Battlefield Woodlot To Undergo 'Health Cuts': Effort Is Intended To Promote Tree Growth In The Historic Woods, Tim Prudente, The Evening Sun, January 5, 2012.
This is the view of Herr's woodlot as photographed by William Tipton in 1880 from the cupola of the Lutheran Theological Seminary. The Katalysine Springs Hotel is the large building in the distance and the woods are just to the left, beyond the hotel grounds. A woodlot that sheltered Confederate soldiers on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg will undergo "health cuts" by the National Park Service.
Some of the trees will be strategically cut down to promote a balance of younger, middle aged and older trees, according to the Park Service. Known as Herr's woodlot, this 42-acre site is in the northwest section of Gettysburg National Military Park, just west of Country Club Lane. "We wanted to establish an even mix so the trees will mature and it will remain a woodlot 50 or 100 years from now," park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon said. "It's sort of banking for the woodlot's future."
The clearing effort will cost the park $600 per acre, for a total of $25,158, and Pennington Tree Expert Service of Orrtanna was contracted to perform the work. Felled trees will be left on the forest floor to allow them to decompose, so that nutrients are returned to the soils and to provide habitat.
The park's tree-clearing efforts -- though at times controversial -- seek to restore the landscape to the way it looked in 1863. A six-acre parcel of densely wooded land near Culp's Hill, west of Spangler's Spring, was cleared in 2009 to allow an open view to Baltimore Pike and beyond. The park has also planted apple trees and natural hardwoods to restore acres of orchards and woodlands present during the battle. Still, clearing practices have drawn criticism from some neighbors and visitors who feel a national park should be interested most in preserving nature.
Herr's woodlot saw fighting during the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. The woods sheltered refugees of Brig. Gen. James Archer's brigade after they had been repulsed and thrown back in disorder by Gen. Solomon Meredith's Union troops, known as the "Iron Brigade. Within an hour, North Carolinians under Brig. James J. Pettigrew deployed in battle line in these woods and sent forward a skirmish line to contest ownership of the Harman Farm with skirmishers from Meredith's brigade.
The southerners were subjected to small arms fire and the occasional artillery shelling before moving from the woods to attack the Union troops arrayed along McPherson's Ridge east of Willoughby Run. "Most likely the saddest use of the woods came soon after when wounded Confederates stumbled their way into the shade of the trees where they waited for ambulances to remove them from the battlefield," said John Heiser, historian for Gettysburg National Military Park.
Text and Image Source: The Evening Sun
Caption: This is the view of Herr's woodlot as photographed by William Tipton in 1880 from the cupola of the Lutheran Theological Seminary. The Katalysine Springs Hotel is the large building in the distance and the woods are just to the left, beyond the hotel grounds.