We all value our money, and I am sure we all value which organizations we decide to donate to, to support with our financial support. In the Western Theater (and the Trans-Mississippi as well), there are several friends organizations that support National Park Service sites that are directly or indirectly related to the Civil War. Below is a list of those that I could find that we might consider supporting as friends organizations often take on tasks that the parks themselves do not have the budget or the labor to tackle. By supporting these organizations we are indirectly helping to create a positive experience at each site, which in turn potentially means more visitation as well, and a deeper understanding of the importance of the Western Theater.
There are also dozens upon dozens of these types of organizations at the state and local level, far too many to try and list them all. What you may consider is supporting one or two that are connected to national sites, and perhaps one or two that are more local in flavor. Maybe pick those that are closest to you, one where an ancestor saw service, or a site you have made a connection to for various reasons. For example, I support Wilson’s Creek (an often-overlooked battle and a very pristine site), Stones River, Nashville (which has a very active group), Chickamauga (my relative was wounded there), Richmond (local site with great potential), Buffington Island (I had better - I am a board member!), and Perryville (one of the most active Friends groups out there), along with a few others.
These are the organizations listed officially by the NPS that have a Western Theater connection and are still active. This is not a comprehensive friends list, just those involved with the National Park Service. There are other friends groups that do not have an active website, so as they come around, we will be sure to update this list. A list for other parks and their groups will be out in the future, so keep an eye out for that!
Future posts will feature Q&A with some of the various preservation organizations that are saving and supporting the Western Theater battlefields.