Some of my favorite national parks are joining forces:
Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin announced that four National Park units in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia will begin to consolidate operations on or about September 1. The four units represent significant stories of the American Revolution in the southern United States.
“This action will ensure financial sustainability, provide more efficient use of resources, and help these parks to better serve the visiting public,” Austin said. “The units share historic backgrounds, missions and geographic proximity, and this provides an opportunity to share employees who perform identical or similar functions at each of the parks.”
Kings Mountain National Military Park, Cowpens National Battlefield, and Ninety Six National Historic Site are located in South Carolina. Overmountain Victory Trail spans parts of Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. As part of the National Trails Program, it is a partnership entity and does not own land.
The four units will be formed into a “group” under one general superintendent who will manage all four units. The National Park Service has begun the hiring process for a general superintendent. It is expected that the position will be filled by September 1, and the new superintendent will begin the process of combining park functions. The new superintendent will also be responsible to promote the individual identity of each park and build coalitions within each of the parks’ surrounding communities. It has not yet been determined where the new superintendent will be stationed, but it will be at one of the three existing park units.
It’s a move that makes sense, I think. KMNMP and the OVT are inseparably intertwined, Cowpens is one of the stops on the trail, and Ninety Six in the same general neck of the woods. I just hope this isn’t a sign that any of these parks are having major financial trouble and needing to cut back on operations.
Meanwhile, Historic Brattonsville has unveiled some big changes at the site of Huck’s Defeat (or the Battle of Williamson’s Plantation, if you prefer):
The new quarter-mile gravel trail, which is part of the attraction, features a series of interpretive kiosks that illustrate the details of the battle and tell the story of the Williamson and Bratton families.…
Lynch [no relation to yours truly] said a wood frame has been erected at the site where the Williamson home stood. Painted cutouts of soldiers representing the British and American forces have been placed on the battle field to illustrate what happened, he said.
The CHM also commissioned Charlotte painters Don Troiani and Dan Nance to visually capture the story of the Battle of Huck’s Defeat.
Seven original paintings will be on display in Brattonsville’s Visitors Center during the opening weekend festivities. Prints of the artwork will be sold year-round. Nance will be on hand to sign prints both days, Lynch said.
Lynch said the Visitors Center will also feature a new 14-minute documentary that will help visitors understand the events that played out during Huck’s Defeat.
“It enriches the experience,” Lynch said. “You have the battlefield trail and the video you can watch to augment the experience.”
When I visited Historic Brattonsville a few years ago there was a trail to the battleground and a short pre-recorded narration, but it’s great to see that they’re telling the story more fully. If you haven’t been to HB, I heartily recommend it. It’s a wonderful place to learn about the early South Carolina backcountry.