Senate Advances Plan To Expand Fort D onelson Park
- Senate Advances Plan To Expand Fort Donelson Park
By Deborah Fitts
July 2004 WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate passed a bill in May to
increase the land protected by Fort Donelson Na-tional Battlefield,
allowing the inclusion for the first time of Fort Heiman on the
Tennessee River in western Kentucky.
The bill then headed to the House floor. Don Stephenson, acting
superintendent at the park, said final passage by Congress could come
Stephenson said the legislation has support in both houses and from
both sides of the aisle. It raises the ceiling of the park's land to
2,000 acres from the current limit of 600 acres.
Fort Heiman, located in Calloway County, Ky., has been privately
owned, with most of the 22 owners desiring to sell, Stephenson said.
He noted that purchases would be from willing sellers only.
Debby Spencer, tourism development specialist with the West Kentucky
Corporation, a 45-county economic devel-opment organization, says
Calloway County has raised about $1 million, much of it from federal
transportation funds and some from the state's Heritage Land
Conservation Fund, to buy Fort Heiman.
She says a total of about 263 acres will be bought by the county and
donated to the National Park Service when the legislature is approved.
Nearly 200 acres have been purchased already. The legislation includes
no funding for land acquisition.
Heiman was one of three prominent Confederate earthen forts on the
Tennessee River in Tennessee and Kentucky, including Fort Donelson in
Dover, Tenn., and Fort Henry. They were captured by then-Brig. Gen.
Ulysses S. Grant in mid-February 1862.
Fort Henry, which is on property belonging to the U.S. Forest Service,
was built on a floodplain and is now "under water," Stephenson said.
Henry is about 10 miles from Donelson and Heiman is 30 miles from
The legislation was spearheaded in Congress by Tennessee Sen. Jim
Bunning (R) and representatives Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and John Turner
Stephenson said there are "a lot of trees" growing on the earthworks
at Fort Heiman, and "small gravel roads going in."