GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — In March of 2022, Devil’s Den on the Gettysburg Battlefield closed for renovations. On September 30, it reopened.
“We put the final touches on it actually just this morning,” said Jason Martz, Communications Specialist for Gettysburg National Military Park. “Folks are interested and have been very interested in finally getting back out here to see the improvements in Devil’s Den and they’ve been waiting eagerly and we’re happy to have them back.”
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If you’ve been to Devil’s Den before, one of the first things you notice is that the stairs are now actually stairs. “All of the steps in the Devil’s Den area in the past, none of that, of course, was original to the time frame of the battle,” explains Martz. Both the steps and the new pavement were designed to be more slip resistant and safer. There’s actually slightly less walkway than before, but more people can use it.
“We were able to lessen the amount of hardscape in this new design by a little bit, by about 70 square feet,” said Martz, “But we were able to increase the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, by more than 200 percent. So that was a huge increase in the number of available trails Devil’s Den area that more people can now experience for themselves.
One section of Devil’s Den is still fenced off from visitors. There’s work to be done here, but the park is leaving it to Mother Nature. “We’ve had a number of invasive species take over certain parts of the battlefield, and those are still in the process of being removed,” says Martz. “Mother Nature needs some time to allow the native vegetation to take hold, and really come back in a robust way.”
While Devil’s Den is now reopened, the next hill over, Little Round Top, is undergoing its own renovation which will take a little longer.
“Essentially what we’ve done at Devil’s Den,” explains Martz, “Will be repeated at Little Round Top, just on a much larger scale. The closure at Little Round Top began in late July, earlier this year, and will take approximately 18 months, which takes us into the early months of 2024.”
Which, says Martz, makes it that much nicer to see Devil’s Den reopened.
“Devils Den is the third most popular single location on the battlefield, and to have this closed for six months certainly led to some disappointed visitors, so they’re thrilled, and we are too, that it’s opened back up again.”