. Most live underground and spend their time burrowing in the soil, but a few are aquatic.

During the 2000-2001 Reptiles and Amphibians survey at the battlefield, the following amphibians were documented:

Long-tailed Salamander

Northern Dusky Salamander

Northern Slimy Salamander

Northern Two-lined Salamander

Redback Salamander

Bullfrog

Eastern American Toad

Green Frog

Northern Spring Peeper

Pickerel Frog

Wood Frog

Fish

Beginning in the summer of 2003, a survey of Antietam's fish will be conducted in cooperation with Frostburg State University. The survey goals include determining the distributions and densities of fish in the park, establishing a baseline for continued health and population monitoring, obtaining an idea of the health of the streams based on fish populations and collecting preliminary water chemistry and physical habitat data. The Park Service plans on using the information collected as part of a larger effort to help develop a management plan for aquatic resources in the region. Up until now, only the following species have been documented in the park:

Brown Bullhead
American Eel
Central Stoneroller
White Sucker
Checkered Sculpin
Spotfin Shiner
Carp Greenside
Darter Tessellated
Darter Northern
Hogsucker Green
Sunfish Bluegill
Common Shiner
Smallmouth Bass
Largemouth Bass
Redhorse Sucker
Rosyface Shiner
Rainbow Trout
Yellow Perch
Bluntnose Minnow
Blacknose Dace
Longnose Dace
Brown Trout
Brook Trout
Creek Chub

Animals

Antietam's diverse landscape provides a noteworthy habitat for wildlife observation. During a typical day at the battlefield, visitors are most likely to see woodchucks and white-tailed deer. With a closer look and a little patience, many other types of wildlife can be spotted. The open fields provide great habitat for a range of birds, namely, Eastern Bluebirds, Horned Larks and Grasshopper Sparrows. Small stands of trees and wooded areas attract a different group, such as the Pileated Woodpecker, various owls and even the majestic Red-Tailed Hawk. Within these same fields and woods, there are frequent sightings of raccoons, red foxes, striped skunks and eastern cottontails.

In 2003, the Battlefields Division of Natural Resources Management, in cooperation with Smithsonian Institute, Maryland DNR and Shepherd University, began work on a Deer Movement Study. This long-term study will help us learn more about the local deer herd dynamics and health

NATURE & SCIENCE

Antietam National Battlefield is well known for its role in American history. Established in 1890 to commemorate the single bloodiest day of the American Civil War (23,110 casualties), the park attracts an estimate of 205,000 visitors each year. The battlefield, located in the Great Valley region of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley province, encompasses over 3,250 acres of farmland, pastures, woodlots and limestone forests.

In 1992, the Antietam National Battlefield General Management Plan was approved, outlining goals for restoring the battlefield to its 1862 appearance. The plan includes projects such as replanting of historic woodlots and orchards, re-establishing original fencelines, lanes and trails, as well as maintaining the integrity of the historic farmsteads.

The areas in natural cover at the battlefield offer a haven for many different species of plants and animals, and also provide a number of secondary benefits including water and air quality enhancement, ground-water recharge, storm flow moderation, and recreational enjoyment.

Forests

The largest forest and natural area located in the park is known as the Snavely Woods. This area is one of the best-developed native oak/hickory forests on limestone remaining in Washington County, Maryland. Because of the favorable species found within its canopy, along with the age diversity among the trees, the Snavely Woods are characterized by excellent forest structure. The upland slope is dominated by northern red oak, American beech, bitternut hickory, red maple and tulip poplar. The understory is well developed and includes flowering dogwood, spicebush and witchhazel. There is a diverse herbaceous layer that includes ephemeral spring wildflowers such as toadshade, bloodroot, yellow trout lily, dutchman's britches, toothwort, spring beauty, Virginia bluebells and hepatica. However, weedy exotic species are very common and form the major dominant ground layer in late summer. Numbers of natives may already be restricted by garlic mustard, Microstegium grass and Japanese honeysuckle infestation.

