WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (Gray DC) -- It was the bloodiest day in U.S. history -- the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War.
Today, the National Park Service runs the site. Last year, 350,000 people visited the battlefield. It’s causing some wear-and-tear.
“What we’re trying to do is systematically… trying to do the preservation maintenance we can to keep these monuments and buildings and fence lines standing for the future," said Susan Trail, superintendent of Antietam National Battlefield.
On Wednesday, Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, announced President Trump’s first quarter salary of more than $78,000 would go towards preservation projects at Antietam: new fencing throughout the battlefield and maintenance on the Newcomer House, a Civil War hospital-turned-visitor center. Private donations more than tripled the money.
“Our park system is an American park system. It’s not Republican or Democrat. All of us enjoy our parks. But certainly preserving, protecting, and making sure our parks continue as a legacy requires maintenance," said Zinke.
Zinke also announced more than $7 million in grants to preserve battlefields across nine states: Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
“Let’s make sure to return the landscape to the degree it was when the two sides met. It’s important to give a reference of what it was like as a soldier and a battlefield commander," he said.
Zinke says there’s a large backlog of maintenance projects at national parks, so he’s looking for new revenue streams, including public-private partnerships.
The White House, meanwhile, has not yet announced where it will donate the president’s second quarter salary.