Civil War Trails program hopes to set environmental standard

Each component of the Civil War Trails program is 100 percent recyclable—a first in the industry. This sign is located at Cedar Creek in Frederick County.

The world’s largest open-air museum has gone green.

After intense research, field testing and patience, the team at Civil War Trails Inc. has designed and sourced materials that are now 100 percent recyclable.

The Trails team closed out 2018 by recycling 1.5 tons of acrylic that will be reconstituted into the UV resistant sheeting which is used for sign panels. Some 682 pounds of aluminum from old pedestals also was recycled—not counting the parts the team reused in the field.

For these efforts, Civil War Trails was recognized by the Virginia Green Travel Alliance for the “Most Innovative Green Project.” Sen. Mark Warner recognized these accomplishments.

“This honor is a testament to your contributions to the Commonwealth’s tourism industry,” he said. “You have demonstrated that sustainable practices are possible in the tourism industry and can lead to both the success of the organization and the protection of the environment.”

The Trails team hopes that their efforts will set a new standard for museums, parks and municipalities nation-wide.

This success motivated Civil War Trails to seek a green certification in other states. It was accepted into the Maryland Green Registry, administered by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The team also is continuing conversations with vehicle manufacturers about developing a hybrid pickup truck tough enough to help maintain the open air museum.

The Civil War Trails program connects visitors to more than 1,650 sites across five states in one consistently branded program. The program’s signature signs bring the modern landscape to life as visitors stand in the footsteps of soldiers, citizens and those fighting to gain their freedom.

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