Reptiles

Reptiles are cold-blooded animals with tough, dry skin and horny scales. Most hatch from eggs, laid on land, which have a leathery outer covering. This cover protects the embryo from dehydration. Some of the most widespread living reptiles include turtles and snakes, which are abundant here at Antietam. They love hiding under rocks and in leaf litter in the wet or wooded areas. Some, however, can also be found out in open, grassy fields. During the 2000-2001 Reptiles and Amphibians survey at the battlefield, the following reptiles were documented:

Eastern Garter Snake
Eastern Milk Snake
Northern Ringneck Snake
Northern Water Snake
Queen Snake
Common Snapping Turtle
Eastern Box Turtle
Eastern Painted Turtle
Redbelly Turtle

No poisonous snakes were confirmed to be present on the battlefield; however, habitat is suitable for the Copperhead.

Grasses

An essential ingredient in natural area restoration is the re-establishment of native grasses. In recent projects, warm season grass species have been used including Little Blue Stem, Red Top, Indian Grass and Switch Grass.

Grasses are important for many reasons. Areas that have been cleared of vegetation are highly susceptible to erosion and invasion by exotic and invasive plant species. When grasses are present, they serve as a cover, holding the soil in place to prevent erosion and deterring undesirable plants. They also provide great habitat for wildlife nesting. Warm season grasses are aesthetically pleasing and since many species are native to the area, they are very valuable in maintenance and restoration projects.

Pests

Animal pests and insects are another environmental factor managers must attend to when preserving park resources. These creatures can invade and even destroy structures and natural resources. Integrated Pest Management (IPM), discussed as a method to control nonnative species, can also be used to control the following animal and insect pests. WOODCHUCKS, also known as groundhogs, are large, brown rodents belonging to the squirrel family. Woodchucks are serious agricultural pests. Not only do they travel considerable distances to raid gardens, but also their immense burrows damage farm machinery and destroy building foundations. HOUSE MICE are very small but troublesome pests. They weigh about a half-ounce and usually are light gray in color. An adult is about 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 inches long, including the 3- to 4-inch tail. These rodents will nest in houses and barns, meanwhile consuming and contaminating food meant for humans, livestock or other animals. In addition to damaging structures and property, they transmit diseases such as salmonellosis. SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES are yellowish-brown in color and are 12 to 15 mm long. These pests are considered one of the most destructive and aggressive species of termites in the world. They feed on wood and paper products damaging not only buildings but also plants. For the most part, subterranean termites attack the bases of poles, old tree stumps or other wood in contact with soil. They may even construct galleries to the upper stories of buildings in order to feed on the wood. POWDER POST BEETLES include several small, brownish, dry wood-eating insects ranging in size from one-twelfth to one-fifth inch long. They acquired their name through their eating habit, in which the wood upon which they feed is generally converted into a fine, flourlike powder. They can damage and eventually destroy all exposed wood in buildings by penetrating it with their tunnels. Invasive species of FLORA and FAUNA are also considered pests. These may be native or exotic and will take over and dominate an area for a time, thus changing the appearance of that area. Invasive species such as Trumpet Creeper (Bignonia radicans) and Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) are natives that need to be controlled so they do not out compete more desirable plant species.

Plants

During the spring and summer of 2003, an inventory of vascular plants at Antietam was conducted by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Ten meter square plots were setup at forty randomly chosen locations to survey the plants in both upland habitat and habitat near streams and ponds. The plots were marked, GPS'ed and all plant species were identified and inventoried within each plot. Areas outside of the plots were also walked through to identify plant species not contained in the plots. The 2003 study identified 371 plant species at Antietam. The six most abundant species identified at this time include: Common Hackberry, Multiflora Rose, Boxelder, Japanese Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard and Oriental Ladysthumb (aka: Bristled Knotweed or Bunchy Knotweed). Four out of these six species are exotic (non-native) plant species. Park managers are currently working to control exotic plant species to preserver and protect native plants and restore the original habitat. Future plant research efforts will include monitoring the established sample plots, conducting an inventory of fall flowering species/ spring ephemerals, and conducting an inventory of forty new plots. Future inventories will also focus on identifying species that are common in the region but have not yet been identified in the current park inventory.

