|The landmark in 1909, at the advent of the car era (NPS photo)|
“The project reestablished the features that make up this segment of the battlefield and will allow visitors to better immerse themselves into the historic landscape that is essential to understanding the three-day Battle of Gettysburg,” park said in a social media post.
The work tripled trail access to those with disabilities, increased overall greenspace by trimming some trail space and added features that will help with water runoff. Slip-resistant steps replaced uneven and worn stone steps, officials said.
“Although the area will reopen to visitors, one central area will remain fenced to allow more time for further vegetation growth. The fencing in this area will remain until native grasses have fully established. This process may take up to two growing seasons – up to 2024. In the interim, all non-native vegetation will continue to be treated within the entire project area.”
|View of Devil's Den from Little Round Top (Wikipedia, Wilson44691)|
After the park earlier this year announced the Devil's Den closure in a Facebook post, critics and supporters weighed in. One said the need for work at both areas has been known for years and the public will be disappointed that two landmarks would be closed at the same time. Others said people should be grateful the work is happening to perpetuate the memory of those who fought there.
Park spokesman Jason Martz told the Picket in a March email that the timing of the projects was a coincidence, but they are both meant to address problem areas.
Devil’s Den was the scene of fierce fighting on July 2, 1863, during the decisive battle. The boulder-strewn hill was the object of forces under Confederate Lt. James Longstreet. Rebels took the position and engaged in fire with Union troops on Little Round Top.
Volunteers recently assisted the park with clearing vegetation overgrowth at Devil's Den as it neared reopening. Park officials then treated stumps to prevent sprouting.
|View of Devil's Den after volunteers cleared vegetation (NPS)|