Group working to honor families displaced by Shenandoah National Park

Published: Aug. 17, 2016 at 11:05 PM EDT
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Several groups here in the Valley working together to create monuments to honor families who lost their homes during the creation of the Shenandoah National Park.

Folks from Augusta County came out to the Waynesboro Library Wednesday night to learn more about the Blue Ridge Heritage Project.

The project consists of building monuments in eight counties across the Valley to honor families that were displaced by the Shenandoah National Park.

Bill Henry is the president of the project. He said now is the time to make this all happen.

"What we're trying to do is: to get this going before we lose everyone who was alive at the time the families were moved off," said Henry.

Henry said the only two counties with monument sites are Albermale and Madison counties.

Teresa Kay Lam said she had relatives who were displaced from all eight counties and her great grandparents were the first generation to be removed.

"I want keep our history alive and pass on our legacy that our family has on the mountain," said Lam.

She said this project will bring awareness to everyone and teach them the values of the land and said she stills goes up on the mountain to feel her grandparents presence.

"When I go up on top of the mountain, I'm deeply connected to the land," said Lam. "I can feel how my family must have been connected to that land, when they farmed up there, when they lived up there."

That's why Henry said he is trying to get folks living all over the Valley involved, because the new generation will never know what was sacrificed.

"People will always think Shenandoah National Park is the way it is now, you go up there, you see the rocks and the trees, but they won't realize it was a very different place when people lived there on the mountain," Henry said.

For now Henry plans to gather committee groups in Augusta county and Warren county to get donations for memorials started.

If you would like to get involved, you can check out the Blue Ridge Heritage Project Facebook link in the related links section.