Springs and Seeps

There are many springs found within the park, most of which were historically used as the main water source for the farm families. On the Mumma, Roulette, Pry and Miller farms, the springs are covered by either by a stone or concrete springhouse.

Water may also sporadically emerge in fields, woods or rock outcrops. Not being contained by a springhouse, springs will naturally continue on as a stream. These streams are intermittent, meaning they are only present certain times of the year, if at all.

Rivers and Streams

Antietam Creek, one of Antietam National Battlefield's most significant natural features, is an important historical landmark, a tributary of the Potomac River, and a popular recreational spot. Nearly three miles of the creek and about one mile of its tributaries are located within the park's boundaries. About two miles south of the park, the creek's waters flow into the Potomac River, which becomes one of the largest tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest and most productive estuary.

Cave/ Karst Systems

The geologic characteristics of the battlefield add to the complexity of natural resources management. Underlying the forests and fields is a bed of limestone, making up what is known as "karst topography". Karst features are formed when slightly acidic groundwater dissolves the soft stone, carving out spaces and cavities below the surface. This in turn creates not only springs and sinkholes, but also caves. Since these sensitive resources are directly linked to the area's groundwater, it is imperative that they be protected.

In response to management needs, the locations of known karst resources have been documented using a GPS receiver. Additionally, National Park Service water specialists have composed a scoping report that summarizes possible water management issues within the park. With this collection of information, future projects regarding karst systems can be implemented.

Flood Plains

Along Antietam Creek exists a section of floodplain forest that is critical to the creeks health. The forest serves as a riparian buffer and is mainly composed of red maple, silver maple, sycamore and black walnut.

Water Quality

The surface waters of Antietam Creek are generally characterized as being of good quality, although the area is showing some impacts from human activities. Primarily agricultural, wooded, or rural residential land users surround the creek and its tributaries within the battlefield; however, upstream municipalities and the neighboring town of Sharpsburg may also impact the quality of the park's water resources. These are problems that affect many natural areas in the face of intensive agricultural practices and increasing development.

Park resource managers have identified the following specific threats to the quality of Antietam's surface and groundwater resources:

1) Agricultural runoff or nutrients and erosion into park surface waters possibly causing eutrophication or sedimentation.

2) Groundwater contamination from old septic systems in Sharpsburg.

3) Sewage discharge from upstream municipalities.

4) Storm water runoff from the streets of Sharpsburg.

