After more than four years of collaboration with families of those who lived and worked at Camp Nelson, along with community stakeholders and others, Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) and Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke today announced that President Trump has designated the Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park as Kentucky’s first National Monument. This designation, the first President Trump has signed, will provide the community with the resources to preserve and share the story of Camp Nelson for generations to come.
“Today is a great day for Jessamine County, the Commonwealth, and the nation,” said Congressman Barr. “I am proud to advocate for Camp Nelson, a site which has the ability to unite the Amiercan people. I appreciate the community stakeholders and Camp Nelson descendants for their dedication to securing this designation and would like to thank President Trump and Secretary Zinke for their recognition of this historical site.”
“With President Trump’s announcement, Camp Nelson Civil War Park will become Kentucky’s first National Monument, ensuring its proper management and preservation for future generations to appreciate,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, who sponsored legislation in the Senate to designate the site as a National Monument. “The recognition would not have been possible without the consistent leadership of Congressman Andy Barr, and I would like to join the people of Kentucky in thanking him for his commitment to this landmark. Kentucky’s unique experience during the Civil War is of national historical importance, and I am grateful to the President and Secretary Zinke for working with us to protect Camp Nelson.”
Jessamine County Judge Executive David West said, “We are excited to share this story with our great nation. The historical, cultural and personal significance and stories of CampNelson will inspire and enlighten visitors for generations. I applaud Congressman Barr and his staff for tirelessly advocating for the designation of Camp Nelson as Kentucky’s first National Monument.”
Historic First Baptist Church of Camp Nelson Reverend Robert Gates said, “The National Monument Designation is an eternal recognition of the United States Colored Troops. As descendant of a solider in the 119th U.S. Colored Infantry and a pastor of the Historic First Baptist Church at Camp Nelson, I’m honored to share the legacy of my great-great-granddaddy, and I look forward to now being able to preserve this scenic site, which holds so many cultural and historical treasures. Congressman Andy Barr should be commended for this valiant effort and I greatly appreciate his support for securing this designation.”
After learning of the DOI’s plans to review the designations of monuments made under the authority of the Antiquities Act, Congressman Barr brought the historic site to the attention of Secretary Zinke as a possible addition for monument status. Congressman Andy Barr and his staff worked diligently with local officials and community stakeholders to educate the DOI on the historical significance of the park. To further illustrate the amount of local support for the designation, Congressman Barr garnered over 30 letters of community support and welcomed National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith so he could view first-hand the importance of the site and convey it to the Administration. As a result and due to the advocacy of these local officials and community stakeholders, on October 26, 2018, President Trump signed a proclamation designating Camp Nelson as a National Monument.