Eric Wittenberg has offered a couple of posts concerning the blow to preservation efforts at Cedar Creek. As most of the details are related on his site, long story short, the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation dropped their objection to the expansion of a mining operation which encroaches upon the battlefield. There’s just no way to spin this right – the goal of preservation took a major blow.
Last summer I personally rediscovered the battlefield during several day trips into the valley. Prior to that, I’d only spent an hour or two cramming in the sites. But over the course of three different weekends, I got to know the battlefield pretty well. Seventeen historical markers, mostly along the Valley Turnpike, interpret the field. Several printed tour guides exist that point out sites well beyond the main road, however. I found the best to be a recent Blue & Gray Magazine article from last year. The battlefield, while mostly private property, is accessible.
The puzzle pieces that I still cannot seem to fit is why Cedar Creek wouldn’t, or hasn’t become a show piece for preservation, at least for the Shenandoah Valley. Limestone? Are we to understand there are simply no other places to mine this rather common sedimentary stone? Is this “magic” limestone?
The limestone vein is reported to be worth $300 million. The going rate of a limestone tabletop is $75 per square foot. Rough figures then we are talking about 4 million square feet of limestone, if all were going to stock home improvement stores. That translates to about 92 acres of land, if all were laid out in a sheet. Common sense says it wouldn’t be that thin. However the quarry operations will extend over some 390 acres. I’m not a geologist, and would differ to a professional opinion, but isn’t that a rather “loose” definition of vein?
With price of oil all the buzz in the news lately, I cannot help but draw a negative comparison with the long running debate over ANWR and the Gulf Coast drilling. Heck, if there’s oil down there under Massanutten, maybe we should drill! Kidding….
Then again, maybe there is another option. When last at the battlefield, I could have swore I noticed a Red Cockaded Woodpecker colony. Also, while my photo is a bit fuzzy, and I’m not trying to alarm any folks, but I may have seen a Polar Bear chasing a heard of Caribou out near the mine. Can’t be sure, but better safe than sorry. Surely there is at least one species of endangered newt, lizard, or bird around southern Frederick County. You’ll excuse me while I finish filling out my donation to the World Wildlife Federation… money that was going to CCBF.