Tours to continue at Bushy Run Battlefield

Heritage society reaches deal to run the historic site

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Guided tours will continue at Bushy Run Battlefield under the terms of an agreement worked out Wednesday in Harrisburg.

Members of the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society reached a deal with the state to provide volunteers to staff the historic site.

"Hooray, it's done," Jean Loughry, society president, said in a statement. The new contract will be signed in the next few weeks, she said.

State Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield, set up the session between society officers and representatives of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Bushy Run Battlefield is in her district.

The Westmoreland County landmark was one of a half-dozen state-run historic sites proposed for closing last year as the state struggled with a billion dollar budget gap.

When the museum commission sought help from "friends" groups and other booster organizations, the heritage society stepped up.

Since April 2009, volunteers have manned the visitors center, guided tours and carried out multiple fundraising projects.

The battlefield and park, which covers more than 200 acres, is in Penn Township, north of Jeannette.

Under the terms of the tentative agreement, the battlefield, the visitors center and the museum exhibits will continue to belong to the state. The heritage society will run the park, and it already has hired Lauren Buches to serve as site facilitator.

Bushy Run was the site of a 1763 battle between Native Americans and British troops coming to break an Indian siege of Fort Pitt.

"It's such an important historical site," Ms. Ward said. "It draws thousands of visitors each year, and it's wonderful that so many people are willing to volunteer to keep it open to the public."

More information is available at the group's website, www.savebushyrun.org, or by calling 724-527-5584.


Len Barcousky: lbarcousky@post-gazette.com or 724-772-0184.


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