The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Parks and Conservation Association have offered support for a National Park Service plan that would allow a private developer to operate commercial ventures within the Gettysburg National Military Park.
But they and others made clear that the plan would come under close scrutiny.
Last week, the Park Service announced it would allow a consortium led by a Pennsylvania real estate developer to build a new visitor center and museum at the Civil War battlefield. In exchange, the developer would gain the right to operate a giant-screen movie theater and private shops in the complex.
“The fact that the new facilities would be built within the park boundaries should not by itself disqualify the plan from consideration,” said National Trust President Richard Moe.
“The question,” Moe said, “is whether it can be built in such a way so as to not intrude upon but rather to enhance the visitor experience while maintaining the integrity of the battlefield.”