Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

Wilderness Picks Up New Advocate

May 19, 2009, 9:32 am

America's oldest statewide preservation group has just faced off against the world's biggest retailer, doing battle in Orange County.

Preservation Virginia, which has saved Jamestown and dozens of other historic sites from ruin, believes building a Wal-Mart at The Wilderness is a bad idea.

The Arkansas company's plan for a 138,000-square-foot Supercenter there risks ruining visitors' experiences at the Civil War battlefield in eastern Orange, the group's chief said yesterday.

Executive Director Elizabeth Kostelny announced that Preservation Virginia has named the Wilderness battlefield to Preservation Virginia's 2009 list of the state's nine most-endangered historic sites.

Kostelny said the 3,000-member group joins with the historians, congressmen, celebrities and ordinary people who oppose putting the Wal-Mart at Routes 3 and 20, across from Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

"The proposed Wal-Mart would degrade the rural character of the battlefield, promote commercial sprawl, and drastically increase traffic through the heart of the park," Kostelny said.

She spoke at Ellwood, a historic house on the Civil War battlefield less than a mile from the store's site. The retailer's tract, which would include the Supercenter and three smaller stores, is less than a quarter mile from the park.