Date: August 9, 2018
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the National Park Service will receive public input on two possible national monument designations in Kentucky, Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park in Jessamine County and Mill Springs Battlefield in Pulaski County.
In the report to President Trump pursuant to Executive Order 13792, Secretary Zinke recommended that Interior establish a process for public input regarding new sites that may merit protection under the Antiquities Act. The report further outlined that, through stakeholder engagement, Interior has identified new sites for national monument designations, including Camp Nelson.
“Under President Trump, the local voice matters,” said Secretary Zinke. “An open and public process should be the standard for all National Monument designations, and I look forward to working with the communities in question to preserve our history. By identifying sites like Camp Nelson and Mill Springs Battlefield that help us tell a more complete American story, we can preserve the deep historical tradition of America’s best idea for generations to come.”
During the American Civil War, Camp Nelson served as an important training area for U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) — regiments in the United States Army composed primarily of African-American soldiers who joined the Union Army to fight for their freedom. The camp began as a fortified U.S. Army supply depot, hospital, and garrison in 1863. It became one of the largest recruitment and training centers for African-American soldiers and served as a refugee camp for their wives and children.
On January 19, 1862, Union and Confederate forces met in the Battle of Mill Springs in Kentucky. The result was an important victory for the Union in the American Civil War. The Union held Kentucky for the remainder of the War. Kentucky’s importance to the Union and its ensuing victories in the South is epitomized by President Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote, “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.”
Earlier this year, Congressman Andy Barr and Senator McConnell introduced the Camp Nelson Heritage National Monument Act and Congressman Hal Rogers and Senator McConnell introduced the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument Act. The Administration has supported both pieces of legislation.
Written comments may be sent to the National Park Service online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=81907. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or by any method other than specified above. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.