Five years ago, Capital Region Land Conservancy set out to protect an 871-acre working farm at Malvern Hill in Henrico County. CRLC is proud to announce that we recently transferred 371 acres of this property to the National Park Service. Incorporation of this property into the Richmond National Battlefield Park expands the Malvern Hill Battlefield park area by nearly 40%!
“When it became apparent to us in 2016 that we were the last defense for Malvern Hill Farm from turning into a residential subdivision, we committed to do our best to preserve the entire 871-acre property and deliver the National Park Service’s land interest,” according to Parker Agelasto, Capital Region Land Conservancy’s Executive Director.
“Our regional land trust took on the nationally important work because of its significance to our community, though we could not have done it without the support of our partners at the National Park Service who will now steward much of the property for the public to enjoy.”
On February 1, 2018 the Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) completed its acquisition of the 871-acre Malvern Hill Farm for $6.6 million. This acquisition was a long-awaited victory after an 18 month long effort to save the farm from likely development as a residential subdivision with more than 500 homes.
This is the last portion of CRLC’s land purchase at Malvern Hill to transfer to its new stewards. In the summer of 2018, CRLC transferred the other 428 acres to Henrico County for a future public park and 12 acres to the James River Association for the development of a public canoe/kayak boat launch into Turkey Island Creek. The former is protected by a conservation easement held by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the latter is protected by a conservation easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.
Fought on July 1, 1862, the Battle of Malvern Hill pitted Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s forces against Union forces led by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. Approximately 50,000 soldiers fought on each side, with McClellan’s Federal forces launching the attack in an effort to take the Confederate capital of Richmond. The ideal defensive ground helped McClellan’s army win the Battle of Malvern Hill from a tactical standpoint, but his withdrawal across the James River and failure to capitalize on his army’s success inadvertently made this a strategic victory for Lee and the South.
“Malvern Hill witnessed the culmination of the Seven Days Battles in 1862 and is one of the best-preserved Civil War battlefields in Virginia,” said Richmond National Battlefield Park Superintendent Doyle Sapp. “We are deeply grateful to our partners at CRLC for their work in preserving this land so that current and future generations may better understand how this conflict shaped our nation’s history.”
CRLC is grateful to our community for their continued support throughout this project. Including community donations, CRLC raised $5.7 million in grants and donations from the Cabell Foundation, Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, American Battlefield Protection Program, Henrico County, James River Association, American Battlefield Trust, Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, Virginia Battlefields Preservation Fund, and Virginia Outdoors Foundation’s Open Space Land Preservation Trust Fund, a well as bridge funding through The Conservation Fund.
The protection of Malvern Hill Farm launched CRLC into the national spotlight, providing a monolithic challenge which ultimately boosted organizational capacity and secured community trust in our work. Over the last few years, Malvern Hill has served the community as a stop along the Virginia Capital Trail, CRLC’s guided hikes, and as a site for celebration and engagement. Thank you to everyone who made this project possible! May we all continue to enjoy Malvern Hill as a public park and wildlife refuge.