Many of the same hazards that threaten the waters of Antietam National Battlefield have led to a decline in the health of the Chesapeake Bay. One of the most serious threats is the excessive discharge of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus into the tributaries of the Bay, resulting in the eutrophication of many waterways. This process depletes water of oxygen, which in turn kills fish and other plants and animals. The National Park Service joined the Chesapeake Bay Program (a regional agreement to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus levels entering the Bay) in 1994 with a commitment to aid in the creation of streamside riparian buffer zones throughout these tributaries. These buffers are vegetated areas that stretch 35 feet or more from the water's edge and may be fenced off to prevent livestock from entering the water. Riparian buffers will help achieve both the nutrient reduction and the habitat restoration goals put in place by the program. In addition to the establishment of these zones, park staff also works with cooperating farmers on agricultural nutrient management issues. As a means of examining the effects of these programs, Antietam's Natural Resources Division has initiated a water quality-monitoring plan. Thirteen times a year, several water quality parameters are measured at six different locations within the park. Park staff record the water temperature, depth, pH, dissolved oxygen content, and nitrogen and phosphorus levels for each of these sites. Using computer software, data is recorded and analyzed to determine impacts of park activities on water quality. In an effort to contribute to the environmental awareness of today's youth, a program known as "Water Watchers" has been established. For only a few days each spring and fall, students from area schools, elementary to high school, are invited to participate in this three-hour program. Park rangers discuss with the students the importance of clean water and viable aquatic ecosystems. Then, in groups of four, the children conduct basic water quality tests in either Antietam Creek or Sharpsburg Creek here at the battlefield. They calculate and record not only physical parameters such as water depth and temperature but also chemical properties like pH and dissolved oxygen content. The third characteristic of water quality that Water Watcher participants examine is the type of macroinvertebrate species that inhabit the creek. These animals, mostly aquatic larval insects and worms, live under rocks of the creek bed and in the earth itself. Students donning waders and carrying nets, then stand in the water and do the "benthos two-step," where they twist and kick their feet to loosen the creek mud and dislodge the aquatic inhabitants. Once their nets are full, they return to the stream bank to sort and identify the creatures they caught. Based on the types of animals they have found, students can determine the health of the creek for that moment in time. Class averages for the water tests are then calculated and recorded for long-term trend monitoring. By introducing children to the importance of water protection through its Water Watchers program, the staff of Antietam National Battlefield hopes to foster an environmental consciousness in the youth of today that will accompany them well into the future.

Natural Features & Ecosystems

Anyone visiting the park will realize that this historic site commemorating the battle of Antietam is not only significant because of its cultural value, but also its natural one.

The park lies on a bed of limestone, lending it to a variety of geologic features including karst systems, springs and seeps. This also provides a viable foundation for the very rich oak/hickory forest known as the Snavely Woods. Running through the woods is Antietam Creek, the body of water from which the battle received it's name.

Efforts are currently underway to inventory and monitor the water resources, forests communities, plants, animals and soils that comprise Antietam's historic landscape.

Lakes and Ponds

The only pond found within the park boundary is located on the Roulette farm. It is fed by a spring that begins on the Mumma farm and runs east to this small wetland. Home to a few small-mouth bass and catfish, the pond also provides a habitat for various reptiles and amphibians.

Soils

Soil is a three-dimensional body consisting of organic matter, mineral matter, air and water. Essentially, it is formed by rock weathering over long periods of time. Most soil found on the battlefield can be classified as the Hagerstown Series (soils are named after the area in which they are first discovered). Characteristics of every soil depend on multiple factors. First is the nature of the geologic material from which the soil is formed, or parent rock. This determines the texture and mineral content of the soil. Most of Antietam lies on a limestone foundation with some shale, sandstone, siltstone and dolomite. Second is relief (the lay of the land), which at Antietam consists of broad, rolling valleys. Relief affects drainage, aeration, runoff, erosion and exposure to sun and wind. The geology here causes it to be highly susceptible to these elements, resulting in soil that is classified as highly or potentially highly erodible. The third factor is climate, influencing the nature and extent of weathering. The climate of Washington County is the humid-temperate, continental type. Researchers believe, based on soil characteristics, that this climate had an impact on the formation of the soil since many of the area soils are acidic and strongly leached. The farm fields in the park are sprinkled with lime from time to time to neutralize the acid. Fourth, plant and animal life in and on the soil are an influential factor. The vegetation is generally responsible for the amount of nutrients. Burrowing animals, such as earthworms, cicadas, and others, help to keep the soil open and release nutrients for plant food. Since most of the battlefield has been used as farmland for well over a century, human activities have also had a significant impact on the surface soil layer. This leads into the final factor influencing soil characteristics, which is time. Over the years, records of the area document activities such as clearing forests, plowing land, adding fertilizers and moving soil materials from place to place. Each of these factors can significantly impact the make up of the soil and its fertility. It is critical for managers to understand and maintain soil integrity as it supports the elements of Antietam's cultural landscape.